‘Timeline’ board game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
I hate trivia games. If there was only some way I could go back in time and fix the problem with games requiring routine knowledge…
Timeline (2010–16) is a series of card games for two–eight players designed by Frédéric Henry and published by Asmodee. In the game, players pick five cards with historical events from a deck, and each player takes turn placing the events in chronological order. The first player who can play their last card during a round wins.
Timeline does a lot to try to solve the issue that plagues most trivia-based games: An imbalance of knowledge among the players. Players can be easily handicapped by having more cards to place, allowing the most inexperienced players a fighting chance.
There are several card packs representing various subjects, from inventions, to people, to Americana. I played the Diversity version (2012), which contained a good cross section of most of the basic decks, while not copying any cards. This means that any decks can be combined, preventing the game from going stale due to players memorizing the dates.
I found the game very simple to learn and play. It requires an equal amount of deduction and guesswork, which evens out the playing field for everyone who doesn’t have a photographic memory for dates. Like many trivia games, there isn’t much strategy to the gameplay, relying more on rote memorization and guesswork. I found the game much better than most trivia games I’ve played over the years, but not as fun.
I would recommend this game and it’s many iterations to anyone who’s looking for a simple and quick game to pass a little time, but not for more advanced gamers who prefer complex and nuanced games where strategy and psychology play a larger role.