Cooperative Board Game Review: T.I.M.E. Stories

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For some time now, I’ve been keeping a GeekList on BGG reviewing cooperative board games specifically about their suitability for 2-players. I thought it might be time that I post some of those reviews here but not only looking at playability with 2-players and updating them with my current thoughts. So here’s my first updated review.

T.I.M.E Stories

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Photo: Space Cowboys
Designer: Peggy Chassenet, Manuel Rozoy

Publisher: Space Cowboys

# Players: 2-4 players

Playtime: 4-6 hours per scenario

About (from BGG):

The T.I.M.E Agency protects humanity by preventing temporal faults and paradoxes from threatening the fabric of our universe. As temporal agents, you and your team will be sent into the bodies of beings from different worlds or realities to successfully complete the missions given to you. Failure is impossible, as you will be able to go back in time as many times as required.

T.I.M.E Stories is a narrative game, a game of “decksploration”. Each player is free to give their character as deep a “role” as they want, in order to live through a story, as much in the game as around the table. But it’s also a board game with rules which allow for reflection and optimization.

Review:

This is one of the few games where we have sat down and played straight for 5-6 hours as we just wanted to finish it. So far we’ve played the first 4 cases (Asylum, The Marcy Case, A Prophecy of Dragons & Under the Mask) and each of them seem to just get better and better. I’m not a zombie fan but still really enjoyed The Marcy Case.

At first I thought replaying through wouldn’t work very well and would be boring but how wrong was I? We generally completed each of the mission packs in 2-3 play-throughs, with the 3rd one taking less than 30mins as you knew exactly what to do by then. There is also an innovative way to ‘save’ your progress although we’ve never been able to stop playing to try this.

Although T.I.M.E. Stories isn’t geared to 2-player gameplay, we use the Rahdo variant with a third support player controlled by either of us but never leading so can never be on it’s own. We also don’t abide by the communication rules – we share the cards with each other as we find we get much more enjoyment out of the game doing this – as a 2 player game you are unlikely to ever see all the cards and it seems a waste of art if you don’t get to see them!

We’ve found that these modifications work really well and we absolutely love T.I.M.E Stories. Not even a toddler or baby can get in our way when playing this! (Well we may ship the toddler off to my parents / bed and the baby is still in sleep mode…)

I’ve played the first 3 scenarios as 2-player and the fourth as 3-player. Although I enjoyed playing with 3 players, and Under the Mask is probably the best scenario yet, I actually prefer our 2-player arrangement! We started hiding information when playing 3-players but again we all decided we much preferred sharing the information more thoroughly and this felt like a better gaming experience but this may depend on your game group and how well you get into your roles – we’re a bunch of physicists so perhaps prefer things to be a little more literal!

Summary:

This game competes for top spot in my favourite games with its closest rival being 7th Continent but after playing both relatively close together, I can say with certainty that T.I.M.E Stories is my all time favourite board game and as an added bonus it’s by a female designer!

My Rating: 10/10

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