Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Not a Dalek in sight:- T.I.M.E Stories

Game Title: T.I.M.E Stories

Designer:Peggy Chassenete & Mamuel Rozoy

Manufacturer: Space Cowboys 

Year: 2015

Time Stories (hope you don't mind that I drop the whole T.I.M.E thing) is a 2-4 player storytelling game in which you play as part of an ‘elite’ team of time-travelers trying to preserve the history of humanity and not completely screw up reality. To do so you’ll have to fight, and puzzle your way through various adventures. That’s about all the story aspect I’m able to share (hence the lack of my normal start of review story today). Time Stories is a storytelling game, so if you know what is going on then the game is largely ruined for you. To this end all examples given in this review are entirely fictitious and any resemblance to actual Time Stories story elements is purely coincidental. 

You start the game by opening a room, rooms always have 1 starting card which describes the room and gives you an idea of what you might expect to see. The descriptions aren’t always obvious, so interacting with an “angry dog” might end up with you being mauled, or you may gain a puppy helper, or anything in-between. The rest of the cards you choose to explore at your leisure, each player picks a card to go to, though more than one can go to each card. The players who go to a card get to pick it up and view it, on the card may be some back-story, clues, fights or items that you can use. 

Each game the characters you play have different stats, and different generic items available, so while in one game the brown token might represent sanity, in the next it could be grenades and another it could be food. You will always have a health and a defence stat, which leads us to combat. Combat is done using dice, you roll the number of dice according to the stat you need (you may have different ways of attacking) and count up the number of successes you have, each success takes a shield off of the enemy. Shields have to be taken off from left to right so you’ll often notice the right hand shields include some of the negative effects such as skulls. When you roll the dice if you rolled at least 1 skull then you add up all the skulls showing on the dice and shields and compare them to your defence stat, if the number of skulls is higher then you got hit and lose 1 health.
The contents of the box, the tokens at the bottom vary in use in different games, the square tokens in the centre generally represent an action you ahve taken at some point in the game, the coloured pillars are used to represent the location of the 4 players
The main mechanic in Time Stories is Time Units (TU). You have a set amount of time in your adventure to complete the task at hand, if you take too long then you were too late and the nuke got launched/the president got killed/the dinosaurs died out. However worry not, as you are time travellers, dicking around with time isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle choice! If you run out of time you do get to try again from the start, your previous run may have given you hints as to what was a waste of time, what was important to do and you may even keep a few items from round to round, particularly access to new rooms that you may have discovered. Doing pretty much anything in time stories costs TU, moving from room to room makes you roll a dice to determine your travel time, interacting with different cards inside a room takes time, combat often locks you in a room until you complete it wasting more time. You’ll probably find your second/third time round are far more efficient, you’ll spend more time finding things you need and less time reading BBC news and ‘Googling’ yourself, which seemed like a productive use of time in the first round, honest!

The game board and choice of characters for the first mission that comes in the box. In the top left is the map, the top right is the item deck. The big black bar at the bottom is where the rooms, and therefore story, goes.
Honestly I find it hard to rate Time Stories as a board game. The combat is clunky, the time units thing is thematic but occasionally frustrating as you get *so close* to achieving something then game over. However I’m not sure I should be rating it as a board game as such. Sure it’s a game, which is played on a board, but Time Stories is more about the experience, the story in which you tell together with your friends. As an experience I can’t rate time stories enough, it’s unlike anything you have ever sat down to play before, the story in the first game felt supremely crafted and the puzzle was a good challenge, though you felt great when you worked it out! I can’t suggest buying Time Stories to an individual, it would be too expensive for the time played. But I heartily recommend buying it between a gaming group, sharing the cost of the base game and it’s expansions (each of which is a new story in an on-going campaign) makes it much better value for money and well worth it for something totally unique to your gaming table.


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