Which was invented first: the screw or the crossbow? Stonecutting or firebuilding? The corkscrew or the pencil? In this game of 109 invention-themed cards, players decide where to put each card in its correct point in history on an imaginary timeline. So, if you suspected correctly that the screw was invented around 500 B.C. approximately 100 years before the crossbow, you would place the card with the screw to the left of the crossbow. Turn the card over to find the correct date on the back. Each player starts with 4, 5 or 6 cards (depending on the number of players) and tries to get rid of them all. If a player places the card in the correct position, the card remains there. If they guess wrong, they must discard and draw another card. The first player to use all cards wins.
In practice, my 9 year-old-son did just about as well as his college-educated parents. And, we all learned a lot along the way. The Inventions deck is one of several themed decks that can be mixed and matched in the same game—other themes include Discoveries, Historical Events, Monuments, Music, and Arts and Literature. The cards are small and light enough to take more than one deck, if desired. While there are over 100 cards in a deck, each card is only 1.5 by 2.5 inches, much smaller than a standard playing card.