This week’s Monday Night Gaming: Chrononauts, a short card game of time travel.
# of Expansions: 4
# of Players: 1-6 Players
Best with: 4 Players
Publisher: Looney Labs
Avg. Play Time: 30-60 minutes
Parts: Cards. That’s all.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10
We played this with friends and thus, had the optimal four players. It’s a neat little card game that can certainly take longer than expected.
General Mechanics: Each player is a “time traveler” with their own identity and secret mission (though both of these can change due to certain cards in the game). During the game, players will draw a card and then play a card. Played cards can change lynchpin events in the timeline, which can ripple through history and change other events. Sometimes this will create paradoxes which have to be patched before history can continue forward. Cards can also give players historical artifacts, allow players to steal artifacts from other players, change identities or missions, or even undo changes in history.
Each player’s identity and mission set up a list of artifacts one must acquire or historical events that must take place in other for that player to win. Because other players are also changing history, it’s easy to find one’s self stuck in a non-winning scenario.
How to Win/Lose: Player must meet the conditions on either their identity or mission card. If 10 or more paradoxes exist in the timeline, everyone loses.
What I Liked: I love the time travel theme and the humorous flavor text in the cards.
What I Didn’t Like: If someone has the card you need to win and ditches it into the discards early, it can feel impossible to win since you’ll have to wait until either a) you get a card that lets you search the discards, of which there are precious few or b) wait until the discards get reshuffled into the draw pile and hope you draw it instead of someone else. I gave up on fixing the timeline about halfway through and went for the artifacts instead. Seemed easier.
It’s a fun game–typical of a fast-paced card game, though I worry about the winning conditions being so tricky in a multiplayer game. I’d like to try it again with two players and see how it feels.
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