This week’s Backpack pick is Timeline: Americana from Asmodee.
Timeline: Americana is a card game for 2-8 players that surveys American pop culture. There are many events in history that you may know, but do you really know when? You can test your knowledge and maybe learn a thing or two in this quick-playing game that lasts about 15 minutes or so.
Games in the Timeline series come packaged nicely in 4″ square tins with textured artwork on the cover of each edition. Inside of the tin is packaged 110 cards inside of 2 slots of a crush-lined insert. The cards are two-sided mini-cards with really nice artwork on both sides, a description of the event on both sides of the card, and the date of the event added to the back side of each card.
The object of Timeline is to play cards that have been dealt to you, fitting them properly into an ever growing timeline of events. Each time you successfully place a card in the timeline, you are one step closer to victory. The first person to successfully place all of their cards and have none remaining is the winner.
At the start of the game, the cards are shuffled and then 4 cards are dealt face up (date-side down) in front of each player. Players are not allowed to look at the date-side of the cards. The remaining cards are placed near the center of the table to form a draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is turned over to reveal the date side and placed in the center of the table to start the timeline. Allow for plenty of room on both sides of the card for other cards to be played. Determine the first player. The first player will choose one of their cards and place it into the timeline, either before or after the event card that started the timeline. When the card has been placed it is flipped over to reveal the date side. If the card was correctly placed, play continues with the next player. If the card is incorrectly placed, that card is discarded and a new card is drawn from the draw pile. Then play continues with the next player. As cards are placed you will try to place them in the timeline either before the earliest card in the timeline, after the latest card in the timeline, or between two dates in the timeline. The first player to get rid of their cards triggers the end of the game. Each of the other players gets a last chance to play a card into the timeline. If after the final round, there are no other players that have played all of their cards, then the player who got rid of all of their cards is the winner. If there are other players who are able to get rid of their cards in the final round, each draw a card and play rounds until there is a winner.
Timeline: Americana is in my opinion the best edition that has I have played. This is a great sampling of American pop culture over the years. There are many of the events that I was aware of, but was reminded of the dates as I played the game. With early on events around America’s discovery all the way through more modern events like the death of Michael Jackson and the first iPad introduced, each player can test their knowledge of the time of an event.
There are several things that make this game stand out as my backpack pick. #1. The playing time is short and the difficulty of the game can be changed by adjusting the number of starting cards. #2. The game is simple to play, Essentially, correctly place a card in the timeline. If you get it right, GREAT! If not, discard that one and draw a new card. #3 The artwork on all of the cards is really good and the style of art gives the nice sense of nostalgia. #4 This set can be combined with other Timeline editions to further test your knowledge of American pop culture events against historical events, discoveries, inventions, and even American pop culture against American history itself. This game is perfect for on the go, and can be played almost anywhere.
From a family perspective, Timeline: Americana is great for schools and home-schoolers. The game can be played as part of a class activity with teams for social studies class, or during a rainy-day recess, or perhaps the school library can have this series on hand. Home-schoolers can use this to supplement a social studies cirriculum. The game offers a chance to learn the dates of many events that shaped America’s pop culture into what it is today.
For people outside of America, this game offers a chance to test knowledge and also to offer chance to learn the dates of events of America’s popular past. #backpackpick