Time Division – Does Time Only Flow In One Direction?

Time Division
Time Division - a card game

Many of us grew up on books or movies about time travel. If you are anything like me you’ve thought about what you would do and where or when you would go if you had a time machine. Time travel can be messy, just ask Marty McFly…

In Time Division players take on the role of agents at two competing time agencies that don’t see eye to eye on how to best approach that mess. One player represents The Black Watch whose agents are wolves that serve from the shadows. The other represents The Golden Hourglass whose agents are Lions that consider themselves shepherds of the timeline.

Time Division is a game by Alexander Schreiber, published by Heidelbär. It’s for two players, ages 12 and up.

Set Up

Time Division can be played in three eras. It is recommended to start in the simplest era, Ancient Egypt. This helps players understand the basics of the game first. Each subsequent era has more mechanics and is more difficult to play. From there, players pick which side to play as and orient the board appropriately. Flip the metal coin to choose who plays first and place the coin on the appropriate space on the board.

Take the chosen era’s deck, shuffle it, and deal it out, splitting the cards equally between the players. Each player will look at the top three cards in their stack and choose to keep one card, pass one to their opponent, and place the third card on the Independent Stack marked on the game board. Once each player has gone through their initial stacks, it’s time to play. But how do players choose what cards to keep and send away?

Time Division Egypt cards
Egypt cards

The Cards

Every single card has a unique name and character art of an animal in attire reminiscent of its era. Each card also has an influence value between 0 and 10. Use this to determine who controls the coin each round.

Each card also has an action. The actions can affect cards in any of the spots on the game board (decision platforms, the Past, the Independent Stack, or even either player’s Influence Area). These actions get progressively more complex as you move through the eras.


The player in control of the coin chooses a card and places it on their decision platform. The next player chooses a card to play in response. The player with the card that has a higher influence value takes the coin. Finally, the player with the coin chooses which card gets activated and which card gets sent to its owner’s Influence Area. This order is important because some of the actions will affect the other player’s card in their decision space. Once both cards are resolved, the players repeat the process until all the cards have been played.

The player with the most influence value in their Influence Area wins the era.


If playing the campaign mode, players will start in Ancient Egypt. There are two additional cards added to each era; the time travelers. First, each player randomly gets one of the time travelers, then setup occurs as normal. Lastly, each player puts one card face down in the first space of their influence area before play starts. Card actions can affect this card, but it stays facedown unless moved to a location other than one of the players’ influence areas.

At the end of each era the winning player gets two victory points. Then players get a victory point for each time traveler in their Influence Area. Add up the victory points for each player. Move the victory point standee accordingly on the track toward the winner.

Play repeats in the next era. This continues until the players have completed all three eras. Whoever has the standee on their side of the victory point track wins the game. If the standee is in the middle (a tie), the player who has the first-player coin wins.

Time Division victory tracker


We loved the theme of two time travel agencies vying for influence. The card art was also great. Each era’s cards were distinctive both in terms of the card’s names and the artwork. Going with the neon pink motif for the 80s was spot on, though maybe an eyesore for some.

When we looked past the art on the game board to its functionality, though, we found it lacking. The VP point tracker tended to tip over, and some of the iconography wasn’t very intuitive.

Quick and Easy?

The box advertises a 20-minute play time per era for players 12 and up. But even after several plays, we found playing an era would usually run longer. Players agonized over which cards to keep and later which cards to play.

The heavy iconography also slowed us down more than we expected. We had to repeatedly consult the rulebook or player aid to remind us what all of the icons meant. Don’t let the lack of reading fool you into thinking this game is suitable for younger children.

Each era only lasts six rounds, so it could be quite a quick game with the right mindset. But it’s easy to get bogged down on trying to figure out what you want to do. You may want to manipulate the coin, gain more influence, or execute a perfect action to short-circuit your opponent.


We spent time playing single eras as well as the campaign. We did encounter one very frustrating moment with the campaign. I had won the first two eras and had a small lead going into the third era. My wife soundly decimated me in terms of influence points to win the era and swing the tracker back to her side of the board. However, I was able to secure one of the time travelers to win a single victory point and force a tie. Then, because I had the coin as the first player, I still won the overall game. My wife felt it was incredibly unfulfilling to have utterly trounced me in the final era and yet lose the overall game.

Also, when playing the campaign, the eras being played chronologically was disappointing. In the campaign there are two time travelers in each era, but they are different characters each time, rather than the same characters dressed in different garb as you would expect time travelers to be. We wanted the time travel theme to feel more fluid, but also tied together.

Time travelers

Does this mean Time Division is a bad game? Not at all! I just don’t think it’s for us. It’s a unique blend of take-that and strategy. You’re trying to win as much influence as possible, but you have to balance adding cards to your Influence Area and letting your opponent activate nasty actions that short-circuit your plans.

However, if your family does like take-that in games, or games that are thinky yet quick-paced, Time Division may be for you. Ask for it at your local game store.

Czech Games Edition provided The Family Gamers with a promotional copy of Time Division for this review.

Time Division - Does Time Only Flow In One Direction?
  • 8/10
    Art - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Mechanics - 8/10
  • 5/10
    Family Fun - 5/10


Age Range: 12+
Number of Players: 2
Playtime: 20-60 minutes