Back To The Future Card Game FAQ

If you don’t see your question answered among these, please email us at:
FAQ@looneylabs.com

Q: Can I use a Memo From Your Future Self to stop an Artifact/Item ability?

…To review: The Memo From Your Future Self (and its variants) occurs in Chrononauts, Early American Chrononauts, and the Back to the Future Card Game. They can be played out of turn to cancel another person’s play as it happens.

A: Basically, yes. In cases where you’d discard that card from play in order to use its power, you could target that card with the Memo, causing it to be discarded without effect. That’s pretty straightforward.

For Back To The Future (BttF) only, note that if a Time Car is being memo’d it’s that card which would go into the discard pile without effect, but any required fuel item would remain (Plutonium, Lightning Prediction, Overpowered Locomotive, or the card discarded to use #4 would go back into the players hand).

Most Artifacts in Chrononauts don’t have powers, but a few that do would be affected: promo card Carl Sagan’s Joint, for example. In this case you’d normally give away the Joint and gain an Artifact from another player. If that forced trade is memo’d, the Joint would go in the trash (you were going to lose it to the other player anyhow) and the other player’s Artifact would remain with them. (I guess there weren’t a few puffs left after all…)

More complicated are Items/Artifacts/Gadgets whose power is passive. These include the (BttF) Gray’s Sports Almanac, Mr. Fusion, The Jade Statue of Tirade, any and all Gadgets. In these cases, you cannot stop the usage of their powers. If their power allows or involves the play of another card, THAT card may be targeted for cancellation via memo, but those cards already in play are not themselves affected by memos.

For example, when attempting to “feed” Mr. Fusion a card from your the table to gain two cards in your hand, it’s that card which would be targeted by the memo, and discarded with no corresponding benefit, and Mr. Fusion would remain on the table.

When “using” the Jade Statue of Tirade to get the extra bonus for Sell and Artifact or Perform A “Miracle”, it’s those Action cards which would be targeted and discarded, and the Jade Statue would simply remain in play, unsold, or unused as a “Miracle”.

The only time these cards with passive powers could be targeted by a Memo is when they themselves are actually being played to the table, in which case, instead of going into play, they’d go into the discard pile.

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Q: In the Back To The Future card game, it says that the Fax cannot be used to prevent it’s own theft, but what about countering a counter-memo?

…If someone tried to steal my Fax with You’re So Gullible, and I counter it with You Steal My Stuff? and they counter with a Memo, can I counter THAT with the Fax, since it wasn’t the original card being used to steal it?

A: No, not if it was the Fax which was the original item being stolen. It cannot participate in any way to intervene in its own theft.

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Q: If a card lets me do something “once per turn” and I take it out of play, and then somehow put it back into play, is that ability refreshed?

A: If the card says you can only do something once on your turn, it doesn’t matter if the card goes away and comes back again. If you’ve already used it, you’ve already used it. We don’t consider this much of a “memory condition” since you should naturally be able to remember what you have or have not done on your turn, just as you’d remember how many cards you’ve played. If you’re having trouble with a complicated turn, hopefully the other players will help keep you on track as well.

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Q: Can someone Memo a Memo?

i.e. can you stop someone playing a “Memo to Your Future Self” by playing a Memo or using the Cake card’s Memo ability?

A: Yes, a Memo can indeed be used to stop another Memo. And it’s mighty satisfying when you do! This also applies to the similar cards found in the Back To The Future card game.

“Looks like I Got There First to your dinosaur trap, and captured that Stegosaurus you thought you had.”

“Oh no you didn’t, because I sent a Memo to myself, telling me that you’d get there before me, so I got there 15 minutes before you, so actually, I still have Steggy.”

“Oh yeah? Well I sent myself a Memo telling me that you were going to get there 15 minutes before I got there before you, so I got there 15 minutes before you got there 15 minutes before me getting there before you, so actually, the dino is mine…”

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Q: After drawing an extra card after using the Time Car v3, do you get to play it?

(or not play, and draw instead, as allowed by the rules regarding playing?)

A: No. You just draw that extra card to your hand, and your turn is over. You only had one play for that turn, and you used it to play the Time Car.

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Q: Time Train and It’s Your Lucky Day both say to play an extra card after. Is this mandatory?

A: It is never mandatory to play a card. You may choose to draw instead and end your turn (but you must do one or the other). As the rules say “You can exercise this option at any time you are called upon to play a card, such as when you get an extra play because you used a really fancy time machine,” (like the Time Train).

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Q: When you play Rewind or Quick Trip, and you look through the pile, can you choose not to play those if there’s nothing you want to play?

or do you have to go ahead with choosing and then playing the card you select?

A: This would ultimately be your call: how lenient do you want to be about letting people take back plays? You should form a house rule about this that everyone is clear on before they start.

But for perspective, this is how we usually rule it:

We have always played that, since anyone may look through the discard pile at any time (as it says on the Rewind card), one should check before playing a Rewind, and not play it if there isn’t something you want there. So we’ve always been lenient if someone played it, checked and realized there wasn’t what they needed, since it’s no skin off anyone’s back that they just looked through the pile after playing the card instead of before. They can retract their play, since looking through the pile is an action that made no difference to the game (except they revealed they have a Rewind, which is only bad for them – the cost of any play retraction “oopsie”).

Looking through the draw pile, however is hidden information, and we’ve always ruled that once you look through that, which you can ONLY do if you play a Quick Trip, then you DO have to choose _something_ and immediately play it. You can’t take back having seen what cards remain in the draw pile – so you can’t take back that play.

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Q: Can the B2 DoubleBack card be used at all if another player has the Almanac in play?

or is the only option for a player who needs to change that linchpin to hope for an identity change to try and win?

A: Yes, it’s true that the B2 DoubleBack card is pretty much useless if someone else has the Almanac in play, but that doesn’t mean your only option is to try to change your identity. You could try to steal the Almanac with a Don’t Be So Gullible, or by getting the Dust Jacket, or you could try to trash it with Erased From Existence (or possibly You Are Fading Away if the Almanac is their only item in play). If nobody has the Almanac in play, anyone can change B2.

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Q: What does it mean when a card says its action is a “free play” or a “free action”?

Does it count as one of your plays for your turn to do this thing?

A: No. That’s the whole point of it being “free”. It does not use one of your plays. Depending on the game we’re talking about (there are cards like this in Chrononauts and Back To The Future, in addition to many in Fluxx editions), you might only be getting one play per turn, and whatever this thing does won’t use up your play for the turn.

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Q: For cards that let you do something “once per turn”, does that mean once per your turn, or once per each turn in the game?

See this answer in a video!
Little Answers

A: All powers that can be used “once per turn” are only available to you when it’s your turn.

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