This week, at Lost Loot Games, we are reviewing one of my favourite games of all times, Chrononauts. Chrononauts is made by Looney Labs, and is a one to six player card game based around a theme of time travelling. The premise of the game is that you are a time traveller trying to ensure that you get back to the present, your present - just the way you remember it or trying to collect specific artifacts from time. Unfortunately, all the other players are trying to do the same thing, racing against time to ensure that history stays just as you remember it in your timeline. It is also a race against the game, if history is altered too much (too many paradox cards are flipped) this triggers an all lose condition, where the game ends and no one wins.
The game is played in an interesting and fun way, the base cards are setup as a grid, with major historical events in chronological order. Players are then dealt an ID card (your character card) that identifies your timeline (what conditions must be met for you to win the game). This card identifies what is different from the history we know and the history from your timeline Eg. maybe in the game, your character comes from a timeline where JFK wasn't killed and this caused history to be rather different from how it is today or maybe he was killed but at a different point. Each player also gets a specific mission that centres around a number of artifacts that you are trying to collect. Artifacts are cool objects/things in history, anything from a famous painting to a dinosaur that players must collect and play in order to win. This may sound rather easy, but when your opponents need to change history just a little differently or are trying to collect the same artifact as you, things can get tricky. Add in the all lose condition and it really is a race against time.
This game was a gateway game for me, it was introduced to me by a board gaming friend. Since then, I have managed to get both the base game and the Early America expansion. While you can play both version separately, the games can be combined into Uberchrononauts, where all cards are used and the win conditions are a little more tricky. No matter which version you play, it is one of those games that is inexpensive, easy to play, and a lot of fun. I think the character I like the best is the cockroach, Squa Tront, part of his getting home requirements is that world war three starts. There are a few downsides though, the game takes up a lot of table space especially if you play Uberchrononauts. It is also not easy to find card protectors that fit the cards properly and since this the cards are basically the board I want to protect them. It is a fun game and interesting to play, allowing history lovers to play a game of what ifs with modern history. As you change the outcome of history and then play a patch card to get the same result with a different chain reaction or flip a linch pin you wonder what the world would be like if these changes actually occurred.
We love this game so much we have created a home-brew version set in the Marvel Universe. All the kinks aren't worked out but we like the challenge of taking our love and knowledge of comic books and saying what if? It is especially fun since we know that this expansion will likely never see print due to copy-write laws. But really, who doesn't want to run through the Marvel Universe trying to collect Thor's hammer or Captain America's Shield, wondering what would happen if Professor X didn't start the school for gifted youngsters or if Spiderman wasn't bitten and became the Red Goblin instead. The best part of this game and it's theme is that the possibilities are endless.
Difficulty to understand: 1/10
Cody Frustration: 1/10
Analysis paralysis: 2/10
Difficulty to understand: 0/10
Cody Frustration: 0/10
Analysis paralysis: 0/10