Time Jockeys from Baksha Games gives players the chance to race back through the pages of history, pulling heists for items treasured by the highest bidder. The theme in Time Jockeys is rich, complete with an entire backstory about the TITOR Corporation, whose motto “Time actually is money” rings with capitalism. While events cannot be altered for profit, there is still plenty of opportunity for time-travelers to go back and pick up something of great interest with those who do have money to spare.
Play in Time Jockeys combines social strategy with luck, making it a great lighter game for those wanting more than a logic puzzle in their tabletop gaming. That said, it is by no means without tactics. Players will constantly have to adjust their plans, adapting to what Contracts and Specialists are available for bid. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once players have mastered the flow of bidding, fulfilling Contracts, and passing to the next player to choose the next bid, the game zooms along quickly.
The theme of Time Jockeys comes through strongly in its Contract cards. Several make historical sense, such as capturing audio of Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone call or video evidence of the Jack the Ripper murders, some unravel mysteries like the construction of the Pyramids or Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, and a few are hilarious, like collecting 100 dodo birds before they go extinct.
Each Contract comes with a value, as well as a difficulty and length of time it takes to complete. Balancing the highest contract value with the best chances to succeed is the root of strategy in Time Jockeys, but the real cunning comes in winning the right bids by beating out opponents for a Contract that would be too easy for them. Some players may bid aggressively, grabbing Contracts they may only sell back to the bank at the end of the game, while other players may bide their time, waiting until they can snatch up big Contracts after their opponents have worn themselves out.
When a player wins a bid on a Contract, he or she rolls a twelve-sided die to see if it can be fulfilled successfully. Players may get bonuses on their rolls by hiring Specialists, also done through bids. If a player rolls a success, the game continues, but if they fail, it may result in them spending more time to try again. Catastrophic failures can result in death, as can spending more than fifteen days out in the time-stream. This fifteen day limit serves as a cap for the game, a literal ticking clock for which players must maximize their opportunities to fulfill contracts and cash in. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins.
Time Jockeys is a card game for two to six players aged twelve and up. Games last about half an hour, making it a fun quick game at a gathering or a solid addition to game night either as an event itself or a warm-up. With its teeth-gritting push-your-luck system and social bidding, players will eagerly return again and again anticipating a better strategy or seeing a victorious opponent undone by the roll of the die.