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Game Design Showdown February 2009 - "Back in time: roll-and-move"

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seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

(This Challenge has been completed.)

Game Design Showdown

February 2009 Challenge - "Back in time: roll-and-move"

Design a board or card game with an interesting variation of rolling dice and moving pawns/tokens as the (or one of the) core mechanic(s).

Going back to the past. This can be literally taken as time-travel, or more loosely, e.g.: archaeology, ancient setting, Memento-style flashbacks or Benjamin-Buttonly getting younger as time passes. Designers are encouraged to be creative in this respect.

Additional Design Requirement:
The core mechanic, or one of the core mechanics of the game must be an interesting twist of the old and usually despised roll and move mechanic used in games like Shutters and Ladders or Parchis. One or more dice should be rolled, and the result should affect in some (not necessarily direct) way how, where to, which, by what player or when pawns are moved on the board. Again, be creative.

Formatting Request:
Please use the GDS formatting template as a reference to format your entries before submitting. No entry will be dismissed for lack of proper formatting, but entrants using the template will be thanked from the bottom of my heart.

  • Start Date: Thursday, 12-February-2009
  • End Date: Thursday, 19-February-2009, Noon US Eastern time (approximately)
  • Voting: Thusrday, 19-February-2009 through Thursday, 26-February-2009.

Please use this thread for comments and questions. For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work, visit the GDS Wiki Page.

Please note, you must PM or e-mail me, seo, your GDS entry for this month not Brykovian. If you want to use e-mail, please PM me for my e-mail address.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 Duplicity

by Jonathan Leistiko (InvisibleJon)

A time agent has gone rogue. Neutralize the rogue agent before they cause irreparable damage. Permanent removal is mandatory. They may claim to be innocent. Do not believe their lies. Good luck.


Travel through time and space and manipulate the timestream to erase all trace of your opponent

You Need:

  • A TimeLoop board.
  • About 12 pawns for each player.
  • Haven tokens (~20).
  • Hazard/Wound tokens (~50).
  • Energy tokens (~30).
  • Two six-sided dice, one ten-sided die, one 12-sided die.


Claim a set of pawns, an Energy token, and a six-sided die. Put the board in between the players. Each numbered row represents a specific location. All yellow spaces are locations in the present. The blue spaces are the same locations in the future. The red spaces are the same locations in the past. Place your pawn in a Present space. If a pawn is already on the board, do not place your pawn four spaces away from your opponent’s pawn.

Board setup

Set the tokens nearby.


Play takes place in phases. Everyone gets to act in each phase before the next phase starts. The phases are: Energize, Initiative, Act, The March, and The Future.


Gain one energy for each pawn you have on the board.


Hide 0 or more energy in your hand. Hold out that hand. When everyone has hands out, reveal what’s in your hand. If you reveal the most energy, you choose who acts first in the Act phase. If you’re tied, roll to determine a winner. All revealed energy is spent.


Starting with the first player, take turns activating pawns. After you activate a pawn, your opponent gets to do the same, then control returns to you, and so on. Each pawn you control can act once.When a pawn finishes acting, set it on its side to indicate you’ve used it. When a pawn acts, it can Move, Exert, and Shift. It can do these things in any order.

Moving (through space):

Roll your six-sided die. Move your pawn to a space exactly that many steps away in the same temporal zone. Example: Present location 1 wraps around to Present location 8 and vice versa. If you are in Present location 6 and roll a 3, you must move to Present location 1 or Present location 3. - When a pawn lands in a space with a Hazard, or vice versa, put the Hazard under that pawn; it is a Wound now. If your pawn has three or more Wounds, remove it and its Wounds from the board. - When a pawn lands in a space with a Haven, or vice versa, remove a Wound from that pawn (if it has one) and remove the Haven. Hazards trigger before Havens. - When a pawn lands in a space occupied by another pawn, remove both pawns, put a Hazard in that space, and in every past and future version of that space. These Hazards are “landing in” their respective spaces.


When a pawn exerts, it may: Gather Power or Alter Fate. - Gather Power: Gain one energy. - Alter Fate: Spend one energy. Place or remove a Haven or Hazard token in any past or future version of the pawn’s current location.

Shifting (in time):

Spend up to four energy. Move the pawn one step, into an adjacent future or past version of the pawn’s current space, for every energy you spent.

The March:

All pieces in the Distant Past move into the Permanent Past and are removed from play. All pieces in the Immediate Past move into the Distant Past. All pieces in the Present place copies of themselves in the Immediate Past. All pieces in the Near Future move into the Present. All pieces in the Far Future move into the Near Future.

