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The Card Game of Time Travel
What would YOU do with a Time Machine? Would you stop the sinking of the Titanic? Prevent the assassination of JFK? Kill Hitler before WWII? These are just a few of the possibilities in Chrononauts, the award-winning card game of time travel. To win, you must change history at key points called Linchpins, so that history transforms into the Alternate Reality your character calls home. You can also win by collecting a specific set of Artifacts, such as a live dinosaur, the Mona Lisa, and an unpublished Shakespearean play. But be careful - if you create too many paradoxes, you could destroy the entire universe!

images © Looney Labs

User Reviews (6)

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36 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“steal my squeaky-clean time machine, will you?!”

As a fan of nearly all things time-travel related, I was instantly sold on the idea of this game. How did it actually stack up…?

I understood the rules fairly quickly once we actually set the game up and started playing. Set up consists of arranging Event cards depicting actual events in chronological order on the table, and dealing out an ID card and a mission card, as well as a hand (of actions, patches, gadgets, and/or artifacts) to each player.

The Mission and ID cards are each a win condition, specified by the card.
A Mission card win is achieved by getting specific artifact or gadget cards (drawn from the deck or stolen from other players) into play (generally one per turn).
An ID card win is achieved by first reversing major event cards in the timeline with actions (from the player’s hand), then ‘patching’ or fixing appropriate spots (again from the player’s hand), as defined by the ID card.
Winning can also be achieved by having ten or more cards in your hand.

The Mechanics that gave new players the most trouble seemed to be the timeline interaction.
The reversal actions (played from hand) are played on major event cards in the timeline, and this causes minor event cards to flip and become paradoxes. Players then play “patches” or fixes from their hand on specific paradoxes.

All in all, this game stacked up VERY well. With the amount of player interaction with gadgets, to stealing artifacts and gadgets and negating actions from other players, to the dreaded ‘your parents never met’ action forcing a player to discard their ID card and draw a new one, this game has been a lot of fun each and every time I sat down to play.

I also recommend the expansions, as they are additions to the event cards before the beginning and after the end of the core timeline, as well as some cool new gadgets, artifacts, and actions.

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Advanced Reviewer
It's All About Me
I'm a Real Person
I'm Completely Obsessed
51 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“Who knew time travel was so fun?”

Chrononauts is a great little game by Looney Labs that lets you play a time traveler, fighting against other time travelers to create your perfect timeline. Maybe you want to collect the Mona Lisa and a little dinosaur pet named Alice, or maybe your goal is to prevent major assassinations throughout history. Once you’ve done the right things to make time your own, you win!

The game board is a series of two-sided cards, each detailing an event that actually happened in our history, with a different possibility on the reverse. By using Reversals, you can flip them over, sending ripples throughout the timeline and flipping a series of future event cards. Patch cards then allow you to rewrite history based on these new possibilities.

Each game, you choose from a unique character and a unique goal. Each totally bizarre character needs to modify and patch the timeline twice, and each goal requires you to have a collection of three Artifacts. All of these patches and artifacts are in the action deck, which also give you access to gadgets and other wild effects. On the other hand, if you can ever manage to get a hold of ten cards at once, you are considered so powerful that the other travelers give up. With three very different win conditions, this little game actually has a great deal of strategy involved.

One significant problem with this game is that each character is looking for very specific cards in the deck. If you don’t happen to draw them, or if they’re down at the bottom, winning can be a painful task. However, game play is interesting enough that you can have fun just messing with time, even without getting close to victory. Since patching the timeline lets you draw from the deck, changing the game is definitely helpful to whichever strategy you choose.

I’ve played this game a few times, and each instance has been a lot of fun. Whether or not I win, getting to save the Hindenburg or start World War Three and cause endless paradoxes always keeps it interesting. I would recommend Chrononauts to anyone looking for a fun, random game, but needs more structure than Munchkin or Fluxx. This is not a pure strategy game in any sense, but it is a ton of FUN!

