Updated: Sep 28, 2021
T.I.M.E. Stories is a game gifted to me by a fellow geek. In this game, by Space Cowboys, you play agents from the future that look to change time to ensure critical events don't occur. You each play one of these agents sent through time to operate an avatar body from the relevant period.
It is a cooperative game for 2-4 players. According to the box, it is for ages 12 and up and takes about 90 minutes to play. From my experience, I certainly don't disagree with that.
The game has a mystery at its heart. While we'll try our best not to ruin it, be aware there may be some spoilers in this review. #spoilers
Players: 2-4 Ages: 12+ Game Time: 90 mins
As with most games, there is some familiar dice rolling to resolve combat and skill checks, but the core gameplay is fairly unique. It makes for a refreshing change of pace from game mechanics that are all too familiar.
As players, you explore the area depicted by a series of cards that together form an image of the location. Players assign themselves to one of these cards and read the contents aloud to the group, resolving effects as needed. Sharing the details from these cards will be essential to make sure you solve the mystery. When all players are happy they have finished in one location they can travel to the next, rolling the TU (time unit) dice to establish how much time is lost in the move.
The players control avatar bodies of the relevant time period, meaning that each player will have a unique character with their own stats. The team will need to work together to manage their strengths and weaknesses. Time is always ticking away and the game is run against the clock, as you have a limited amount of time to complete the mission and every action has a cost.
Once you are familiar with the mechanics of the game, some of the solutions to problems will become easier to figure out. However, it certainly took me several playthroughs before this became apparent.
The game has a really high quality finish and I love the detailed artwork.
I love that the game has a novel way of 'saving' your game if you need to leave it halfway through a scenario, where the game tray has been thought out to allow slots for each player to store all the cards related to their avatar.
The biggest bug-bear I have with this game is the replayability, once you have solved the mystery there really isn't anything else to it. There is always the choice to try and do it more efficiently or play it with another group, but if your memory is anything like mine then you lose a lot of the suspense that added to my initial enjoyment of the game.
There are a series of expansions that provide new scenarios to work through and indeed you can play them as a legacy campaign using the bonuses you earn based on your performance in completing previous scenarios.
If you get an opportunity to play this game, then I would highly recommend the gameplay, a subtle mix of a co-operative board game and RPG-lite where you can really focus on immersing yourself in the mystery of it all.
However, the novelty of this game soon wears off and you realise that the price tag just isn't worth it as the only replayability comes from spending more money to explore the next module.
My recommendation? Play it in your local game café, then call it a day. It's a shame I can't score this a bit higher but the lack of replayability really hurts this game for me, so it gets a 3/6.
From your friendly DoaLG rules lawyer
George E Ohh