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Published on December 18th, 2014 | by Justified Croak

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Timeline Music And Cinema – Review

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Average time per game: 15 minuts

Suitable for ages: 8+

Number of players: 2-8

So you think you’re a film buff huh? Class yourself as a music aficionado? Well Timeline Music and Cinema stands as the perfect opportunity to test yourself and compete against up to 8 friends or family members for those all important bragging rights round your tabletop.

Timeline Music and Cinema is the latest UK release from Asmodee publishing for the much loved Timeline series, in which players attempt to create an chronologically accurate timeline across the centre of the table using cards from their hand. Each card is double sided – one side with an illustration depicting a film, song or band and the other with the same picture but also its year of release. The first player to place all their cards correctly, with none left in hand bears the right to claim themselves Time Lord, Media wizard, Chronos Master of all Time, or what ever other victorious title befits them best.
In order to start players must:

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Pop open the nifty metal box
Shuffle the cards and place the them in a stack at the centre of your play space, date side down.
familiarise yourself with the pleasantly tiny rule book (takes all of 30 seconds)
Deal a starting hand to each player.
Designate a starting player, either with a preferred house rule or start with the youngest as advised by the rules.

And that’s it! Part of Timeline’s appeal has to be the hassle free set up and quick to learn rules. Few games can boast “just unpack and play” as loudly as this one.

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Once setup is complete each player receives their starting hand of four cards (the rule book contains alternate suggestions for starting hands dependant on the experience level of the players). Players must lay out their cards before them taking care not to expose the dates on the reverse sides. The top card from the central stack is then flipped to reveal its date and placed in the centre of the play space. this marks the start of the timeline.

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Starting with the designated first player, each player lays one card, date side down, in the time line. Placing to the left for earlier dates and to the right for later dates. Once a player is happy with their placement the card is then flipped exposing the date. For a correct date, the card stays in place and play continues clockwise until all involved have played a card at which point the round ends and a new one begins. On the occasion a card is placed incorrectly, that card is returned to the game box and the suitably embarrassed player must take another from the deck and place it with the rest of their cards before them before ending their turn. Play then continues clockwise as per normal. Players race to add all of their cards to the timeline correctly, with the winner being the first to empty their hand of cards. In the event of a tie then all losing players are removed from the game whilst those remaining compete in a sudden death format. Taking one card each from the stack to place it correctly as before. Once a round is played where only one player has added to the timeline correctly then that player is victorious.

I cannot help but appreciate Timeline for its speed of set up and play, and considering its portability, minimal components and robust case I’m genuinly considering just keeping this one in my bag as it’s a unique way to fill 15 minutes on a break, at the pub or on a train. Yet for me the real beauty of this game is it’s entirely compatible with all other timeline games. My knowledge of music and film is apparently cringingly inferior compared to my partner’s so I’m thinking of getting hold of the Timelines historical events edition to shuffle that in and even the odds a little. With plenty of variants in the series, there is so much you can do to mix things up or tailor the game to your play group.

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However, it must be said that this is not a game to be played too frequently and certainly not for long periods of time; I found with only 110 cards in this edition, after playing for 45 minutes the game slowly evolved in to a memory game, as we recalled the card being played not so many games back. The other huge setback is whilst the game recommends its self for players of 8 and up i’d say it’s better for 12+ given that I hadn’t heard of half the bands, songs and films listed when i was 8 years old and i was hardly a hermit.

Overall, Timeline has to be praised for its quality as a quirky filler game. When you’re waiting for that last player to get to your gaming session or it’s getting late and you can’t bring yourself to set up anything complicated then that is when timeline shines. Sure it falls a little short if you’re looking for long term replay value but I think that’s more than allowable given the cheap RRP.  That and you can tell yourself it’s vaguely educational.

Justified Croak

Justified Croak loves nothing more than books, miniatures, board games, RPG supplements and clever Ikea storage that helps me cope with all of the above.

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