Frederic Henry


No. of players:
2 - 8



G@mebox author Doug Adams writes about the game :

Timeline is a simple trivia card game, released by Asmodee in 2011. The object of the game is to be the first player to play their cards out to the common timeline in the centre of the board.

Inventions is the first English release in the Timeline series of games. According to the rules, there will be at least five more games released - Discoveries, Historical Events, Monuments, Music, and Arts & Literature. I can tell you now, I will be buying them all!


Inventions is packaged in an attractive tin box, about five inches square, and obviously designed to stack with the future releases. Inside the box are 109 small playing cards, each featuring a nice colour illustration. The theme of the cards is, of course, inventions, so we get cards such as The Wheel, Hypodermic Syringe, Airplane, etc. A few spoilers from future sets are also tossed in, such as the planet Uranus from Discoveries, and Mount Rushmore from Monuments.

The cards are two sided, with the illustration on each side. However, the reverse side of the card also features the year of Invention for that card. The years are colour coded to indicate which set the card belongs to. The idea of the game is for the players to get their cards into the timeline in the correct ascending date sequence, by correctly determining the year their invention came to be.


Setting up the game is simplicity itself. A number of cards are dealt face up to each player, with the year side hidden. The number of cards varies based on how many are playing, for example in a four player game you are dealt five cards. One extra card is flipped date side up into the centre of the table, creating and seeding the timeline.

On a players turn, they select one of the cards in front of them, and move it to the timeline, into a position they think fits in with the years already present in the line. The card is then flipped date side up, revealing the year. If the card has been correctly positioned, it remains in the timeline. The timeline has grown by one card, and that player is closer to winning the game If incorrect, then the player discards the card from the game and draws a replacement from the deck.


The game proceeds in this fashion until one player has successfully placed all their cards into the timeline. The round is completed, so that all players take the same number of turns. If only one player is out of cards, they win, otherwise all players who are out of cards continue to play, drawing and placing, until there is only one winner at the end of a round.

I like this game! It's fast, attractively packaged and presented, easy to teach, and offers light yet subtle game play. The game escalates in difficulty as the timeline grows, and the gaps between the years decreases. You may be comfortable holding The Wheel, as it obviously goes down in the early years, to the left of The Catapult . But suddenly your opponents have tossed down Fire Starting, Writing and Cave Painting.... and suddenly The Wheel isn't so easy to place. There is a nice, subtle timing element to this game.


The game contains lots of oohs and aahs, as surprising dates are revealed. I had no idea when the toothbrush was invented, and the answer was a surprise to me. Be prepared to groan when your card misses out by a year or two. The game also gives you a chance to be impressive and clever, at least to yourself. I was confronted with getting The Winchester Rifle out into the timeline, and had to draw on the Jimmy Stewart movie, Winchester '73. It got me in the ball park, and I eased the card correctly into the timeline.

If you're after a quick filler in the party/trivia genre then give Timeline a look. With only 109 cards in the Inventions set, longevity may be a problem as you begin to master the dates. However, when the future Timeline games appear, the problem will shrink as the deck dilutes.

Timeline is a simple game that works, and should have broad appeal. Excellent.

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Copyright © 2011 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany