I was always kept away from purely white things when I was a kid for fear of the mess I would make. So when the plain white board came out of the very white Time Stories box I was filled with a mixture of curiosity and slight intimidation. As the 4 of us gathered around to begin what I would call a journey, the board wasn’t giving us any clues as to what we were letting ourselves in for. You will have to forgive me now as I try to explain the game in a vague enough way that I don’t spoil it for you and yet still in enough detail that you get the idea of just how amazing it is!
The basic premise of Time Stories is that you are agents working for a time agency that aims to prevent anything affecting the fabric of time. You could be sent to any time or world and all that you know is that you need to prevent something bad. No clue what. Just that it’s bad. Your job is then to explore the world/time that you have been sent to and prevent the bad thing from happening. (Told you it would be vague.)
The clever thing is that this is all done with a deck of cards. Each time/world is stunningly created by a different illustrator so they feel completely different every time. The different parts of the world are created with a panoramic picture made of between 4 and 7 cards. Each person then chooses where they are going to go. You are only allowed to see the information that the card reveals if you visit it yourself. You are able to share the information that you gain from the cards but only by summarising what you see… better hope you don’t miss anything. Some cards are useless, some cards are sneakily helpful, some include combat, some leave you with a choice and some just mess with your head in other ways. As you gather information, you can then start to think about tackling your mission. There aren’t too many components in time stories but as they are quite nondescript they are able to cleverly change what they represent for the different missions. The very first Time Stories is called The Asylum but there are many other missions that all have their own unique aspects.
I love this game! I love and hate the fact that what is essentially a pack of cards is able to create so much tension and stress for me. I don’t think I have ever been so involved with the theme of a game. It isn’t normally the thing that grabs me, but this game takes it to a new level. Many of my favourite moments in the game would reveal too much to you, so I will just have to encourage you to play for yourself. As you have a set time to complete missions in, it is very rare that you would complete a mission first time round. This means you get to play the same game a couple of times with added knowledge each time. It does mean that you need to have a committed group to play with as you wouldn’t be able to invite someone new in midway through but finding the right people to play with is one of the best bits. I am very lucky that I get to play with my husband and my best friends so that is definitely part of the appeal for me.
This game cannot be adequately described really but I hope that this gives you enough of a flavour to start planning who you are going to select for your time agent team.