Back to the Future and Innovation

Back to the Future coverMy brother gave me a copy of Back to the Future: The Card Game. It’s a new version of Chrononauts and it’s done by Andrew Looney and the Looney Labs. Not my kind of game, then, but an interesting surprise. Reading the rules and checking out the cards confirmed my doubts: this is a random game.

That it was, indeed. There are lovely action cards, for example, that cause players to trade hands. You can go looking through the deck to find the card you need, and of course there are counter cards to stop your opponent from acting. Don’t make long-time plans!

It’s no Fluxx, though. There’s some level of planning involved, though most of it’s pretty much “now I’ll do this and next turn I’ll do that.”

The goal of the game is to adjust the timeline to your liking (as described in your identity card) and then make Emmet Brown not invent time travel to freeze the timeline. Timeline is adjusted by flipping linchpin cards, which then flip other cards, based on certain conditions. Everybody needs certain cards flipped and certain cards unflipped and more there are players, the more likely it is that some folks have needs that just don’t mesh together. A lot of flipping and unflipping will ensue.

Fortunately the two-player game isn’t that chaotic. The goals are fairly easy to reach as they require flipping just two cards or so. Despite major reversals like changing your identity in the middle of the game (nasty move when you’re just about winning), the games were over in 10 minutes or so. Not bad. Then again, in Geek some folks report playing times of hour or so. That’s bad.

With more players the game is bound to get longer, as more players will have conflicting goals. Also, the chaos will grow stronger as more powerful action cards are played. The game scales to six players, though I believe four is just about the practical maximum.

Not bad, and definitely the best Looney Labs game I’ve played.

We also played two games of Innovation, but unfortunately my brother isn’t too keen on it. I like it — the way the cards interact is interesting and full of surprises at this point, even if there’s absolutely no sense of strategy involved.

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