In this game you're a Time Traveler with an unique Identity, a secret Mission, and a very important job: Paradox Repair.
The game is played entirely with cards, but has the feel of a board game since History is represented by a special grid of 32 cards called the TimeLine.
- 32 TimeLine cards
- 14 ID cards
- 10 Mission cards
- 19 Artifact cards
- 18 Inverter cards
- 22 Patch cards
- 14 Action cards
- 9 Timewarp cards
- 2 Gadget cards
Arrange the 32 double-sided TimeLine cards in an 8x4 grid on the table, according to the Time Index (A1 -8, B1-8, C1-8, and D1-8) located in the lower left corner of each card, with all cards set to True History (i.e. Ripplepoints blue, and Linchpins purple).
Create shuffled draw piles for each of the other types of cards, and deal to each player:
- 1 Mission Card
- 1 Identity Card
- 3 Cards from the main deck
To determine who goes first, all players will attempt to guess the current time. Whoever comes closest starts the game.
Players take turns doing the following:
Draw 1: Take The Top Card Off The Main Deck, And Add It To Your Hand.
Play 1: Choose any card in your hand, and either play it, or discard it. If you cant (or dont want to) play any of your cards, you must discard one.
If you choose to discard a card instead of playing, you may also choose to discard a second card, and draw one to replace it. This option is called Killing Time.
Know your ID Card
Your ID card provides all the details you need to know about the character you are playing. The bottom half Is purely Informational, while the top half lists the 3 events that define your home reality.
One of these will always be a real event, with the other 2 being alternate realities that are described on Patches. To win by getting home, you must reshape the TimeLine to match all 3 of these years.
Note: Paradoxes block your way. You win ONLY if all 3 of your headlines are on the TimeLine.
The 13th Paradox
It must be understood that Paradoxes are BAD. Really, really bad. Each one is a dangerous hole in the space-time continuum and needs to be patched.
If too many are open at once, they will cascade into a chain reaction that will rip apart the fabric of history and destroy the entire universe. (That's what we mean by "bad").
This collapse will occur immediately anytime there are 13 Paradoxes showing at once. If this ever happens, the game ends and all players LOSE.
Because Paradox repair Is so important, the Time Repair Agency rewards everyone for doing this work. Thus, you get to draw one extra card every time you Patch a Paradox.
Know Your Mission
To win with your Mission, you must have the items listed on the table In front of you (not just In your hand) so make sure you play them before you reveal your secret Mission. Note that some Missions require any 3 from a list of 4 Artifacts.
The TimeLine has two hotspots that can cause time travelers particular trouble:
1945: The Nexus
1945 is special for three reasons. First, it can be paradoxed by three different Linchpins (all other years are dependent on either one or two). Secondly, 1945 can be repaired with four different patches (for all other years, there's just one patch that will fit).
Finally, the alternate 1945s are all what we call Unstable Patches. This means they won't necessarily fit, and may be nullified without the accompanying closure of the Paradox.
Therefore, when playing a 1945 Patch, be careful to double-check the icons listed under "Playable If", to make sure the Patch won't immediately be Nullified.
1962: The Uberparadox
World War 3 creates a special situation we call the UberParadox. As long as the 1962' Patch is in play on the TimeLine, nothing beyond it is accessible. (Well, nothing except the world of the distant future that a super-evolved cockroach calls home).
To emphasize this, all of the TimeLine cards after 1962 should be moved down an inch or so on the table, to remind the players that they are unreachable.
If all three years listed on your ID pre-date 1962, you can still win by going home, but you're stuck if your home reality depends on any events after 1962. (Unless you are Squa Trant). You also cannot collect Artifacts from the Future during an UberParadox.
Note: The UberParadox only occurs when the 1962' Patch is in play.
Players may only play their cards during their own turns, with one exception: the Memo From Your Future Self. This card can be played at any time, to negate a card being played by someone else.
