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.
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.
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?”.
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.
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.
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.