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Subject: Please read this before playing your first game (no spoilers here) rss

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Gerald Rüscher
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We've just finished the first scenario of T.I.M.E Stories and we definitely had a very good time. However, there is one very important hint which doesn't seem to appear in the rulebook:

Make sure that you really, really completely read and look at every single card.

Don't just summarize the content. Don't dismiss any card after a short glance just because you think it's irrelevant. Look at the card, show it around and - in contrast to what the rulebook may say - give everyone the opportunity to read the text for himself.

Why am I writing this? Because in the first scenario we missed one key clue to the solution of the story simply because we didn't notice a certain detail on the relevant story card. As a result, the game came to a grinding halt after 3/4 of the entire playing time, leaving us completely clueless on how to proceed. We ended up re-scanning almost all previous cards until we finally discovered the missing clue.

This is not a problem of the game. We just didn't expect that details could be so important. I'm pretty sure that this won't happen with the next scenario (which is up on next Saturday :-D )
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Felix Lastname
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
... even if it's only a handful of cards that deserve this kind of close scrutiny.
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Byron Morgan
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rule book pg 5.

"as much as possible sit on the same side of the game board so that everyone can clearly see the card panoramas durring the game. This aids immersion and also helps in your missions as some details from the artwork can turn out to be vital... "
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John
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gruescher wrote:

We've just finished the first scenario of T.I.M.E Stories and we definitely had a very good time. However, there is one very important hint which doesn't seem to appear in the rulebook:

Make sure that you really, really completely read and look at every single card.

Don't just summarize the content. Don't dismiss any card after a short glance just because you thing it's irrelevant. Look at the card, show it around and - in contrast to what the rulebook may say - give everyone the opportunity to read the text for himself.

Why am I writing this? Because in the first scenario we missed one key clue to the solution of the story simply because we didn't notice a certain detail on the relevant story card. As a result, the game came to a grinding halt after 3/4 of the entire playing time, leaving us completely clueless on how to proceed. We ended up re-scanning almost all previous cards until we finally discovered the missing clue.

This is not a problem of the game. We just didn't expect that details could be so important. I'm pretty sure that this won't happen with the next scenario (which is up on next Saturday :-D )

I received T.I.M.E. Stories last Friday but have not played it yet. (Still figuring out if I can make it a 5-player variant.) Watching Rahdo's videos and reading the rulebook I got the impression that having not everybody reading every activated card would contribute to the overall atmosphere, social interactions and replayability (within one complete run and future new sessions.) Since I am almost certain players will miss out specific essential details reading the contents of a card early or later on, this will probably not be the case when the run gets reset and everyone starts over again on square one. However! Only this time the party must make sure that other players activate the cards as a four-eyes-principle.

Did your session came to a grinding halt in the first or a subsequent run? How much time did it take for your party to complete the T.I.M.E. Stories Asylum scenario? (I am still guessing if we should reserve a long game day or an evening for T.I.M.E Stories.)
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Gerald Rüscher
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myronborgan wrote:
rule book pg 5.

"as much as possible sit on the same side of the game board so that everyone can clearly see the card panoramas durring the game. This aids immersion and also helps in your missions as some details from the artwork can turn out to be vital... "

Thanks for pointing this out but the hint not to overlook hints was overlooked because it was too subtle by itself

Seriously: I feel that this point is so important that it should be printed in big, glaring letters on page one of the rulebook. Unfortunately on page 9 it says:

Quote:
- Don’t show a card to a player who isn’t on the same space as you.
- Don’t read all of a card out loud. Paraphrase, cite, and evoke; in short, tell what you’re going through.

So here the rules definitely tell us to add flavour by re-telling the card's content. Unfortunately, this can break the entire game because if you miss that one one crucial detail you might end up just like we did: stuck and clueless.

Again: I do not consider the game broken by any means. TS provides a great gaming experience. Don't let it be ruined by sloppy gameplay.
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Gerald Rüscher
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Magallian wrote:
Did your session came to a grinding halt in the first or a subsequent run? How much time did it take for your party to complete the T.I.M.E. Stories Asylum scenario? (I am still guessing if we should reserve a long game day or an evening for T.I.M.E Stories.)

