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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

What would YOU do with a Time Machine? Would you stop the sinking of the Titanic? Prevent the assassination of JFK? Kill Hitler before WWII? These are just a few of the possibilities in Chrononauts, the award-winning card game of time travel. To win, you must change history at key points called Linchpins, so that history transforms into the Alternate Reality your character calls home. You can also win by collecting a specific set of Artifacts, such as a live dinosaur, the Mona Lisa, and an unpublished Shakespearean play. But be careful -- if you create too many paradoxes, you could destroy the entire universe!

What's New in Chrononauts 1.4?

The card count has gone from 136 to 140. The cards added aren't all that new: one is just an extra "Restore History", the second is the "Beatles Reunion CD" (previously available as a promo card), and the two cards that are new are both just ideas that have been on Andy's Mysteries of the TimeLine page for years: "Sarah the Triceratops" and the 1945-D Patch, "Tokyo Nuked," which fills out the Nexus for the case in which Hitler was assassinated but the Pearl Harbor and Manhattan Project linchpins are set to True History.

There are a few tiny edits, such as adding this clause to the "Articles of Faith" mission "If you are playing UberChrononauts, the Golden Calf may be substituted for any one of the above artifacts." But perhaps most interesting tweak is the addition of the 2001 Linchpin icon to the "Halt Attack" and "Avert Disaster" inverters, thus making the game forward compatible with the new Gore Years expansion.

Product Information


  • 140 cards
Chrononauts has the following expansions available:
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Product Reviews

John Palagyi
February 28, 2002

Chrononauts is a card game of time travel from the designer of [page scan/se=0496/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=20]Fluxx and [page scan/se=1030/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=20]Icehouse. In it each player is a time traveler with a secret identity and mission.

The game consists of 4 decks of cards:

  • The timeline (32) -- linchpins (13) and ripple points (19) (this is really a board to play on)
  • Your mission (10) -- 3 artifacts you must collect (a victory condition)
  • Your id (14) -- the timeline to which you are trying to return (a victory condition)
  • A draw deck -- containing 5 types of cards:
    • Inverters (20) - to change the linchpins in the timeline;
    • Artifacts (15) - needed to complete your mission;
    • Patches (21) - used to fix a paradoxed ripple point;
    • Actions (14) - single use event cards, such as steal or destory an artifact;
    • Timewarps (10) - more powerful actions (restrictions apply).

Each player starts the game with a mission, an id and a hand of 3 cards. To win you must either change the timline to the reality on your id card, collect the 3 artifacts on your mission card, or get 10 cards in hand.

Each id has 3 events on the timeline you must bring about, 1 of which is already on the "real" timeline. You play inverters and patches to bring about the other two events. Each mission has 3 artifacts you need to collect. This is done by laying an artifact in front of you on your turn. To achieve the 10 cards in hand victory you must patch a paradox in the timeline, for which you get an extra card. You can only win at the end of your own turn.

To begin, the timeline is placed on the table in "real" order. Timeline cards are of 2 types, linchpins and ripple points. Linchpins are inverted during play. The linchpins in turn cause the ripple points to be affected causing a paradox in time that needs to be repaired (beware, if 13 paradoxes are created the space-time continuum collapses and everyone loses). Patches are placed over these paradoxes. Like all Looney Labs card games, the basic turn is draw a card, play a card. Here you could invert a linchpin, patch a paradoxed ripple point, play an artifact, or play an action card. If you can't or don't want to play a card you must discard one. If you do this, you may discard a second card and draw a replacement. You may do this anytime you are required to play a card.

I find the game a lot of fun and generally quick to play. There is a healthy dose of uncertainty though as the timeline keeps being changed, patched, then changed back again. So having the right card at the right time can be vitally important.

The game is extremely well themed, continuing into the rule book which is easy to read. It has quick start instructions, the detailed instructions and rules for two more games (a Fluxx-like Artifaxx and Solonauts for solitaire play). All in all it's a good little card game for those that don't mind the chaos (that word again!) involved in the timeline constantly changing just as you're about to win. Looney Labs has also just released an expansion with 13 more ids and a new mission.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Robin King
December 31, 2001

Here's your chance to re-weave the fabric of history. Everyone starts with a secret identity, a mission to obtain three specified artifacts, and three cards in hand. Thirty-two cards are laid on the table as a timeline, which consists of 13 linchpins (pivotal events) and 19 ripplepoints (affected events) of modern history. Your cards (draw one, play one) let you alter linchpins--causing paradoxes at certain ripplepoints--or obtain artifacts. You win by changing the timeline to fit your identity, or by collecting all your artifacts, or by accumulating 10 cards in your hand. Let's hear it for Andrew Looney's Chrononauts, our 1801 game of the year!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Other Resources for Chrononauts:

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