Example 1
Example 2

The Future:

Roll the ten- and 12-sided dice. Place a Hazard token in the Far Future spaces in the location numbers you rolled. Ignore results that are not on the board. Roll the dice again, but place Haven tokens this time. Example: I roll a 7 and an 11. A Hazard appears in the Far Future of location 7. I roll again and get a 3 and 7. Havens appear in the Far Future in locations 3 and 7. Location 7 has a Hazard and a Haven on it. If every player has at least one pawn on the board, play continues with a new Energize phase. If only you have a pawn in play, you win. If no pawns are on the board, your corrupt boss at the Time Agency wins (& everyone loses).

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - Time Jumpers

By Stuart Haag (stubert)


Use wormholes to acquire pieces of a time machine held throughout time by black market agents so that you can rebuild it and travel back to the 21st century.


8 Tokens & 8 matching time machine pieces
Gameboard containing 9 time period mini-tracks.
Artifact Deck – 90 cards – 10 artifacts for 9 time periods
Part Deck – 48 cards – 8 each of 6 parts
Wormhole Deck – 60 cards, linking the mini-tracks (creating a randomly generated maze)


Each player chooses a different time period and places their token on the wormhole space on that time period’s mini-track, then places their time machine in the time machine space in that time period. Then, 5 artifacts are flipped face up from the artifact deck and 3 part cards are dealt to each player.

How to play:

On your turn, you roll 1 die and either move along your current mini-track, or move to another mini-track. The 4 types of space (and quantity per mini-track) are: 1 wormhole, 3 agents, 2 artifacts and different numbers of blank spaces.

Whenever a token lands on or passes the wormhole space in a time period’s mini-track, if there is not already a wormhole card in the center of the mini-track, draw a wormhole card, roll 1 die and place the card in the center of the track with the die on it (this includes initial piece placement). When the die reaches “0” (-1 when any player passes the wormhole space in that time period), the card is removed. If you want to leave the time period (instead of moving along the mini-track – as long as there’s a wormhole card in that time period), you must roll a die and go to the wormhole space in the corresponding time period. (Example – the wormhole card shows “roll 1-2: go to 1800s, roll 3-5: go to 1200s, roll 6: go to 10,000 BC” If you rolled a 3, you would move your token immediately to the wormhole space in the 1200s time period.) If a wormhole card expires, draw another one the next time you pass the wormhole space on that track. If you don’t want to go to any of the time periods on the wormhole card, you must wait for it to expire in order to get a new card.

If you are on a mini track with another player and you land on or pass the space they are on, you may force them to give you an artifact or or part card. If they do not, you may force them through the wormhole (which will close it). Roll as you would to use the wormhole, and move that player to the corresponding time period’s wormhole space.

Each player begins with 3 part cards in their hand. The cards will tell you what time period to find them in, and what an agent will trade the part to you for. (agents may require something like “$850 worth of artifacts from the 1800s” or “2 artifacts from 250 BC”).

In order to acquire artifacts to trade to agents, you must land on an “artifact” space on a mini-track. If you do, you may take any of the 5 face up artifact cards in front of the artifact deck (these will be “Mark Twain’s pocketwatch - $50”, or “Cleopatra’s tiara - $1,000”, or “a piece of the True Cross - $450”) whose time period matches the time period you are in (if none of them match, do nothing). Then flip up the next card in the artifact deck to replace it so there are always 5 to choose from (if there aren’t any cards left, shuffle the artifact discard pile into a new deck). You may only hold 5 artifacts in your hand before you must trade them for parts. If you take a 6th, you must discard one.

If you land on an agent space, you may trade with the agent. Discard a number of artifact cards that AT LEAST fulfills the demand on the part card (if the agent demands $850 of artifacts from the 1800s, you could discard 3 artifact cards from the 1800s totaling $1000 if you didn’t have exactly $850 worth), then place the part card in front of you (you now own that part) and draw a new part card. If you already own a part, you may discard the matching card to draw a new one the next time you land on an agent space (instead of trading for a part).


The first player to have all 6 parts needed for their time machine, return to the mini-track where they left it and roll a “6” when they pass the wormhole space in the mini-track will travel back to the 21st century, winning the game.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Uncertain times...

by Gogolski

Players are timebandits with a very crappy time-machine and some bad timetravel aids, who try to steal interesting stuff from the past.

Then the time-machine explodes...


