Back to the Future: Dice Through Time, the board game from Back to the Future

Back to the Future: Dice Through Time, the board game from Back to the Future
It is called a cult movie, a film that has become so popular and important that it influences pop culture; It does not seem inappropriate to us therefore to define the Back to the Future series as an absolute cinematic cult since everyone, at least once in our life, has heard of it. Then many of us will have seen it (and reviewed) and now they can also play it thanks to Back to the Future: Dice Through Time, the board game dedicated to the film trilogy of Back to the Future. The game is published by Ravensburger, more name that we all know and that most of us associate with the world of puzzles.

It is not wrong given that the German manufacturer is a European leader in the production of puzzles but it would be wrong to think of Ravensburger in these terms only, given that in recent years, speaking of the Italian territory, Ravensburger has expanded its offer on the front board game with some really interesting proposals, which led the publisher to win the Game of the Year Award in 2019 with El Dorado and arrive in the shortlist of finalists the following year with Villainous, which we talked about here. In this article, however, we will talk about the latest release from Ravensburger, precisely Back to the Future: Dice Through Time, a title for two to four players, an average duration of one hour per game, recommended for audiences aged ten up.


Back to the Future: Dice Through Time collects the entire Back to the Future trilogy in a single board: all the players will play as a couple made up of Doc and Marty , what will distinguish them will be the timeline of origin. The timelines are the four explored by the films (1885, 1955, 1985 and 2015) and each of these gives access to a DeLorean, pawn of the players. The purpose of the game, which is configured as a cooperative, is to bring different objects back to their period of belonging and restore the space-time continuum. To hinder the Doc and Marty, in addition to the historical nemesis Biff, will be the time itself: the game ends either with the victory of the players, if all the objects are brought back in their time, or with the defeat of the group in the event that the time end. In fact, the board has the Outatime indicator at its top, which moves from left to right and keeps track of how much time the players have left to complete the feat: once the game is over, the game ends.

The rest of the game board is made up of the four timelines, each divided into five boxes representing the places of the imaginary town of Hill Valley, and equipped with a slot in which to place on the covered side the objects to be taken from that timeline and returned to the one they belong to . The amount of objects to be relocated temporally also determines the difficulty of the game: a mirror in the manual will guide you in the set-up.Getting an object is easier said than done and those who know Back to the Future know it well, because the unexpected I'm always around the corner! In fact, to get hold of an object it is first necessary to resolve events, which will be placed on the board at the beginning of each round; the events drawn can affect both timeline and game turns and Doc and Marty's only valid allies are ... the dice! It is no coincidence that the subtitle of the game is in fact Dice Through Time, or die through time, since the game engine is essentially composed of the launch of these. All actions that can be performed in a turn, such as moving the DeLorean between the squares of the same timeline or between several years, pushing Biff to another square, rerolling a die and so on, are linked to the faces of the dice that must be "spent. ", ie used and set aside, matching the dice symbol with the action to be performed. Obviously we are still talking about time travel so what's wrong with providing a little help to our future selves?

In fact, by leaving an unspent die on a square of the board (which from that moment the game manual defines "undulating die"), this can be recovered by other players and added to their throw: the beauty is that it is not necessary to move to that place in that year because the die will be recoverable, always in the same place, but in all other future eras. For example, if you leave a die in the "School" box in 1955, other players will be able to appropriate the die in the "School" box from 1955 but also in 1985 and 2015. Obviously, there are also bonuses and malus. The bonus is represented by that furry Einstein, where his tokens make up an extra resource for the roll of the dice, while the malus are the temporal paradoxes; these are created when a pair of Doc and Marty meet their past or future selves, or when the DeLorean of two players stops on the same square. Pay attention to where you have moved and not to confuse the passage of time because the more paradoxes you create, the more the Outatime indicator will gallop.


Anyone who hangs out in the world of board games knows two things: the first is that games dedicated to cinematic films have been attracting a certain interest in recent years. public, the games of The Thing, The Shark, The Shining and Dune: Imperium to name a few prove it.

The second thing board-gamers know is that the world of licensed titles is a wild territory, a bit like the far west, where the franchise it belongs to is often more important than the goodness itself. of the product, in short: just choose a mechanism and paste the brand on it. Correctly thematizing a board game, in the sense of making decisions to make the theme and mechanics coherent, is not a simple job and is not always perceived as essential: this is undoubtedly the first reason that drives us to appreciate Back to the Future: He says Through Time because its theming has really convinced us. The fact of always impersonating the protagonists but giving each player a different "version" of them, makes the cooperative factor very pleasant and fun, and above all justifies the common purpose. The creation of time paradoxes is consistent with the rules of time travel as is the use of the wave die, which is perhaps the mechanic we liked the most of the whole game: this, in addition to finding a brilliant coherence between rules and theme of the game, is literally what gives the name to the game, that "Dice Through Time" in the title.

The scalability of the game is also very appreciable thanks to the customizable set-up of the object cards at the beginning of the game, where the higher difficulty levels gradually discover the need to approach the title in an increasingly strategic way. In fact, as happens in other dice-rolling engine titles, there are no extra mechanics that mitigate the effects of the risk of the dice (such as a larger pool of dice or a simple second roll), in Back to the Future: Dice Through Time you basically play with what you roll, with small margins for adjustment. The higher the level of difficulty, the more it is necessary to pay attention to the cooperative strategy to be adopted, keeping in mind that we are talking about a title that is not and does not want to be a pure strategy, so much so that it is the publisher himself who indicates it as "light. strategy ".

A truly captivating graphic-artistic look completes everything, which reinterprets iconic moments, characters and objects from the saga with a doodle style and vibrant colors. Here, too, we were pleasantly satisfied with the care put into the creation of the game since very often the licensed film products limit themselves to exploiting film frames without spending too much in identifying an artistic identity for the components of the game. Back to the Future: Dice Through Time has it all while remaining intimately connected to the film trilogy and therefore making it a must have for fans of the saga.

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