Back to the Future is one of the best movie trilogies, hands down. In fact any story that involves time travel has an added complexity that isn't found anywhere else. There are so many rules to consider and the possibility that everything could go horribly wrong is very high.
Now, imagine a future where the kinks of time travel have been ironed out...
All but one.
Time bandits. People who have gone back and changed things causing alternate timelines that are beginning to effect our original timeline, by accident, who knows? What are these bandits up to? How can they be stopped?
This is where you and your team of (up to 4) time agents come in; to go back, stop the event from happening and fix the rift.
Without giving too much away, this is the premise of T.I.M.E. Stories.
In my opinion this is one of the best "decksploration" games ever! There are so many surprises, puzzles, twists and frustrating turns, not to mention a lot of creepiness.
In the core set you get a very minimalist board, a couple different dice, several wooden game pieces and plenty of tokens. This also includes your first story deck, which is a thing of beauty. Each card has such amazing artwork, and it really makes the otherwise blank game board come to life!
Without giving too much away, the mechanics of time travel work in such a way that your consciousness leaves your body, then enters the body of an actual person in the timeline you are meant to be fixing (very Quantum Leap-esque), but it can only be sustained for a limited amount of time. After which, your "receptacle" kicks you out and you wake up back in the future; mission failed. The time mechanism is monitored through the number of turns the group takes in one room, followed by a dice role to determine how much time it takes you to move from your current location to another.
So whether you are finished with your mission or not, if the time allowed runs out, you are sent back to your body at the Time Agency's base of operations. Be warned, every time you go back to base, you have to start at the very beginning. This is where metagaming actually makes sense and is encouraged. *You* will remember your last journey and won't waste time on things that are unnecessary for your quest, whereas none of the NPCs (the characters in the timeline story) will even know there is something amiss, as they hadn't lived that moment yet. (CRAZY!)
Being at risk of spoilers stops me from telling you too much; but just to say, it took three of us playing 4 gaming sessions to finish the core set and we were not disappointed! We found every new room more exciting than the last, and the puzzles that were thrown our way were really clever and rewarding. The encounters are fast paced and challenging enough to create suspense, and paired with some creepy ambient music (not included ;) ) really made an immersive experience! In the end, we repaired the rift and couldn't wait to get ahold of an expansion deck, of which there are many, and keep our time hopping adventures going!
Trigger Warning: this game is rather dark and can be quite graphic, some decks less than others. Therefore, I would not advise this game for anyone under 15 and even then, one of the storylines is an "18," so keep that in mind before playing with young people.
This game is one of my absolute favourites! I have yet to play all of the expansions, but I look forward to doing so when we can all get back together and enjoy the experience of table top gaming once again!
Have you played Time Stories before? Tell us your thoughts (sans spoilers please!) in the comments. If you liked this post, please let us know and share it with a friend!