Stonemaier Games announces real time worker placement game Pendulum

July 5, 2020 - 11:27am

“In Pendulum, each player is a powerful, unique noble vying to succeed the Timeless King as the true ruler of Dünya. Players command their workers, execute stratagems, and expand the provinces in their domain in real time to gain resources and move up the 4 victory tracks: power, prestige, popularity, and legendary achievement.”

Publishing powerhouse Stonemaier Games has announced their newest game, previously referred to as “Project Sand”, Pendulum by first time designer Travis Jones. The game has the distinction of being the highest scored game ever to enter Stonemaier’s Design Day, a festival of open prototypes. Pendulum is a real-time game involving sand timers, however founder Jamey Stegmaier assures us that Pendulum is more of “a turnless worker-placement game featuring simultaneous play” and does not have the high stress panic usually associated with these games.

Pendulum is a worker placement game at heart. The board centers around mirrored rows of identical worker placement spots, and the aforementioned sand timers bounce between these rows as they run down (Pendulums, see?) Players can only place their workers within the row without the timer. Once the timer moves to a row with workers, players can use those action spaces for the duration of the newly arrived timer. There are 3 such timer / action-space areas, controlled by 3 different timer speeds: 3 minutes, 2 minutes and 45 seconds. Additionally, the real time portion of the game lasts approximately 6 minutes, giving players a rest between rounds. The game focuses on using time as a resource, carefully considering where to place workers for best return on time spent, rather than the frantic speed play of most real time board games. Stonemaier compared this design “feel” to the classic games Tzolk’in and 7 Wonders.

Pendulum also contains a strong engine building aspect using province cards, fitting perfectly into the lush world built up by artist Robert Leask. There is even a variant of play with no real time element at all, just using the worker placement and engine building aspects of the game. Pendulum will be available for pre-order from Stonemaier in August, and will come with 25 meeples, 3 sand timers, board, and more yet to be announced… For more details and pictures, check out the Pendulum webpage at Stonemaier Games, as well as the ongoing design diaries.

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