Prove your historical knowledge by stepping into the past and putting inventions in chronological order. That is the basic premise of the Timeline: Inventions eco blister pack. This pack is part of the larger line of Timeline eco blister packs that includes Classic, Events, and British History. All of them play the same as Timeline: Inventions, so you can pick any one of those up and begin playing immediately or even mix the packs together.
Components & Gameplay
Timeline: Inventions comes with 55 cards of various inventions throughout mankind’s past. Every card has an image of the invention on both sides. One side will have the name of the invention, and the other side will have the name and date the invention was created. The inventions range from the dawn of history up to the modern day. There can be up to 8 players maximum, so plenty of room for friends, family, or both!
Timeline’s gameplay is quite simple:
- First, shuffle the deck, then deal out four cards to each player with the date side facing down.
- Second, draw the top card of the deck and place it on the centre of the table with the date side facing up. This card begins the timeline.
- Third, the first player selects a card from their hand and places it on the timeline when they think the invention was created – was it before or after the initial drawn card? They flip over the card and check to see if they were correct or wrong.
If correct, play continues clockwise with each player guessing when their invention was created and placing it on the timeline. If wrong, the player discards their card to the box and draws another from the deck. Play then continues to the next player.
The first player to get rid of their cards wins.
The replayability aspect of the game is on the lower end, but don’t let that put you off. It is highly unlikely someone will remember all 55 dates (or more if you have other packs) well enough to master the game, so each play will be familiar but new at the same time. Also, you can use some ideas from Timeline Challenge as house rules to mix it up when playing.
Timeline Challenge was a board game version of Timeline that is, sadly, no longer in print but had some excellent ideas you can incorporate into your game. You can draw two cards and guess the difference in years between the two inventions. You can just straight up guess the exact date the invention was created. You can draw four cards and have each player guess the correct order for them.
There are some other house rules that I like to incorporate into my game play as well. The first one is how to select the first player. When starting a game, draw the top card of the deck and place it on the centre of the table with the date side facing down. Each player then guesses when the invention was created. Flip the card over to reveal the correct date. The closest player to the correct date becomes the first player. The game play continues as normal with the drawn card starting the timeline.
The second house rule I like to use is not removing a card that was placed incorrectly in the timeline. Instead of discarding your card if you place it in the wrong spot in the timeline, you move it to the correct place on the timeline and then draw another card. This adds more of a challenge as the timeline gets longer every turn, not just when a player is correct.
I found these house rules add variety and improve replayability. Plus, you can always make up fun house rules of your own!
Final Thoughts On Timeline Inventions
Timeline: Inventions is just a fun game. It really is. It’s a great opportunity to sit around the table and have some fun while learning something new. You can even make it into an educational tool for your kids, or yourself, if you wanted.
The inventions aren’t limited to technology like the computer or steam engine. The game includes dice, playing cards, and even the sandwich. It’s a little heavy on the 1700 and 1800s as those two centuries were a very busy time for discovery and invention. But that doesn’t limit the gameplay by any means. In fact, it enhances it.
The game can be over quickly depending on what cards are drawn. But with a heavier focus on the 1700 and 1800s, the difficulty increases since it won’t be so obvious when certain inventions were made. It is a great feeling placing a card correctly when you were unsure of its place on the timeline. Equally, it’s a bit crushing when you place a card only a couple of years away from its correct place in the timeline.
On its own, Timeline: Inventions is a fun, simple game that will be a nice addition to your collection if you want something light and quick. Paired with the other packs and adding in the various challenges mentioned in the House Rules section above, Timeline: Inventions becomes an even more fun and engaging family game.