Recently I played a game with family

Timeline game in box

Quick Facts:


Product: Timeline: Inventions

Available at:

Age: 7+

No. of players: 2 – 6


My cousin and his family came for dinner recently. After clearing the table of dishes, the table of dishes we played a game that I had borrowed from my local library. It was pretty good, though there were a few kinks in the course of game play which I will talk about later. For now, continue reading more about why you and your family would enjoy playing Timeline.

The Game

I had not heard of this game before my daughter picked it off the library shelf and showed it to me. It is housed in a compact, decorative tin box. The box holds a set of 109 playing cards and instructions on how to play given the number of players involved. You can have as few as 2 players and up to 8. It’s a very simple game, easy to pick up and understand. Put one of your older kids in charge of reading out the instructions and setting the game up.

This game is sold with a variety of themes such as Science, American history, Diversity, Discoveries, and the one my family played, Inventions. Each card has a different invention listed with an image and the year it was first invented. It would be great if a bit more info was listed with each card. I was curious about many of them but we did not want to interrupt the game to start googling.

Setting up

timeline cardsTimeline game set up is really not very involved at all. It’s a matter of making sure the cards are shuffled properly. Oddly, that is not as easy as it sounds – or should be – with this game. The cards are rather small so shuffling is awkward for larger hands and small hands may not be as nimble. As a matter of fact, that is one of the few complaints about this game – the cards would be easier to read, see and shuffle if they were larger.

Once shuffled reasonably well, cards are dealt based on the number of players. Fewer players receive more cards, more players fewer cards. All players keep their cards facing down – no invention dates should be showing to players – but they do not have to hide their cards from their fellow players.

The remaining cards in the deck are set aside near the center of the table. One card is put in the middle of the playing area with its face displaying to all players. The face of the card will have an invention, i.e., Nautical Compass, the image, and the date the invention.

The Play

According to the rules, the youngest player goes first. He or she chooses one of their own cards based on the invention and decides if that item was discovered before or after the card sitting face up in the center of the table. If the player thinks it was invented prior to the Nautical Compass s/he would place it before the table card. If s/he thinks it was invented after, then it would be place to the right of the table card. When placed, the card is turned over so all players can see if the first player was correct. If s/he was then the next player takes a turn. If the first player is incorrect in their guess, their placed card is put at the bottom of the large stack of cards and they must pick up the first card in the stack and add it to their cards. This means that if they had say, 4 cards to begin with, they will still have 4 cards after they play.

As more cards are added to the table card, the row of cards in the center will increase and play becomes more difficult. You will have some inventions that were discovered very close together so eventually, unless inventions happen to be your niche, the game will, or at least can, become very difficult.


timeline inventions game boxThe first player to have no cards left is the winner. This means that someone was pretty good at figuring out when items were invented in relation to other items, i.e., did cave paintings come before fire? Some might think that answer is fairly easy but others, depending on their general knowledge, may not. You can employ some logic to relatively dating the inventions and playing a few times does help develop some of that innate problem solving.

It turned out to be a pretty interesting game. Since we had 7 players we continued playing even after the first player won. After more dropped out and just two were left the game became impossibly hard for those two since there were way too many cards on the table too close together in invention years. It was basically a guessing game at that point and eventually we removed every second card to make the game more even to when it was first started an hour before.

Should you try it?

It was good entertaining, and though I’m reluctant to say it for fear of discouraging some to try it, educational, fun. My cousin left saying he was interested in buying a copy of the game for his family to play on family game night.

There were a few problems with the game but overall I was quite entertained. The game play went around the table pretty quickly so no one waited very long for their turn to come around again. Also, during play it was difficult not to give hints to other players even though we knew it could help them win. It was almost as if you wanted to say, I know the answer to that one! I would definitely be interested in trying one of the other themes in this game series.

It’d be awesome if you can find a copy to borrow from your local library or from a friend. But if can’t do that then buying the game from Amazon or Walmart is not too much of an expense. I think this game would also make a great holiday or birthday gift for someone you know who might have an interest in any of the specific themes.



4 Comments on “Recently I played a game with family

  1. I wish there was pictures for this Timelime game. My family and I love playing boardgames so we’ll be sure to check this out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Yvonne,
      True, there weren’t a lot of images available to share. Thank you for your comment!

  2. I have never played this game before but it actually sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing this article.

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