Temporum Review by Donald X Vaccarino from Rio Grande Games

Temporum is a time travel game by Donald X Vaccarino from Rio Grande Games. In this game you have to travel through time, possibly changing history and trying to gain influence. I loved the sentence in the rulebook “you will tamper with history as much as is needed, step on many butterflies it takes, to get a perfect world, under your own benign rule.”

You have 10 crowns of your own colour on the board in time age I. Through the course of the game you need to progress these crowns through the time zones and get them all to age IV. The first person to do so wins.

Hold on, the game is not based on victory points? What is this skulduggery?

The games designer is the guy behind the highly popular and successful Dominion (and all the expansions) and Kingdom Builder, this had a number of expansions too. Does this fall into the same category that the other two do? We shall see.

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The game box

The board is in 4 time zones as I have just mentioned. Age I is the furthest back, like ancient Egypt and age IV is the most recent. Beneath each age card is 2 cards of the next age, so the age cards on the board look like a tree with 1 card in age I, 2 in II etc.

Each turn is broke into four phases, all of which pretty quick. The first phase is you can change the course of history directly below you, which may affect other players too. This then opens up different age cards below you. There are several different timelines in the game and you can move around them and affect certain things when you do so, well you are time travellers. To hell with causality, right?

The second phase is move to an age on the current time line (which you may have just changed) or even just stay in the age where you are.

The third phase is you visit the zone, so you do the action it says on the age card and the fourth phase is you check for victory.

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The blank board

The game revolves around the collection, playing and scoring of cards. Some of the age cards tell you to draw a card or cards into your hand, some say you can play a card and others say you can score a card. You need to make sure you know the 3 different ways to use the cards. This highly important. Draw, play, score. 3 different types.

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3 of the era cards with the actions explained on them

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Closer view of one of the era cards

Each card has 2 functions, an action that you get to execute if you play the card and a scoring bar at the bottom of the card. If the age card you land on tells you to draw a card you take the relevant amount of cards from the draw pile and put them into your hand. If the age card says play a card or cards you then play cards from your hand and execute the action or if it says score a card you take a card from your hand and on the scoring bar you will see something like “score: pay 8 money for 5 crowns” with symbols. This is the only way you can advance your crowns with the ‘score a card’ function when you visit an age. The action gained from the ‘play a card’ are the usual ways to get the money required to be able to score a card.

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The Action cards. You can see the action and the scoring bar

That is it. It really is quite straightforward. Does it measure to Vaccarinos other games? I’m not sure really. It is quite abstract like his others, but I don’t think that this will have the expansion opportunities that Dominion and Kingdom Builder offer, some people may like that, some not so much. I don’t think that it will be as popular as the others mentioned. The one thing that I felt was unnecessary was the size of the box. It was the same size box as the aforementioned Dominion and Kingdom Builder, but it was mainly full of beautiful air. There is very little in the box for its size. If push came to shove the board could even be done away with and made into a card game. The board is the only reason why the game needs a box of this size. Storage is not a problem for me, but I have plenty of friends where it is a problem and the wasted space in the box would annoy them. Maybe Rio Grande have a truckload of expansions on their way for this game that will necessitate the large box. It is a good game and falls into the abstract filler category and it will be staying on the shelf, it will not be going on to my trade pile and it is certainly not one I’ll be in a hurry to get rid of, but it won’t be something that will be hitting the table on a regular basis.

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What is in the box? This is it. Not much for such a big box really.

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