TimeLine

Published on February 14, 2012
By
Players:
1-4
Multiplayer:Tabletop style only for 4 player, Tabletop or side-by-side for 2 player
AI:Unknown, or none
Universal App:No
Purchase for iPhone:None available. Buy an iPad now!
Purchase for iPad:
Timeline for iPad
Price: $2.99
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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TimeLine is an accurate digital translation of the card game by Asmodee. It’s one of those rare games that’s both educational, and fun. Given that my historical knowledge is pathetic at best, I figured I’d be the perfect one to review this game.

Gameplay

The core of the game involves placing your cards in chronological order on the central timeline, depending on when they were first invented, made or discovered. In multiplayer games, each player has 5 cards. Taking it in turns, you place your card where you think it should go in the timeline – if you get it wrong, you take another card. The first player to place all their cards, wins. Very simple. Solo play is also available, in which the game ends after 5 wrong placements.

timeline singleplayer 500x375 TimeLine ipad screenshot

The basic game includes mostly cards about inventions, and spans the entire history of humanity from cave paintings to laptop computers. Additional expansion packs are planned, two of which are available now, for Events and Discoveries. You can exclude certain topics from the deck if you like, but you must have a minimum of 90 cards – the game will tell you if you’ve excluded too many topics.

If you’re like me and haven’t memorised exact historical dates of various inventions, most of your time will be spent thinking logically about where they fit in - “the railroad obviously came after the steam engine, but was it before the motorcycle?”.

timeline featured tutorial 500x375 TimeLine ipad screenshot

Implementation

The graphics are generally superb – beautiful drawings of each item, I suspect the same as the actual card game artwork. In solo play, the cards are a good size with both the text and graphic easily visible. Unfortunately, with 2 or more players and only tabletop style play, the graphics shrink considerably in size, as does the text accompanying them – you’re going to be squinting quite a lot in multiplayer mode I think. An optional pass’n’play style would have been nice. One minor comfort is that touching over one of your cards will expand it to full size, though this centers itself on your finger of course, and that itself obscures a large portion of the middle of that card. It isn’t unplayable by any means, but a little more thought could have been put into making it all easier to read in multiplayer, like deleting uneccessary interface elements perhaps.

timeline multiplayer 500x375 TimeLine ipad screenshot

In 2-player mode, you do get a choice of whether you’re sitting side-by-side, or facing each other, which is thoughtful.  There’s no online play, but then this isn’t really the kind of game you would play online since cheating would be far too easy.

timeline setup 500x375 TimeLine ipad screenshot

Verdict

7/10: Though I suspect this is aimed at kids and is primarily an educational title, I actually really enjoyed solo play. It’s rare to find something with both educational value and also fun to play, and this is one of those gems.

For the price, the longevity of the game and replayability - by which I mean how long it takes you to basically remember the order or dates of all the included cards – is just about right. The expansions, at $0.99, add about 100 cards each, and I suspect there’s a good few still to be released. A great value purchase in this reviewers opinion.

TimeLine, 8.3 out of 10 based on 45 ratings

Review By: James Bruce

James also hosts a weekly technology podcast (NSFW language), and is a staff writer and developer for the fantastic tech blog MakeUseOf where he regularly writes about Arduino and Wordpress.
Players:
1-4
Multiplayer:Tabletop style only for 4 player, Tabletop or side-by-side for 2 player
AI:Unknown, or none
Universal App:No
Purchase for iPhone:None available. Buy an iPad now!
Purchase for iPad:
Timeline for iPad
Price: $2.99
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Share this review:

10 comments
ned
ned

hmmm, sorry about that but i seem to recall i came across the name of the owner/reviewer of this site and it was a more unusual name than James Bruce. my apologies :-D

James Bruce
James Bruce

No problem! That would be Angelus you're referring to, he is a great reviewer and highly passionate about his games ;) I rarely have time to write reviews nowadays, but I started and own the site, and keep it ticking along on the server side.

Ned
Ned

i think he's referring to the review posted by the host of this website, not you :-) good game though. good design, sound mechanics, plus you learn something too!

James Bruce
James Bruce

You mean the review written by me, posted on my site? Yup, that'll be me ;)

mrdouby
mrdouby

For kids ? Do you really thing that ? I don't know à lot of children who would be able to place cards correctly. It's more like an adult trivial game.

James Bruce
James Bruce

Well, clever kids? At least, I think it's a good educational title. They may not *know* the answers on first play, but after a few games I'm pretty sure they will have learnt something about when stuff was invented.

Mutajon
Mutajon

You've gotta stop making these reviews, I buy almost every game you bring to my attention... (Suddenly the iPad's limited memory capacity seems like a good thing). :)

Robur Ardan
Robur Ardan

good game ! the french web site boardgame.fr take a "sceau qualité OR" !