Chrononauts Playtesting Results
Report #2

By Andrew Looney

Report #1
Report #2
Chrononauts Home

The Bottom Line

In addition to the changes discussed in the first playtest report, the first edition of Chrononauts will include:


In my last report, I said I was resisting putting in an ID swapping card because I didn't want to invoke brain-switching equipment or similar bogus technology. But I wasn't thinking fourth dimensionally! I realized this when Joan Wendland wrote "One of my favorite time travel stunts is getting at someone's ancestor to erase their existence. You could have an 'Oops! Killed your own Grandpa' card that would cause a player to draw a new ID." Good idea, Joan! So, I'm replacing one of the New Mission cards with Your Parents Never Met, which says "The player of your choice must reveal and discard his or her Identity, and draw a new one." Which means you can use it on yourself.

The other new card will replace one of the It Never Existed cards, and it's called Time Vortex. It's kind of like Discontinuity, but much more of an overall equalizer. It says "Gather up the cards from everyone's hands (not counting Missions or IDs), shuffle them up (without looking), and deal them out again, starting with yourself."


The need to slightly restrict a couple of really strong cards, notably Rewind and Quick Trip to the Future, has caused me to re-classify all restricted cards into a special category, called Timewarp. The others in this new category are Fast Forward and Memo from your Future Self. (I had considered putting Discontinuity and Time Vortex into this category, but though it makes slightly more sense in some ways, it's worse for gameplay that way.)


The new Restore History card has tested well, except that I was wrong when I decided to replace 3 of the Reverse Fate with this new card. Instead I've decided to keep the Reverse Fate count at 9 and instead cut back on the supply of the extremely limited inverters, particularly Sabotage and Halt Attack, of which I've decided to include just one each. Speaking of these cards, the card art has been adjusted (as per the suggestion someone* made) to include before and after pix of the changeable Linchpin symbols (i.e. [Symbol] --> [Symbol]').

* who was that again? I should make your name gets onto the credits list

Here's the final distribution:

The TimeLine

After due consideration, none of the years nor their primary headlines will be changed. However, many new sub-headlines have been added, and some have been re-written. Also, the Time Index will remain in row-column form, although without the label "Time Index".

Here's a list of the new/changed sub-headlines:

1917: Key reason: Sinking of Lusitania
1918': Flu kills 19 million worldwide
1929: Millionaires lose millions
1937': Device disarmed safely, but saboteur still at large ("and Disarmed" dropped from headline)
1944': Jackie Robinson wins 5 gold medals for USA
1948: First Arab-Israeli War begins
1950: Korean War begins, after USA's occupation forces are withdrawn from South Korea
1950': Withdrawal of US occupation forces from South Korea postponed (for reasons of National Security)
1969: Small Step = Giant Leap
1995: Act of terrorism destroys federal office building on anniversary of Waco siege
1995': Free clinic serves Waco and nearby Texas communities
1999: With nihilism on the rise, shooting spree is one of many

The Characters

When we got the card sheet templates from Carta Mundi, we discovered we had 2 extra cards in the TimeLine/Missions/IDs deck, completely unaccounted for. Immediately I knew what I wanted them for: extra characters. Two more characters will bring the total to 14, allowing me to add Andy, who was a very limited promo at Origins, along with an entirely new character, currently known as Mr. X. His background story is this week's new Nanofic, "Our National Security is Threatened by Zeppelins!" I'm also re-arranging the years of origin for 5 others characters: Renee, Timmy, Yitzchak, Günther, and Werner. Timmy has proven to be too hard to win with, the others are tending to be too easy. I think the new patterns will be a big improvement, both for balancing the wins and in keeping experienced players from knowing who you are as soon as you show too much interest in a particular event. Anyway, for people who like details, here are the details:

Mr. X: 1950', 1968, 1999'
Andy: 1939', 1969, 1986'
Renee: 1939 ->1917, 1933'->1948'
Timmy: 1950->1944, 1948'->1918'
Yitzchak: 1944'->1995'
Günther: 1969->1950
Werner: 1917->1991


Alison has been hard at work colorizing and refined the black and white sketches seen on the artifacts in the Beta edition, and they're looking really grand. Also, some have thought the word "Lost" should be removed from the Ark of the Covenant, but others have said they like it more the way it is... we've decided not to change it.

Sticker-based upgrade?

Last time, I posted a PDF file, which Beta edition owners could print onto sticker paper as a way of upgrading their copies of the game. There was some confusion about what kind of sticker paper to use (you need full-sheet-sized stickers (Avery #5165 for 100 sheets, or #5265 for 25) and scissors), but we didn't get much indication that people actually followed through with the upgrade. Moveover, since the latest round of changes requires 2 extra cards, an upgrade kit has become even harder to provide. Besides, we're working in color now. So unless people really beg, we're not going to bother with Beta 1.2 PDF files. Sorry!

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