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Game Night Review: Timeline

Updated: Jun 14, 2021


With two sessions under our belt I was beginning to grow more confident so I offered the players a choice of themes. The winner was Educational games and so we began the evening with one of the simplest games in my collection, Timeline from Asmodee.

A Quick Overview

Timeline is a small box card game that costs around £10 and comes in a variety of flavours including Music & Cinema, Inventions and British History. Each themed set comes with 110 cards that are compatible with each other set meaning you can mix and match for the ultimate historical experience.

The gameplay is simple, each player is dealt 4 cards. Each card depicts an event from history and on the back of the card is the date that the event took place. A single card is flipped face-up in the middle of the table and that card forms the start of the Timeline. In turn players take gos at placing one of their cards into the timeline so that it falls into chronological order. If they are right the card goes into the timeline, making it harder for the rest of the players. If they are wrong their card is discarded and replaced with a new one.

The first player to get rid of all their cards is the winner of the game.

Why Choose It?

Timelines was an easy pick for an educational game. It’s easy to learn and unless you are playing with a historian most players will have a reasonable chance at victory. If you mix sets, like Historical Events with Music & Cinema you are unlikely to encounter a player who knows both “When the Europeans discovered Tomatoes” and “When 50 Cent released Candy Shop” which really helps level the playing field.

The other reason for choosing Timeline is the game is fun. Sure, it’s just putting cards in a row and hoping that you are correct but you are betting on your own knowledge and there is a sense of accomplishment if you’re right or a sense of disbelief if you’re wrong.

Did They Like It?

They did. However, I don’t think they liked it as much as me. You see the thing with Timeline is that it is simple, incredibly simple. With the group Timeline really felt like a filler, “That was nice but now let’s play a proper game” and in some ways I feel like that does the game a disservice. Yes, it is a filler, it’s the game you play when you don’t have time for something longer, but it is a game literally anyone can play and have fun with. It is infinitely expandable, it scales easily with any number of player and you can increase the difficulty just by dealing each player an extra few cards.

Final Thoughts

Timeline then is a fun game, a simple game, a filler game. However for me it is its simplicity that makes it a clever game. The way the system can adapt and change to fit different groups is genius. With the addition of #TimelineChallenge, which sadly still hasn’t made its way to the UK shores, the game adapts once more and offers even more ways to play. So for me this game gets a huge thumbs up but I understand that for some people it is nothing more than a game to play while waiting for something better to play.

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