T.I.M.E. Stories - Time Keeps on Slippin'

T.I.M.E. Stories - Time Keeps on Slippin' Hot

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T.I.M.E. Stories is something of an odd design. It's odd in that it doesn't do anything really well. It's odd in that it doesn't do anything particularly innovative. It's odd, because it's just well, odd. This game shouldn't exist. It shouldn't be popular. Yet, here we are.

[Disclaimer - This is going to be a 100% spoiler free review. For those that don't know T.I.M.E. Stories is a co-operative story telling game and part of its appeal is finding out what lies within its sterile looking white box. I will brush upon some mechanics and ideas, but at no point will I divulge any SPECIFIC information about the plot.]

T.I.M.E. (already tired of typing this insufferable acronym) Stories is what you get when you combine the following things: Fighting Fantasy Books, Myst, Quantum Leap, Groundhog Day, and probably drugs. Does this goulash of ingredients sound appetizing? Well if you're in the mood for the boardgame equivalent of platypus stew then go grab a spork.

So the premise of T.I.M.E. Stories is that you and your friends are time agents of sorts. You're tasked with traveling to a specific period in time to accomplish SOMETHING. You start off in the future where you get a mission briefing and then you're off. For the base game you'll be travelling to the roaring 1920s and staying in a lovely asylum for the insane. Right off the bat your conscience is zapped into some people that are deemed "unimportant" to time. The game states that these "receptacles" can be taken control of without fear of screwing up the space time continuum or some such nonsense. Basically it's a convoluted way of saying, "It's character selection time!" So you all pick your receptacles (I swear I'm not making this up) which have special abilities, stats, whatnot, and you begin your journey.

The game/story is a conveyed via a large deck of oversized cards. There will be a map and as a group you must decide where to go. Once you select a place to travel, you dig through the deck and find the cards corresponding to the location. You then take the cards and lay them out so that they create a large picture of your new location. Neat! At this point you all decide where you want to individually investigate. You flip over the card that you placed your pawn above and secretly read what you discover. It might be text conveying a conversation. It could just be a picture. It could be anything really. If you're investigating alone you cannot tell people word for word what you found. No, the game wants you to DESCRIBE what you're experiencing. Sometimes you will come across a challenge or a fight that requires you to roll some dice to succeed. This requires a very simplistic system of rolling stars for successes to defeat the challenge. The kicker to all this is that each time you act, explore, or move locations you will need to spend "Time Units". You start off your mission with a certain amount of time units and if you ever run out you'll lose. And that's it. That the whole game. You explore, you discuss things, you occasionally roll some dice and you try to accomplish your goal before time runs out. 

Mechanically speaking, T.I.M.E. Stories is absolute garbage. There is NOTHING going on in its design that hasn't been done before. Its primary hook is the giant deck of cards that tell a singular story. Yes, every time you play the game the locations and events will always be the same. This is done on purpose because you'll likely fail and need to repeat the mission Groundhog Day style. Using what you previously learned you'll dive back into the deck armed with knowledge on how to accomplish your goal (hopefully quicker). 

I can tell you right now, if you're looking for a great, well written, gripping, story that is going to blow your mind then you need to adjust your expectations. The story telling is primarily of the "flip over a card and do what it says" variety. Again, it's all very basic stuff that has been done in probably a hundred other games.

Despite its antiquated design choices and rudimentary gameplay I sort of love T.I.M.E. Stories. This game baffles me. It's not a good design and yet I have an incredibly fun time playing it. Let me try to explain myself. The first thing I love about the game is the story. Yes, I know I said that it was bad a few lines up and I stand by that statement. However, it's bad in the best possible way. The plot is like something out of a Playstation 1 era Resident Evil game. It's like it was ripped out of the mind of a 12 year old boy who mixed all of his favorite ideas together during a Pixy Stix bender. As a lover of trashy cinema and B films this type of garbage speaks to me in a big way. The best part is that the publisher is trying their damndest to make their B movie turd seem like a blockbuster. Imagine some crummy genre script that was somehow green-lit with a 100 million dollar budget and you're starting to get the idea of what you're gonna experience. 

