Timeline is a game about chronology, about figuring out when an event in history took place in relation to other historical events. It’s a simple idea, but deceptively hard – even for us arrogant adults who think we could determine if the flush toilet or the invention of the telephone happened first.
While the original Timeline game was played with just a deck of cards, we’ll take a look at Timeline Challenge, a game that incorporates the beauty of the original card game and puts in the context of a board game. The difference with the board game is that you will face a few different challenges using the same cards as you attempt to defeat the opposing player or team at a challenges.
We recently had a chance to play this game with a large group – we played with ten people in five teams of two. There was a wide range of ages – from 8 to 40 something, so we teamed adults with kids. Except for the two 8 year olds who played as a team and were determined to defeat us all.
What I really love about this game is that all ages can play. Age might give you a slight advantage, depending on which cards come up, but it does not assure you a win. Also, there are hundreds of cards but even if you run into them repeatedly this is a good thing – the more you play the more it reinforces a concept of historical context and it also opens up avenues of conversation about history. Keep the internet handy when you finish the game, there’s likely some things you or your kids will want to look up.
And if you get bored of the 110 cards that come with the board game version you can include any of the original Timeline cards that come in various versions. Currently there’s Timeline Inventions, Historical Events, Diversity, Discoveries, Americana, American History and finally Music & Cinema.
Incidentally, in our large game of 10 players the team of 8 year-olds won. I’m not sure how. Part luck, part educated guessing.
So today we’ve got the board laid out and the cards shuffled. Let’s show how little we really know about anything.