Photo Card Chronology

This is a game that is great for learning history and becoming familiar with the accomplishments of historical figures.  It is played with photo cards that have been 'improved' with information about the people and events that they depict.  It is a wonderful game for 2-6 players, ages eight and older. 

Prepare the cards

Download photo card sets and copy or print off the photographs on white tagboard or heavy photo paper.  Cut the cards to the same size.  Also cut apart the contact sheet so that you have a small version of the card.  On the back of the cards paste the small picture from the contact sheet in one of the corners and write or print an interesting fact about the person or event along with date of the event or the birth (death, or achievement) date for a person.  Once you have the cards finished, laminating them will help them hold up better for long-term use.

Creating the game cards is a wonderful learning opportunity.  Set of 5 cards could be given to children as a take-home project for an after school group.  They do the research to find an interesting fact for the back of each of their cards.  When the group meets they can pool the cards together for a game.  In a classroom, a learning station could be set up where a student draws a card, researches the person/event and makes the back of the card.  As time goes by, you will accumulate many different sets.

Decorate a shoe, photo, or card file box that is only slightly wider than the cards.  Add enough filler to the box so that all the cards will stand up (like  file folders) in one end.  We found that a smaller cardboard box works well for filler.

Shuffle all the cards and place them, date side forward in the box.

Special note about dates: Some dates are very difficult to pinpoint. Or perhaps historians disagree as to exactly when something occurred.  In those cases it is appropriate to add a "c." before the date to indicate "around" or "about".

Play the game

Players each pull a card from the box and places it date side up in front of them on the table (or floor).

One player begins by drawing a card from the stack and reading the interesting fact on the back of the card out loud - without revealing the date.  That player can hold up the photo for the rest of the players to see.

The player to the left of the reader then starts by deciding whether the event occurred (or the person was born) before or after the card in their timeline. If the player guesses correctly, then the player wins the card and places on the table in the proper order in their timeline.  If the player guesses incorrectly, the next player to the left may win the card by correctly placing it in their own timeline. If that player misses, the play proceeds around the table to the left, each player guessing in turn. If no one guesses correctly, then the player reading the card will announce the date on the card, then put it back in the box.

The player to the left of the reader then draws out a new card and reads it to the player or his or her left.

As the play continues, each player's timeline will grow longer and when placing new cards they will have to specify whether the new card should be placed before, after or in between the cards already in their timeline. Each player works only with his or her own timeline, but may look at the timelines of the other players and learn from the information contained in their cards.

Winning the game

The game continues until one person accumulates five cards in their timeline. That player is the winner and the game is over. The cards may be reshuffled and returned to the box; and play may begin again. Although the same cards may come up in play in several games, each game will create different timelines for the players.

Note: You may play until one player reaches seven or nine cards in their timeline - particularly if only two people are playing.  The number of cards should be decided upon before play starts.