Back to the Future: The Card Game FAQ

These are additional questions that have been raised over the years. Don’t forget that some of the most common questions are already answered on the rulesheet included with the game!

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Is this game still in print?

No. The license with Universal expired at the end of 2012, so Looney Labs will no longer be manufacturing it. You can still get copies of the first edition while supplies last from retailers who haven’t yet sold through their stock. Search for a store near you, or visit BTTF.com to order online! 

What are the known Errata for the first edition?

There's an error on the rulesheet, in the TimeLine examples at the top of the back page: the row for Turn H depicts the A-3 card twice and doesn't show A-4.

GAMEPLAY QUESTIONS

How does a Memo affect the V1 Time Car if you have the Case of Plutonium? Is it discarded as usual, or does it go back to your hand because of the Case?

It goes back into your hand because of the Case.

The wording on "It's a Science Experiment" is a little tricky. Why does it make special mention of canceling the Time Train's extra play? Do you still get to flip a linchpin before it is stolen?

Yes, the other player still gets to flip a Linchpin, but they don't get the extra card play they are supposed to get after playing the Time Train.

On the Double Back cards the action states, "Flip X linchpin to whichever side you prefer." Does this mean you have to flip it or can you leave it the way it is? I understand if it is normal you can flip it to the alternate time and visa versa. But can you simply leave it as is?

Yes, you can leave it as is.

After playing 'You're Not Yourself Today', where does the discarded identity card go? Do you add it back into the identity stack and reshuffle (giving a chance to get the same card again) or is it just removed from the game?

It should be placed face up at the bottom of the stack of ID cards. If by some chance the game goes on so long that the whole stack gets used, it should be reshuffled when a face up card appears at the top of the stack.

Are Time Machines discarded, even when the requirements (Plutonium for v1, Discard a Card for v4, etc) aren't met?

Yes, if you play a Time Machine, it gets discarded. If you do this without meeting any special requirements the Time Machine has, nothing would happen except that you would lose the card. You probably don't want to do that.

Regarding the 2nd Draw Option, can you do this if you don't actually have any cards to play?

Yes. Any time you are called upon to play a card (Draw one/Play one, a time machine effect, etc), you may instead choose to draw a new card.

When someone tries to un-invent time travel, and a mysterious force card is flipped, is that card reshuffled back into the deck or is it removed from the pile?

The card is set aside.

The game can run a little long with 5 cards in the B-1 pile. Can you shorten the game by starting with just 3 cards.

Absolutely. You could even start with just 2, a real one and a dud, if you want a really short game.

When activating the newspaper/telegram/fax to cancel a Rewind or similar card, do you have to cancel that card, or can you wait to see what was pulled before canceling?

You can wait. If someone plays a card like a Rewind, you can choose to cancel the Power Action itself, and save that player the trouble of going any further, or you can wait until they choose a card, and then cancel the card they selected as they use it. Similarly, you can stop someone from ever even going on a time trip by canceling the Time Machine card outright, or you can wait to see what they do with it, and then cancel that. Either way, the Time Machine goes in the trash and the TimeLine remains the same.

At what points can the v4 Time Car be cancelled using one of the Memo cards and what happens to the card that has to be discarded?

You can memo the v4 at any point during the sequence. As noted in the previous answer, you can save the other player the trouble of deciding what to discard, or you can wait until they've discarded their card and even announced what they are changing. That's all one big game action and as long as you announce your memo before the next game action, you are fine. However, no matter when you memo it, they do not lose the discarded card, just the v4 itself.

The Mr. Fusion card states "Once per turn, if you have this on the table, you may discard any other item you have on the table and draw 2 cards." Is this action in addition to the normal draw 1/play 1? Or is this replacing a phase of your turn?

In this case, it is a free action. (If it replaced your turn action, it would say so, as it does on the Pizza Hydrator promo card, which requires a turn action to be cashed in.)

The Engine Trouble card states that it can cancel a Time Machine and send the relevant card back to the hand of the player using it. What happens if the Time Machine was replayed from the discard pile via a Rewind? Does the Time Machine go back into the discard pile?

No, it goes back into the player's hand as if they'd played it from their hand.

Can you use a card's special power during the same turn you play it? For example, can I play the Dust Jacket and immediately discard it to steal the actual Almanac all in one turn?

Yes.

Is it possible to Hitch a Ride after the Truck Full of Manure was played? Example: Player A changed the TimeLine. Then Truck Full of Manure is played and Player B's turn is canceled. Can Player C use Hitch a Ride now?

No. Even though Player B's turn was canceled, they are still "the previous player," and they did nothing during their turn (except for dealing with all that manure.)

Is it possible to use a Memo (or similar Items) to discard an Item that another player has on the table?

No. Cancellations only work on cards as they are being played, not cards that are already in play.

Is it possible to use Rewind to play a Card that you couldn't play normally? Example: Can one play the Time Car v1 when he does not have some form of Plutonium?

No. When you use Rewind, it becomes the same as if the card you got from the discard pile had been played from your hand. So playing the Time Car v1 via Rewind would be exactly the same as if you played it normally. If you do so when you don't have the needed Plutonium on the table, nothing happens.

