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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Great Scott! It's a Paradox!

Today we made a quick stop into Books and Brews to enjoy Dumbledore's Magic Ale's before leaping through time to change the occurrences of the past in this portable journey known as Chrononauts.  Will our missions be fulfilled before we return home, or will our identities get caught in an uber paradox leaving us non-existent?  There's a lot of detail to this game, and like our previous segments we will provide a brief overview of this small card game.
This 1 - 6 player, press your luck, (Fluxx style) card game is designed to layout a grid of cards representing a timeline in history of major events from Lincoln's Assassination in 1865, to the Columbine School Shooting in 1999.  Within this timeline of history players take on the role of a time traveler with a unique identity, a secret mission and a very important job: Paradox Repair.   Throughout the course of the game, the players can change these major events so they never happened, which creates a ripple affect through the timeline affecting other major events that followed due to the previous events.  There are certain points in time where temporal anomalies can be triggered, which can have a lasting effect on how the game progresses.  Since it is a time traveler game, players can change pivotal events, completely altering the course of history.  Artifact cards can be gathered and be played to assist you in your missions, and time warp cards which are used to manipulate and search through the different decks and discard pile to select specific cards of your choice.  The different card types to be played during gameplay consist of artifacts, gadgets, actions, time warps, inverters, and patches.  Some of these are useful while others only seem to clog up your hand. 
The ideas behind Chrononauts are solid.  Each person has a role and comes from an alternate reality that they are trying to reinstate.  They also have a goal of specific artifacts that they are wanting to obtain in their time travel journey.  Both of these provide motive and good backstory, unfortunately the execution of these ideas falls flat.  Chrononauts would be much improved as a board game.  With the present set up, it feels as though you are simply drawing/discarding cards until you find the ones you want.  This ends up being a crap shoot and is hardly a mechanic you want to build a game on, but sadly, here we are.  In addition to being developed as a board game (if it were), this would have allowed for more artwork to be integrated in the game, rather than just the bland look and dull color of the cards.  The box says 11+ but the large historical focus, events, and content on some of the cards could lend this game to an older audience.  I'm not really a fan of how some of the content in this game is executed.  At the very least, I wish this was played on a board rather than a straight grid on the table.  I understand that this would rob the game of it's portability and increase the price, but I would be willing to pay the extra and purchase a larger box if it could be played on a board.  This game is okay, we've played it a few times, but it's most likely not going to see our table very often.  I love the time travel concept, but I just wish it was executed differently in this one.  The instructions seem a little convoluted, and difficult to follow at times.  It is a very portable game which is good, but I'm not sure if we'll be holding onto this game indefinitely or not.  Whether you're a hardcore fan of time travel games or not, you still may want to reconsider this one.

Chrononauts
Overall Meeple Rating: 5/10


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