Learn about history while playing Timeline

History has always been a bit of an issue with me, I'm a bit rubbish when it comes to remembering historical dates. What year did Tony Blair become Prime Minister? I have no idea - I think it was 1997? When did the last public hanging happen in the UK? Don't know. But with this new board game, Timeline, I soon might.

About Timeline

Timeline is basically a card game, you're given a selection of cards and, without looking at the back of them, you're supposed to work out where in the timeline your cards fit.

  • Gameplay is fast, easy-to-learn, and deceptively entertaining. The vintage style tin contains 110 British History themed  cards, all of which can be combined with other Timeline sets to make the game more challenging.

  • Each turn, place one card where you think it goes in the timeline before turning it over to see if you are right. There is only one goal - correctly play all of your cards!

Timeline is suitable for 2 - 8 players aged 8+.

At the start of the game you are given four cards, and you're meant to play them all correctly to win the game. Not so difficult right? 

Well you might be surprised.

How to play

As I said you're given four cards and you're not allowed to turn them over. A card is set in the middle of the play area and turned over. For example the card might say "Florence Nightingale is born" and the year which would be 1820. This card sits in the middle of the play area and on your turn you guess where one of your cards fits into the timeline. So if your card said "Edward the Confessor is Crowned" where would you put it - to the left of 1820 would mean it was before then, to the right would be after. So where would you put that card?

Get it right and you're down to 3 cards, get it wrong and you're given a new card from the pack so you still have 4 cards.

Play goes around your circle until someone gets rid of all their cards.

What happened when we played Timeline

To begin with I didn't think we'd enjoy this game, it's not the kind of thing we would usually play. It's a simple card game. But the interesting thing about Timeline is that you're learning while playing.

The four of us played Timeline while sitting at our dining table; me, the Hubby, LP (8yrs old), and BP (13yrs old). It started out well, we were given our cards and as I looked at my selection my heart sank. I had no idea when my things happened, even when compared to the card in the middle of the play area. Luckily I wasn't going first.

Timeline play always starts with the youngest player - great for LP. He soon realised though that he was at a disadvantage because he didn't know much about history. It quickly turned into a sulk that lasted quite a while. The more anyone else got a card right and cheered the more LP sulked. Timeline says it's meant for players aged 8+ and I think I agree with that, it's not really about knowing history it's about guessing when things could have happened. The Hubby and I could have a more educated guess when playing but LP did play a few good cards.

BP had a little sulk but once he'd had a few tries and got a little better at guessing he cheered up.

The thing I noticed most about playing Timeline was how surprised I was when some of the cards were turned over. Making an educated guess is only possible if you're somewhat educated! In the end though my guesses turned out well and I won our first game! Go me. 

After we finished the game the boys wanted to play again, despite the sulking. We played 3 games of Timeline in all, I won twice and the Hubby won once. By the end LP was very sulky but next time we play we'll probably let him have less cards.

Would we recommend Timeline?


Timeline, while a history game, is super fun. It doesn't make you feel stupid but it is great when you guess correctly and get rid of one of your cards. For younger players the guessing is truly a guess which means if they win a game it's even better. Sometimes it's easy to know where your cards go, others not so much, but it's fun and that's the main thing. 

I think you could also give a handicap to the younger players, giving them less cards than other players. 

Timeline would make a great family game to play during the Christmas break, it even has extra packs you can buy to add to the British History pack, perhaps break it out after you've had Christmas lunch and want to chill out.

You can purchase Timeline for £13.99.

Do you have a favourite board game that helps your family learn?

I was sent Timeline for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.