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SCIENCE MUSEUM: TIMELINE
This is one of a large series of Timeline games in a tin. It covers all manner of discoveries in Space and Science. Other Timeline games include: Inventions; Events; Music & Cinema (that should be very popular); American History; British History; and many, many more.

TIMELINE: SCIENCE MUSEUM is a game that is good fun to play for players of any age from 8 years and upwards. It is unlikely that eight year olds will have knowledge of the scientific facts on the 110 cards but they will have as much chance as me for guessing their dates of occurrence, for these dates are what the game is all about. 

The rules are simple. The deck of cards is shuffled and a hand of cards (the number of cards depends on the number of players) is dealt to each player. Then the top card from the deck is flipped over and placed in the centre of the table. Each card is chronolised in numerical order when the deck is first unsealed and so a long and very specific shuffling is required to ensure there is a really good mix up before the hand of cards and the flip over occurs. Cards are dealt and stacked so that no one ever sees the date side.

The card in the centre shows the start date (this is the start of the Timeline) around which the players have to play out the cards from their hands, one at a time, and chronologically correct - the trick is that the players are dealt the cards face (date) down and may not look at the date side until they have played the card face down onto the table on one or the other sides of the Timeline card. Once played the card may not be moved. It is then turned over and its date revealed. If it is in the correct position, timewise, before or after the card it is played next to, then it stays there and becomes part of the Timeline but if it is placed incorrectly it is put back in the box, out of the game, and the person who played it must take the top card from the deck into their hand.

As the object of the game is to be the first to get rid of all your cards having to pick one up is always frustrating. I wouldn't worry too much at first though because other players are almost certainly also going to place their cards in the wrong position.

 

When the first card is added to the Timeline it offers another opportunity as to where cards can be played: you now have the space between the Timeline card and the newly placed card, the space after the newly placed card and the space behind the Timeline card. As more cards are introduced to the Timeline so there are always new opportunities being opened for new cards to join.

You may think that you know history, and perhaps you do, but we have played this game with all ages and all IQs (plus me with my singular brain cell) and everyone but everyone slips up now and again and often on more than one occassion. I would like to throw in some examples here but after a few plays it becomes less difficult especially if you get some of the same cards cropping up over and over. However, even with knowing the dates of a few cards, there are still errors to make and surprises to be found. I have been astounded several times when I have been wrong about something I would have sworn (and possibly did) was before this or after that. 

 

Plays very well with two players as well as with 3 or 4 or more (up to 8). With more players the Timeline expands quicker and the possible places where a card can be put are many (if not quite 'legion'). Instead of making it easier to place your cards it now starts to meddle with your mind, the more the possibilities the more confusion your brain suffers.

How well do you know your science facts ? Do you know when what was built? What date it was made?, Was it before or after the date on the card/s in the central row? What date did this or that happen? This is sure difficult to convey the idea without giving away too many clues but I hope you have the idea; if not I have relented and mentioned a couple, below.

Most of the Timeline cards show perfectly good happenings or occurences, such as 'Wells Cathedral Clock is Built ?' or 'Booth's Red Trolley British Vacuum Cleaner' but there is no way that I will believe that the game's author, Frédéric Henry, chose the one Planet, of all of those discovered that would cause schoolboy giggles and guffaws, by accident. Even grown men and women, all ages and IQs, cannot help a little smirk and/or a poor (but often funny) joke, when someone reads out the card "The Discovery of Uranus". Monsieur Henry had a Galaxy to choose from yet decided to go with a schoolboy joke to prank the publishers.

Uranus aside, the subjects are well researched and pitched at just the right level so that you almost always automatically think you know and are then utterly surprised when you are proven wrong, makes for an amusing and entertaining challenge.

Check your local game store and possibly department store's toy & game department as well as online. It is a good game, well produced in a neatly designed tin and should cost about £14.00 - £15.00.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015