Timeline: British History Card Game Review

Timeline: British History is a card game most relatable to the British TV game show with Bruce Forsyth called Play your cards right, which is also most commonly know as ‘Higher or Lower’.

Like the contestants on the show you are tasked with judging the position of a card along a line of other cards. The difference being in this game, multiple players are placing cards higher or lower in the timeline based on when they think an event written and drawn on a card took place.

Each player starts with a minimum of four cards, but you can start with more of the same amount if you wish the game to last for longer or for it to be more challenging. When playing this game with 3 other British friends who have been alive since the late 80’s, I decided to have us each start with 7 cards. There are two sides to each card which are essentially the same card with the date added on one side. This date sided card must stay facing downwards at all times until you are ready to reveal if your card position is correct. So with each player having 7 cards all facing down we now reveal one new card from the deck to place on the table as a starting card. This is placed facing date upwards and is the starting point in our timeline. The youngest person goes first and then we rotate around the table taking turns. The first player has to now choose any card in their deck and place it on the timeline either before or after other cards. With their currently being only one on the table, this is the easiest opportunity to get rid of any cards you feel you have no knowledge about more easily. After placing the card date down, you then reveal the date by turning it over. If the date was placed in the correct place the card stays in position. If the date was placed wrong the player discards this card and picks up a new one from the stack. The aim of the game is to lose all of your cards to the timeline, thus by placing a wrongly timed card that player does not progress in the game.

As more cards get added more places to lay your card will be possible, thus making it harder to guess. Especially when some dates are one year between. The artwork on the (smaller than expected but easily handled) cards nicely depict the event, and can be a great help towards guessing a timeline slot. Either based on clothes or other objects that already may be in the timeline. For instance; placing ‘The Top Hat is First Worn’ really helped us when deciding where to place ‘The Met Police is Founded’, as in this image the police officers are all wearing top hats. So with this in mind it must have taken place after the first top hat was worn (32 years before in fact).

This brings me on to my next point; Education. This is an educational game. Well it can be if you are competitive enough to want to play it again having seen the cards before. If you can remember the dates that will really help your game. So much so that in our game, knowing all the dates would win you the game in 7 rounds. So if you are the competitive type, with a photographic memory this will suit you down to the ground. This is where the real replay-ability is, although it would get quite boring if everyone had a photographic memory. Luckily none of us had that superpower. Instead we all felt very embarrassed that we didn’t know when key British dates took place. This was more so felt for the events in our life time than those in the minus times (like when ‘Britain Becomes an Island’ in c-6500).

Timeline: British History is an interesting game. It has nostalgia, skill, memory and pictorial association. I managed to win alone based on pictorial association and logic from the existing cards on the timeline. So even with no understanding of History before your own life time, you are able to win. There were many moments where dates were one card short of the timeline, or we were to try to imagine certain things happening at the same time. For instance trying to imagine Mary Queen of Scots reading Harry Potter on Good Friday, to try to figure out where Good Friday would go.

There are several expansions to this game which I am yet to play which are suggested you add into this existing card mix. I would be tempted to play these on their own the first time, especially the Movie orientated one. Without playing this expansion I would imagine my knowledge to be quite good, but the more I think about it there are many movies that were created before my time which could be listed. If I ever play these expansions I shall review them, but until then I can only guess as to how many movie cards are in my own life time, I would hope quite a few.

To summarise, this educational card based higher or lower game is one which I shall replay, but am yet to see how many times before it becomes boring. The expansions would add to the replay value as the same cards would come up less often. This can be played in teams to help discuss where cards could go if players are even less knowledgeable, or if you wish the game to be shorter. It’s a game which you can easily dip into for 30mins including setup time which is minimal, dealing in our games 28 cards and one start card. This would be a great game to play between games or any time you have friends over as the rules are simple enough to pick up after the first players turn.

REVIEW CODE: A FREE Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@brashgames.co.uk.

Subscribe to our mailing list

Get the latest game reviews, news, features, and more straight to your inbox