Zachary Grant, 21 September 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay
For this month’s unboxing, we again need to use the Armchair Dragoon’s Wayback Machine to travel back to the misty past so we can take a gander at another game published in 1979 by Yaquinto: Time War: A Game of Time Travel and Conflict. Designed by J. Stephen Peek, Time War is not your standard hex and counter wargame. I’ll let Mr. Peek’s description speak for itself:
“Time war is a tactical level simulation of a possible future where governments, using the ability to travel into time, attempt to control the present day world by altering history to their advantage. The players assume the roles of opposing Time Bureau Chiefs and seek to use their resources on hand to gain complete control of their present day world by altering history and destroying the opposing player’s forces.” (Peek, 1)
We’ll leave the discussions about what exactly is a simulation to the Armchair Dragoons Podcast and now you have a general idea of the game’s premise. With that in mind, please remember to keep your hands and feet inside the Wayback Machine at all times, as I’m not sure how using a time machine to explore a game about time is going to turn out. No matter what happens, there’s no need to worry, I’ve packed an extra flux capacitor just in case we experience any trouble.
This is the cover art for the second printing of Time War. The box art for the first printing was just a large spiral. I like the second printing version more than the original.
click images to enlarge
The back of the box has a nice summary of how the game is played along with a list of the game contents and the game complexity level.
Inside the box
Where to start? Let’s start with the spacious tray and the two dice that came with the game. This tray is exactly the same as the one found in Marine: 2002, so lots of room for all 400 extra thick counters.
Typing of counters, let’s look at them. Time War is a game for 2-4 players, so there are four sets of counters with four different colors. There are also 12 counters with corresponding colored arrows that are used in the game. The counters are nice and thick and the images are clear and easy to read.
Next we have the Time War cards, which are akin to missions. As you see from the photo, the missions include many historical events that have occurred and events that have not, or at least, not yet. For example, there is a card for President Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 AD and then there is also a card for introducing the Mayans to making and using gunpowder in 199 AD.
Time traveling can get confusing, so the game has a system for each player to log their moves for simultaneous movement.
Here are the player aid cards with all the necessary info you need to play the game without consulting the rule book.
Time War also includes strips of paper pre-folded so you can make screens to hide your Time Bureau from the prying eyes of your opponents.
There are, in fact, two games included in this box: the normal two to four player game and then a two player abstract version. The abstract version has very simple rules on both sides of one sheet of paper. The abstract game has one player taking the role of a professor with a team of guardians who all traveled to the past and now are trying to return to their original timeline, while the second player takes command of a group of opposing time agents trying to stop and capture the professor to obtain the knowledge they gained on their trip.
The rule book for the standard game measures 8½” x 11” in landscape format and uses saddle stitch binding. The rule book is 18 pages and has a nice table of contents. There is no index. The rules are organized using a simple SPI case system and the font is tiny. I wish someone would go back in time and tell the folks at Yaquinto to make the text just a wee bit larger.
Finally, the map is unlike most wargame maps you’ve ever seen. Each player’s Time Bureau is in a corner and a large circle represents all the different time eras. You definitely don’t want to get stuck near the center of the map on the L era, those dinosaurs don’t look very friendly.
That concludes our trip back to 1979. Please remember to collect all your belongings as you exit the ACD’s Wayback Machine. Be sure to stop by in October to see what gaming goodness we have to share with you all, or if you have your own time machine, let us know what’s on tap for next month in the forums.
Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed a look under our hoods! You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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In the world of wargames, a delight,
Unboxing is quite a grand sight.
With bated breath, we tear,
Through the packaging, we swear,
To unveil the fierce battles we’ll fight!
The miniatures gleam, so precise,
As we open the box, oh so nice.
With rulebooks in hand,
We’ll conquer the land,
In epic battles of strategy and fights!