Chrononauts PC

Welcome to Chrononauts PC, a PC implementation of Looney Labs' award-winning Chrononauts card game. This help file will briefly explain how to work this computer game, but it will not explain the rules of Chrononauts itself. Those you may find at this page on the game's official website. Before I go into the explanation, I need to make a few important points.

Firstly, this game is a work in progress. This is in fact the first time I have publicly released it, and it is likely to have some bugs. Consider it a "beta" version. But you can help. Play the game, and if you notice any issues with it, whether actual bugs or just ways you think it could be better (such as annoying interface issues, or AI not competitive enough), please send any such email to Send general questions/comments here too. I promise that I will read all email. I will try to reply to all email as well, but this will depend upon whether I have the time.

Secondly, make sure your screen resolution is at least 1024x768, or this game will not work properly.

Thirdly, this is a Java application and is run from the classes.jar file in the classes directory. If you did not install Chrononauts PC from the installer and want to create a Start Menu shortcut to run the game, create a shortcut to this file.


Setting up the game

When you load up the game, you will see the setup screen. Most of the items on this screen are self-explanatory. You can select the number of players, as well as specify their names and whether they are human or computer. In addition, if they are computer players, you can specify the AI Personality that the player has, or leave it to random. This is explained in more detail on the linked page. Finally, you can specify the variant. Different variants may have different timelines and different cards. For example, Looney Labs recently released Early American Chrononauts, which has a timeline for the 19th century. You may play that game as one of the variants by selecting it. When you are finished with all these settings, click the Accept button.

Playing your turn

After the game loads, you will see the main interface. You will see each player's hand cards face-down in their respective play areas, as well as their ID and Mission cards on the right side. You can view the timeline at any time during the game by clicking "Show Timeline". To begin your turn, and to see what cards you have in your hand, click "Begin Turn".

Now you should see the cards in your hand face-up, as well as your ID and Mission. Most of your hand cards will be hidden behind other cards. To bring a card to the front, simply click on it. For most people the cards will be too small to read the text. The solution to this is to right-click on the card. This will pop up a window showing a larger image of that card. You should then be able to read everything on it. When you are finished, all you have to do to close the window is to click outside of it.

The game will be asking you to play a card. When you are asked this, you may play a card, or may choose to discard one or two cards as per the Chrononauts rules. If you choose to discard, click the appropriate button in the top left area of the main window. If you choose to play a card, double-click on the card. You will then see the effects of that card.

Speaking of double-clicking...

If at any time during the game you are asked to select a card, you make your selection by double-clicking on it. Keep this in mind and it may save you some trouble.

Searching through the deck

If you double-click on the Discard pile, or use certain cards like Quick Trip, you may end up seeing a window that allows you to search through a pile of cards. In this window, you will see two cards, one face-down and one face-up. The face-down card represents the pile of cards you have not flipped through yet, and the face-up card represents cards you have seen already. To flip through the deck, double-click on the face-down card. To go back the other way through the deck, double-click the face-up card. If you are using a card that required you to select one of these cards, you will see a button in the window as well. Clicking on this button will play the current face-up card. If nothing happens, it means you could not play that card at this time. Try another.


The Cancel button allows you to cancel the most recent action you have performed. You may only use this option if the thing you are canceling did not give you any information that you shouldn't have if you did not perform that action. For instace, you cannot cancel the playing of the Time Vortex card because now you have seen cards from other players' hands.

AI Players

This game allows computer players, and uses a somewhat experimental AI. By this I mean I am not entirely sure how competitive they are, though I myself have lost games to them. Further details about the AI can be found at the AI Page.

by Michael Barbieri