Rules & FAQ

The Pendulum rulebooks are available for download. There is also a full rules video by Watch It Played.

If you have rule questions, please post them in the comments on this page, create a thread on BoardGameGeek, or ask them in the Pendulum Facebook group.

Rule Questions

I get stressed by real-time games. Is that what Pendulum is?

Pendulum is a turnless worker-placement game featuring simultaneous play. It does involve timers, but it’s not a frantic race against time. Rather, players are weighing the cost/benefit analysis of placing workers on actions where they’ll remain longer (and get better benefits) versus actions where they’ll be available sooner (and get weaker benefits). Also:

  • The timers are only active during each round, the timed portion of which lasts around 6 minutes, so there are regular breaks in the action.
  • Players control when they actually flip the timers. So if you’re not ready to flip a timer, you can just wait until you or someone else is ready.
  • If you need to “pause” the game, you can turn the timers on their sides.
  • Sand timers can sometimes be off by a few seconds, but this impacts all players equally in Pendulum (opposed to each player having their own sand timer).
  • We’ve included a variant in the game that allows you to play without the timers but retain the other mechanisms.

What if the sand in my sand timers gets stuck?

Give the timer a little tap, and the sand will proceed to flow. Sand timers sometimes have a sediment in them that needs to break up a bit–this can take multiple uses. If your sand timers have issues after a few uses, just let us know and we’ll replace them.

After our manufacturer, Panda, learned about the issues reviewers were having with their advance copies, they wanted to ensure that as few as possible of our customers experienced that issue, so they sent all of the timers back to their partner factory and requested a new quality check and replacements. When Panda received the timers back from that factory, Panda also performed a quality check on the timers and found a defective rate of only 0.25% (that’s 1/4 of 1%, not 25%). Even those 30 sets of timers may not have issues after a few uses, but if they do, we’ll be ready to replace them.

General Questions

Is Pendulum language independent?

Pendulum is 95% language independent. If you have one English speaker at the table, you’ll be fine. Though there will soon be localized versions of Pendulum too.

Why is the world in Pendulum called “Dünya”?

The artist and worldbuilder, Robert Leask, selected this name from the Turkish word for “world.” It’s also found in other languages.

Why should I preorder from Stonemaier Games instead of waiting a few months for the retail release?

While we will offer a preorder discount, delivery much earlier than the retail release date, and a guarantee that you’ll actually get an individually numbered first-run game in a timely manner, we absolutely support anyone who wants to order the game from their retailer of choice. Every copy of Pendulum is identical (except for the individual numbering, which is limited to the English first printing).

Leave a Comment

23 Comments on “Rules & FAQ

  1. Hi,

    Small question: when Mesoat produces a province and you place the province below the red production icon, does he get the production of the new province also ?

    By the way, love the game, thanks for a beautiful original game that makes our brain hurt on a regular basis.

    1. Thanks Kees! Yes, the octagon benefits are cumulative. So whenever you gain the red octagon as a benefit, you gain all benefits shown on your mat and on conquered province cards showing that icon under your mat.

      1. Hi Jamey,

        Thanks for your answer but that part we did understand, just specific for Mesoat, when he gains the province and places the province under the red banner. Basically it is a timing question, do you produce first and than place the province, or do you produce the benefit on your mat first and after that all the benefits of the conquered province cards. In the second order you would gain the benefit of the newly produced province, in the first order you wouldn’t

          1. Thanks again for the answer but sorry, still not what I am looking for. This question is specific to Mesoat the pacifist, the advanced character.

            Mesoat the Pacifist, the advanced character gains the province when producing. So you activtate the production icon, get a province and place that under the same production icon. Do you then also get the benefits of the just produced province ?

          2. Oh I’m sorry, I see! As the designer answers in the Facebook group, “If you are asking about getting the benefit as part of the same action you used to gain that province, then no. The gained province card does not trigger as part of the action used to gain it, only for future red banner actions.”

  2. Stupid question, but: Can I place 2 of my meeples in the same (non-black) spot? The rules seem to say no, as you can’t place a normal worker if there is another worker there (not another player’s worker), but the variant rule and the faq on the back seem to say you can? Or is it a question of timing – normal before grande is okay, but not the other way around?

    Looking forward to getting this to the table, thanks for the fast delivery!

    1. That’s correct, it’s a question of timing. You could place a normal worker and then a grande worker on the same spot. But if you place the grande first, then you can’t place the normal worker in the same spot.

      1. Thanks! I thought about it some more, and guessed that was the answer, so thanks for confirming, it makes it a lot easier for me to understand the logic.

        Follow up: If I placed the grande first, is there any reason why I couldn’t just remove it, place the normal and then re-place the grande (assuming the timers don’t get in the way)?

        1. Assuming timers don’t get in the way, and also other players’ workers, you could certainly remove it and replace both workers.

  3. Got the game a few days ago from you guys. Thanks for the amazingly quick delivery! Amazing quality components too! Glad I became a Stonemaier Champion 🙂

    Is there an error on page 7 of the Automa rule book? It says that “pay 2 votes to gain 1 province” is first in normal English reading order. But I would argue it’s the other option “pay 3 military”. Or am I misreading something? (Quite possible!)

    1. The “reading order” applies to the Council Rewards cards. The “pay 2 votes to gain 1 province” card comes first in reading order of the cards, so that card is discarded.

      In other words the Automa card is telling you to check the Council Reward cards in reading order for either “pay 3 military to gain 1 province” or “pay 2 votes to gain 1 province,” whichever comes first. And the “pay 2 votes” card comes first in reading order.

  4. Hi Jamie, what considerations for inclusion and diversity did you have when developing this game?

    It’s surprising to see only one of the five characters are female, and lone female character is defined by having no distinctive backstory or specialty, compared to something like the rich world-building behind the (male) sphinx and dragon characters.

    Having a balance of genders in player options is the simplest nod to inclusivity a game can make. This seems like a significant oversight in the light of Elizabeth Hargrave’s recent guest post on the Stonemaier blog.

    1. Chris: That’s a great question, and gender diversity (and other forms of diversity) in our games is very important to us. Charterstone features 3 male characters and 3 females. Scythe features 3 females and 2 males. Tapestry’s cards feature an even split between men and women.

      In Pendulum, there are 2 clearly male characters, 1 clearly female character, and 2 characters (Mesoat and Drenkhir) whose unique races (dragon and sphinx) who don’t have any features in the art that identify them either way. That said, in the descriptions of those characters, they are labeled as male, while we should have either made them female or not identified their gender (as their gender is irrelevant in the game). I take responsibility for this oversight, though I think it’s worth viewing in the context of the examples I provided above from our other games.

  5. The rulebook says there are 40 Stratagem cards (4 per character). However, if there are only 5 characters, one of those numbers must be incorrect or am I missing some other purpose for the remaining 20 Stratagem cards? Thanks!

    1. Each player mat has a variant character on the back, and both sides have their own unique Stratagem cards. :)

  6. I was also worried about the sand timers, but after reading the rulebook I have to say that you don’t have too many troubles with missing “tempo”….just focus on WHAT and WHEN you have to do and if you lose THAT second, well….it’s just not a big trouble at all

    really really good job!!!

    ps: I still can’t find the automa rulebook…

  7. Can the sand timers be replaced by an app? I hate in games when the time runs out, you miss the timeout, and keeps playing like a fool :-D

    1. The way Pendulum works, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how your worry isn’t an issue. But I can’t say more yet! :)

  8. There are one or more typos above . Unless there are multiple rulebooks, the “s” should be deleted. Also delete “are.”

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