Tag Archives: time travel

Tragedy Looper – A Written Review



Designer:            BakaFire

Publisher:           Z-man Games (2014)


I distinctly remember the first time I saw a Terry Gilliam movie as a child as I was equally horrified and enamored. I was left feeling awed, intrigued, and slightly disturbed.  Tragedy Looper mimics that experience perfectly; it’s one of the most unique and evocative designs to hit the market in years.  Just like those six dwarves and their time hole map, I can’t get Tragedy Looper out of my skull and the hours of lost sleep are starting to pile up.

In a general sense, the only real comparison I can attempt to make when discussing this game is to liken it to Zendo having its way with Two Rooms and a Boom producing a disturbed illegitimate anime child. The central idea is that the Mastermind has a puzzle that the rest of the players are trying to figure out by poking and prodding with care and deliberation.  It’s a one versus many game in the same vein as Descent, but this is all about deduction.  The plot is Groundhog Day meets Final Destination, although the acting isn’t quite up to Bill Murray standards and the plot is a little more thought provoking than incorporeal death seeking out a group of teenagers.

The players are time travelers and will be trying to prevent tragedies from occurring. If they can survive a Loop (extended segment of game time) without a member dying or one of their scenario loss conditions triggering, they win.  The Mastermind is the “bad guy” who wants to feast his eyes upon the sorrow and pain of the masses lapping up their salty tears with a wide grin.  Guess which position I gravitated toward?  No contest.



A plethora of characters for the Mastermind to torment.

Each session of Tragedy Looper consists of playing a scenario. The base game comes with ten scenarios that are broken down into two intro entries and eight basic.  The downside is that you can only participate in a scenario as a Protagonist if you’ve never played it before as otherwise you will know the active Plots and Roles which you must discover as your primary goal.  You can, however, play as the Mastermind repeatedly for a given scenario which provides for a degree of replayability if you can get the game in front of multiple groups.  Because replayability as Protagonists is naturally limited by the mechanics, this release puts a strong emphasis on creating your own content and dedicates quite a few pages to instructing you how to do so.  I’d place good money on user created scenarios popping up in short order on the web as this game will take off.

So each of these scenarios has an active Plot, two Sub-Plots, and several Roles dictated by the above. All of this is hidden from the players, although they have a reference sheet which lists the possibilities of each.  Plots/Sub-Plots/Roles all dictate the ways in which the players lose, causing them to have to abort the loop and re-set the game to its beginning state as they travel back in time.  Players are given a finite number of Loops to work their way through the puzzle and if they can survive just one time – they win.

The play-space consists of four small mounted boards that make up the locations of the Shrine, Hospital, School, and City. Each of these locations may have different characters such as the Girl Student, The Shrine Maiden, The Police Officer, etc.  These characters and locations are what both the Mastermind and Protagonists will be manipulating.  The Mastermind will use hidden Roles associated with some of the characters to cause the players to lose.  The Protagonists will manipulate characters special abilities as well as deciphering the moves the Mastermind makes in order to narrow down what characters have what Role.  Manipulating these characters is done via card-play, as each player simultaneously places a card face down on a character or location while the Mastermind places three.  You’re trying to move characters to locations or place resources on them to trigger events or unlock abilities.



The four locations that comprise the board.


Tragedy Looper’s core rules are actually pretty simple. You can tear through the rulebook and have a good understanding of how to play the game in short order.  However, the actual emergent qualities of deducing, playing well, and ultimately achieving victory are quite obtuse for a beginner due to the odd-ball nature of the game and its lack of reference to any other flagship mechanisms in the hobby.  With that being said, taking on the position of a Protagonist is relatively easy once you have a turn or two under your belt and understand how things interact and strategy intersects with mechanics.  Tackling the Mastermind is an altogether different story as my first couple games I had an astoundingly difficult time juggling teaching, facilitating, and playing to win all at once.  This isn’t Descent or Mansions of Madness where you’re employing tools to attack or slow down the players and tactics are relatively straight-forward.  No, you must take an active-hand in attempting to conceal your roles and work to end the Loop without giving away too much information.  Not playing well can drastically alter the game as the players can easily swoop in and glean far too much from a single loop.

The quality of the experience is directly tied to a competent Mastermind in this regard. The main requirement will be familiarity with the hidden roles and how they interact with each other.  The first couple of times you play will be clumsy and awkward like a teenager fumbling with the clasps on his first bra in a failing effort to exude cool.  Experience will quickly provide an adequate remedy and after the two learning scripts you should be well on your way to providing an enthralling and challenging affront to the rest of the table.



The Mastermind plays a card on the Boy Student and on the School location.


Once you overcome the rough introduction and cut your way through the tepid jungle you will discover that Tragedy Looper is one of the most interesting designs to hit the industry in years. The first part of the game is like an avalanche of “AHA!” moments as you gather information based on the Mastermind’s moves and you feel like you’re working your way through this maze desperately making headway.  The second half occurs once you’ve discovered a large portion of the hidden information and you’re in full prevention mode, trying to keep the Mastermind from closing the loop typically by killing off important characters.  At this point you’re tearing down the walls and making your escape in full flight, no longer stuck in the quagmire of indecision and subterfuge.

