The genius of this game is directly related to the Timeline: a set of cards arranged in a grid that represent important events between the years 1865 and 1999. By using certain cards called Inverters, time travelers are able to change major events and cause ripples through time. These ripples paradoxes that must be repaired in order for the time traveler to set the timeline to how he likes it, and win the game.
For example: On August 1st, 1936, Germany hosts the summer Olympics. What if a time traveler went back in time and assassinated Hitler at the opening ceremonies? This would cause ripples in time that would change may things, including World War II.
The concept of the Timeline makes playing this game a truly visceral experience, and really gives the player a feeling that he is altering events that have real repercussions on others. Players also have secret missions that revolve around them collecting certain artifacts. If a time traveler completes this mission, they can win the game. Artifacts can come from the past or the future, and include things like a Cure for Cancer, the Lost Ark of the Covenant, a Live Stegosaurus, and a Videotape of the Creation of the Universe. These artifacts add a certain humorous flare to the game, and keep the atmosphere very light.
The final way in which a player can win is if they repair paradoxes in the timeline (which are created when time travelers muck around with time-space). However, travelers must always be cautious - if there are 13 or more paradoxes at any given time, the Timeline will collapse on itself and everyone will lose!
Although Chrononauts may sound complicated, it is a simple game at heart, and does not take a lot of time to learn. It provides a great amount of entertainment (games last around 30 minutes), and also has a lot of educational value. If you are a fan of games and/or time travel, check this one out!