The Time Travel family includes games that feature mechanics, themes or other game elements that evoke the popular science fiction/fantasy concept of traveling through time.
Some games integrate the notion of time travel into game play through both theme and mechanics. The popular T.I.M.E Stories leans heavily on the theme in its background story, casting the players as characters who are time traveling agents who can go back to the same point in the past multiple times, correcting their actions with each iteration until they meet the scenario’s winning conditions. In Chrononauts, players attempt to change the timeline by flipping cards which represent alternate versions of events in specific years. Khronos and Railways Through Time use alternate versions of the board to represent the same area in different periods of time, with players taking actions to move from one period to another. Anachrony, Legacy: Gears of Time and Time Agent challenge players to influence the development of technology or resources in the past with the goal of enhancing their status and power in the future.
For other games, time travel is a convenient explanation for the setting or objective, such as encountering dinosaurs (Escape from 100 Million B.C. and Dino Hunt), collecting time-lost artifacts (AGES and LEGO Time Cruisers Game), meeting famous personalities from the past (Steam Time and Evil Baby Orphanage) or staging battles between historical or fantasy armies from different time periods with different levels of technology (Duel of Ages II and Temporal Odyssey and TimeTripper).
There are also plenty of games crafted to showcase popular film or TV intellectual properties with a time travel theme, such as Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks, Terminator Genisys: The Miniatures Game, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Boardgame, Samurai Jack: Back to the Past and A Wrinkle in Time: A Daring Adventure Game. However, just because a game is closely identified with a popular time travel IP does not mean that the game should automatically be included in the Time Travel family. There should also be some indication within the game of movement through time or at least representation of different time periods.
For example, compare two IP branded versions of Monopoly – Back to the Future Monopoly and Monopoly: Doctor Who Villains. With “Villains”, the various spaces around the board are identified with famous villain characters or races from the series. On the Back to the Future board, the spaces signify important locations from the franchise at different points in time, such as Doc Brown’s lab in 1985, Doc’s mansion in 1955 and Doc’s blacksmith shop in 1885. Moving one’s token around the BTTF board evokes the idea of traveling through time (and thus inclusion in the Time Travel family), while movement on the Villains board does not.
In a few games within the family, the time travel theme is there, but you might miss it if you blink. For instance, in Major General: Duel of Time, famous military generals from history, such as Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and George S. Patton (none named, but all implied via caricatures) are waging war against each other. No explanation is given as to how they came to be on the same battlefield, but each round the players choose which historical figures to pluck from history and pit against each other. The family also includes several expansions to otherwise non-time travel related games, sometimes with no explanation as to why. Examples of this include Colt Express: The Time Travel Car, 221B Baker St.: Sherlock Holmes & the Time Machine, and Eye Found It: Journey Through Time.
One common trope within time travel stories is the concept of having the power to artificially slow down or speed up the normal flow of time. Physicists have proposed that we would perceive similar effects if we could travel close to the speed of light. A person moving that fast would perceive the passage of time differently than someone at rest or moving much slower, a concept called time dilation. Games that utilize this variable-rate-of-time idea can also be found in the family, including Timelag and Dungeon Twister: Master of Time.
All in all, the games in the Time Travel family cover a broad range of themes and mechanics. Chances are that most gamers can find at least a few entries here that will fit well with their personal preferences.