Note that playing a Memo just cancels and discards the card being played; it doesn't change whose turn it is.
Remember that a Memo must be used to stop a card as it's being played. Obviously it takes a little bit of time to absorb another player's action and decide to use the Memo on it, but you also can't let too much time go by and still expect to have the Memo honored.
Here's a good rule of thumb: once another card has been played, or drawn, it's too late.
Memos aren't Retroactive
Since certain cards allow you to play more than one card in a row, it must be noted that a Memo only cancels the most recently played card.
If you play a Memo as soon as another player reveals a Fast Forward, then the entire Fast Forward is canceled; however, if you wait until the player has revealed one of the cards being played as a result of the Fast Forward, then it is only the new card that is canceled.
In this case, the Fast Forwarding player may still play a second card.
Memos Can't Stop Victory Itself
The Memo cannot be used to cancel an ID or Mission card. Once a player declares victory by revealing one of these cards, it's too late to use a Memo to cancel the card they used to achieve that victory.
Given this, though, etiquette (and coolness) suggests a good solid pause after making a play that's going to let you win, to make sure no one wants to use a Memo on you, before revealing your ID or Mission (and doing the Chrononauts Victory Dance).
If the character you get is someone you've just played, or someone you've gotten too many times, or just someone you really don't care for, you can try again. But no whining the second time!
End of the Game
Accomplish ONE of the following goals:
There are three different ways to win:
Going Home: You win if your character can return to the alternate reality listed on your ID card. To do this, the 3 key events must appear on the TimeLine exactly as they do on your ID card, when your turn ends.
Completing Your Mission: The three Artifacts listed on your Mission card must be on the table in front of you at the end of your turn for you to win by completing your Mission.
Achieving Power and Success: If, after you've completed your turn, you have 10 cards in your hand (not counting your ID or Mission) you win!
Note: You can only claim victory at the END of YOUR turn.
Here's a representative section of a generic TimeLine, consisting of three Linchpins and three Ripplepoints. At the start, all TimeLine are set to true history.
Notice that all three Ripplepoints are dependent on the Linchpin , and that Year 5 also depends on another event (Linchpin ), as does Year 6 (linked to Linchpin ). Furthermore, notice that Year 5 has an OR, and Year 6 an AND.
Here's the same section of TimeLine after someone has used an Inverter card to change history at Year 1. Linchpin has been turned over, revealing the alternate outcome for that event.
The Year 2 and Year 5 cards have also been flipped as a result, since they depend on Linchpin . Year 6 is unflipped because it shares an AND dependency with and that event has not yet been inverted. (It has been placed askew, as some players prefer, to note the partial paradox).
Here's the same section of TimeLine at a later stage in the game. Two Patch cards have now been used to repair the Paradoxes at Years 2 and 5. Note also that Linchpin has now been inverted, causing Year 6 to be fully paradoxed.
Notice that the Patch cards are simply placed atop the Paradox cards; the basic TimeLine cards are never removed from the table, only flipped from one side to the other and back again.
Here's the TimeLine once more, still later on. Notice that Linchpin has now been flipped back to the purple side. This has caused Year 2 to revert, which has both discarded the Year 2 patch, and flipped the underlying Ripplepoint back to blue.
Notice also that the Year 5 Patch is still intact, even though Linchpin is now black... this is legal because Linchpin has also been flipped. Lastly, note that Year 6 is halfway paradoxed again, this time because Linchpin has flipped.
For more time travel fun, look for these other Chrononauts products:
Early American Chrononauts
A complete stand-alone game with a TimeLine stretching from 1770-1904! (Will the South win the Civil War?) You can combine EAC with Chrononauts for extra big fun we call UberChrononauts!
Ready for a new cast of characters? This packet contains 13 new ID cards, plus a new mission! (Includes Crazy Joe!)
The Gore Years
What if Al Gore had won the election in 2000? Extend the TimeLine into the 21st century with this set of 11 new cards!