Thankfully the best moments aren't what you read via the cards. No, T.I.M.E. Stories is primarily a game about COMMUNICATING and that is when it shines brightest. Not being able to expicitly divulge information on the card you look at is a stroke of brilliance. Since you're working together to accomplish something, relying on information from another player can sometimes lead you astray. Couple this with the unique characters that you're playing and the experience really starts getting fun. You see, the "receptacles" that you play all have distinct character traits that will directly affect how you play the game. These distinctions are well executed and many times the choices you make on your own and as a group are dictated by the character you're playing. This often leads to some really hilarious table talk and ridiculous situations. Despite it looking like a sterile exam room, T.I.M.E. Stories is the kind of game best played with some cheap beer and good friends.

Now the game only comes with a single scenario. I find it amazing how people are actually fine with this. You're paying $40 for one really fancy choose your adventure game. I remember when Mansions of Madness came out with 5 scenarios people complained that it was too few. And those were designed to be slightly re-playable. T.I.M.E. Stories on the other hand? Yeah, replay value isn't high on this. However, that isn't to say it's not there. I will gladly re-play the base game scenario with different groups of friends. Obviously this means I would have to zip my mouth and not give away any information, but it's still doable. Your mileage will certainly vary though.

The absolute best thing…the single cleverest thing about the whole design is its blatant, purposeful, blandness. Everything from the packaging to the ruleset follows through with this ignis-fatuus. It's all done with surgical precision and purpose. From the first time you open the box every visual you drink in is meant to be as vanilla as possible. At first this seems like a terrible choice, however it's actually INCREDIBLY intelligent on behalf of the publisher. I'll let you in on T.I.M.E. Stories biggest secret; this isn't a game about time travel. Nope, the quasi sci-fi façade and clean white packaging is simply done to provide the most malleable toolkit for the designers to play with. T.I.M.E. Stories is about whatever it wants to be. It could be about dinosaurs and cavemen. It could be about witches on Moon-base Omega. All you need to do is insert a fresh deck and the game engine COMES ALIVE to spit out whatever genre it wants. Brilliant! Even the tokens in the game are merely simple colored chits that can represent anything. They could be food, ammo, hit points, or mana. I'm really impressed with how they pull this trick off. Hell, I'm convinced that the game mechanics being rudimentary is part of this master illusion. By keeping things familiar and basic it allows the game to become clay in the designer's hands. They're free to mold it into whatever they want over and over again. The plain white board and simple colored bits fade away and the deck of cards transforms the game into whatever the designers can think of. 

This all comes at a price. It makes T.I.M.E. Stories incredibly fragile. The enjoyment is going to be 100% based on the scenario you plug into the engine. If it's a snooze then you're screwed. Also, the deck of cards is so vital to the game that Asmodee needs to be extra careful with proofreading/production. Any printing errors or card misprints that break a scenario will cause fans of a game like this to panic. Again, just look at Mansions of Madness to see what printing errors can do to a game's reputation. Still this hasn't been an issue yet, but it's something worth noting. 

So do I recommend T.I.M.E. Stories? Yes, I would suggest trying it out at least once especially if you're a fan of something like Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. It's not a classic, but it wins BIG points for its chameleon chassis. More importantly, I think it's the closest anyone has come to cracking the code of creating a successful boardgame/RPG hybrid. I'll warn you that if you're looking for something deep and rewarding with the narrative you're bound to be disappointed. This is B movie magic with fistfuls of silliness. Expect badly written dialog, absurd moments, and a Roger Corman quality script. T.I.M.E. Stories mostly only gives back what you're willing to put into it. You need to play it loose and get into the pseudo role playing that it encourages. If you allow it you'll encounter some good belly laughs and a few memorable nights. You can't ask for more than that.

 

What does the Scale-o-Matic 6500™ say?

On a scale of The Butterfly Effect to Back to the Future

T.I.M.E. Stories rates as Time Cop

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Designer(s): Manuel Rozoy and Peggy Chassenet

Publisher: Space Cowboys / Asmodee

Year Published: 2015

Player Count: 2-4

Length: 60-120 minutes 

 

T.I.M.E. Stories - Time Keeps on Slippin' There Will Be Games
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Posted: 16 Feb 2016 08:56 by bfkiller #222619
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"T.I.M.E. (already tired of typing this insufferable acronym) Stories is what you get when you combine the following things: Fighting Fantasy Books, Myth, Quantum Leap, Groundhog Day, and probably drugs."

I had the same trouble coming up with comparables as well. I listed Groundhog Day and Quantum Leap, but also video games like Resident Evil and Nintendo DS puzzle games like Professor Layton or Phoenix Wright. I couldn't think of anything I've played on a table top that's comparable.