This reciprocal information gathering giving way to a clever battle of wits as you try to bluff and deftly maneuver with clever card play is immensely satisfying. The Mastermind cannot take things easy and is always on his toes, trying to prep the scene for an oncoming tragedy and push the world an inch closer towards ruin.  The Protagonists will not yield that inch and you become locked in a battle of will.  You will quickly approach the end of the scenario and the tension will ramp up as each action is amplified and focused upon.

All of this works because the payoff at conclusion is astronomical. A successful Mastermind will feel proud of his ability to misdirect and intelligently utilize characters to achieve what he wants in non-obvious and sometimes devious ways.  Protagonists will be hit with this tidal wave sense of accomplishment due to properly untangling the threads forming the structure of the tragedy.  The game has this uncanny knack for eliciting clever play and slamming a high five into your open palm in congratulation.  Tragedy Looper wants you to find your way and it will be waiting there at the finish line to celebrate.

This is a strange and compelling game that needs to be recognized. If you can break through the wall and become familiar with the inner workings, this thing sings like a turbo-charged V8 drinking NOS.  I’ve thought about Tragedy Looper every single day since my first play and it’s eating away at my conscious like a parasite wreaking havoc.  Snuff out your curiosity, grab this before it goes out of print, and have your mind blown like the first time you saw Kevin terrified as those strange dwarves pushed through his bedroom wall.

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User Review:
Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)

Critical Review – Legacy Gears of Time


Legacy Gears of Time

Time travel; we all wish for it!  We’d all secretly love to be Marty Mcfly, zipping through time in our supped-up Delorean, changing the future as we know it. Paradoxes be damned, some of us could live with knowing that reaping millions on a long shot bet could outweigh the utter collapse of the universe itself.

Snarkiness aside, time is becoming popular in games.  From Evil Baby Orphanage and travelling back in time to rehabilitate brats to the creative use of time as a resource in games in like Tzol’kin the Mayan Calendar, lately, it seems everyone is finding a way to make the intangible a resource.

This week’s Critical Review, Legacy: Gears of Time, does just that; it uses time as it’s primary resource, and puts you in charge of what you have always dreamed about… going back in time, making something cool, and reaping the rewards from it!


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User Review:
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Evil Baby Orphanage (Video Review) & Give Away!

Evil O

Evil Baby Orphanage is a communal deck party card game for three or more players. Each player takes on the role of a Time Nanny using advanced time out technology to rid the time stream of the world’s worst villains and “prehabilitate” them to be accountants, or ballerinas, or something.

The game consists of two decks; the baby deck and the nanny deck. During your turn play nanny cards from your hand to “adopt” babies from your friends, keep your babies in check, and make your opponent’s babies go nuts. Then each of your babies takes its “unsupervised actions” unless you can calm them down with toys or nap time. Finally, adopt an evil baby from the time stream (three face up babies from the baby deck), draw more nanny cards, and end your turn.

Start your turn with ten mischief and win the game, but be careful, containing the world’s most mischievous babies isn’t easy! Keep your babies from burning down your orphanage as you try to keep the Unabomber away from the arts and crafts table, Kim Jong Il away from the toy rocket ship, and Caligula away from everyone…

The Give Away!

We here at 2D6 know that the world needs supplementary fortification from these malevolent babies, and it was our mission to drive off any more teething troubles that evil babies can wreak on this unprepared planet. We decided to amply address any evil baby concerns, and hold assumed babies accountable for their wicked deeds!  To do this, we are giving away three copies of the game “Evil Baby Orphanage”.  By cribbing these babies and keeping them from crawling the streets, we know the world can be safe place again. If you would like your chance to win a free Copy of “Evil Baby Orphanage”; then stop by our Face Book Page and halt the progress of evil babies sullying all God’s creations! Contest ends March 10th, 2013.

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Time Agent (Video Review)


 In Time Agent, each player plays a different race who are going back through time and re-writing history to ensure that their race comes out on top. Or rather, that their race was always on top. Anyway, each race is different, but races have some natural alliances and enemies.

~ Prisim Games




DAR (wrap and review in third video)


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Chrononauts (Video Review)




The Card Game of Time Travel

What would YOU do with a Time Machine? Would you stop the sinking of the Titanic? Prevent the assassination of JFK? Kill Hitler before WWII? These are just a few of the possibilities in Chrononauts, the award-winning card game of time travel. To win, you must change history at key points called Linchpins, so that history transforms into the Alternate Reality your character calls home. You can also win by collecting a specific set of Artifacts, such as a live dinosaur, the Mona Lisa, and an unpublished Shakespearean play. But be careful – if you create too many paradoxes, you could destroy the entire universe!

How To Play

In this game, you are a Time Traveler, with a Secret Mission, a Secret Identity, and a very important job to do: Paradox Repair. You can win by fixing enough Paradoxes, gathering up the three rare and amazing Artifacts listed on your Mission card, or adjusting history in the three ways necessary to allow your character to return to the alternate reality from which he or she originally came. The constant changing of history is tracked by a special layout of 32 cards, called the TimeLine, which functions rather like a gameboard. The three ways to win provide for several different plotlines and layers of action, but you can also split the game up into two less complicated games: Solonauts (The Solitaire Game of Changing History) and Artifaxx (The Fluxx-style Game of Collecting Amazing Stuff).

~ Looney Labs







Review (as it is) contained within the wrap in the playthrough vid.