We played the entire first scenario on one day which took us about 5 hours with the full three "restarts". Personally, I enjoyed this part of the game (the restarts) because it nicely captures the "Edge of Tomorrow / Groundhog Day" feeling. However, I think that we somehow played the game too fast. We should have examined some cards more closely and we should have taken notes on key parts of story. The "grinding halt" came in the last run, when we more or less came to a single room where we knew we had to proceed somehow but simply didn't manage to figure out how exactly (I'm vague here because I don't want to spoil anything).

Anyway: we'll be playing The Marcy Case next Saturday and I'm definitely looking forward to this.
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Dave Neale
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I don't know if I'm just a bit weird, but out of everything I've read about this game this thread more than any other has convinced me I should buy it.
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John
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gruescher wrote:
We played the entire first scenario on one day which took us about 5 hours with the full three "restarts". Personally, I enjoyed this part of the game (the restarts) because it nicely captures the "Edge of Tomorrow / Groundhog Day" feeling. However, I think that we somehow played the game too fast. We should have examined some cards more closely and we should have taken notes on key parts of story. The "grinding halt" came in the last run, when we more or less came to a single room where we knew we had to proceed somehow but simply didn't manage to figure out how exactly (I'm vague here because I don't want to spoil anything).

Anyway: we'll be playing The Marcy Case next Saturday and I'm definitely looking forward to this.

I take your advice about examining some cards more closely and taking notes on key parts of the story into our first game for certain! It's clear to me that it is crucial that every player needs focus playing T.I.M.E. Stories, so I approach that challenge with more coffee than alcohol for every player! And yes, the mechanic of Edge of Tomorrow / Groundhog Day is one of the highlights which makes this game experience special. Thanks for your advice Gerald! And enjoy The Marcy Case upcoming weekend!
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Moose Detective
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I hope everyone reading this knows to ignore your advice and follow the rules. It sounds to me like the game 100% played as intended. One of your group found the clue and ignored it, therefore you failed that run.

When you re-run it on the next loop, it would be foolish to send the same characters to the same locations. You should switch locations and get new eyes on the card until someone spots the clue. If you get sloppy and start glossing over cards, it is no different than playing any other co-op game poorly.

Having everyone examine every card will make it way too easy. You might never miss a clue that way.

TIME Stories has been accused of not having enough "game" to it, because you will just keep following the story and clues until you eventually win. You're showing where the game aspect is - AND THEN TRYING TO HOUSERULE IT AWAY. Don't do that.
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John
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stevelabny wrote:
I hope everyone reading this knows to ignore your advice and follow the rules. It sounds to me like the game 100% played as intended.

As far as I am concerned at the beginning of our first session I will point out to the players to examine cards closely, pay attention to details and eventually take private notes if it would be appropriate as far as the situation justifies such an act.) But besides that we most definitely won't have a player citate or show cards to the rest of the party. With that in mind I assume we won't ignore rules provided with the game.

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Gerald Rüscher
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stevelabny wrote:
TIME Stories has been accused of not having enough "game" to it, because you will just keep following the story and clues until you eventually win. You're showing where the game aspect is - AND THEN TRYING TO HOUSERULE IT AWAY. Don't do that.

You're over-interpreting my post. I don't demand a house rule here. All I said was that it's important to be very attentive when playing. Citing/re-interpreting cards is possible but when you do that you must make sure that you really, really got all the details of the card right. Playing sloppily is the gateway to havoc because the game surely breaks if you miss certain key clues. It does! With any other game a single messed up play is no problem whatsoever but a scenario of T.I.M.E Stories cannot be replayed again and again.
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gruescher wrote:
stevelabny wrote:
TIME Stories has been accused of not having enough "game" to it, because you will just keep following the story and clues until you eventually win. You're showing where the game aspect is - AND THEN TRYING TO HOUSERULE IT AWAY. Don't do that.