  • The crappy time-machine with the timegrid. Each row is called a timeframe and has four tiles a player can visit. Around the timegrid, dice show the coordinates of each tile.
  • 5 dice (used to operate the time-machine).
  • Cubes in a players color will indicate the presence of that player in the past.
  • Tiles (art/inventions/artefacts/people/time-crap => 12 of each) that players try to aquire.
  • Time potions help time-travel.



  • Arrange 16 tiles faceup on the timegrid according to the dice indicated right and on the tiles.
  • The rest of the tiles is shuffled with the time-crap to form the supply.
  • Put all the presence cubes and the time-potions next to the time-machine to form the general supply.
  • Each player gets 5 presence in his color.
  • The player that goes furthest back in time starts. Play proceeds clockwise.

Turn overview:

  1. Remove one presence in the timeframe furthest back in time.
  2. Timetravel OR steal history OR create time-potions


Players roll three dice to assign to the time-machine:
- Timeframe (1-6)
- Place in the timeframe (1-4)
- Presence (1=1;2=2;3=3;4=3;5=2;6=1)
If a player can't/doesn't like to go to any of the possible coordinates, he adds five presence cubes from the general supply to his personal supply for later timetravel or making time-potions.

A player must be present in the first timeframe (1-2) to be able to go further back to the next timeframe (3-4) and put presence-cubes on the coordinates the dice indicate. If present in a later timeframe, players can choose to go to any previous timeframe.

If a player lands his presence on a facedown time-crap tile, it is revealed. If it is a time-paradox, that player removes his influence and takes two time-potions. The time paradox stays in plays and acts as an empty but unremovable space on the timegrid.

After traveling, a player may trickle through time (optionally):
He moves presence cubes, left/right in the same timeframe leaving at least one on each tile he moves from.
He moves cubes further back in time if he already occupies the tile(s) in the same colum in the next timeframe.

A player can not trickle trough time over an empty space on the timegrid.

Artefacts change the way the time machine works and are then discarded.
- "Time-helmet" detemines one coordinate of the timegrid.
- "Time-catapult" jumps over an empty space in the timegrid when trickling through time.

A time-potion adds an extra die, or adjusts a die by 1/potion.

Make time-potion(s):

Discard timecrap tiles and spend up to five presence/tile to make as many time-potions.

Steal history:

A player can steal a tile if he has enough presence on that tile.
- Only player present on that tile: Steal it if 3/4/5/6 cubes -in timeframe 1-2/3-4/5/6 respectively- on a tile.
- More than one player present on a tile: Steal it at least double #presence as the other players combined (or take it as normal, whichever requires most presence).
- Each tile holds a maximum presence:
[(Number of players)*(Amount of presence needed to steal the tile with one player present)].
If this amount of presence is reached, the player who has most presence can steal the tile on his own turn.

All presence on the stolen tile is put in the general supply.

The player that stole the tile takes the top tile from the supply and inserts it in the timegrid:
- The dice indicate which timeframe it goes in.
- The player can put it faceup on an empty space or discard a tile where he has most influence and put the new tile there. The influence is also discarded.
- If it is not possible to place the tile, it goes on the bottom of the supply.
- If a player draws a time-crap tile, he can always choose to put it on the bottom of the supply or place it facedown on an empty space anywhere in the grid. No tile or influence can be discarded by time-crap.

Game end and scoring:

When two timeframes empty completely or when the third time-paradox-tile is revealed in the grid, the time-machine explodes and the game immediately ends.

Players score their tiles:
- Most tiles of a timeframe: 5 points + 2/4/5/6 points according to which timeframe.
- Most tiles of a color: 10 points.
- Most tiles of a color from timeframe 6: One point for each tile in that color (no matter from which timeframe).
- Time-crap: all players receive 2 points for each tile not used for potions.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #4 - Shattered

by Dylan Kirk (dnjkirk)

Shadows. Wraiths. You feel them: other selves, other times. They were and are part of you, but they are so far away. They fumble on the edge of your perception. A whispered thought in the back of your mind keeps repeating: you are not whole. You must become one again.

You can sense others like you seeking the same goal. If they reach it before you, you will remain this way forever - shattered - never to become whole. You cannot let them succeed. You must become one again.


1 game board
3 6-sided dice
25 pawns
32 pattern cards
15 tiles

Game description

This is a simple race game, but played out in five different eras, simultaneously, on the same board. Players have five pieces of their own colour. Each one is taller than the last, the first having one ring, the second having two rings, and so on up to five rings. The rings represent the epoch in which that "part" of your player exists.

Game board

Basic Rules

Object - To unite all five segments of your shattered self by placing them on five marked locations on the board. Since the symbols on each location of the board will be unknown at the start of the game, part of the game is locating the correct symbols, and another part is moving your pawns to the correct locations on the board. One of your pawns must occupy the centre space in the board in order to fulfill the endgame conditions. The pattern card details the other four symbols you must have your pawns on at the end of the game in order to win.