I actually don't like the game that much. It's fairly fragile and feels redundant after a few failures. We should finish the base game's scenario next time we play (though I've said that before). I don't think I'll join in on future scenarios.
Posted: 16 Feb 2016 09:18 by charlest #222622
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Absolutely love this game and I'd actually take an opposing view on some of your points.

Transferring the Point 'n Click adventure game into a tabletop design is innovative. Relying on a first person view with panoramic art that is integral to the story telling is pretty radical. Getting away from the text-based approach of Sherlock Holmes which can feel detached at times and bringing you down into a first person view is huge.

I also DO think the game is about time travel, at least from a macro level. It's not completely a gimmick as I believe there's a story going on in the background that will eventually be told over the many different individual stories. There's a couple little hints of some larger plot already.

This is a game that we had 7 people show up for to play the Marcy Case. We had 5 when we played Asylum. I think we'll have 8 or 9 when we play the next one as everyone is hooked.

We share characters and everyone discusses. It's fantastic and the most engaged I've been over a two-three hour span.
Posted: 16 Feb 2016 11:19 by Ken B. #222634
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I've held off on this one because of the feeling that when you're sitting down for your "learning game", you're actually committing to the only time you'll get to play the base game. Sounds like from this review it can actually take multiple sittings to solve a case? I like the sound of that much better.

Getting info like this about this game is made more difficult by the fact that I can't dig too deeply without finding out spoilers. I hate spoilers. That makes getting info about this game pretty tough.
Posted: 16 Feb 2016 12:39 by bfkiller #222640
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Ken B. wrote:
I've held off on this one because of the feeling that when you're sitting down for your "learning game", you're actually committing to the only time you'll get to play the base game. Sounds like from this review it can actually take multiple sittings to solve a case? I like the sound of that much better.

My group has played the base game scenario 7 times and we've yet to successfully complete it. We suspect we'll finish on the 8th try.
Posted: 16 Feb 2016 12:51 by charlest #222641
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That's crazy. We finished it in less than 3 hours in one session.

Marcy Case took us about 3 hours and one session as well.
Posted: 16 Feb 2016 13:56 by Egg Shen #222643
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charlest wrote:
Absolutely love this game and I'd actually take an opposing view on some of your points.

Transferring the Point 'n Click adventure game into a tabletop design is innovative. Relying on a first person view with panoramic art that is integral to the story telling is pretty radical. Getting away from the text-based approach of Sherlock Holmes which can feel detached at times and bringing you down into a first person view is huge.

I also DO think the game is about time travel, at least from a macro level. It's not completely a gimmick as I believe there's a story going on in the background that will eventually be told over the many different individual stories. There's a couple little hints of some larger plot already.

This is a game that we had 7 people show up for to play the Marcy Case. We had 5 when we played Asylum. I think we'll have 8 or 9 when we play the next one as everyone is hooked.

We share characters and everyone discusses. It's fantastic and the most engaged I've been over a two-three hour span.

While I agree that transferring a point and click adventure game into a tabletop experience is a novel concept the end result is still a story telling game that doesn't feel all that different from others. The main difference being the fact that you can't share all the information with one another...which as I mentioned is pretty damn savvy.

Yes at a MACRO level the game is about time travel. However,the specific theme/genre of the module comes through more than anything. As such I'd recommend the game to a horror fan or zombie fan with the first two modules. Someone interested in a game about Time Travel will be disappointed in that aspect of it. Which I think is a testament to the crazy powerful engine that they designed. I could see the designers doing some really crazy stuff since they're free to add rules and ideas pretty much as it suites them.

Also I agree with Charlie...play with a bunch of people and share characters. It works perfectly fine in doing so.

Ken - ideally each game scenario is meant to be played multiple times. Also, the mechanics are so basic that a "learning game" isn't really all that necessary. I played it with family and non typical gamers and after a round or two they all got the gist of it. It's all very basic and easy to pick up.

Another point...if I had a like a 15 year old kid this would be their favorite game. It's really in a teenager's wheelhouse. They would need to be OK with slightly more mature content, but man if I played this when I was 14 it would leave a LASTING impression on me.
Posted: 16 Feb 2016 14:03 by Black Barney #222644
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A Wild Ken Appears!
Posted: 16 Feb 2016 14:16 by charlest #222645
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Egg Shen wrote:
While I agree that transferring a point and click adventure game into a tabletop experience is a novel concept the end result is still a story telling game that doesn't feel all that different from others. The main difference being the fact that you can't share all the information with one another...which as I mentioned is pretty damn savvy.

