You and the other players work at Loop Incorporated, the most prestigious time travel agency in the world. Well, that's not entirely true.
It's a mismanaged, thirdtier agency owned by the slick Mr. Loop, who cares more about making a buck than making sure the delicate weave of the space-time continuum stays tight and safe.
For you and your coworkers, it's as good a job as any, and if you time things just right you may even get a nice bonus at the end of the day. And since you have a time machine, you can take multiple cracks at it ... assuming things don't get too chaotic with your past selves running around.
- 16 Trip Cards
- 51 Action Cards
- 4 Player Boards
- Score Board
- 60 Component Tokens
- 40 Time Machine tokens
- Component Board
- 4 Score tokens
- 16 Tear tokens
- 12 Ad! tokens
Each player selects a color and receives: Player Board / 6 Time Machine Tokens / 3 Ad! Tokens / 1 Score Token in their color.
Place the 'Tear' tokens to the side, where they can easily be reached.
Place the Component Board in the middle of the table.
Place the Score Board to the right of the Component Board. Place the Score Tokens for each player at '0' on the Score Board.
Place one of each type of component for every player on the corresponding space on the Component Board. For example, in a 3 player game, the Shop would get 3 Nets and 3 Cameras. The Armory would get 3 Armors. The extra components tiles should be set aside, for later in the game.
Beneath the Component Board, place a number of Action Cards face up equal to the number of components on the room, plus one. For example, in a 3-player game, the Garage would get 7 cards, and the Armory would get 4. Place these cards below their appropriate room on the Component Board.
Place a number of Trash, Exchange, Advertise and Move cards equal to the number of players plus 1 in separate piles along the 'row' formed by the other cards.
Shuffle each 'Era' of Trip cards separately (noted by different colored backs), A number of Trip cards are dealt out, arranged above the Component Board. The number of cards dealt out depends on the number of players:
- 2 players: 3 AD and 2 BC
- 3 players: 3 AD and 3 BC
- 4 players: 4 AD and 3 BC
Arrange these cards in a timeline on the opposite side of the actions cards, going from the earliest date to the latest. If playing a 4-player game, you may need to stagger these cards based on table size.
Shuffle the Anomaly cards and place them face down next to the play area. They will be used later.
Sample row of Trip cards (2 players). 2 BC and 3 AD cards
A game of Loop, Inc. is played over the course of a single day, repeated three times. For convenience the repeated days are called Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. During Day 1, players will get to perform three NEW actions and send out their single time machine.
Then, at the end of the Day 1, players jump into their time machines and return to the beginning to start the day over again. The catch is, that when players go back in time to try the day again, their past selves are still running around.
This means on Day 2 they'll get to perform all the actions from Day 1, as well as 3 NEW actions for Day 2. They'll also have an additional time machine to launch! On Day 3, things compound even further as there are 3 more New cards to play along with the previous 6, as well as a third time machine to launch, which makes timing key.
At the end of Day 3, the player who completed the most profitable trips with their time machines wins, provided they didn't cause too many tears in the space-time continuum.
During employee training, Mr. Loop was very clear that employees should not be using the time machine for anything other than taking customers on trips.
Of course, Mr. Loop also said 'Profit above safety,' so he might not disagree with what you're doing. Still, it's better not to tell him.
Playing a Day
A day is played over several turns. Each turn is the play of a card. During each day, a player will have 3 turns in which they must elect a new action. In addition, on each day after the first day, players will also have turns to play the cards from the previous day or days.
Thus, on the first day there will be 3 turns for each player (3 new cards). On the second day there will be 6 turns for each player (3 new cards plus the previous day's 3 cards).
On the third day there will be 9 turns for each player (3 new cards plus the previous two days' 6 cards). At the beginning of the day, each player should take the Time Machine tokens needed for the day.
For the first day, you only need the Day 1 token for your Time Machine Mark I. Place that token on your Mark I time machine to show that it is available, and has not launched. On the second day, you'll need Day 2 tokens for your Time Machine Mark I and Mark II.
On the third day, you'll need Day 3 tokens for your Time Machine Marks I, II and III. These will go on their respective time machines as well.
(Example of a player about to start the 2nd Day)
Remember as you go forward, on the 1st day, only the Mark I time machine is available. On the 2nd day, you may use the Mark I and II. On the 3rd day, you may use the Mark I, II and III.
During the first day, the youngest player goes first. In the 2nd and 3rd round, the player who has the lowest score goes first. If there's a tie, it rotates to the tied player that is next clockwise to the current first player.
Turns go clockwise. On each turn, players must take one of two actions:
- Choose a New Action (must be done three times throughout the day), or
- Play a Past Action (not available in the first round)
Then they may optionally:
Launch a Time Machine
Choosing a New Action
Select an action card from the faceup supply in the middle of the table. Take the action immediately, and then place the card at the end of your tableau in front of you. (If it is the first card of this day, then you are just starting your tableau).