Starting the Game - Each player puts one of his five pawns on each of the five white starting spaces around the edges of the board in turn. Pawns of the same epoch cannot start in the same start space. Placement starts with the owner of the game and proceeds counter-clockwise until all pawns are placed. Mix up the symbol tokens and place them, face down, on each of the light blue areas of the board. Shuffle the pattern cards and hand one out to each player. Movement then begins with the player to the left of the game owner.

Basic Gameplay - Roll all three dice and take actions with your pawns. Rolling a 6 or 1 allows you to take an action with any pawn. The numbers 1-5 correspond with the epochs. Rolling a 3, for example, allows you to take an action with your 3rd, 4th, or 5th epoch piece. Rolling a 4 allows you to take an action with your 4th or 5th epoch piece. Since lower-ring epochs happen before the higher ring epochs, the pawns in these epochs are harder to activate.
If he is the first in the space, a player can look at the symbol tile. He then places that pawn on top of the symbol tile. ONLY pawns from the SAME epoch as the first pawn may examine the tile for as long as the first pawn remains. Only pawns in the same epoch as the first may use that tile for victory condition fulfillment by remaining in that space. If the first pawn vacates the space, another pawn in the same space must take an action to become the "first." This also implies that a pawn that enters the space subsequently must take a second action to be considered "first."

Actions - An action is either a move or an effect. A pawn can spend its action moving one space in any direction, or playing the effect written on the space on the board in which it sits. The player has three dice and may use them all on one pawn, or all on different pawns. A pawn may move to any contiguous space. Lower epoch pawns can have an effect on all the pawns in the same epoch and later epochs, but later epoch pawns cannot affect those from earlier epochs. Some actions allow a player to freeze another pawn, some allow a player to move an opponent. These actions typically affect pawns in the same physical space and same or later epoch.

Victory Condition - When a player has one of his pawns on each of the symbol spaces on his pattern card, he wins the game and becomes some kind of post-Highlander immortal with the ability to manifest black forest cake into existence with his mind. The remainder of the players will live out their five incarnations' lives never knowing the sweetness of infinite black forest cake.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #5 - Time Keys

by magic_user

You are a grad student working with a brilliant professor on the mysteries of time. When you show up for class on Monday with your fellow classmates, all you find is a cryptic message on the board and an envelope with your name on it. The message says "Find me and pass". You open your envelope and read:

There is a working time machine in your lab cubicle. Use it to collect the historical artifacts listed on a separate sheet of paper. The first one to collect all his/her artifacts will pass this class. Good luck.

The other students race out of the room. Maybe you'd better get started?


Be the first to successfully collect all of your required artifacts.


  • 6 different colored tokens (to represent the players).
  • 1 playing board with a marked 6x6 grid.
  • 2 dice, 1 red and 1 green.
  • 36 tiles with the following breakdown:
  • (Sorry, but I'm in a hurry, so this is abstract. Each letter is an artifact.)
  • 3 of each (A, E, I, O, U, Y)
  • 3 of each (R, S, T, L, N, P)
  • 18 short game goal cards (each has 4 artifacts, like FACE, PANE, RAIN, etc.).
  • 18 long game goal cards (each has 6 artifacts, like PLEASE, TRIPLE, etc.).

Setup (2-6 players)

  • Shuffle the 36 tiles and place on the playing board in a 6x6 grid FACE DOWN.
  • Choose the artifact cards for the length of game you want to play (short or long). Shuffle them and deal 1 to each player.
  • Each player rolls 2 dice. The lowest total value places their token on the board in a cell where there is no other player. The player picks up that tile as their first artifact. A tie causes an immediate roll-off, lowest goes first.
  • When all tokens have been placed, turn the remaining tiles FACE UP.
  • Playing sequence is in the same order as the token placement.


The player rolls his/her dice. This is the time machine charging it's cells. The red dice tells you which direction in time you will be traveling (1-2 is back in time, 3-4 is the present, 5-6 is forward in time). The green dice tells you how far you will be traveling. You do not get to choose the numbers on the dice, but you do get to steer. After you move, if you land on an unoccupied tile, you pick it up. If you land in a cell with another player, you get to pick one random tile from their hand. If you have completed your artifact goal, reveal your goal and tiles for the win. If you have not completed your goal, pass the dice to the next player.