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Gamer - Level 6
31 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Who Wouldn't Love to Time Travel”

Chrononauts is a quick playing light game. You take the role of time travelers and you win by either changing history to best suit your ‘ID Card’ or travel through time and collect the objects listed on your ‘Mission Card’

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Chrononauts is an entirely card based game, but before we get into how it plays, I will talk about the different type of cards.

These are the date cards, they are historical events that the game is played around.
These date cards essentially make up your game board. The purple cards are ‘Linchpins’, these are major
points in history altering them will alter (flip) other date cards.
Artifacts: These cards are played in front of you, it is possible for these to be stolen or forced to be discarded by opponents. If you collect all the artifacts listed on your ‘Mission Card’ you win the game immediately.

Patches: These are used to ‘fix’ altered date cards, that is turn them back to their original side if someone has reversed it and changed the course of history.

ID Cards: At the start of the game you are given one of these, if you complete your ID Card by successfully changing history you will win the game immediately.

Missions Cards: At the start of the game you are given one of these, if you collect all the ‘Artifacts’ listed you will win the game immediatly.

Inverter: These cards simply take a date card and flip them to their other side. The reverse fate may only turn over a ‘linchpin’, these are date cards that directly affect other date cards. That means that by reversing one card you may reverse a number of other cards at the same time. The prevent assassination card is used for specific historical dates where someone was assassinated and is used to reverse that and return the card to its original side.

Timewarp cards are action cards that can be played at any time, they let you do something specific and often make it very easy to win.

Gadget: These cards stay in front of you when played and allow you to do more than just your basic action of draw 1 card and play one card every turn.

Action: These cards let you perform a single powerful action, after they have been resolved they are discarded.

At the start of the game players draw 5 cards, 1 ID card and 1 Mission Card. Every turn players will draw 1 card and play 1 card, they may only play additional cards or draw additional cards if they play a card that allows them to do so. Players may also discard 2 cards to draw 1 new one every turn. The game ends as soon as a player has either successfully changed history so that it matches his/her ID Card, or collected all of the artifacts listed on their Mission Card.

Who will enjoy Chrononauts?

Casual Gamers: Because of the random luck, very simple mechanics and quick play time, Chrononauts is best served to casual gamers who want to play to unwind and relax, or perhaps before playing an in depth strategy game. All that aside, Chrononauts is a great little game and gets better the more players you add in. I would recommend Chrononauts to a group that has 4-6 people and needs something to play between longer games or just wants a lighter game.

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Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Crane Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Smash Up Fan
27 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Fun, but not for everyone.”

Lets begin by saying I really enjoy this game. I love the idea that you can screw with the timestream so much that existence itself collapses. I enjoy that each player gets two paths to victory. The game play is simple enough that you can have a new player up and running pretty quickly.

My experience however has been that you have to have an audience for Chrononauts. There are some games that you can just sit down with just about anyone. Chrononauts is simply not one of them. The biggest complaint I got was usually from non-gamers: “I just don’t get it”. This is in truth a fair criticism.

The theme is great and the entire game is structured around it, but if a player isn’t into it they’re just not going to have a good time. I suppose this could really be said of any game, but for some reason Chrononauts is one of those games that’s either a hit or miss. For my two cents I like it and hope that you’ll enjoy it as well.

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13 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey.”

Love this game. If you are a nut for time travel games and What Ifs and the fiction of Harry Turtledove and Mr. Peabody and, well, anything time travel-ish OR you are a history nut…
The identities and goals make this a lot of fun (and the expanison cards for IDs and goals) and they make sense in the game.
Anyway, even your non-gamer friends will like this game though you will need to help explain some of the details, the concept will pull people in.
No wonder Looney Labs has the license for a “Back to the Future” game.

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Rather Dashing Games fan
12 of 35 gamers found this helpful
“Being Able to Change History at your table!”

This card game is cool. I really enjoy being able to change time and change history using these cards. The cards get laid out across the table and people get an objective and some items to acquire. It can get competitive if you have several people with outgoing personalities wanting to win! Even this non-competitive heart found ways of changing time to prolong the winnings of my fellow players. I think that people that enjoy history will love this game and I think people that are curious about what if’s regarding history will enjoy this game as well.


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