Chrononauts is the board game of time travel, where players take on the role of a time traveler attempting to either correct the timeline to his future or to collect sufficient number of cards / artifacts for his benefactor. To do so, he jumps through time and adjusts the timeline; attempting to finish before his competitors. A fun time-traveling game, Chrononauts is great to carry around in your bag as it’ll play from 1 to 8 players.
Appearance : The new 2009 Edition of Chrononauts comes in a larger solid cardboard box, with space in both sides for the cards. As a pure card game, the card stock is heavy and will certainly stand up to repeated use. In addition, graphics are very simple (if cute) and representative of the various artifacts available. I do like how the symbols on the cards indicate all the major actions required; meaning that you rarely have to refer to the small rulebook. Overall, I’d say it’s appearances are adequate but not great.
Rules / Ease of Learning: Chrononauts is actually pretty easy to learn to play. You lay out the timeline on a board, with specific years showcasing major events (linchpin events) and flux points in a grid format. You then receive a hand of cards to use during the game as well as your character. Your character will have a specific alternate timeline (always 1 ‘real’ event and 2 ‘patched’ events) which he is attempting to return to. You’ll also return a goal card, that indicates the artifacts you are trying to recover.
Play continues in a simple ‘draw 1, play 1’ format. the strategy of the game comes in the types of cards you draw and play, from flipping specific linchpin years to change history (for that year and all other linked event years) to collecting / stealing artifacts or even ‘patching’ the timeline. I should note that patching the timeline is a very good thing, as it stops the universe from exploding from too many Paradoxes (8) as well as giving the players an extra card for doing the deed. That leads to the last method of winning – gaining 8 cards in hand.
Gameplay: I like Chrononauts a lot. It’s fun, fast to teach and moderately quick to play. The fact that you can play solo or up to 8 players makes the game quite interesting, with strategies changing as you increase the number of players involved.
In addition, while gameplay is simple, there’s a depth of strategy to it as you manage not only your hand but attempt to guess the goals of your opponents. Since everyone has 3 major methods of winning, 2 of which are hidden, it’s important to keep an eye on these factors as well. On the other hand, Chrononauts is not an extremely difficult game to learn / play either, which makes is a good light-medium weight game to introduce to new gamers.
Conclusion: Chroonauts is a great card game – a continuously altering landscape / game board, hand management and multiple goals all make it a great unique card game that should be added to any players collection.