A to Z Gaming: Star Trek Chrono-Trek

We messed around with the Star Trek timeline in Star Trek Chrono-Trek, the next game in our A to Z game-shelf play-through.

Basic Info:

Star Trek Chrono-Trek
Players: 2-6
Time: 15-45 Minutes
Designer: Andrew Looney
Artist: Kevin Hill
Publisher: Looney Labs

In Star-Trek Chrono-Trek each player takes on a secret identity from the Star Trek universe with a desire to put the timeline back to the one they know and/or a mission to collect specific artifacts. Whoever can do that first during their turn wins. Alternately, everyone can lose the game (except Q) if the Devron anomaly reaches Earth.

A game of Chrono-Trek set up on the table

The game very similar to Chrononauts and Early American Chrononauts with a few differences, which I’ll note in my descriptions below.

The game begins with the timeline cards on the board representing Star Trek history we all know it. Most of those cards are either “Linchpins” or “Ripplepoints.” The Linchpins are events that can be reversed (using Inverter cards) which cause other changes through the timeline, creating alternate versions of selected Ripplepoints. Ripplepoints can also be “patched” with Fractures, which represent even further deviations from the normal timeline.

Each player has a hand of cards. On their turn they will draw one card, then play one card. If the card played is a Fracture, then that player gets to draw and keep an additional card. The other cards include Artifacts, Actions, Power Actions, Events and Assignments.

The Artifact cards are objects that can be collected from the past and future. Actions and Power Actions change the game play in certain ways, like stealing things, rearranging player’s hands, or searching the deck for a card. Assignments give a player ways to get more cards, either from simply playing it, or playing it while having the Artifacts listed on the card (to get even more cards).

Events must be played immediately when drawn, and the player gets to draw a replacement after resolving it. These typically advance the Devron Anomaly.

A player can only win during their own turn. If they have the right combination of things listed on their ID card, they’ll win, as long as there are also no fractures in the timeline before the times listed on their ID (unless explicitly required by the ID). If the Devron Anomaly reaches 3.5 billion years ago, everyone except Q loses.

The win conditions are slightly different in Chrono-Trek than in the other two versions of Chrononauts. In those versions, players have both a secret identity who wants the timeline in a certain configuration and a mission card to collect artifacts — fulfilling either of those wins you the game. In addition, in the other versions you can win the game by having 10 cards in your hand at the end of your turn — that’s not the case in Chrono-Trek. The lose condition of 13 paradoxes is replaced by the Devron Anomaly.

Like Chrononauts, this is a small box card game that is fun to pull out. I used to joke that I knew Star Trek history better than US history, but after laying out the timeline and looking at the events, that’s clearly not true!

I love the puzzly aspect of the game. And I like that it’s a lot easier here to get more cards in your hand than in the base Chrononauts — it gives you more choices on you rturn and lets you tune your strategy a bit more. Of course, there is still a lot of luck about how the timeline changes and the cards you draw from the deck. However, I felt like there was a good mix of cards in the deck so that I was getting Actions that could let me mitigate the luck.

How is it as a 2-player game?  Like Chrononauts, Chrono-Trek is just okay as a 2-player game — it is much better when there are more players messing with the timeline.

How about the art and component quality?  I like the stylized art, which gives it more character than if they used screen captures from the various series. The iconography on the tmeline cards helps with identifying which Linchpins and Ripplepoints are connected to which events.

Will this stay in my collection?  For now, yes. I enjoy this game, though it doesn’t come out super often. On the other hand, its a small game and easy to keep on the shelf.

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