Time and Relative Dimensions in Gaming
In a universe full of super-powered crime-fighting ensembles, mutant hybrids with lasers for eyes and immortal, glow-in-the-dark vampires, one character stands alone in the world of popular culture. He (or she, as they are in their current incarnation) has defeated more enemies during their impressive lifetime than Superman, Batman and The Avengers combined. They’ve been saving the world, rebuilding the universe and taking us on epic adventures through space and time for almost fifty-six years; having probably accumulated more combined air miles over thirty-seven seasons than Bono’s hat does on a U2 world tour.
Single-handedly responsible for making bowties cool and armed with little more than a screwdriver and an unending sense of whimsy - Doctor Who is one of the ultimate and most enduring geek culture heroes. Always choosing mercy over vengeance, wits over weapons and forever reminding us to never be cruel and never be cowardly, the time lord from Gallifrey is the ultimate example of brains triumphing over brawn.
As the first-ever episode of Doctor Who was aired on British television in November 1963, here at Dicebox we thought it an apt time of year to turn our attention to the notions and theme of time travel.
Given that Christmas is rapidly approaching, we can only assume that there are many of us out there around about now who could use the ability to fast track payday or travel back a few hundred years to find out where Great-Great Grandpa kept the family silver. Unfortunately, despite everything all those Spielberg movies from the eighties taught us about the future, we have yet to harness the power of time travel in reality.
So, in honour of the Doctor, and with a variety of budgets and tastes in mind for those without their own TARDIS, we have compiled a selection of time travel-themed games perfect for the run-up to Christmas, rainy days and for whiling away the long winter hours.
From Dalek invasions to the fields of Trenzalore, the Doctor has been thwarting galactic catastrophe
for thousands of years. We might not have that long in which to battle the forces of evil, but you could
certainly do worse than investing a few hours in Time Stories ($85.00), an engaging and interactive
team player game with multiple story possibilities. With different eras and character choices to keep
play fresh and interesting, this is a game that will take you well into the New Year and beyond.
There are multiple expansion packs available for Time Stories, so if the Middle Ages (A Prophecy ofDragons) aren’t your thing, you could go for the 1980s themed Hollywood (Estrella Drive), or
immerse yourself in the secrecy of 15th century Spain (Lumen Fidei). At $47.00 each, expansion
packs are a great way to add depth and dimension to your experience.
Another game with expansion packs available is Time Arena ($25.00), a great option for those looking for a more budget-friendly alternative that works for a slightly younger audience. A strategy based game that can be played either one on one or with teams; this is a perfect choice for those looking to introduce players to timed games that pit them against the clock.
Whilst the movies and television will often tell us that time travelling is a tricky endeavour, wrought with potential problems like meeting your past self, or accidentally becoming the third wheel in your teenage parents blossoming romance (we’re looking at you Marty McFly) – both the Doctor and our next choice of game, Time Chase ($30.00) throw caution to the wind and actively encourage you to meddle with the very fabric of time. Time Chase sets you against your opponents to try and take control of multiple timeline events, using your wits to change outcomes to your advantage.
Of course, it would be remiss of us to compile a list of recommended games inspired by the Doctor and not mention the Doctor Who Tardis 20 Q ($17.00) – the perfect gift for anyone you know loves both board games and people who wear stripy scarves and a fez (and yes, that does include most of us here at Dicebox. Santa, take note). An interactive take on the classic game, you can compete against your very own TARDIS at twenty questions to see who emerges victorious.
We’ve been watching the Doctor and his companions’ adventure their way through the universe for over five decades, generations of fans sharing their passion and love for his stories in living rooms, in fan clubs and at conventions across the world. So, why is it that one character with two hearts and a big blue box has remained steadfastly in the hearts of so many people for so long?
Quite simply, it is because the Doctor teaches us some important facts both about life and the way we feel about ourselves. Firstly, that time is precious and we should neither spend it unwisely nor alone. Secondly, you don’t have to have a rocket ship, an arsenal of weapons and a cool spandex outfit to be a hero. You just have to be nice, and kind. It’s cool to not be cool. There are a lot of people out there who need to hear that message from time to time, and to be reminded that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
So whilst we sit and patiently wait for the scientists to work out how to get us all from one dimension to the other, or for someone to suddenly discover the secrets of time travel, we will all just have to continue to live vicariously through our television screens, imagining what it would really be like to pop out and see Cleopatra for tea, or experience the thrill of the birth of a star. It might be just a dream, but it’s one that we can all share – from childhood through the years of adulthood and beyond, and above everything else, that is probably the most important thing – the opportunity and the ability to share time. That’s what the Doctor would do, and that’s why we love games.
Because, let’s face it – board games, biscuits, and madmen – all the best things come in boxes.