I think we see this differently. Having 7 people show up to play for our second story of this was pretty crazy. Everyone was like - "Don't play without me!"

These are people that don't enjoy Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective.

It feels extremely different IMO. Much more immersive and enveloping. The engagement level is much higher and everything feels less abstract. Atmosphere is legitimately a thing in TS where I don't think it fully comes through in other storytelling games.
Posted: 16 Feb 2016 15:16 by bfkiller #222650
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charlest wrote:
That's crazy. We finished it in less than 3 hours in one session.

Marcy Case took us about 3 hours and one session as well.

I'm glad I'm not the one who spent money on it. Even with the 8 hours we've spent with the base game so far, I often think to myself, "you spent how much on this?"
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 06:46 by charlest #222669
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That's true, the price is a real hangup for many people.

All the people I've talked to who enjoy it (which spans across Euro and ATers), look at it more like paying for an experience. In that way it's most similar to an escape room which would cost much more for our group to participate in.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 07:16 by Josh Look #222671
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I don't want to come off a completely abrasive, just a little (see how I've mellowed in my older-ish age?) but so much of what I've read in defense of this game is flatout, indisputably wrong. It's like the game gives off glue fumes and people are inhaling that shit.

Listen, the honest truth about this game is that, as it stands, the overall experience is by and large fucking stupid as hell. The writing SUCKS and the mechanics truly are nothing to write home about. That being said, the system itself is admirable. You can do anything with it, and that's impressive. What's been done with it so far leaves a whole lot to be desired. It's about time travel if you're only counting what's commonly represented in board gaming. The asylum is only a little different, but really, zombies and a fucking dragon? Get out of here. Why not the Old West or dinosaurs, two criminally overlooked subjects in gaming.

And holy shit, don't get me started on the fact that the game IS pay to play. The same shit we jump down the video gaming industry's throat about some how gets a pass here. Defend that and you're goddamned moron.

Bringing it back though, the system itself is really, really cool. I just want to see something new and actually _good_ done with it. Currently it's a b-movie simulator.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 08:52 by Egg Shen #222673
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The B-movie simulator is really the only thing that kept me interested in the first place. But you're right, the game needs to get into better genres and stop catering to stuff that gamers lose their minds over. I'm hoping it's just to get the thing to sell well before they take some chances...but probably not. I think the designers could do something special with the engine they've built. I'm just hoping they realize that and start taking some real chances. If they don't though I'm content to play through some shitty Italian, rip-off level, b-movie. Bring on Star Crash, Contamination, or some other Luigi Cozzi schlockfest!

Also I'm not buying the "atmosphere" thing about this game. I've played it now with three completely different groups and each time it turns into a cheeky, laughing, ridiculous evening. It's not like we sat down for a seance and had some life changing moment when we played.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 09:36 by ThirstyMan #222675
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Given my history with gushing reviews, I think I'd better stay away from this one.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 10:07 by Josh Look #222676
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As a board game, it's mechanically dull and terrible value. As an RPG/adventure game in a box, it features writing below Dragonlance level and the puzzle solving is essentially trial and error. The system shows potential, but I'm not going to start praising something that doesn't exist.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 10:13 by SuperflyTNT #222677
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My only problem with "purchase" of this game is that the game doesn't include roofies or some other amnesia-inducing agent so that you can have replay value.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 10:16 by charlest #222678
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You can't trial and error the main puzzle in Asylum. You can trial and error the puzzles in The Marcy Case but you lose a lot of time.

The writing isn't primarily what you're interacting with. Much of the game is communicated via imagery.

