Everybody has a little bit of a history buff inside, though some are more outspoken about it than others. Those of us who have met some of the more vocal history enthusiasts might notice that they can even mix up a date or two and totally get away with it, all thanks to their enthusiasm as a history buff – or bluffer. ChronoSphere from Kind Fortress gives crafty players the chance to retell their way through history.
ChronoSphere comes with a pack of double-sided cards each marked with an important event, discovery, or piece of culture. One side shows just the image and title (be it the Aerosol Can, Anglican Church Founded, or Counting), while the other includes the date of its happening (1927, 1535, 8000 B.C.). The cards are somewhat similar to the setup in another history trivia game, Timeline, but ChronoSphere uses trivia as a platform to spring off into a world of competition.
Each player receives a hand of seven cards face-down so that even they do not know the date. A circle is created on the table (or on the placemat, for those who pick up the game on Kickstarter before August 20) with 12 slots for cards to create the ChronoSphere. It is divided down the middle into AD and BC sides, which gives two fields for play. Players place cards onto the table in their best guesses on the proper order, often placing between two cards.
If a player suspects a mislaid card, he or she may call out a Challenge on the last player to place a card on one of the sides. If even one card is out of chronological order, the defending player loses and must draw cards as a penalty. If they are all correct, the defender wins, and the challenger has to take penalty cards.
The goal of ChronoSphere is to empty one’s hand or to complete one side of the ChronoSphere. Aggressive players might choose the first winning condition, laying down cards deceptively even though they might not be sure of the year, or cleverly acting unsure while placing cards they know are right, prompting an opponent to call a Challenge and end up taking the penalty. More cautious players may try to get all of their cards right using their knowledge of trivia to complete one side for the win, but they should be on the lookout for someone calling a Challenge just to clear the side and prevent that win.
ChronoSphere is a game for two to eight players aged 13 and up, with older players especially enjoying the mind-games and debates. It is typically a quick game requiring only 15 to 30 minutes, though it might go longer as a party game with plenty of talking and joking. While a solid knowledge of history is certainly a bonus, this game really is all about the bluffing.