Can you Hitch a Ride on someone's Hitch a Ride?

Yes -- as long as they successfully changed the timeline.

Are there any hand limits, or item limits, or limits on how many cards you can play in one turn?

No, there are no such limits.

Can the Lightning Prediction be stolen with Don’t Be So Gullible McFly, or can I use the Lightning Prediction’s free play option to stop someone from stealing the Lightning Prediction?

Using the Lightning Prediction is a free action, but can only be used on your turn, so you can't suddenly decide to use it up when someone starts to take it from you.  So, yes, it can certainly be stolen with So Gullible.

In the rules it says in bold that “You can only claim victory at the END of your turn.” How literally should that be taken? If someone uses the Time Car v3 to flip B-2, must they still play an additional card before the game is over?

No, the game ends as soon as time travel is un-invented.

TRIVIA QUESTIONS

How can the ending work? If you un-invent time travel, won't you undo all of the changes made using time travel?

Well… yes, technically that's probably true. Another possibility is that it would create a major paradox, the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space time continuum, and destroy the entire universe! The point is, it just makes for a better game to imagine that everything freezes as last altered. Basically it comes down to Artistic License. It's kind of like how things worked in the original movies: did it really make sense that images of people would be gradually erased from photographs, from top to bottom, during time spent in the past? No, but it made for a better movie. So it is here: Un-inventing time travel makes for a great end-game moment, even if it doesn't quite make sense from a temporal physics standpoint.

What is Cusco?

The cardback for the ID cards is made to look like the Employee ID badge worn by middle-aged Marty in the year 2015. Therefore, Cusco is the company he works for in the future. It's never been made clear what that company actually does.

Most of the names on the character cards are unfamiliar to me. Do they all appear in the movies?

No. Most of 10 characters in the game are entirely new. The idea is, these are people from further into the future, characters we can only guess about, guys like Marty McFly III, or descendants of Biff with names like Buffy Tannen and Tiffany Tannen. The only exception is Verne Brown, the younger of the little boys seen at the end of the last movie. He's all grown up now, and getting into trouble with his daddy’s Time Train...

Can you give us more specifics on the new identities?

Here are Andy's thoughts about each character’s backstory:

  • Verne Brown: Verne is the younger son of Dr. Emmett Brown. He can only exist if Doc and Clara both avoid death and then get married in 1885.
     
  • Marty McFly III: This is Marty's grandson from the timeline where Marty was a corporate flunky not a rock star, but Marty Jr. did not go to jail as a youth.
     
  • Buffy Tannen: Both Buffy and Tiffany Tannen depend on Buford being arrested for stagecoach robbery, not murder. But otherwise, the Tannen girls are very different, with Buffy descending from Biff & Lorraine in a rather mundane timeline in which Biff is George's boss and Marty McFly never existed.
     
  • Tiffany Tannen: Tiffany on the other hand is the daughter of Lorraine and Biff-who-got-the-Almanac. Although her existence is difficult to imagine, she’d be Marty’s half-sister!
     
  • Clay Strickland: Clay is from a timeline where Clara Clayton survived the ravine, and yet never met Doc Brown. Instead she ends up with Marshall Strickland (or maybe his brother or uncle) and after a few generations we find a guy named Clay Strickland who somehow gets involved in the unwritten future adventures that tie all these characters together. Clay is from a family of teachers, lawmen, and school administrators, so he's not going to tolerate any slackers!
     
  • Clara Wilson: This character is a descendant of the Clara Clayton who survived the ravine, and someone from the family line of Mayor Goldie Wilson. Her future depends on Biff not getting the almanac because otherwise he interferes with Goldie’s campaign to become Mayor. Clara's middle name actually is Progress.
     
  • Darlene Needles: Darlene is from a family with a troubled history. She grew up in the world where Biff was rich, her mother did twenty years in jail for attempting to jailbreak her uncle, and her grandfather is Marty's shady friend Needles. Watch out for her!
     
  • Marlin Berry: This guy is rock-and-roll royalty. Not only is he the son of next-gen rock legend Marlene McFly (whose father was the lead singer from Marty and the Pinheads), Marlin also traces his family line back to Chuck Berry's cousin Marvin (of whom we caught just a glimpse during his performance at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance in 1955). Marlin even has famous sci-fi author George McFly in his family tree! He's the coolest.
     
  • Electra McFly: Electra is the daughter of rock star Marty in a timeline where he grew up as the stepson of Biff Tannen. Note that Electra's timeline requirements aren't really quite right, since it’s possible for her to win the game with Biff marrying Lorraine in 1973 even if George fails to kiss Lorraine at the dance. But since her name is McFly, it means that in her timeline George still finds a way to woo and marry Lorraine -- and also eventually suffer an untimely death -- before Biff swoops in to marry Lorraine and become her children’s stepfather.
     
  • Jules McFly: Jules is a descendant of a rock star who was the son of a noted sci-fi author. His first name also suggests some sort of relation to Doc Brown's son Jules, though that’s not actually indicated in his timeline requirements.

 

Back to the Future is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios and U-Drive Joint Venture. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLC. All rights reserved.