Draw a 6x6 grid (Sorry. Remember the hurry part? No cheesy graphics today.). Start at the upper left corner and label the rows going down A,B,C,D,E and F. Label the columns going across 1,2,3,4,5 and 6.
From wherever you are, going UP (from row F towards A) is traveling into the future. Going down (from row A towards F) is traveling into the past. Staying in your current row is staying in the present. Maybe some examples will help.

Red = 3, Green = 4, you start at C3.

Since you stay in the present (current row only), you can choose to go left or right. Now, the professor was smart (didn't I mention Brilliant?) so he put limiters on the time machine. If it tries to go too far, it gets rebounded instead. If you choose to go to the right, you will go to C4->C5->C6->(rebound)C5. You will end up at C5.

Red = 5, Green = 3, you start at C5.

Hmmm. Travel into the future (up). You must go to B, but you have the choice to go to B4, B5 or B6. Say you choose B6. Now you must go to A, but you can go to A5 or A6. Say you choose A5. Now you rebound and must choose between B4, B5 and B6. One of those is your final destination.

Red = 1, Green = 6, you start at E3.

I just chose this example to go crazy. A legitimate path would be F2->E1->D2->C3->B4->A5. Also legitimate would be F4->E5->D6->C6->B6->A5. It doesn't matter what path you take, only the destination matters.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #6 - Back & Forth

by Robert_C


2-5 players

Blackadder's time travel adventures - play the game following Blackadder and his idiotic servant Baldrick ... for wittiness of the game it is highly recommended watching the special episode of Blackadder historical comedy series "Back & Forth" (

Players travel through time. They go back and forth interfering in the history (kicking Shakespeare, killing Robin Hood etc.). Their goal is to return to the present the most profitably they can. The profitability depends on world alternation (souvenirs collected, Lady Marian married, etc.). The problem is that only Baldrick (drowning in a lavatory) can recall how to return.


Board - timelined alternative realities,
Meeples - one/player,
Cards - three sets (red, blue, and yellow) of date dial cards,
Cards - a set of lavatory cards,
Dice - three D6 dice, beside numbers pair of faces are colored (red, blue, yellow),
Tiles - souvenirs and objects,
Markers - nine/player,

How to prepare

Put the board in the middle and replenish tiles onto it. Lines on board (rows) represent alternative realities. Players can travel back and forth in time or alternate the reality.

Put players' meeples at the starting spot - the present.

Shuffle all sets of cards. The date cards make a time machine's dials. Put three piles facedown in a row above the dials.

The lavatory cards are used for Blackadder's cunning plan. Shuffle the cards and randomly select three of them. Put the three cards facedown above the dials.

Select the starting player - the one who can tell the longest quote from Blackadder series.

How to travel

Players can travel through time or they can alternate their reality. After finishing the turn the next player on the left follows.

The player rolls dice. There are three dice available to roll however the player can stay with any die already available on the table and roll only the ones he wants. After rolling the player can:

a) change the dial
Use the face color of some die and change the corresponding dial - move a card from above or below face up onto the dial, the current card from the dial moves face down below or above accordingly (simulating the dial roll over).

b) execute a cunning plan
Use numbers from dice and add them up. For each six points the player can put one marker onto one selected lavatory card. After the third player's marker is put onto the card he can look at the card to know what the dial position is to be set to return from the time continuum.

c) alternate the reality
Some timelined realities on the board allow to alternate by selecting even, odd or the exact die number - move the meeple appropriately.

d) discard
Discard some die by putting it to the side.

All used dice are moved to one side and all discarded ones to the other. The used dice should stay available for the next player while the discarded dice must be rolled.

After using dice player can travel through time moving his meeple.
To move back or forth in one timeline the dials should show appropriate symbol. The spots on board in a timeline have necessary symbols depicted next to fields (eg. moving to the Golden Age to meet Queen Elizabeth I require the dial to show at least one apple symbol).
To alternate the reality (changing the timeline) it is necessary to hold some object (eg. changing at the Shakespeare spot needs to posses the ballpoint pen, changing at the dinosaur era needs underpants, etc.).
Some timelines can be crossed by using even, odd or the exact number from a die.
There are some spots/fields where the timeline cannot be changed, where some timelines join together etc.

When a player finishes moving he can take an object from a field the meeple stays. Some objects are necessary for traveling, others can be a souvenir after returning (eg. the pair of Wellington's boots, the queen's crown etc.) Some objects are single (for the first player arriving) others are multiple.

Depending on what timeline the player have finished his journey objects have different value as a victory points (eg. finishing with Shakespeare signed draft is worth points or nothing whether the Shakespeare had been kicked or not).