There is a story, and it's pretty bare bones, sure. I don't think the writing is high brow stuff, but it never struck me as poor. I felt it was on par with any other storytelling game I've played (TOTAN, Sherlock Holmes, Fallen, Gumshoe).
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 10:41 by SuperflyTNT #222679
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You and Raf do an admirable job talking about it a bit in the Ding/Dent episode.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 10:46 by Josh Look #222680
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Just because the writing meets and already low standard, that doesn't mean we should be giving it a pat on the back. And since the mechanics are as brain dead as they are, yeah, the story and writing does matter. Otherwise, all you have are the puzzles, which ARE trial and error. Yeah, you'll lose, but I'm guessing that the intent was that you start over and try again. You know what I call that? Trial and error.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 11:00 by Michael Barnes #222682
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I don't have much to add because I haven't played it, but a comment about replay...be prepared for, over the next couple of years, more and more games with purposely limited replay value. Pandemic Legacy (and to a lesser extent Risk Legacy) opened the floodgates. A game with finite plays sold like crazy, and the legacy concept is going to turn up in a lot of ways across a lot of games. And one such way is to have these kinds of games that aren't replayable. Not only is it a result of the success of P:L and games like TIME Stories, but also because of the gaming culture that supports playing lots of games only a few times rather than only a few games lots of times.

And of course, "content packs", "expansions" or whatever you want to call the cardboard DLC will keep them going. That's a trend coming over from video games.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 11:10 by SuperflyTNT #222683
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I'd argue that the Legacy model only works because of the persistence factor. It's world-building, where from all accounts this isn't.

I don't have a dog in the hunt here, for what it's worth. I listened to Raf and Charlie talk about it, read about it, read this review, and it all dissuades me from wanting to buy it as it seems like it's pretty much a visual puzzle where you play, fail, play again knowing what you learned last time, rinse and repeat.

With regard to the time travel setting, I think this type of play supports the setting because you could easily rationalize trying, failing, trying again with lessons learned as time travel, in a very abstract sense.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 11:11 by hotseatgames #222684
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The value proposition on this game sounds bad. But a game like SeaFall, for example; if I'm paying $50ish dollars for a game that has 15 plays in it, that's fine. My group can barely claim that number of plays on anything we play. Spartacus *might* be the exception. King of Tokyo, sure, but I don't really count filler stuff.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 11:19 by charlest #222685
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Josh Look wrote:
Just because the writing meets an already low standard, that doesn't mean we should be giving it a pat on the back.

Correct. I'm patting it on the back because my 6-8 hours of TIME Stories last year was some of the most fun I've had. As an experience I can't play another game that does the same thing. I like Sherlock Holmes (and Gumshoe which I played halfway through), but it wasn't as interesting and fun as TIME Stories. Sherlock Holmes felt more scholarly and academic, while this feels more visual and engrossing (for me).

I'm fine with other people not liking it or thinking it's shit, whatever. I don't care if no one here likes it or buys it. It's already wildly popular and did not hit the clearance rack as Barnes thought it would so we'll be seeing more and my extended group will scoop them all up.

I think it does have weak points. I think price is an issue. I think having to replay the same locations is tedious in the Asylum story, but less so in The Marcy Case. Theoretically they could design a story requiring no repetition and I hope they do.

I really dig that "I have no idea what's going to happen next" feeling. It's why I love event decks and weird encounters in games. It's one of my favorite aspects of Cave Evil where you don't know what those decks will spit out. I love content discovery and being surprised. This game is 100% that.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 12:55 by Josh Look #222696
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SuperflyTNT wrote:
With regard to the time travel setting, I think this type of play supports the setting because you could easily rationalize trying, failing, trying again with lessons learned as time travel, in a very abstract sense.

You're right, that does make sense. It's the obvious pandering to gamer nerds that irrates me, and I have no tolerance for it these days (and don't anyone dare bring up Star Wars again, it's no where near Cthulhu/zombie/post-apoc levels in the board gaming arena yet...plus after years of shitty SW movies and games, let us enjoy this, will ya?). What's after the Egypt expansion? Weird War II? Cthulhu? A combination of the two?
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 13:01 by SuperflyTNT #222698
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That's been done: Achtung! Cthulhu.

@ Charlie: Here's something I'd like clarified: You said this: "I really dig that "I have no idea what's going to happen next" feeling."

But from what you and others seem to have been saying eariler, you'll find yourself going back after a failure and trying again with lessons learned. Doesn't that diminish the "NEW CAR SMELL" when you're having to replay half the game to get past the hump?
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 13:23 by charlest #222702
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SuperflyTNT wrote:
That's been done: Achtung! Cthulhu.

@ Charlie: Here's something I'd like clarified: You said this: "I really dig that "I have no idea what's going to happen next" feeling."

