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Kenny Johnson
United States
Torrance
California
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So, I was quite impressed with the first playthrough of Asylum. I really enjoyed it. We ended up playing the 2nd game the same night and I still enjoyed it. So much so that at that point, I would have rated the game 8/10. It was very enjoyable.

Then last night we decided to run through Asylum again. . . And it just felt like such a slog. Having to go back through things a 3rd time was so unsatisfying -- especially because we didn't take a lot of notes, so there was some guessing about where we've been and need to go next. . .

Some of the dead ends in the 1st couple games were a bit humorous or at least not frustrating -- but by the 3rd game, I was feeling cheated. We wanted to finish the game and found the last puzzle to be pretty difficult, especially because we were convinced we were missing a piece of the puzzle... I believe it says there should be 5 pentagrams -- and we only found 4. I think this is on purpose. . .

Anyway, we were all getting pretty frustrated with the repetitiveness, dead ends, and then our own lack of puzzle solving skills for the last location. None of us wanted to have to do a 4th run through, so we cheated to get to the last location -- which we knew was the only place we hadn't been yet.

The end was so incredibly anti-climatic. I've seen a lot of people here liked it, but it certainly left me incredibly disappointed and unsatisfied with the whole experience.. . So I went from thinking the game was about an 8 to thinking it was more like a 6.

More importantly, I went from really wanting to try other adventures to thinking I'd probably rather pass...

My question is... Will I likely have the same issues with the other stories? I assume with the time travel mechanic, repetitiveness is pretty much a certainty? What about the dead ends and story conclusions?

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Kārlis Jēriņš
Latvia
Riga
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There are five pentagrams. Four are separate items, and the fifth is on the lock you're trying to open.
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Kenny Johnson
United States
Torrance
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TheNameWasTaken wrote:
There are five pentagrams. Four are separate items, and the fifth is on the lock you're trying to open.


That wasn't really the point of my post, but then I'm either missing pieces or not understanding the clues. These are the pentagrams I can find in the game:

Item 1
Item 2
Item 17
Location 16C

Either way, that's all besides the point...

EDIT TO ADD: Just figured out that there was a 5th on the key. . .

But again.. my post wasn't really about our terrible puzzle solving skills.
 
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Susan
United States
Mesa
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Did you ever see the movie Memento?

The guy has short term memory loss and literally has to write himself notes so he would remember things, people, places, from one minute to the next.

What you are doing, is similiar, but without the note taking. Which is a recipe for disaster.

I don't know how you can reasonably play/win this game w/out taking notes unless you are some kind of memory wiz who just has an uber keen memory, which sounds like isn't the case with you guys. (trust me it isn't one of my strengths either).

The solution is simply to take better notes.

You would avoid all the slogging and getting frustrated and not being able to solve the puzzle parts if you had written down a few key pieces of information.

In the file section there are some nice sheets you can print out to make the note taking easier. "Found the gun at location K". If it's a month before you play again, you just scan the notes and off to location K you go to get the gun.

If you guys enjoyed it the first two times through, I say keep going. Assign someone to take notes if some of you just aren't good at it or can't be bothered.

I think thematically it works really well too. Your hosts die off between runs or who knows, so your memories of what happens leaves when you head back to the current time.

IMO, taking notes is all you have between winning and losing.



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Chris Whitpan
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Schwenksville
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Well Kenny, for better or worse, the other three are very different animals.

I loved the puzzle of the first one. I had a great team and we got thru on run 2 in about 3 hours total.

The others are different in that the puzzle aspect is not as front and center. They each have their own flavor, and are certainly worth it.

The only thing I urge people to do is commit to try and do one all the way. Now prophecies took us closer to four hours, but it is also a bigger game with more cards and locations to explore. Casual play isn't where this game shines. We do take notes but in the spirit of the game try to play from memory first, using notes to verify (if we ran out of tu for example, and you went back in again, you wouldn't have access to physical notes) but there is a point where frustration and fun can collide.

If you plan on one run, certainly notes are paramount.

I would say yes, do try another. They are well worth it.

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Billy Lumiukko
Finland
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Regarding your biggest concern, all the other games (haven't tried Under the Mask yet) have more or less repetition in what you do, often more than less.
Marcy Case felt the most repetitive and therefore the one I liked the least. You're pretty much doing the same thing over and over and you don't even feel that you go forward if you do not get their very subtle hints as to what to do.

The prophecy of dragons, as mentioned above has so much stuff to try that it doesn't feel too repetitive. Pretty much the best so far in that regard.

I also disagree with the writing notes. We took some notes in Marcy case because there's stuff that you simply cannot remember but otherwise we do not because it feels more like a real story, not only like a puzzle to be solved efficiently.
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Stephen Cooper
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Taking its inspiration from Groundhog Day, Source Code and Edge of Tomorrow, TIME Stories' core conceit is to make you run and re-run until you discover a path that leads to success, so if that aspect is the source of your frustration, then you should consider carefully whether to carry on or not.