How to return

Anyone can claim the end of the adventure if he knows the dials target. The lavatory cards are displayed and compared. If the dials miss the calling player receives negative points penalty.

Who wins

Victory points depend on the souvenir grabbed and the timeline reality player finished. After adding up VPs the player subtracts the number of fields his meeple stays from the present. The winner is the player with the most VPs. In case of a draw the player closer to the present or with more souvenir collected is a winner.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #7 - Reset Button

By Isaiah Tanenbaum (ilta)

NOTE: Word limit exceeded (1440 words + text on the image).

2-4 players, ages 10+, 45 minutes

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Remember that awesome movie, Groundhog Day? Bill Murray keeps reliving the same day over and over again, until he realizes he can harness his time loop to catch kids falling out of trees, kick ass at the piano, and sleep with – er, confess his love for – Andie MacDowell. This game is kind of like that. Whether by technology, mysticism, or simply divine fiat, the players have found themselves reliving the same day, each time trying to live it a little better than the last time. The player who fills his day best, wins! The others may be condemned to repeat it, forever...


Collect events and skills and use them to efficiently generate Victory Points; either reach 48 in one day, or have the most when a player fills all 24 spaces on his board.


Reset example

  • 1 Main Board, with spaces marked at hourly intervals to form a 24-hour clock. The 6am space is labeled “Wake Up” and lists what to do when reaching that spot during the game (see “Resetting,” below).
  • 4 colored Player Boards, similar to the Main Board but with the addition of tracks for Fatigue (0-12), Money ($0-$2400, in $100-increments), and Skills / Victory Points (0-48).
  • A deck of 150 Event Cards, divided into three 50-card decks: morning, afternoon, and night. Each card is double-sided, reflecting a choice the player might make, sometimes simply between interfering and letting the event happen “as it would,” but sometimes between two ways of participating in an event. Various prerequisites (blue), costs (red), results (green), and Victory Points (purple) are indicated. See the example diagram.
  • 3 deck boxes, one for each deck (for storage, and so that they may be drawn from blindly)
  • A variety of chits with clear iconography representing skills or knowledge (examples: driving, piano, language, mystery diagnosis, first aid).
  • 4 player pawns, plus 12 player markers (three per color)
  • 2 d6, one labeled 0-1-1-2-2-3 and the other 1-1-1-2-2-2


  1. Each player takes a pawn, corresponding Player Board, and corresponding player markers, placing their makers on their Player Boards as follows: 10 Fatigue, $400, and 0 Victory Points.
  2. Shuffle and deal out cards from each deck to the appropriate section of the Main Board: morning (7am to 1pm), afternoon (2pm-9pm), and night (10pm-5am). Do not place a card on the 6am “Wake Up” space. Keep remaining cards in their deck boxes, close at hand.
  3. Place the pawns on the 6am “Wake Up” space of the Main Board.
  4. The player whose birthday was most recent goes first; play proceeds clockwise.


The active player rolls the dice, moving his pawn that many hours (spaces) forward. Any events already on his Player Board are performed as he passes those spaces on the Main Board, taking into account their costs (if any) and results (if any). Empty hours on the Player Board are ignored.

The active player then lands on an event card on the Main Board. If he has no event card for that hour on his Player Board, he may take the card from the Main Board and place it on his Player Board, either side up, on its corresponding hour. Note that some event actions have prerequisites; doing the action on that side of the card requires a certain skill or condition be met. He pays the fatigue or monetary costs (if any) immediately, and effects the results (if any) immediately thereafter. Results might be monetary gains, restore fatigue, or they may earn the player a skill chit. In this last case, he takes the chit and places it on his Skill / VP track, moving the VP marker one to the right, but only if he doesn’t already have that skill chit (skills may only be acquired once and are effectively worth 1 permanent VP each). Some results are by no means beneficial, and may land the player in jail, or even kill him! Finally, Victory Points (if any) are awarded.

The active player must then draw a card from the appropriate deck and place it on the Main Board in the hour just vacated, thus ending his turn (in the event that there are no more event cards left in the appropriate deck box, shuffle the corresponding discard pile and place it in the deck box).

For instance, Bob lands on the 11pm space, which holds the “Jazz Festival” card. He would love to use the “Perform” action, but since he hasn’t yet learned piano or double-bass, he cannot, and must “Volunteer Backstage” instead, which is both more tiring and less lucrative. He places the card on the 11pm space on his Player Board, moves his Fatigue marker 2 spaces towards 0, moves his VP marker 1 space up, and draws a new “night” card for the 11pm space on the Main Board.

