Chrononauts board game

by Chris Bowler

(Stockport, UK)

Click to buy Chrononauts from Amazon!Click to buy this item from Amazon!Chrononauts
Board game manufacturer:
Loony Labs
Number of players:

Quick verdict

Chrononauts is a fast little filler game about Time Travel that can take anywhere from five minutes to half an hour to play. The draw a card, play a card mechanic makes this game simple enough for anyone to pick it up. The theme is fun and reasonably unique and for anyone not looking for a deep strategy game, this is certainly worth the asking price.

The game and gameplay

Chrononauts is a board game about time travel. Each player is working for the ministry of time travel, seeking to reclaim lost objects from both the past and the future. However, with so many time travellers flitting about things are bound to get messy.

Chrononauts comes with 10 Mission Cards, 14 Identity Cards, 32 Timeline Cards and 84 Chrononaut Cards.

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There are three ways to win at Chrononauts. You can collect the three artifacts listed on your Mission Card; match the three dates listed on your ID Card (thus returning yourself to your own time line); or you can be the first player to have ten cards in your hand (at which point you become the master of time and space and you are essentially unstoppable.)

To play the game set up the timeline cards in date order in 4 rows of eight. There are two different types of timeline cards. Lynchpins are purple on one side and red on the other and ripplepoints are blue on one side and show a paradox on the reverse.

At the start of the game all the cards should show either the blue or purple sides, this is the timeline as we know it.

Each player is dealt 1 mission card, 1 identity card and 3 chrononaut cards. On their turn players draw a card and play a card. If they do not wish to play a card (or cannot) they can discard a card. If they choose they may discard 2 cards and draw 1 additional card.

The cards have various effects. Yellow Cards affect the timeline and allow players to flip lynchpins. When a lynchpin is flipped, several ripplepoints also flip creating paradoxes that must be fixed. If at any time there are 13 paradoxes on the table the world is sucked into oblivion and everybody loses.

Click to buy Chrononauts from Amazon!Click to buy this item from Amazon!

To fix a paradox a player may play a patch. Patching is an important job so it is rewarded with an additional card. Patching is also the only way to get home. Each ID card shows 3 dates, one is black and corresponds to the original timeline, two are red and correspond to patch cards.

There is only one patch for each year in the deck, however Timewarp (Pink Cards) cards allow you to search the deck, or the discard pile and so finding your way home may not be as hard as you might think.

Finally the deck includes Green Cards which are the artifacts you need to collect and are played face up in front of you and Blue Cards which allow you to do things such as sell an artifact (for extra cards), steal artifacts, swap hands with players and generally cause havoc.

If it is your turn and you can match your three dates to those on your ID or you have the three artifacts listed on your Mission card or you have 10 cards in your hand, you win.

Pros and cons

The Chrononauts board game is designed to be played quickly and can bog down if players take a long time over their turn, or search the deck/discard without knowing what they want. There is a huge random element to the game and with only one patch for each year and one copy of each artifact it is difficult to develop a strategy.

The cards themselves are very clear and concise and what they say is what they mean. The art is cartoony which suits the feel of the game and the colors are bright and vibrant, the cards however are a little thin and could bend or crease if not looked after.

The game is short, but the length varies, however you should be able to fit about 3 games into an hour. The price point is very reasonable and the box will fit easily into a pocket or bag. The game itself requires a fair amount of table space to layout the timeline though.

The verdict

Chrononauts is a lot of fun if played with people who enjoy games for the fun and social aspect. It can be set up and broken down quickly and is easily transportable. Playing one or two rounds between other heavier games is a great way to blow off steam. There is some direct confrontation built into the game, but it is so light hearted that it doesn’t cause bad feelings. Chrononauts isn’t likely to ever be the focus of a full evenings play, but as a light filler or lunchtime game it’s fast paced wacky fun in a little box, plus, let’s face it, Time Travel is cool!

Rating 4 Footprints

Click to buy Chrononauts from Amazon!
Click to buy this item from Amazon!

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