129 – Daniel Zayas, Tangled Timelines – The Family Gamers Podcast

Tangled Timelines

Episode 129 –
Daniel Zayas
Tangled Timelines

Daniel Zayas is well-known in boardgaming circles, especially on Facebook. We talk to him about snow and football… but then get to the real reason we’re here: his new game!

Tangled Timelines

Tangled Timelines is a card game, on Kickstarter starting January 22nd.

Tangled Timelines is a strongly thematic set-collection game. Start with a hand of 4 cards, representing different heroes, at a variety of skill levels. (Alphabetical set of fantasy characters.) Rescue other heroes by sending your heroes into the “tangled timelines”. Hope you play a strong enough hero to gain initiative and be the first to trade in your hero.

Any heroes not rescued are lost to the dimensional abyss. Heroes appear at mutliple skill levels (Apprentice, Novice, Master, Legendary).

e.g. If you play an apprentice Assassin, you’ll lose that card, but gain all other apprentice-level characters and all other Assassin characters currently in the abyss. If the next player plays an apprentice Bard, they’ll gain that apprentice Assassin that you lost.

You are playing against the other players, assuming what they are going to use against you. End game, build up a large hand and score based on largest chain (A-M) and highest-ranking 4 of a kind. This is where the scoring comes from.

“There is a set-collection scoring element, but that’s really to determine how well you played the interesting parts of the game.”

Daniel Zayas


You can play as we’ve described above, swapping cards in and out of the abyss, and it makes for a fun game, perfect to play with kids or grandparents. But that’s not all!

In the “full” version, every card has a special ability. If you win initiative, you MUST use your special ability. ie. the Assassin makes you give a card to the person with the lowest initiative. The Bard can only rescue one character from the abyss.

Special abilities mean you do a lot more analysis, deciding what’s the highest initiative you can play with a special ability that won’t hurt you. Or maybe you’ll decide you don’t want to go first, so you aren’t forced to use that ability!

Anitra compares this initiative struggle (“do I really want to go first”) to Gravwell.

Daniel recommends that any time you play Tangled Timelines with new players, to play the first round without special abilities. Don’t bog yourself down figuring out all the abilities until you understand the flow of the game.

It’s a nice quick game and Andrew looks forward to keeping this handy for those times we want to play in 20 minutes or less.

The art that has been released so far looks fantastic. There are 2 artists. Illustragus is doing the character art (diverse cast but dynamic martial arts inspired poses), and Bryce Cook is doing the rest of the graphic design. Alex Williams animated the video promo.

More about Daniel:

If you have heard of Daniel Zayas before, it’s probably because of the social media groups he manages. As his day job, he works for LongPack Games Manufacturing, helping people with manufacturing, logistics, etc. for their games (especially Kickstarter projects). The community-building he does started before that job, but has become an important part of that work.

A few of the Facebook groups Daniel manages:

Tabletop Backer Party (Formerly “Kickstarter board games”) – all about crowdfunding tabletop games. More than just Kickstarter, more than just boardgames, also includes RPGs and wargames.

Board Game Fitness Challenge – compete to lose up to 5% of your initial weigh-in each quarter, or just join in for the fun activities. Helpful, fun, and supportive community. (Daniel is one of several admins here.)

Aftermarket Tabletop – to talk about all the 3rd party accessories

Solo Board Gamers – a surprisingly large group (15,000 members!) Solo versions of games have been around for a while, (we discussed this about two years ago), but it’s become a lot more prominent in the marketing of games. Solo versions need to be as rewarding as multi-player. The people in this group will let you know – loudly – if the solo version of a game is bad. But they’ll equally praise a game that does an amazing job solo.

Back to Tangled Timelines!

Solo mode: You must play 4 cards from your hand. It can make for a rough start, but after the first round you’re basically playing a 4-player cooperative game by yourself. You’re trying to complete 10 sets of 4 as quickly as possible.

We digress to talk about solo games more. As listeners know, Anitra prefers short compact games that she can play while waiting in the car. Tangled Timelines sounds perfect for that. Daniel says he also prefers gateway games and shorter games.

Daniel and Andrew share their love for Through the Ages‘ digital version (Android, iOS)… and how they’d never want to play the tabletop version (too fiddly)

Backing Tangled Timelines

For $13 plus shipping (total $15 for US backers), you can back the game. The Kickstarter version includes 26 characters, A-Z. The non-Kickstarter version will be 52 cards (characters A-M), because N-Z will be split up and going to their individual namesakes: 13 different people in the boardgaming community, all around the world!

He hates stretch goals, and explains why. So this method gives something special to Kickstarter backers while maintaining transparency.

Please check out the Kickstarter!

Find Daniel online:

Facebook for Tangled Timelines

Facebook for the Daniel Zayas Company

Facebook for Daniel… or better yet, meet him at a board game convention! He travels to a dozen or more a year because of his work with LongPack.

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