Note: During the first “day” (before all players have had a chance to Reset), all moves will be like this.

Switching Events

If the active player already has an event for that hour, he has a choice. He may switch that event with the event on the Main Board, OR he may flip his event over, using its other side, keeping in mind any prerequisites and costs. In either case, he must take an action for his turn.

Example: Later in the game, Bob lands on the 11pm space again, having already acquired the “piano” skill through another event. Instead of taking the card on the Main Board, Bob flips the Jazz Festival on his Player Board over; he is now performing in it! He moves his Fatigue marker 1 space towards 0, his Money marker $100 up, and his VP marker 4 up. Groovy!

Stealing an Event

For all days EXCEPT THE FIRST, if another player pawn is on that space and he has an event card for that hour, the active player may “steal” that player’s event card, taking it and placing it on his own board, either side up, instead of taking the card on the Main Board. If the active player already had an event for that hour, it is given to the player whose event was stolen; that player may choose which side to use, but does not alter his Money, Fatigue, or Skills / VP tracks until he next passes or lands on that event on his turn. He may also choose to discard the card, leaving that hour blank on his Player Board.

Exhaustion, Going Broke, Getting Busted, Dying, etc.

If a player finds himself with 0 Fatigue or $0, he is exhausted or broke and his day immediately ends, BEFORE results, VP, or skill chits are awarded. Likewise, some actions (“Cliffside Joyride”) end in the player’s death or capture by police. In any of these cases, he must go immediately to the 6am slot and follow all the rules of Resetting, below.


If one of the above conditions is met, or if a player’s roll would take him onto or past 6am, he must Reset. He pawn is placed on the “Wake Up” space (6am) – even if the roll would have taken him past this space – and he places his Fatigue marker at 10 and his Money marker at $400. However, the player keeps any skill chits he has earned, and places his VP marker on the next available space on the Skills / VP track.

Finally, the player may flip OR discard one event card on his Player Board, vowing to do things a little differently this time around. He must currently possess any skill chits indicated as prerequisites; having an as-yet-unattended piano lesson at 3pm will not prepare him to perform in the Jazz Fest at 11pm, but since the day is repeated infinitely, one attended lesson is as good as a thousand.

He then immediately rolls the dice and begins a new turn.

Game End and Winning

  1. The game ends immediately if a player reaches 48 Victory Points, in which case he is declared the winner.
  2. Or the game ends when a player fills every available space on his Player Board (6am is considered “filled” at the beginning of the game). If this occurs, all players immediately complete their days as currently marked on their player boards, taking into account the possibility of their days ending early through exhaustion, jail, etc (see above). Whoever has the most VP wins - don't forget skills! Ties are resolved by who has the most money, then by who has the most fatigue.
seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #8 - Time Vortex

by Mitchell Allen

Here is a memory game that requires backward recall!
Will you be greedy and race past your opponent?
Or will you take baby steps backwards, inching toward freedom?
The choice is yours, in ...

The Time Vortex

Objective: Be the first player to escape the time vortex by correctly reciting an ever-growing list of cards – in reverse.


Time Vortex Board
One red pawn, one blue pawn
One six-sided die
One poker deck, with the jokers removed
Time Vortex Board

Set up


The red player has to travel 15 spaces to escape the vortex, while the blue player only has to travel 11 spaces.
Therefore, the youngest player takes the blue pawn. Both players place their pawns on their innermost squares.
(If both players are evenly matched, the red player can immediately move four spaces along the red track.)


Shuffle the cards and place them face down on the table so that both players can easily reach them. This pile is called the stock.
Take the top card from the stock, let both players see it, then place it face down on the table to start a second pile. This new pile is called the book.

Starting a Turn

A turn has two phases: Roll and Move, and Litany. Both phases must always be completed.

Roll and Move

Player rolls the die and moves that many spaces along his colored track. If the roll takes the pawn off the board, the player has a chance to win the game in the next phase!


Player plucks the top card from the stock, shows it to the other player and then states the rank and suit aloud. Next, he places the card face up beside the book. Now, the player proceeds to recite each of the previous cards in the book. The player must follow a strict sequence:
- Recite the rank and suit of the topmost card in the book
- Reveal the topmost card in the book
- If the player correctly recalled the rank and suit, the card should be placed face up on top of the other face up card(s)
- Player moves his pawn one space away from the innermost space, following the track. If the pawn moves off the board, player wins!
- Player may repeat the Litany Phase or end his turn (see Ending a Turn)
- If player incorrectly recalled the rank and suit, the card is returned to the top of the book
- Player rolls the die and moves his pawn closer to the innermost space, following the track. If player is only one space from the innermost space, the penalty roll equals one.
- The player's turn is over.

