Have you longed to be a time traveller, and travel through the vortex to remediate key events known as linchpins in time; such as the assassination of President Lincoln, or the prevent the sinking of the Titanic? Yes! Then what are you waiting for strap on your time vortex manipulator and join us as a time agent, just remember that messing with history can its consequences.
Chrononauts is a great game for gamers and non-gamers alike, and is a must buy for your game collection as it works well solo as well as in a group. Chrononauts is a 1-6 player card-based game that takes 30 to 45 minutes to play for ages 10+. This game is similar to Fluxx, using the draw one and play one rules, and the game uses historical events to create points referred to as Ripple points/Linchpin cards in time which you will be manipulating, the game uses a good balance of historical accuracy and creative thinking such as if the Titanic did not sink what would happen?
The game starts by laying out the 32 event cards, starting from 1865 to 1999, in an eight by four grid. These should be placed in chronological order, with each player then receiving one random secret ID card. This will detail the back story for the player, along with the reality from which they are from.
Each player then should also be given one random secret mission which will detail certain artifices, such as The Cure for Cancer or The Videotape of the Ceation of the Universe. Finally, everyone should draw three cards from the deck, these cards should have ‘Chrononauts’ written on the back in red writing.
How to Win
Chrononauts has several win conditions which allow you to customise your own strategy as time progresses and more manipulation takes place. One condition of winning is by holding 10 ‘Chrononauts’ cards at the end of your turn, which allows you to be the master of time as you have ultimate power over the time stream, referred to in the name as Achieving power and success, the only card which count for this win condition is the Chrononauts from the deck, not your ID or Mission.
The second win condition is by meeting your mission through collecting three artefacts detailed on your mission card, which you would have received at set-up, such as Live Triceratops whose name is ‘Sarah’. Once you meet one of these conditions you can declare you have met one of the win conditions on your turn.
The third win condition is by manipulating time to meet your character's reality, detailed on your ID card, by causing paradoxes and patching specific points in time such as 1929 The Titanic did not sink it exploded, this would be one step to meeting the reality Renee’ knows to be true, but remember manipulating time has consequences and paradoxes are dangerous if left unpatched.
If at any point in the game 13 or more paradoxes exist, time is ripped in half shattering reality and destroying all creation.
The game has six types of cards which you will be drawing from the Chrononauts Deck, these are;
- Artefacts - Artefacts allow you to complete your mission, you can play any artefact you wish and place it in front of you. Just a word of warning; players can steal cards.
- Gadgets - Gadget cards can be permanent or temporary special abilities that allow you to do special actions, which others without the gadget would not be able to do. Each gadget has text on the card to direct you.
- Actions - Action cards allow you to take one-off actions such as stealing another player's Artefact from in front of them. Once you play the action card you must place the card on the discard pile as it has a onetime use only.
- Time Warps - Time warps are similar to action cards as they are a one time use card. After using the card you must discard it, however they are more powerful! An example of a time warp card is rewind, which allows you to search the discard pile and play any card already played except other time warp cards.
- Inverters - Inverters are cards that allow you to reverse fate and flip linchpins to cause paradoxes and ripples through time. Some cards allow you to flip any card, whilst others detail specific cards which can be flipped if certain criteria as detailed by the card is met.
- Patches - Patches are cards that can be placed on a specific point in time which had been turned into paradoxes. When you patch time you also get an additional benefit from the time agency allowing you to collect an additional card, this is one of the only times and way in which you will draw two cards rather than one.
Final Thoughts on Chrononauts
The game of Chrononauts is an exciting one which has used the concept of time manipulation, which is known as a difficult concept to construct due to the nature of decisions made early in the game being affected by future decisions. Chrononauts is game which as managed to deliver this challenging task by having set ripple points, which cause paradoxes which can then be repaired.
Also, as part of the game they have added true historical events which could be used to an extent as a learning tool, plus the game has a lot of funny colloquial references such as the creation of the universe on Betamax tape.
The game does have a degree of complexity when you first start playing, as you try to understand how inverters, gadgets and time warps work in a practical setting. One negative is that some gadget abilities are not written succinctly, causing some confusion for inexperienced players / new comers.
Overall, Chrononauts is a game which can be added to your regular game pool. It has replay value which is further expanded with expansions such as The Gore Years, which adds additional linchpins to the time stream along with ID cards / new characters and back stories, including patches for the new Linchpins. I would recommend adding this expansion to the game as it adds more recent events to the eight by four grid / time stream.
If you are looking for a fun game which plays within a short amount of time and can accommodate a range of people from 1-6, I would recommend buying this game.