But from what you and others seem to have been saying eariler, you'll find yourself going back after a failure and trying again with lessons learned. Doesn't that diminish the "NEW CAR SMELL" when you're having to replay half the game to get past the hump?

You're right Pete it does a bit and that's the main point of criticism besides price that I bring up in my Review Corner review.

However, in my experience it wasn't terrible because the location progression doesn't tend to be exactly linear. It's not like running back through Resident Evil from the start and find a whole bunch of keys and sheet music all over. It's more like - "Ok, we need that one key from there and we need to talk to him to open the secret passage so we'll go to those two locations". In real time it takes us very little to retrace our steps.

Also, when you go back to a location like this we usually shift who looks at what card/clue. So if on the first go I talked to the creep woman in the corner I'll let Ben do that to read what I read earlier. Instead I'll take a gander at the painting he described and see if I notice anything he missed.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 13:51 by SuperflyTNT #222703
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that makes a ton of sense - probably keeps the game very fresh, especially (if I understand it right) you're not allowed to share notes, really.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 17:36 by Columbob #222719
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Michael Barnes wrote:
And one such way is to have these kinds of games that aren't replayable.

Furthermore, you can't really sell those used games either, as all the little "mysteries" have been revealed already, the Risk board is customized, etc. So people who are curious must shell out for the new copy, thereby increasing sales.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 21:19 by daveroswell #222724
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Curious to know how similar this game is to Tragedy Looper.
Posted: 17 Feb 2016 22:14 by Space Ghost #222727
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Josh Look wrote:
As a board game, it's mechanically dull and terrible value. As an RPG/adventure game in a box, it features writing below Dragonlance level and the puzzle solving is essentially trial and error. The system shows potential, but I'm not going to start praising something that doesn't exist.

Sweet Jesus -- do you mean the Dragonlance main story or the side books? The main story was good enough as far as these things go, definitely better than most of the other writing in the TSR D&D worlds (Ravenloft, Spelljammer, etc.) . The spin-offs --- woo-boy, some of those were terrible.
Posted: 18 Feb 2016 05:31 by Josh Look #222732
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Space Ghost wrote:
Josh Look wrote:
As a board game, it's mechanically dull and terrible value. As an RPG/adventure game in a box, it features writing below Dragonlance level and the puzzle solving is essentially trial and error. The system shows potential, but I'm not going to start praising something that doesn't exist.

Sweet Jesus -- do you mean the Dragonlance main story or the side books? The main story was good enough as far as these things go, definitely better than most of the other writing in the TSR D&D worlds (Ravenloft, Spelljammer, etc.) . The spin-offs --- woo-boy, some of those were terrible.

I've read the main series and the Time of the Twins series in the last couple years....And while the main series has a fun enough story, it's told very, very poorly. The Drizzt books still rank below in writing quality (though I'd argue are better stories overall). I actually thought the Twin series was pretty well done. The side stories are indeed the pits, and that's where the writing and story in TIME Stories resides. I had fun playing, for sure, but that was entirely because I play games with fun people.
Posted: 18 Feb 2016 06:48 by charlest #222737
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Columbob wrote:
Michael Barnes wrote:
And one such way is to have these kinds of games that aren't replayable.

Furthermore, you can't really sell those used games either, as all the little "mysteries" have been revealed already, the Risk board is customized, etc. So people who are curious must shell out for the new copy, thereby increasing sales.

TIME Stories has no legacy elements and can be resold.

The Legacy games were not developed the way they are for monetary reasons. I talked to Rob about this and the amount of time it takes him to design and develop a Legacy game is astronomical compared to a regular design.

He never thought they'd even take off and had to keep Risk Legacy a secret from Hasbro until it was later in development. They're more rooted in RPG story telling than any capitalist approach.

I get that being cynical is a requirement to be a member of FAT, but sometimes it gets a little old.



Dave - Tragedy Looper and TIME Stories are nothing alike.
Posted: 18 Feb 2016 07:56 by Columbob #222742
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charlest wrote:
Columbob wrote:
Michael Barnes wrote:
And one such way is to have these kinds of games that aren't replayable.

Furthermore, you can't really sell those used games either, as all the little "mysteries" have been revealed already, the Risk board is customized, etc. So people who are curious must shell out for the new copy, thereby increasing sales.
The Legacy games were not developed the way they are for monetary reasons. I talked to Rob about this and the amount of time it takes him to design and develop a Legacy game is astronomical compared to a regular design.

