The following review covers episode 1-6. Timeline is a familiar board game to many, whether it’s the original version or one of the many themed versions. Star Wars: Timeline is just like the many other themes out there, putting a nerd’s trivia to the test in order to claim victory over their opponent. However, even though Star Wars is a popular brand, it can’t stop the games tried and tested formulae feeling slightly stale, at least for an audience that has played any Timeline game before.
For those who are unaware, Timeline is a simple game to play. Each player has a hand of cards and they take it in turns to place one down in chronological order, based on the cards already placed. For example, using the Star Wars brand, the players have to place down their cards, which are based on events in Star wars lore, in order based on when they happened. The battle of Endor would come after Luke finding out Darth Vader is his father. Sorry for that spoiler if you still didn’t know. If the player cannot place down an event that happened after the last card in the timeline, they have to remove that card and pick up another. The idea is to successfully place down all your cards.
While adding Star Wars to Timeline helps improve on the games formulae, you won’t find anything new here that cannot be seen in other themed versions. If that sounds fine to you, and the Star Wars theme lures you in, then there is no reason why a player would not enjoy their experience with Star Wars: Timeline. The game is quick to play, simple to understand and among friends, it can be pretty enjoyable. Assuming the player is a Star Wars nerd that is.
When it comes down to it, the game is designed for nerd culture. There is nothing wrong with that, I am a nerd myself, however objectively as a games reviewer its focus on specifics and events is detrimental to its appeal. If the player has only seen these films once, or has only seen a few of them, putting them in chronological order is no easy feat, especially when you throw the years they took place into the mix. Even a veteran may find it difficult.
To reiterate, playing this game with fellow Star Wars fans is fun, and if that is your only intention then ignore what I am about to say. However this game is designed for multiple players, ideally suited for parties or gatherings. It cannot be assumed each player has the same kind of knowledge as the individual who purchased the game. With a group of people with a lack of Star Wars knowledge, the game becomes long, tedious and loses its fun factor. This logic can be applied to many of the themed versions of Timeline. When the theme is very specific, and relies on nerdy trivia, it starts to appeal to a niche audience.
It makes reviewing such a game hard. On one hand, even with its stale formulae, playing among fellow Star Wars fans can make the experience enjoyable, especially when debates arise. Playing with a casual audience however is very different, and to an extent makes it feel like a completely different game. Both sides of the argument will be taken into account when deciding on a score. This is one of the times when reading the review is essential in helping the audience form an opinion.
There is no denying the Timeline brand has been successful over the years, and I suspect adding a Star Wars theme paid off. However it is clearly a game that works better played by true fans of Star Wars, at the detriment of more casual fans. There is fun to be found here, even if the concept is becoming slightly staler with each iterative theme. But maybe more casual fans should skip this version, or at least not play it with a casual audience.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Board Game was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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