Recap: TIME Stories First Impressions (Spoiler free!)

Image via BGG User W Eric Martin

TIME Stories has gotten a lot of buzz. A lot. I was able to acquire the base game and first expansion in trade and set about to getting in a first play. I was not disappointed, but also not as impressed as I had hoped.

TIME Stories. The game is basically a cooperative Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. I used to love those things as a kid. This game takes that core concept of choosing what you want to do next and simply adds a few gamery elements like die rolls.

In our story, we quickly set about exploring various areas and were rewarded with a number of different items. I’m not sure all what we got, and most of it wasn’t usable that first run through. But we felt important for having it. Still, other times were really interesting. For example, one location might have certain parts of it blocked off. You can only access it if you have a particular symbol. And you only get that symbol by completing a side quest or talking to a certain individual. So part of the game is doing everything in the right order.

As a story-telling, cooperative activity, TIME Stories excelled magnificently. After my first play, I wanted to play again immediately. And I started thinking about everything. I definitely want to take notes in my next run and incrementally increase my progress. We were able to unveil enough of the mystery to get me extremely interested.

But as a game, I was disappointed. The die rolls seem tacked on. The time limit is an artificial constraint basically there to give the game some measure of replayability. And, it really is more of a puzzle than a game. Once we solve this mystery, that’s it. It’s over. At least the base game is. And each expansion only has one more story. It hardly seems like a game.

Still, I’ll certainly play it through to the end. But I’m going to treat it as a fun thing to do with my family. And not as a system to be learned and mastered.

Also Played. Forbidden Island, Little Prince, Resistance, and Viva Topo.

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