I get that and I'm not begrudging the author the deserved success for his long and arduous work on these titles. But as a consumer, we have to be aware that once the game is bought and played, we're never really gonna be able to get rid of it for any kind of money. Sure you can always use it for regular Risk or Pandemic games, or whatever the next title will be, but still. Nobody who knows games will want a used copy of any Legacy title, as long as it will be availble off the shelf.
Posted: 18 Feb 2016 09:11 by hotseatgames #222751
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If I ever get to the point where I don't want to buy a game because I won't be able to re-sell it, kill me.
Posted: 18 Feb 2016 09:15 by Black Barney #222752
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I'm not buying food ANYMORE
Posted: 18 Feb 2016 10:23 by Space Ghost #222755
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Josh Look wrote:
Space Ghost wrote:
Josh Look wrote:
As a board game, it's mechanically dull and terrible value. As an RPG/adventure game in a box, it features writing below Dragonlance level and the puzzle solving is essentially trial and error. The system shows potential, but I'm not going to start praising something that doesn't exist.

Sweet Jesus -- do you mean the Dragonlance main story or the side books? The main story was good enough as far as these things go, definitely better than most of the other writing in the TSR D&D worlds (Ravenloft, Spelljammer, etc.) . The spin-offs --- woo-boy, some of those were terrible.

I've read the main series and the Time of the Twins series in the last couple years....And while the main series has a fun enough story, it's told very, very poorly. The Drizzt books still rank below in writing quality (though I'd argue are better stories overall). I actually thought the Twin series was pretty well done. The side stories are indeed the pits, and that's where the writing and story in TIME Stories resides. I had fun playing, for sure, but that was entirely because I play games with fun people.

I think the main series is ok -- as you said, could have a been done better. Weiss and Hickman both improved as they wrote more; the Tales of the Lance was the first fantasy book either had ever written. Further, Dragons of Autumn Twilight was hamstrung because TSR wanted it to mirror the RPG modules that were already released. Dragons of Winter Night and Spring Dawning improved because they were free to write the stories first -- which, in my opinion, also improved the latter D&D modules.

As you said, they really improved with the Twin series. And, I would argue both their Darksword Trilogy and the Deathgate Cycle that they wrote after they left TSR is better than any of the TSR books, with the Deathgate Cycle being the better of the two. Their return for the Lost Chronicles and the Dark Disciple series were better than the original work.

But, nothing is going to save the spin-offs. I challenge some to get through the Meetings Sextet series -- read them in high school. Still have them, but can't bear to reread them.
Posted: 18 Feb 2016 10:36 by SuperflyTNT #222757
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Black Barney wrote:
I'm not buying food ANYMORE

Posted: 18 Feb 2016 11:23 by Black Barney #222763
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lol, they cut that clip short! The best part is when it goes back and Bart is pretending to be cleaning his back with a stick and then starts chasing Lisa around trying to touch her with it,. "EWWWWW! MOM!"
Posted: 18 Feb 2016 12:20 by panzerattack #222767
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charlest wrote:
Columbob wrote:
Michael Barnes wrote:
And one such way is to have these kinds of games that aren't replayable.

Furthermore, you can't really sell those used games either, as all the little "mysteries" have been revealed already, the Risk board is customized, etc. So people who are curious must shell out for the new copy, thereby increasing sales.

TIME Stories has no legacy elements and can be resold.

The Legacy games were not developed the way they are for monetary reasons. I talked to Rob about this and the amount of time it takes him to design and develop a Legacy game is astronomical compared to a regular design.

He never thought they'd even take off and had to keep Risk Legacy a secret from Hasbro until it was later in development. They're more rooted in RPG story telling than any capitalist approach.

I get that being cynical is a requirement to be a member of FAT, but sometimes it gets a little old.



Dave - Tragedy Looper and TIME Stories are nothing alike.

Logically speaking the Legacy design should work against sales. I know people get their knickers in a twist about the fact that once you've finished the campaign in a legacy game you need to re-buy the game if you want to play it again but realistically speaking how many people do you think do that? Not many I'd bet. On the other hand, if you've got a gaming group and one of them owns a Legacy game what're the chances of anyone else in the group buying the same game for their own collection? Very low I'd imagine as they'd already have experienced all the surprises.

