Game Review: Timeline British History

As a family card game, Timeline totally hits the spot in terms of kids overshadowing the adults. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Well, at least in our family it does, because I should have paid more attention in school and the Other Half isn’t actually British… so the kids, with their current learnings of kings and queens and fires and plagues have a distinct advantage. How is it that my six year old can talk more knowledgeably of Samuel Pepys and his diary writing ways than I can? (I know, I just answered that question before – but still, my brain finds it a bit odd).

Type: Card Game

Players: 2- 8 (3-4 seems to work best)

Play time: Around 15-30 minutes

109 tiny double sided cards. One square tin to keep them in.

That is the entirety of Timeline: British History, and just as the overview of it is simple, so is playing the game. Each player is dealt four cards, and each card has an event written on one side, and the date of the event on the other. DO NOT LOOK AT THE DATE SIDE!

The whole idea is to deal the cards event description side up, and then – with the youngest player going first – each player has to decide where they think one of their events should be placed, relative to other events already put down on the table in the timeline. Obviously the first player gets a pretty even bet, with only one start card placed date up on the table… the answer is either one side of that card or the other. As the game progresses and the number of cards successfully placed in the timeline grows, the gaps between years gets smaller and the margin of error larger.

The aim is to be the first player to successfully place all of the cards you’ve been dealt into the timeline. This is achieved by correctly identifying where you believe your card should go, prior to flipping it over and revealing the date. If, however, you get the date wrong, the card is placed on a discard pile and a new card drawn from the deck.

Some cards are easier than others – the date of the last Olympics held in Britain, for instance, or the date of the BREXIT vote. But then I refer again to Samuel Pepys, and random events like oil lamps turning up in London, and the advent of postcodes… who even knows these things? (Well, obviously I do now… well, I did anyway, I may have forgotten again…).

The other thing to note about this game is that the British History edition can be mixed up with any other Timeline edition. So if you do have kids who decide with their sponge like, unaddled youthful brains that they’ll secretly memorise all the answers, then fear not. It’s entirely possible to mix things up a bit and wipe the smug smiles off their little faces. For at least a few minutes, anyway.
Families aside, this game has also gone down well with BoardGameClub, and is a favourite to get the night going with a bit of low brain-power, fairly fast game play that can involve up to 8 people.
It’s also really good for stimulating learning in general, and excellent as a travel game – we took it with us halfway round the world to New Zealand as it fits easily into hand luggage in its robust little tin. It’ll definitely come camping with us later in the year too.

The suggested age is 8+, and that’s probably about right, although D at 6.5 is amazingly good at remembering anything she has learnt this year in school and annoyingly always seems to get the cards that correspond to that… in any case, if your child can read, they’ll probably enjoy playing Timeline.

I am a member of the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club, we are sent one game a month to put through it’s paces before letting you know what we think of it.

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