Place new actions cards crooked to show that this is the first time the card has been played. This helps you count the three times you must use new actions.
Play a Past Action
When you play a past action, you must select the FIRST card in your hand. Take the action immediately and place the card at the end of your tableau.
Past actions are placed with the cards straight, not crooked like when placing a new action. You cannot rearrange the order of the cards in your hand, and you must play them in the same order as the previous day.
Note on your Tableau
It is important that when you are playing cards that you place and keep them in the order they are played. This ensures that when you play the cards the next day, they are played in the same order as required.
The correct way to manage your Tableau is to place cards on top of and to the right of cards previously played. It is also very helpful to play NEW cards "crooked" so that you ensure you take and play the 3 mandatory NEW cards each day.
Example of adding to the Tableau on the 2nd Day.:
Notice the crooked card, which was a NEW action for this Day. The next 2 plays to finish the day must also be NEW cards to fulfill the requirement to play all of the cards from the previous day AND take and play 3 NEW cards.
Note that the NEW cards can be taken and played at on any turn in the day, but the order of the cards played during each Day must be retained for the next day.
The Game's Actions
Each action in the game represents a workstation at Loop, Inc. Therefore, the available actions at the beginning of the game are, for the most part, the only ones that will be available for the entire game.
Going back in time does not create more workspace, and just makes things more crowded. Sometimes, you may even be forced to take actions you don't want to take, so plan accordingly.
However, at the end of Day 1 or Day 2, more actions will be added in the form of anomalies, which will make things a little less crowded, but more chaotic.
If you are ever not able to completely fulfill an action, you cause a tear in the space-time continuum. Reference the 'Causing a Tear in the Space-Time Continuum Section' section after the action list.
General rule for Actions: You cannot add, subtract or move components from a time machine that has already been launched.
Here are the available actions
Garage, Shop or Armory
When you take this action, take one component from the appropriate room. You may choose which component to take. For example, from the Garage you may take a Wheel or a Propeller, and from the Shop you may take a Camera or a Net).
If the type of component you want is no longer available, you must take the other type or take a Tear. You must add this component to a time machine. However, you cannot add a component to a time machine that has already been launched.
You may be surprised to see a net available for your time machine. Luckily, time travel law follows the Breadbox Theory, which states that you may take anything from the past, as long as it's no larger than a breadbox.
Physicists have backed this up by saying that 'Time is more robust than it looks' and deny that it has anything to do with their burgeoning collections of antique microscopes.
Fun fact: the first thing brought back from the past was actually a breadbox, because nobody in the present knew what one looked like.
When you take this action, you must take a component off of one of your time machines and then return it to the Component Board in the appropriate room. After you place the component, you may select any replacement component from the Component Board for your time machine.
Remember that components cannot be added or removed from a time machine that has already been launched.
You may move one of your components from one ship to another. Remember: you cannot move components on or off ships that have already been launched.
Take one of your Ad! tokens and place it on a Trip of your choice. The Trip must have no other players on it from this day, and cannot have another Ad! on it.
The Ad! means that you have priority going to that trip this round, and any other player who goes there must take a Tear. If you visit this Trip, you will also get a point at the end of the game for fulfilling this Ad!.
However, be careful, if you Advertise and don't fulfill the Trip you'll get a '-3' penalty. Note that you only have the budget for three Ads.
Mr. Loop traditionally didn't like spending money on advertising, but then he realized that he could put his face on everything, which really catered towards his ego.
It's terribly done, and Mr. Loop is scowling in most of the ads, but they somehow get people to come pay for time travel excursions.
Take one or more components off your unlaunched time machines and discard them from the game. Note: this is a good way to prevent unnecessary penalties for creating waste.
When you come back in time, you will create anomalies. These are generally harmless, and will allow you to perform special actions. Each anomaly card will describe what it does. (Anomolies do not appear until the 2nd and 3rd day, described later).
Causing a Tear in the Space-time Continuum
If you are ever unable to fully complete an action, then you cause a Tear in the space-time continuum. When this happens, you must take a Tear token from the general supply and place it in your penalty box.
The penalties for Tears add up as you gain more. One Tear will give you a '-1.' Two Tears will give you a '-3.' And, 3 Tears will give you a '-6.'
On the chance you get four Tears, you are eliminated from the game because you caused yourself to disappear from existence. The penalties for Tears are noted on the tokens.
Examples of causing a Tear:
- There are no components available in the shop when taking a Shop action.
- You do not have an unlaunched time machine to which to add the component.
- You do not have two unlaunched time machines to move a component between.
- You try to Advertise, but have no Ad! tokens left.
Mr. Loop doesn't really care about the stability of the space-time continuum, but he does care fine he has to pay when it happens.
And that fine sure isn't coming out of his wages...
Launch a Time Machine (Optional)
Each time machine can only get launched once per day, and you may only launch one on a turn. An unlaunched machine should still have its token on it.