Regarding TIME stories - only played the first scenario but it was the most fun I've had with a board game in years. Yes it was a one shot but totally worth it.
Posted: 19 Feb 2016 13:23 by Egg Shen #222868
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So I was thinking...Space Cowboys is part of Asmodee. Which means that T.I.M.E. Stories technically has access to all of FFG's lineup of "worlds". Given how well this game is selling, how long before we get an "Android T.I.M.E. Stories" or "Arkham Horror: T.I.M.E. Stories"? They could easily remove the time traveling thing and just make stand alone games in these FFG settings. Big companies like to synergize brands and use other corporate buzzwords...so who else thinks this might become a thing?
Posted: 20 Feb 2016 09:46 by ubarose #222895
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I think T.IM.E. Stories feels like one of those murder mystery dinner party games/kits, with a bit more structure and a bit less fragile. If you assess those murder mystery games by the typical benchmarks used for games or mystery writing, they were totally lame and you could only use them once and then maybe pass them on or trade them off. However, that did not detract from the fact that they were totally fun. So fun that they spawned an entire business of participatory murder mystery dinner theatre.

So I agree with Egg. T.IM.E. Stories is odd, and shouldn't work, but is really fun, enjoyable, and very social. We didn't get very far into the game before we failed, but I can already tell the story is going in a completely stupid direction, and the end will probably be disappointing. However, I am looking forward to playing again. I can definitely see playing it with family. Although Egg says that the story line is not really appropriate for kids. I haven't found anything really objectionable so far.
Posted: 21 Feb 2016 10:10 by Josh Look #222933
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ubarose wrote:
I think T.IM.E. Stories feels like one of those murder mystery dinner party games/kits, with a bit more structure and a bit less fragile. If you assess those murder mystery games by the typical benchmarks used for games or mystery writing, they were totally lame and you could only use them once and then maybe pass them on or trade them off. However, that did not detract from the fact that they were totally fun. So fun that they spawned an entire business of participatory murder mystery dinner theatre.

So I agree with Egg. T.IM.E. Stories is odd, and shouldn't work, but is really fun, enjoyable, and very social. We didn't get very far into the game before we failed, but I can already tell the story is going in a completely stupid direction, and the end will probably be disappointing. However, I am looking forward to playing again. I can definitely see playing it with family. Although Egg says that the story line is not really appropriate for kids. I haven't found anything really objectionable so far.

Well, there's the cocaine and the nymphomaniac, for starters.

You know, we're actually on the same page. It's not that it's not fun. I had fun, sure. Most fun had in a long time kind of fun though? Not even close. But I had a good time with it.

What gets me going is the sheer HYPE over it and what that hype is claiming about the game. That stuff simply isn't there. As some one (too lazy to scroll up right now) perfectly put it, people are treating it like they had a seance with it. Please, people. Give me a break.

Above all else, my beef with it comes down to this: It's being touted as a storytelling game. Fine, that's what it does and the means with which it does that are pretty innovative and with the right story and flourishes in mechanics someone could do something really, really remarkable. But I want a storytelling game that tells better stories. Tales of the Arabian Nights already tells wacky, fun stories and packs more of a game in there was well. It's still the better _game_ by far, and those stories are pretty wacky already, so it all works. Here with TIME Stories, someone has devised a really great way to push storytelling games to the next level and tell better stories, but we're still stuck in pandering-gamer-nerd-land and doing nothing to to elevate the low-set bar on storytelling in board games. And people are like, "Yeah! I'm totally okay with this! Give me more!" It's those people who we can thank for not having nice things. Thanks for nothing, jerks.
Posted: 22 Feb 2016 06:54 by charlest #222967
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Josh Look wrote:
It's those people who we can thank for not having nice things. Thanks for nothing, jerks.

Don't worry, the new Imperial Assault mini expansions are out.
Posted: 22 Feb 2016 07:28 by Josh Look #222970
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charlest wrote:
Josh Look wrote:
It's those people who we can thank for not having nice things. Thanks for nothing, jerks.

Don't worry, the new Imperial Assault mini expansions are out.

Hey, don't look at me. I don't buy those.
Posted: 22 Feb 2016 08:00 by charlest #222974
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Josh Look wrote:
charlest wrote:
Josh Look wrote:
It's those people who we can thank for not having nice things. Thanks for nothing, jerks.

Don't worry, the new Imperial Assault mini expansions are out.

Hey, don't look at me. I don't buy those.

Buzzkill.