You're over-interpreting my post. I don't demand a house rule here. All I said was that it's important to be very attentive when playing. Citing/re-interpreting cards is possible but when you do that you must make sure that you really, really got all the details of the card right. Playing sloppily is the gateway to havoc because the game surely breaks if you miss certain key clues. It does! With any other game a single messed up play is no problem whatsoever but a scenario of T.I.M.E Stories cannot be replayed again and again.


I'm responding mainly to this line

gruescher wrote:
Look at the card, show it around and - in contrast to what the rulebook may say - give everyone the opportunity to read the text for himself.


since the rulebook says to NOT show the card to everyone, and to NOT read it verbatim.

As for the game breaking, can you give a non-spoiler example? As far as I can tell, if you miss a clue, you can keep moving to other locations within an area, or other areas until you eventually run out of time and re-loop. So missing the clue will lead to a lot of wasted time but not break anything.

The only thing I can figure is that I'm interpreting the card in question as one of the flippable location cards and you might mean one of the original rules cards at the beginning of the scenario???

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Simon Blome
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gruescher wrote:

Make sure that you really, really completely read and look at every single card.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Give yourself a thumbsup if you had spoiler angst, before clicking on this.
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I haven't played the game yet, but I've seen some other people play and I've watched Rahdo's runthrough of this game. But it seems like this piece of advice about sharing all the information and showing all the information, breaks the mechanic and spirit of the game.

I'm not sure how the game came to a halt, but it seems like you would have to move all characters to a place/time and then they could read it if they're on the same place/time and this burns actions. Showing the card and letting everyone read it is possible within the game so that people can move to that space and look at it.

This game is about discovery and the ability to communicate with the other players. Rahdo even mentions a situation where someone is on a space and picks up a card and some guy is telling the players to do something, but the guy looks shifty and it falls on the player's own judgement and communication skill to say "hey guys... this guy is telling us that we need to go to this place" but he looks shifty.

Again, without playing the game - I don't know the situation, but the reason I would want to play this game is because of the mechanics of discovery and communication and solving a crime together. Showing all the cards is like playing the memory game with a deck of cards except you keep the cards you turn over up all the time.
 
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Felix Lastname
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The problem is of course that if you miss something once, why should it be noticed the second time around? As I said in my post near the top (with the spoiler tags) - it's only (in the Asylum) very very few cards that contain sneaky hints. So for those two instances, we have the whole mechanic conceit of "you may not read out or show the cards"? That's pretty heavy-handed, I'm finding.

And, to be honest, it's actually a lot of effort to rephrase everything written on a card without it necessarily adding to the immersion.

The game might be a tad easier if you share cards, but it is by no means a guaranteed walkthrough. People might still overlook stuff, disagree whether somebody looks shifty or not - but it is much less awkward to play.

tl;dr
That whole not-sharing-cards-but-share-information-through-communication shtick, we felt in our play, was clumsy and not really worth the pay-off.

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Clyde W
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Just played through the first scenario last night. I know exactly which card you're talking about!

Some of the puzzles were pretty hard!
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Gerald Rüscher
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I'm pretty amused that the strongest opposition to my advice comes from guys who haven't actually played the game yet.

Seriously folks: play it yourselves, then come back. I wasn't asking to optimize or "game" TIME Stories. I wasn't even criticizing it. I was just pointing out that missing certain clues WILL definitely lead to a less-than-optimal gaming experience which is especially bad since this game cannot be replayed again and again.

Take my advice or leave it. I can only say that we had 4+ hours of fun followed by more than half and hour of frustration which had everyone at least mildly p****d off.
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James Odom
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Maybe I'm missing the point of the game, but I thought that part of the time travel mechanic was to go back in time to get it the second time, or third time or N time around. If you got everything the first time around.. then there would be no loop and it would just be a linear game.
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Felix Lastname
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James: yes, but the challenge is found in different places.
1) can you get the logistics right? (time-keeping, haha)
2) can you figure out the puzzles?
3) do you roll better this time around than last time?
4) do you notice everything on the cards?