If you really want to play but can't reconcile the TU element with you and your team's play style, you could always abandon it completely and just use one run to explore everything at your leisure.

If it helps, there is no sanction on note taking, take as many as you want.
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Randal Divinski
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Natick
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In order to solve the adventure, you have to approach each run with a dual mind. On one level, you are "in the moment" responding to each encounter/location as it comes and getting what you can out of it. On another level, you need to be evaluating whether this space is worth coming back to, are there any preparations that would make it more successful, is there any alternative choice to try the next time.

From your description, it seems like your group played like your receptacles were RPG characters and you forgot to think like T.I.M.E agents. Part of the puzzle is examining the "experience pieces" after the run and reconfiguring them in your head -- as a group strategy -- and going back WITH A STREAMLINED PLAN.

If that isn't fun for your group, then you are unlikely to be successful or enjoy Time Stories.
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Christian Villarreal
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I'm curious at this point what draws people to this game? I've seen so many threads like this one where they finished Asylum and were disappointed, for one reason or another. The loop mechanic, the fact that you lose at all, the ending, the scoring, the non-replayable aspect, the cost of the game.

Seriously, I'm honestly asking what drew you to buy/play it in the first place?

When I heard about the game, I did a lot of research on it. If it is supposedly non-replayable, why would you just go in expecting gold? I researched and researched and researched. I even watched people play the print-n-play scenario in french (and I don't know french) just so I could get a feeling for what the game is and how it played.

I bought the game, knowing that I was going to enjoy it. Myst has been mentioned as a comparison to this game and I couldn't agree more. In fact, that comparison is what convinced me this game would be very replayable for me. I play Myst every year in spite of KNOWING the answers to all the puzzles.

Once I've played each scenario of Time Stories with my 'Time Group' it becomes a solo game for me to enjoy in my own time because my mind thinks in story form rather than speed form and I can keep enjoying the story again and again hitting cards I wouldn't need for a speed run.

TL;DR - What did you expect out of this game? I knew I would love the game before I bought it because I researched it.
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Adam Hostetler
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Warminster
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The story immersion and the mystery solving are my groups favorite aspects. At the end of Asylum, when we solved the main puzzle (after mauling over it for probably 30 minutes) we all literally jumped out of our seats and yelled for joy! same with Marcy Case... when we got confirmation that we had Marcy, shouts and high fives all around. We get really into this game.. We just finished Marcy Case this morning and are looking forward to Prophesy of Dragons. Can't wait to play again!
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Chris Hainz
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fuzzyfoot wrote:
I'm curious at this point what draws people to this game? ...the scoring...


This is the part of the game I really find annoying and a waste of a card.

I agree that you need some sort of motivation and that there are people playing this game who want to compare themselves to others. But the scoring as it exists right now doesn't fill that gap satisfyingly:

The points you score in the different scenarios are awarded very differently and you don't know in the beginning what you get points for in the end. I don't know how one could solve this without giving too much away of the story. Furthermore, some groups could follow different strategies (e.g. avoiding unnecessary fights).

Often you score more points when you succeed during your third run with many TU left instead of your second with just a few TU left. This is contradictory to the assignments of the agency where you should take the fewest runs possible. There, a negative point system would make more sense, where each TU is subtracted individually.

In general, the expressiveness of the scoring seems to give no detailed feedback about how successful you have been.

I have tried a different path in the scenarios I'm working on. There will be just points for some aims you accomplished during the scenario and you will get extra rewards or instructions depending on the side quests you have finished or decisions you have made. These rewards are given to you as tokens and will affect the ongoing story.

Perhaps Space Cowboys could use the scoring cards more in a way to run the background story as well - this would not only serve as a reward for successful playing but also as a kind of cliffhanger where the cubes are too much of a tool as to affect the background story in different ways.
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Justin Colm
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LeGon wrote:
[q="fuzzyfoot"]

I have tried a different path in the scenarios I'm working on. There will be just points for some aims you accomplished during the scenario and you will get extra rewards or instructions depending on the side quests you have finished or decisions you have made. These rewards are given to you as tokens and will affect the ongoing story.


Great idea! A certain amount of points for winning on the 1st run, a lesser amount for finishing on the 2nd etc. And then additional points for story 'achievements', which will reward thoroughness more than a speed run. And those two factors (no. of runs vs thoroughness) will balance each other out somewhat for a reasonable score.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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kennyj wrote:
Some of the dead ends in the 1st couple games were a bit humorous or at least not frustrating


Henceforth a dead end become known as a plunger amongst our group.

The Marcy Case felt like a proper adventure. Prophecy of Dragons was a game of two halves. Under The Mask threatened to overwhelm me with frustration ( it appeared to be near impossible, and required looping and looping and looping to get right), but then it opened up into wonderful things.

But each has been different, within the overall framework of the system.
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