You'll notice that each Trip card has two separate trips on it. Each trip is treated completely separate. The fact that they are on the same card is irrelevant.
When launching a ship, take its token and place it on the desired Trip card, over the image of the trip to indicate that it's already been taken this turn. To place it there, you must fulfill the following:
- Your time machine must have the required components, noted on the bottom of the Trip card.
- You cannot have a time machine token there from a previous day (these will be placed above or below the particular trip, depending on the arrow).
In addition, only two players can visit the same trip during a day. The first player may place without a penalty, but the second player gets penalized for using the same time stream twice in a day. You are the second player to visit a trip if either:
- A player has already visited this trip for the day, or
- Another player's Ad! token is there
If you are the second player to visit, you must take a Tear penalty token. Place this token in your penalty area.
If you visit a spot with your own Ad! token there, then move the Ad! token up or down off the trip, depending on the arrow. At the end of the game, you will gain an additional point for advertising and fulfilling this trip.
Note: the 'Ad!' token counts as a player when counting the two player limit per trip. So if an Ad! token and another player's time machine are on a trip, then that trip can no longer be visited this day.
Wouldn't Mr. Loop realize that you are launching three ships on the last day, instead of one? Probably not. All you employees look the same to him.
That being said, if you tried to jump back in time more than three times he would probably catch on. Even complete indifference has its limits.
If you successfully placed your token on the trip, it's possible you created waste. If there are any components on your ship that are not needed, the components are removed from your ship and placed face down (which shows a "-1") into your penalty box.
Those components can no longer be used, and will count against you at the end of the game.
To Mr. Loop, creating waste is more offensive than insulting his mother's good name. So, for him, putting unnecessary components on one of his time machines is inexcusable. In fact, that's the reason he fired his mother.
Keep track of your points on the Score Board. When you launch a trip, move your Score Token up that many spaces on the track, while subtracting any penalties you may get. At any point, you can verify your score by counting up your points from completed trips and subtracting your penalties.
Ending the 1st and 2nd Day
Each room (Shop, Garage, and Armory) should be filled so all of their slots have one component in them.
All the time machines that have been placed on Trip cards should be placed above or below the trip card (as noted by the arrow). This will show that the trip is free for the next round, and placing the token next to the trip will note that the token needs to be scored at the end of the game.
If any time machines were not launched during the course of the day, remove the machine's token. It can no longer be used. Note: all the components remain on the time machine until the next day.
If any player has an Ad! token on a Trip card, but did not fulfill it, then it turns into a penalty. Place the token with the "-3" up in the penalty box on their player board. Adjust the player's score accordingly.
Since players are now going back in time, anomalies are created! Draw a number of anomaly cards equal to the number of players and place them faceup in the play area. These can be taken as actions in the following days.
Players then pick up their tableau into their hand. It is very, very important that you maintain the correct order of your cards.
In the next day, you will have to play these actions in the same order - so be careful!
Then, play the day as you had played the previous one! Be sure to select the starting player and gather your time machine tokens as described at the beginning of 'Playing a Day.'
The player who currently has the least amount of points goes first in the following day. If there are multiple players with the same score, the first player title rotates clockwise from the current first player to the next player with the low score.
End of the Game
Ending The 3rd Day.
If any player has an Ad! token on a Trip card, but did not fulfill it, then it turns into a penalty. Place the token with the "-3" up in the penalty box on their player board.
The highest total wins! If there is a tie, the player with the least penalty total wins.
Stretch Goal Expansions
(5 Future Cards)
In this expansion, players are able to send customers on trips to the future as well as the past. Future trips might not be as lucrative as the ones in the far past, but they allow you to gain some helpful knowledge about the future and streamline your day a bit more.
Customers always come back with some gossip about the future.
Setup with the futures expansion is as follows:
- 2 players: 3 AD, 1 BC and 1 FUTURE
- 3 players: 3 AD, 2 BC and 2 FUTURE
- 4 players: 4 AD, 2 BC and 2 FUTURE
When you send a time machine to a future trip, you are able to take a bonus action described on the trip. Take that action immediately, unless it says otherwise.
(4 Anomaly Cards)
Simply add these extra cards to the existing Anomaly deck. More variability for the win!
(5 Office Action Cards)
These cards replace the "Trash" action in the base game. They are placed in the same quantity as the Trash cards (ie.: the number of players plus one).
The Office action is more advanced and gives you the opportunity to score points by doing boring office work during the day.
When you take an Office action, you get to discard one "-1" component penalty that you've earned. In addition, at the end of the day, you'll get points for the Office actions you've taken.
And, the earlier in the day the better. If you take an office action in the first three cards, you gain 2 points. If you take it in the second three cards, you gain 1 point. If you take it in the last three cards, you gain no additional points, although you likely avoided a Tear or removed a penalty.