My take: already the first three are pretty challenging. The fourth one... is, to me, simply not as interesting.

For RPGGeeks here: remember how later incarnations of Cthulhu role-playing moved away from Spot Hidden? That was a game design evolution, to help players get to the interesting bits.
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Againsto wrote:
James: yes, but the challenge is found in different places.
1) can you get the logistics right? (time-keeping, haha)
2) can you figure out the puzzles?
3) do you roll better this time around than last time?
4) do you notice everything on the cards?

My take: already the first three are pretty challenging. The fourth one... is, to me, simply not as interesting.

For RPGGeeks here: remember how later incarnations of Cthulhu role-playing moved away from Spot Hidden? That was a game design evolution, to help players get to the interesting bits.


Noticing everything on the cards is so interesting that 7th continent also uses it extensively and there are entire websites devoted to pixel-hunting hidden image games.

RPGs removing hidden things because they are potentially a lot of work that will never be found, isn't so much of a gaming evolution as it is lazy designers who don't want to work on clues (so that there's more of a chance to find something than just rolling a Spot check) and really incompetent modern gamers who have been spoonfed so many things that they can't get through a Zelda dungeon without using the internet, let alone a point-and-click adventure game.

TLDR: For you, it might not be as interesting, but it is a tried-and-true gameplay element that appeals to lots of people.
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Brad Rosenquist
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stevelabny wrote:

TLDR: For you, it might not be as interesting, but it is a tried-and-true gameplay element that appeals to lots of people.


I think this statement is the key, really. For me personally (I haven't played it yet but hope to soon), I'm looking forward to role-playing it and going by the rulebook. I like the idea of not giving out perfect info to my partners and possibly making run-ending mistakes because of it.

But, I know that others will share the opinion of the OP. And that's fine. Maybe this topic should have gone in the Variant forum, though, as essentially the "everyone read" bit is a house rule.
 
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Felix Lastname
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stevelabny wrote:
RPGs removing hidden things because they are potentially a lot of work that will never be found, isn't so much of a gaming evolution as it is lazy designers who don't want to work on clues (so that there's more of a chance to find something than just rolling a Spot check) and really incompetent modern gamers who have been spoonfed so many things that they can't get through a Zelda dungeon without using the internet, let alone a point-and-click adventure game.


To clarify: I was talking about tabletop roleplaying, specifically the shift from Call of Cthulhu Basic Roleplaying to things like Gumshoe/Trail of Cthulhu, NOT about anything to do with computers.
 
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Againsto wrote:
stevelabny wrote:
RPGs removing hidden things because they are potentially a lot of work that will never be found, isn't so much of a gaming evolution as it is lazy designers who don't want to work on clues (so that there's more of a chance to find something than just rolling a Spot check) and really incompetent modern gamers who have been spoonfed so many things that they can't get through a Zelda dungeon without using the internet, let alone a point-and-click adventure game.


To clarify: I was talking about tabletop roleplaying, specifically the shift from Call of Cthulhu Basic Roleplaying to things like Gumshoe/Trail of Cthulhu, NOT about anything to do with computers.


and to clarify, I was talking about both.

because there isn't some magical divide between people who play tabletop RPGs and people who play video games. We're the same people.

Modern versions of tabletop RPGS and modern versions of video games have made many of the same bad/lazy design decisions by removing "player challenge" in favor of "character-challenge", removing puzzles and exploration in favor of more combat and stuff everywhere, removing slow character progression with instant progression and constant loot drops, defining character classes by their "role" rather than their skills, etc etc.

You see it happen in board games too - where some players/designers decide that a certain type of random is ALWAYS evil, or that player elimination is ALWAYS evil, without even understanding why the other better designers made the choices they made for their game. Like...right here in this thread.
 
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Dirk Ackermann
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@Moose: Why are they better designers? (and before we derail this thread further - better per PM)
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Stephen Cooper
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gruescher wrote:
Make sure that you really, really completely read and look at every single card.

Isn't this the de facto SOP for an adventure game, examine everything?
 
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