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Card Game Review: ‘Timeline – Diversity’

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Many trivia games cause players to roll their eyes as the winner seems predetermined to be the one know-it-all who has an encyclopedic knowledge of anything. Asmodee‘s Timeline: Diversity is different. Knowing history will certainly help, but Timeline, created by Frederic Henry, goes well beyond simply asking players to be able to recall a set of dates. It involves strategy; deciphering clues; and, like all good games, a little luck.

TimelineDiversitybox Play in Timeline is straightforward: players work to shed their cards to build a timeline. The game begins with each player receiving four cards labeled with an image and an event, such as “The Invention of Hypnotism.” One side of the card also has a year, which is played facedown to keep players from knowing it until the reveal. Luck comes into play as some cards are easy, such as the Domestication of Sheep being very long ago or the Moon Landing being 1969. Players also might just happen to know other cards from the strange turns of life, like the Invention of the Zipper from a history report.

A card from the remaining pile is played year-up on the table to begin the timeline. Cards with events before that year are placed to the left; events after to the right. A player puts forth one of his or her cards, proposes where it goes on the timeline, and then reveals the truth. Correct placement means that player is one step closer to the end. Placing incorrectly causes a discard and drawing a fresh one from the deck. As the timeline grows, spaces between the events also appear, making it more difficult to determine roughly what year the garbage can was invented.

Fortunately for players, Timeline’s excellent art gives clues as to the point in history. The Invention of Hypnotism shows men with white-painted faces, powdered wigs, and lacey cuffs. That might not be enough to determine the exact year, but it gives a range of maybe a few hundred years. Using these hints, players should strategize to place difficult cards quickly before the timeline fills up.


The first player to place correctly place all of his or her cards is the winner. To balance the game away from an unfair advantage for turn order, the first player is the youngest (statistically, the one least familiar with historical events, having lived through the fewest), and a game-mechanic is in place so that players may tie if they go out in the same round. This prompts a round of sudden-death, each player drawing a single card and playing until the victor stands supreme.

Timeline: Diversity is a game for two to eight players aged eight and up. Games are very quick, taking only 10 to 15 minutes, and players will want to squeeze in just one more game since it is as addictive as a streaming video’s autoplay. Replay does prompt memorization, but Diversity is just one of many in the Timeline franchise, and players can grab expansions in the fields of Music & Cinema, Discoveries, Inventions, and more, which may all be combined into one mega-Timeline.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.