Gotta Go Back in Time—A Double-Take Preview of Sarah's Singularity

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We don't do many Kickstarter previews anymore, but we occasionally make exceptions. Daily Magic Games has impressed us with their games in the Valeria line—including Villages of Valeria, Quests of Valeria, and Valeria: Card Kingdoms, which we haven't reviewed yet, but might be our favorite Valeria game so far! Today we're previewing a new game that has nothing to do with Valeria, though. It's called Sarah's Singularity and it's about traveling through time, solving Missions, and rescuing Companions. So is it a good timey-wimey? Or is it the Time Chasers of board games? Let's find out!

NOTE: This was a prototype, so any of the components or gameplay could change before publication.

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The Components

  • 42 Companion cards
  • 42 Mission cards
  • 42 Zone tokens
  • 26 Selector cards
  • 12 Personal Objective cards
  • 10 Sarah cards
  • 1 Sarah Prime token
  • 1 Chronologist token

Each Companion card has symbols across the top. They’ll have a symbol that matches one of the Time Zones in the game, and this is their “Origin Zone.” Each also includes one or more Companion skills: Explorer, Researcher, Pilot, and Wild. You’ll use all of these to solve Missions. Each Mission card also has these same symbols across the top, in different combinations.

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The Objective

You're Sarah, a time traveler—but you're not the original Sarah. Sarah Prime is running through time, dropping off Companions, and causing Paradoxes by running into other Sarahs (you). You'll be competing with other Alternate Sarahs to rescue Companions, complete Missions, (hopefully) accomplishing your Personal Objective, and scoring the most points after seven rounds. 

 

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The Setup

Separate the Mission cards by the Time Zone symbols on the back, and then choose Zones equal to the number of players in the game plus one. Place the decks facedown on the table in order from earliest time period to latest, and then turn the top card of each deck faceup.

Place the Zone tokens above the corresponding Mission stack.

Sort out the Companions who match the Zones you’re playing with, shuffle them all together, and then place seven cards in a vertical overlapping row to create the Prime Row on the right side of the table, with all of the symbols at the top of the cards visible. Then place the Sarah Prime token on that stack.

Deal one Companion card faceup under each Mission deck, and give each player three Companion cards as a starting hand.

Give each player a set of Selector cards for the Time Zones you’re using in this game.

Give each player a random Sarah card, which is placed faceup.

Sort the Personal Objective cards into the ones from the Time Zones you’re using. Give each player two cards, and have them choose one to keep and put the other out of the game.

Give the Chronological token to one player at random.

 

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The Gameplay

First you’ll take the bottom Companion card from the Prime Row and place that Companion under the Mission card for the Time Zone matching that Companion, and place the Sarah Prime token on that Time Zone, so everyone know that’s where she’s going this turn.

Then each player secretly chooses a Selector card to show which Time Zone he or she will travel to this round. Then reveal them simultaneously.

If two or more players (or any players and Sarah Prime) are in the same Time Zone, there’s a Paradox. Each player discards his or her current Sarah card and draws a new one. Paradox solved. Somehow.

Now players take turns, moving from earliest Time Zone to latest. If more than one player in the same Zone, the person who has the Chronologist token chooses turn order, and the person who ends up going last gets to be the new Chronologist.

On your turn you can do any or all of the four available actions, in any order, but each action only once.

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Rescue a Companion: Pick up a Companion card from your current Time Zone. If it’s a “lost” Companion (meaning its Origin Zone is different than the current Time Zone), then you also get a Zone token from that Companion’s Origin Zone.

Drop off a Companion: Play a Companion card from your hand to your current Time Zone. You can only play one Companion card, unless all of the Companions you play down belong in the current Time Zone, and then you can play as many as you’re able to under that rule.

Use your Sarah power: Each Sarah card has a special power, and you can use it once per turn.

Solve a Mission: If the combined Zone and Skill symbols on the Companions in the current Time Zone meet or exceed the symbols on the faceup Mission card, you’ve solved the Mission. You can play one Zone token that matches the current Time Zone as a Wild symbol when solving a Mission. You take that Mission card, place it faceup in your player area, and discard the Companions who are there. Then draw a new Mission card, and a new Companion card to place underneath it.

Now if you have fewer than three Companion cards, you draw up to three. And if you have more than five Companion cards, you discard down to five.

Start the next round by determining where Sarah Prime will go and repeating the steps.

The game ends at the end of seven rounds, or if the last Mission card is taken from any Time Zone.

You get points for:

  • Missions: Each is worth varying points.
  • Unused Time Zone tokens: Each is worth 1 VP.
  • Mission sets: Some Mission cards have one or more bonus symbols on them (Fun, Adventure, Science, Profit), and whoever has collected the most of each symbol gets 4 VPs. If there’s a tie, no one gets the points.
  • Personal Objective: Each player starts with one of these, and if you fulfill the requirement, you’ll earn VPs.  

Whoever has the most VPs wins, and is the new Sarah Prime!

 

The Verdict

Jeremiah—Let's just get this right out there... This game is GORGEOUS! The artwork is simply fantastic. Unless they totally scrap it after the Kickstarter you're going to want to just stare at the artwork for a while!

Firestone—The cartoonish art fits with the lighthearted time-travel theme. 

Jeremiah—The tagline to the game is, "A light, somewhat silly tactical game..." And I found that to be true. Mechanically, there isn't a TON to it: Go to a time zone, gather and/or play Companions in hopes of completing Missions, and score points. Those tactical decisions are where the depth and weight are found, making for lots of player interaction and meta gaming, especially as you're choosing which Time Zone to go to!

Firestone—I'll admit that when I read that tagline on the box, I was nervous. I had visions of Fluxx floating around in my head... But this was a good little filler, and not nearly as "silly" as the tagline suggests. Sure, some of the companions might fall under silly, but the game itself doesn't feel that way, and you're maneuvering around. 

The Paradox aspect is the most interesting to me. You're trying to figure out where other people might want to go (based on only partial information since you can't see what's in their hands). Then you have to decide if it's worth creating a Paradox. You might want a new power, or you might want to stop someone else from using their great powers. Or you might not care either way but you know you're the Chronologist and you can sweep in and swipe that Mission no matter how many other Sarahs are there. 

My one dig would be that there's a fair amount of luck with the card draws. The game admits it's light, so it's not a big complaint--just something to note. This won't be coming back out with my game group, but it's a fun family game, and both of my boys enjoyed playing this multiple times. 

Jeremiah—I agree the Paradox aspect creates an interesting refresh of abilities, and also a way to (try to) nullify an ability that needs to be purged from the game. With the right game group it still works, but it definitely hits the mark with family game nights and casual gamers!

Firestone's Final Verdict—Sarah's Singularity is a good family filler full of bluffing, planning, and tactical card play. And the main character is a plucky, smart woman! Yay! It's Bernice Summerfield The Card Game. (That's for the hardcore Dr. Who fans out there.) Daily Magic Games continues to impress with their games. 

Jeremiah's Final Verdict—Sarah's Singularity combines a really fun theme, tactical mechanics, and a quick learning curve to deliver a fun and engaging gaming experience! If time travel, a touch of bluffing, and a mix of strategic and tactical card play are up your alley, this one is worth looking into!

The Kickstarter is live right now! Check it out for yourself, and thanks for reading!