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Chrononauts
 
 
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Chrononauts


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Ages Play Time Players
11+ 20-45 minutes 1-6

Designer(s): Andrew Looney

Publisher(s): Looney Labs

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Product Description

In Chrononauts, each player becomes a time traveler, with a unique identity and a secret mission. During the game, players travel backwards and forwards through history, doing all those things people have always dreamed of using a time machine to do: Visiting the great moments of the past, peeking into the future, collecting up impossible artifacts and priceless works of art (at the moment just before history records their destruction), coming to grips with the paradoxes of time travel, and of course, changing pivotal events and altering the course of history itself. How would the timeline be different if Lincoln and JFK had not been assassinated? And is that the version of reality that you came from originally... the one you must return to in order to win? It's all packed into a fast and easy Fluxx-style card game that will take you to the beginning of time and back again.

Product Information

Contents:

  • 136 full-color playing cards
  • rulebook
Chrononauts has the following expansions available:
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Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 3.8 in 11 reviews

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Love the idea, game itself is disappointing
April 02, 2005

When I first saw Chrononauts, I absolutely loved its sci fi time-travel theme and the notion of strategically manipulating the timeline. But when I played the game, it fell short for me.

The main problem is the game is too luck- driven and chaotic. I don’t mind a little randomness in my games – a little uncertainty can add increase the fun and the challenge. Unlike some strategy fans, I do enjoy the game Fluxx (by the same designer). I don’t mind the chaos in Fluxx because I see it as a light party game, and because the chaos is due to the unique mechanic of allowing players to constantly change the game rules.

However, Chrononauts would have been much better as a strategy game than as a luck game. As it is, any strategic planning in Chrononauts is often undercut by the randomness and the high chaos factor. You are largely dependent on which cards you happen to draw. It feels like you spend most of the game waiting for a card that finally allows you to do what you want. And then when you do play that card, it can easily be nullified by another player’s actions in the next turn. The more players, the worse the chaos factor. It’s true there are multiple ways to win, but they all depend on the luck of the draw. When you do win, you feel like it was mostly due to chance rather than to your skill.

So with its high randomness and chaos, Chrononauts falls (disappointingly for me) into the party game category. However, in my opinion Chrononauts is ill-suited as a party game. The rules are a little too complicated. Also, many historical events in the game, such as assassinations and tragedies, dampen the fun factor. The worst examples of this are the cards for the Columbine school shootings, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Waco tragedy. Some players may also be offended by other cards, such as “Marijuana Legalized.” Personally, my wife and I were most offended by cards which seem to make light of Christian beliefs, such as the artifact objective card 'Crown of Thorns' worn by 'You Know Who.'

Chrononauts also could have been a good educational game. But I would hesitate to introduce it to kids because of the factors I’ve already discussed, and because of swear words on many of the mission cards.

Having said all that, I still like the theme and many aspects of the design. I can still enjoy the game once in a while. I remove as many of the offensive cards as I can, and I also take out some of the cards that increase chaos.

In summary, I love the potential that I saw in Chrononauts, but many aspects of the game were a big disappointment. I will continue to tinker with variants to improve the game for me. In the meantime, I hope another time-line game comes along that delivers on the promise I originally imagined for Chrononauts.

 
 
 
 
 
The Space/Time Continuum has never been this fun!
December 27, 2002

Let me start out by saying that ALL card games are a bit on the random side. It's that whole not-knowing-what's-next thingy. It's what one SHOULD come to expect from a card game. The necessary element in any good card game is to balance the chaos of luck, with a chance to form some sort of strategy based on said luck. Chrononauts succeeds here in spades!

There are really three games here. The main game is perfect for sitting around a table with friends and having a great time. The jokes that come out of the way the cards play are just limitless. There is some real strategy to be had here, and it's had by watching the cards and your opponents. Because of the random factor, I've seen games end in round two. This is not a negative for me. It just makes time for another game! Even if the game goes on for an hour (which I've experienced), there's no end to the good social time to be had. You can't lose with this game, especially with four to six players.

The two sub-games are on complete different ends of the playing field from one another. On one hand, you have a light-hearted romp of two-player item collection. On the other hand is the single-most difficult solitaire game I've ever played!

Three different, but related games for $20? I'd say it's a deal.

Adamant recommend.

 
 
 
 
 
Clever, amusing, and fun
November 25, 2001

Chrononauts is a great choice for a casual, fun game. The way that the game handles time travel (changing a key event in history has a ripple effect that may change other events) is clever and fits the theme without getting too complex. The design of the cards also helps make the game easier to play.

There is a large amount of luck in the game, but how you play your cards makes a difference. During our first few games, the players only worked toward their own goals, which would often result in a sudden, lucky victory by a player that was almost as surprised to win as everyone else. But once we developed some defensive strategies, the games lasted longer and were more fun.

This is the kind of game that isn't played strictly to win; it's played for the fun of it. I think Chrononauts is clever and fun and deserves four stars.


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