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Review: The board game That Time You Killed Me combines chess with time travel

Back when we could often just casually visit other people at their homes, I would sometimes come across a nice little chess set on a table or on a shelf. It will always be covered with dust, like a poorly preserved artifact in a rundown local historical society museum. That time you killed me is a brand new board game with an engaging narrative that’s worth putting on the board and playing year-round. My only main complaint is that I wish it was made a little more elegantly.

Designed by Peter C. Hayward and published by Game Pandasaurus, a $49.99 abstract strategy game that pits two time travelers against each other in a mortal battle through the past, present, and future. The timeline is represented by three different game boards and a collection of white and black pawns. During their turn, each player focuses on one moment, moving their pawns back and forth or back and forth in the timeline. As a result, they can make additional copies of themselves.

Garish art, reminiscent of broken glass, covers some of the game's boxes. Inside are pieces of plastic and cards with new rules.

New variants are included inside a snap-on case.
Photo: Pandasaurus Games

Once you’ve cloned yourself, you can team up against your opponent to squeeze their pawns against the edges of the board, thus knocking them out of the game. Remember that if you are pushed into a copy of yourself, the paradox is created that destroys both copies at the same time. The result is a fast and furious game of cat and mouse that takes place in as little as 15 to 30 minutes – sometimes even less. Its simple rules make it easy to roll back without having to refresh yourself with the rulebook. It’s just something to put on the table or rack, playing rounds with friends or partners throughout the day.

But the scenario I just described is just one of the four main variations that you’ll unlock as you progress through the game. All alternatives are sealed inside a small box, each containing new plastic miniatures, card envelopes, and more. That time you killed me not one legacy game but it uses the same kind of speed to slowly add complexity over multiple plays.

On top of that, the climax of the (predictable) narrative spirals spirals out of control, vastly expanding the playback potential by combining rules from all the different variations included in the box. and even more added at the top. It all makes for one of the most complex two-player games I’ve played in a long time. There are some pacing issues, mind you: Things don’t really start mechanically until the fourth or fifth playthrough, but a quick jump to the second and third set of secret ingredients is an easy way to get over that particular sharp edge.

The problem, however, is that all the bits feel a bit cheap. The pawns themselves are heavy and prone to falling. Other components are warped and do not lie flat on the table. Also – and this is going to sound absolutely amazing, but I don’t want to spoil anything – I just can’t get these little banh mi hats on top of elephants.

Produced otherwise, I can see ordering a copy of That time you killed me somewhere in my house and give it a little bit each day. But as it stands, this is more of an add-on game – something to offer novelty among other, more substantial experiences. That’s a pity, because the text and the game itself have a lot more depth than at first glance. Here’s hoping one day a deluxe version with revised components will come out.


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That time you killed me

Prices are at the time of publication.

• 2 players, 10 years old and up

• Play time: 15-30 minutes

• Game type: Abstract strategy, murder mystery

• Genre: Competition, time travel, puzzle

• Similar games: Initiative

https://www.polygon.com/reviews/22872083/that-time-you-killed-me-board-game-review Review: The board game That Time You Killed Me combines chess with time travel

Aila Slisco

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