Back to the Future: Dice Through Time challenges players to fix the timestream through cooperative gameplay and a whole lot of dice rolls. The new tabletop game, published by Ravensburger and available now exclusively at Target, puts each player in charge of their own version of Doc, Marty, and a DeLorean as they try to fix the timestream from Biff's interference. Each Doc and Marty are from a different point in their respective timestreams, so it's important that they're never in the same place at the same time. That doesn't mean that the players can't help each other out though - coordinating their efforts around the table, while leaving each other helpful dice for future use and setting up critical moments in gameplay.
Chris Leder, one of the designers of Back to the Future: Dice Through Time, notes that his idea for the game pre-dates his association with Ravensburger. "I've been a Back to the Future fan since 1986," Leder explained in a video interview with ComicBook.com. "People know me as that crazy Back to the Future guy. So, a couple of years ago, my buddy, Kevin Rogers, and I were thinking what would be our ideal Back to the Future game. So that's where we started brainstorming this idea of jumping around through time and returning items that Biff had misplaced. We put it on a shelf because it was a great game that we were never going to get a chance to make."
After working with Ravensburger, Leder learned that the publisher had the license for Back to the Future and were looking for game ideas. Ravensburger asked Leder to pitch them, and Leder, Rogers, and co-designer Ken Franklin provided them with a fully functioning, fully tested prototype "dripping with theme." Ultimately, Leder and his co-designers set out to make a game that any Back to the Future fan could enjoy, whether they've only watched the movies once or are a super-fan.
One key to understanding the game is that Hill Valley itself acts as an unofficial character in the game, much in the same way that the setting was a major theme in the movies. Instead of making a new adventure featuring Doc and Marty, the designers decided to keep the game within Hill Valley as the city evolves over the course of four time periods (1885, 1955, 1985, and 2015.) Once the decision was made to keep the game with Hill Valley, the game's version of time travel quickly came into shape - like in the Back to the Future movies, players could help each other out by leaving items (in this case, dice) in the past that could be "picked up" in the future.
Gameplay itself is simple - players first draw events from a deck that then get placed in different areas in different years. Players complete those events by spending dice icons, which then allows them to draw an item that needs to be placed back in their proper spot in the timestream. Dice icons also have different effects - giving the player the option to time travel or re-roll dice. At the same time, an "Outatime" marker slowly advances towards a "Game Over" space based on the number of events left on the board at the end of a turn along with the number of paradox markers present on the board. If players can get all of the items put back before the "Outatime" marker advances to the "Game Over" space, they win. Otherwise, they lose.
There are ways to help keep bad dice rolls from tanking your chances in Back to the Future: Dice Through Time. Players earn Einstein Tokens when they return an item, which act as free actions or icons to help clear an event. Players can also "ripple dice" by leaving one of theirs behind for another player to use in the future.0comments
Players will love driving their brightly colored DeLoreans around Hill Valley, trying to fix the timestream in Back to the Future: Dice Through Time. "This is the ultimate time-traveling cooperative dice experience that will remind you of what you loved about the films," Leder said at the end of the interview. "It will bring people together to have a brand new adventure."
Back to the Future: Dice Through Time is available now at Target.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.