A few months ago we reviewed a card game called Back to the Future: An Adventure Through Time. You can read the full review here, but the short of it was that, while it was a fun card game, it didn’t really feel like a Back to the Future game. Which was a bit of a letdown as there has yet to be a game that really makes it feel like you are playing in the BttF universe.
The Back to the Future trilogy of movies is easily in my top 10 favorite, so I’m eagerly waiting for a publisher to do the license justice. Today, we are going to check out a push-your-luck dice game called Back to the Future: Outatime. Published by IDW Games, this dice game will have players trying to collect sets a they race to power up their DeLorean.
Back to the Future: Outatime is a dice rolling game for 2-6 players that takes about 15 minutes to play.
In Back to the Future: Outatime (hereto referred to as Outatime), players are racing to complete their 5 power cards before the other players. Each round, they will be rolling and assigning dice to their active power card. A player can roll as often as they like, yet if they can’t use any of the dice on a roll, they will stall out and their turn ends.
Overall, I don’t have many issues with the components in Outatime. Fans of the push-your-luck genre of dice games will be familiar with the tube-style packaging that Outatime comes in. Enclosed in the familiar cylinder are 6 custom dice, a Delorean card, 50 power cards and the rule book.
Each power card has a picture of the DeLorean on it and a sequence of dice images. The dice themselves are clear and have the numbers 2-5, 88 and a Flux Capacitor icon.
How to Play:
Each player begins the game with 5 power cards and will choose one to be their active card. Note: The 0.01 Gigawatts card must be completed last.
One player is chosen to be the start player and they begin by rolling all 6 dice. Results are used as follows:
Flux Capacitor: These are immediately placed on the DeLeoran card and can never be rerolled.
Number Results: If one of the rolled numbers matches the next result on your active power card, you can advance it one space (place the used die on the DeLeoran card). Multiple dice can be used from one roll, but the dice on your power card must be completed in order, from left to right.
In addition to this, when the active player uses a number result, any other player may also use that result, as long as it’s the next step on their active power card.
88 MPH: These may be locked onto the DeLoren card or saved for rerolling.
After rolling, the player must add at least 1 die to the DeLorean card. If they do so, they can choose to continue their turn, rolling again. If they can’t add a die to the card, they stall and their turn ends. When stalling, the player must also move their active power card back one space.
Paradoxes: If the DeLorean ever has 2 Flux Capacitors and 2 88 MPH results, the current player can advance their power card by one space AND choose an opponent to move their active power card back one space. If the DeLorean had 3 of each die, these results are doubled. In either case, the active player’s turn then ends and the dice are passed.
When a player completes all the steps on their active power card, they move on to their next one. The first player to beat their 5th and final card, wins.
I didn’t go into Outatime with great expectations. Whenever I see the familiar “dice tube” packaging, I know it’s going to be a fairly light affair. And that’s OK. Everyone needs a solid filler game, right?
And for the most part, that’s what Outatime ended up being. After our first play, we were all pleasantly surprised that the game wasn’t bad. I know, not exactly high praise, but when you take a push-your-luck dice game, and combine that with a license that’s never produced a great game, it doesn’t really instill you with confidence.
And to get the questions about the theme out of the way, yes, it’s mostly pasted on. While there are Back to the Future references such as the Flux Capacitor or 88 MPH, nothing about this game will make you feel like you are in the Back to the Future universe. This theme could really have been anything. Heck, you could play this game with just a standard 6-sided die.
That being said, Outatime still has its moments, and we definitely had some fun playing it. For a push-your-luck dice game, Outatime has a healthy amount of player interaction. As that can be a rarity in these types of games, it definitely caught me by surprise.
One of the best parts of the game is the ripple mechanic. When you use a number on your turn, every other player checks to see if they can also use that number. This not only helps keep every player engaged when it’s not their turn, but it also helps keep the game moving swiftly.
The other way that Outatime ratchets up the interaction is through the Paradox mechanic. Many times, push-your-luck dice games will have a symbol that’s bad for the roller and locks immediately into place. (think the biohazard symbols in Pandemic: The Cure). The nice thing about the Flux Capacitor symbols, is that they can still be used.
Thanks to the paradox mechanic, you can use a Flux Capacitor to stall your opponents while boosting yourself. And while I don’t usually like a ton of attacking in these types of games, overall the Paradoxes weren’t mean enough to turn off any of our players from the game.
I think that designer Daryl Andrews did a pretty good job with Back to the Future: Outatime. While I didn’t expect it to be a thematic experience, being a dice game after all, he did add some fresh mechanics to a genre that’s seen a lot of traction.
Back to the Future: Outatime plays quick, is highly accessible, and can definitely provide some causal fun. So if you can get past the high luck factor in the game, and the tacked on theme, players can be rewarded with a push-your-luck dice rolling game that is able to set itself apart from others in this crowded genre.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of Back to the Future: Outatime, you can get it for about $15.
Final Score: 2.5 Stars – A solid little filler game that has some clever mechanics for a press-your-luck dice game.
• Quick play time and easy to learn rules
• Good amount of player interaction
• Theme is mostly pasted on
• High luck factor