Ending a Turn

The face up cards are returned to the book, face down (taking care to preserve the order of oldest card at the bottom)


Once a player has rolled and moved, he is obligated to perform the Litany at least once, even if the pawn is already off the board.
There is no special reason to use the board shown. Any board with two tracks can be used. In fact, to allow more players, just add more tracks!
For really young players, remove three of the suits, or change the Litany to rank or suit only.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #9 - Stitches in Time

by Rick Holzgrafe

The Fall of the Incan Empire, the burning of the Library of Alexandria, the Sack of Rome: historical catastrophes that destroyed many of humanity's greatest cultural artifacts. Fortunately, the invention of the Time Sling offers a chance to retroactively save these priceless relics!

Each player heads a team of Anachronauts. Players roll dice to "sling" forward or backward in time along the TimeLine track. Reach the moment of a disaster, survive any Hazards at that spot, collect any Treasures remaining there, and return them to the present day to score their value in Victory Points. The most valuable treasures are in the distant past, but these are also the most dangerous eras to visit: you may lose treasures, team members, or equipment. Future eras can provide team members and equipment to enhance your capabilities. Teams may even trade or steal treasures from each other!


  • The TimeLine
  • Player Mats: one per player
  • Team Pawns: one per player
  • Treasures
  • Team Members
  • Equipment
  • Dice: 2d6

The TimeLine is a track that shows history, from the past into the future. Each space on the track represents a dated "moment" in time. Some moments are Catastrophes from which treasures may be rescued. Some are merely hazardous. Moments in the future offer team members and equipment with advanced abilities.

Player Mats have an area to keep treasure that is being Carried, an area for treasure that has been Safely Returned to the Present, and areas for equipment and team members.

Treasures are tiles showing a Catastrophe, a Type (e.g. Document, Tool, Artwork), and a Victory Point value.

Team Member and Equipment tiles grant extra abilities. These include: finding more valuable treasure, carrying more treasure, adjusting the outcome of dice rolls, resistance to Hazards, ability to steal from other players, etc.


Place the Treasures on their matching Catastrophe space on the TimeLine. Place the Team Members and Equipment on future moments as shown on the tiles.

Give the players their player mats, and place their pawns on the starting space on the TimeLine (2100 CE).

Choose a start player. Turns go clockwise.


Time Sling! On your turn, roll one or two dice and move your team that many moments either forward or backward along the TimeLine. Then take actions according to the moment you land on.

About Rolling Dice

In general, any time you must roll dice, possessing appropriate Equipment and Team Members may allow you to adjust the results of the roll.

For the Time Sling specifically, you may roll only one die unless you have team members or equipment that allow you to roll two. If you then choose to roll two dice, your ability to adjust the results is diminished. (The farther you go, the less contr ol you have.)

Hazards and Catastrophes

If you land on a Hazard or Catastrophe, follow instructions there. You may lose equipment, treasure, or team members. In some cases you will roll dice to determine results.


After dealing with any hazard, you may attempt to rescue one or more treasures (move them from the TimeLine to the Carried area on your player mat). How many you can rescue, which ones you get, and how many you can carry, all depend on your equipment and team members.


Team Members and Equipment can be acquired at designated Future Moments. Some must be purchased by turning in a Carried Treasure of a particular type or value.

Loose Treasure

Sometimes a team may choose or be forced to drop a Carried Treasure. Dropped Treasure remains at its current location and may be picked up by any later team who visits that location.

The Present

At the Present, you may transfer Treasures from the Carried area of your mat to the Safely Returned area, or vice-versa.

Other Teams

If you land on a spot occupied by another team, you may offer to trade Team Members, Equipment, and/or Carried Treasure, or you may attempt to steal Treasure from them. Your ability to successfully steal (and their ability to resist) may be improved by certain team members and/or equipment.

End of game

The game end is triggered when some number of Catastrophes have been completely emptied of Treasure. Play continues for two more rounds to give all teams a chance to Safely Return any Carried Treasures.

Players then add the values of all of their Safely Returned Treasures. Bonuses are given for specialization by Treasure Type: for example, the more Documents you collect, the more bonus points you get. The player with the highest total is the winner.

seo's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Contest closed. Winner announced

Congratulations to InvisibleJon and his entry "Duplicity", which was voted the best response to this month's Challenge. The Challenge was entitled "Back in time: roll-and-move", and was looking for games about going back in time with strategically meaningful roll-and-move mechanics.

You can get all of the details on the Challenge Thread.

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