Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Time Division

[Broad Lines]

Alexander Schreiber

Heidelbär Games

No. of Players:

G@mebox Star



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

A two-person card game in such a big box? Well, not quite that big. But at least it is almost the size of a typical magazine. So, let's take a look at what we can find in the box:

First of all, there are cards. That was to be expected for a card game, of course. In total, there are 60, not that many, so that can't explain the size of the box. Incidentally, we only need 18 of these cards for a normal game, a small foretaste of what to expect. Then there's a metal coin that identifies the respective initiative player. It looks great and looks good, but still can't explain the size of the box.

Rather, the explanation lies in a board with all kinds of symbols that are supposed to make it clear to us where a card should be played for a special action, and two card platforms, which in turn are placed on the board and are used to play our hand cards. The clever thing about the platforms is that a colour on the narrow side of each platform indicates what the card on it is for the respective player. So if I look at my opponent's card platform from my side, the card on it is a red card, whereas if I look at it from his side, the same card is a blue card. This is important as the actions tell us exactly which card is meant, more on this in a moment.

But now to the gameplay: As already mentioned, just 18 of the 60 cards are used in a single game. 20 cards belong to an age, thematically starting in ancient Egypt, through the Middle Ages to the modern era, the 1980s. 2 cards of each age are only intended for the campaign mode, in which we play through each age in turn.

[Time Division]

But in a single game we only take the cards of one age without the campaign cards, so there are 18 cards and these are divided between the two players at the start of the game. In a drafting round, those cards are then distributed: each player takes three cards, chooses one of them, gives another to the opponent and the third card is placed to an independent deck on the marked space on the board. We do this until all the cards have been dealt. In the end, each player has 6 cards, which are our hand cards for the game.

Only now does the actual game begin. First, the player with the current initiative places a card on their card platform. The other player can then take a look at this card before choosing their card for the round. Now the initiative of the two cards played is compared and, if necessary, the coin is passed to the new initiative player.

This player now decides from which of the two cards the action is carried out. Each card is unique and has a very specific action that uses symbols to express what happens. This is quite cleverly done, as we can find the symbols and colours on the playing field. For example, an action could mean that we select a specific card from the independent deck (if this card can be found in this deck) and place it in our area of influence.

[Time Division]

That would be a pretty good move, as all cards in our influence area give us victory points at the end of the game, exactly as many as are printed on the respective card. The only problem is that the card whose action was chosen is then placed on the discard pile, the so-called past, and is therefore out of the game for the time being. The other card, whose action was not carried out, is then placed in the respective player's sphere of influence and if there are now more victory points on that card than on the card that we have placed in our influence area through the action from the independent deck, the whole thing might not be as positive as originally thought.

So once again: the initiative player chooses a card form either of the two card platforms whose action is carried out. This card is then discarded, and the other card played to the card platform is placed in the influence area of the respective player. We do this for each card in our hand, so there are six rounds in which each player plays exactly one card onto the card platform.

Sounds simple, and it is once you have internalized the symbols on the playing field. However, the actions are very different, and you have to think a lot if you want to get the most out of the cards. The icing on the cake is that you memorize exactly which card you played to which deck during the drafting round. After all, you know all of your cards, half of your opponent's cards and half of the cards in the independent deck. At least in theory…

[Time Division]

To be honest, I've never managed to remember all cards in practice. But I'm getting better and so I can plan ahead more and more and use my actions wisely. There's a nut for every bolt and you can find a good answer to every card your opponent plays. That makes a lot of fun, especially as the game is set up and played so quickly. Six cards per game doesn't sound like much, but it provides maximum enjoyment.

For me, Time Division is a one of the best two-player card games in recent years and offers a bunch of new challenges in each game. Each age has its own specifics, which must first be understood and then be mastered. The campaign mode can wait until we have played each age a few times. But then it's time for a really tough battle of Time Division.

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