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Review | Timeline

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

It’s four weeks into the seven week long (long being the key word there) Summer school holiday. As I’ve probably mentioned before, holiday clubs are an enormous rip-off, not to mention that the boys would cause an actual mutiny against the unwitting supervisors. So, we decided a home-holiday would be better, with me (Daddy) working on freelance projects in the dining room while the boys play/squabble/kick a ball out on the village green under my occasional supervision.

Naturally we’ve exhausted every last free and cheap activity within a 50 mile radius. We’ve also looked closer to home for entertainment; we’ve washed the cars, cleaned the windows, camped out in the garden, baked a banana loaf (burnt banana brick would be a more appropriate description), made greetings cards and watched Honey I Shrunk The Kids and Hairspray in one sitting.

Needless to say, wholesome activities only seem to hold our attention for a limited amount of time and we’ve almost run out of ideas. I don’t want to resort to the tablet and phones just yet at the risk of the boys’ benchmark of fun getting too high.

Anyway, just as the inevitable dreary boredom of week four set in, we were rescued by the arrival of a parcel from the marvellous Esdevium Blogger Board Game Club (you can find out more about them by clicking on the photograph below). Lyall opened the parcel frantically to reveal a new game… Timeline, British History. This should keep us busy for a few hours!

Timeline British History arrives in a chunky square tin with an embossed colourful lid. It’s a convenient size for storage on a bookcase, good quality, very appealing design.

Inside is an instructions booklet and 110 cards in two neat piles. The cards are thick and robust with a matt, textured finish. The nostalgic artwork reminds me a little of Penguin books illustrations from my childhood and within minutes of opening the game for the first time both the boys were studying the cards’ illustrations and sorting through them enthusiastically. A marvellous first impression! Tom mentioned that its presentation was very solid and it should retail at around £25.

A brief outline about how the game works… Every card features an historic (don’t you love how ‘historic’ deserves an ‘an’?) event on one side, and its respective year on the other side. The year side is kept out of sight.

Each player receives four cards, year-side down and the remaining pile of cards is placed in the middle of the table. The top card from the pile is flipped over with its year on show and placed on the table to start the timeline.

During the game, in a fashion a little like an historic Bruce’s Play Your Cards Right, each player takes turns to place one of their cards either higher or lower than the cards on the table. Naturally I found it compulsory to add some extraordinary Bruce Forsyth impressions during the game which were completely lost on the boys (where is a rolling eyes emoji when I need one?).

So as an example, if the first card on the table is ‘The Building of Hadrian’s Wall Begins’ in AD.122, and the player’s card is ‘The First Motorway is Completed’, they would presumably (unless they were ridiculously naive) place the card to the right of Hadrian’s Wall, to the accompaniment of my fantastic, uncanny Bruce Forsyth saying “higher, higher or lower, lower my love?”. The next player would then decide where one of their cards fits in.

Players continue to take turns and eventually the dining table boasts an impressively long timeline of events (with Tom and I giggling childishly every time one of the boys points out ‘It’s getting really big now Dad’).

The length of the timeline can present a minor issue, not only in the running out of space on the table, but also in making a gap for a card in the middle of the timeline, which requires that an impatient/untidy eight year old move about twenty cards up a notch to make space. After a bit of practice, we found it better to create a kind of snaking bendy timeline, allowing more space between cards and more room for a nice lengthy line of cards.

Each time a card is incorrectly placed in the timeline, the player takes a new card from the pile and the winner is the first player to correctly play their last remaining card. We all agreed that the resulting humongous timeline of about 40 cards was most satisfying and felt like a great achievement. The game took between 10 and 15 minutes, but we tend to do a best of five.

The events on some of the cards are rather obscure, which actually levels the playing field, so-to-speak as adults and children alike have to guess based on the style of the illustrations on the cards. As we played the game a few times, we found that some of the more obscure cards became familiar.

Here’s the boys’ review video! Enjoy and please subscribe for more reviews and general fun and games from the boys.

  • Retail price: £13.99

  • Purchase Timeline British History from Amazon here

So, marks out of 10…


Dad – 10/10 Daddy – 9/10 Lyall – 9/10 Richard – 8/10


Dad – 10/10 Daddy – 10/10 Lyall – 9/10 Richard – 5/10 (only because he lost every time, otherwise it would have been a certain 10/10)

Value for money:

Dad – 10/10 Daddy – 10/10 Lyall – 10/10 Richard – No idea

Overall: 10/10

Oh by the way, Timeline British History was provided free of charge by the Esdevium Blogger Board Game Club in return for our impartial, candid review.

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