The Lost Lighthouse Plays: T.I.M.E Stories Part 1

And that’s my final thought on the game…wait, something’s wrong. I know what’s happened; we’ve jumped in at the wrong point of the run. Let’s spend some Time Units and jump back to the beginning of the article.

*Various 80’s Sci-Fi noises*

T.I.M.E Stories rematerialized within our local game stores in 2015, published by Space Cowboys and Asmodee. A game notoriously difficult to write about as SO much relies on the story and not letting the cat out the bag. So I’m going to write one article now, 3 runs into the game, with no spoilers and one after our time agents have solved the mystery WITH spoilers

So this piece will focus on how I feel about the mechanics, aesthetics and general play style of the game but will give away none the important story hooks.

As I previously stated our play group has only got half way through 3 “runs” into the mission supplied with the base game, so my opinions may change in the next article after we’ve finished. So take them with a pinch of salt.

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Look at how cool those component slots are!

Upon looking at the contents of the box, you know this is a different game. I’m a huge fan of RPGs and from what I’d heard of the game that would help. The components are fascinating; the pieces that represent the players are huge! It feels as if the designers looked at standard games components and went “our game’s completely different, let’s not have standard components”. One thing I really enjoy about the box design is that you can essentially “save” your game progress ready for your next session. The board itself is a blank canvas which is perfect considering the idea of the game.
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I feel I’m getting ahead of myself. If you haven’t heard about T.I.M.E Stories, you and between 1-3 other players take on the roles of agents sent back to some time in history, ours or otherwise, to correct something that has gone wrong. Problem is, time travel takes a lot of energy and it’s not long till you’re ripped back to the future. Every trip is called a run, and every time you try to do something during a run it costs Time Units (TU). Once you’ve spent an allowed amount of TU during a run you have to start again from the beginning. But hopefully you’ll bring along some memories and items from your previous run(s).

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I played as Mademoiselle Doume. Bitter as hell, and twice as tough!

You each pick a different person for your agent to inhabit while they have slipped back through time. Some are better at conversations, some are better at smashing heads! Classic RPG style. It really benefits your party to take a mix.
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Your “view” during the game is a panorama, which changes per location you go to, of the area you are occupying. This could be a roof or a cave etc. you can move your agents around the panorama to interact or talk to various people. Some times for better or for the worse as you are occasionally drawn into fights. The dice mechanics are really simple, though the rule book sometimes isn’t as clear as it could be. As you travel to different locations, you slowly start to piece together the mystery you are there to solve. Then, inevitably, you run out of TU and have to start again. I believe you are meant to get quicker with each run as you know where things are and who you can ignore.
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The artwork is a true highlight. The mission in the core box looks beautiful. It really has that American Horror Story vibe to it. I’d even advise putting on some creepy music while playing.

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Time Units run out much quicker than you'd hope!

So I and my crew are 2.5 runs into a game. It’s a completely new experience for us; it has such a unique playstyle. I really enjoyed reading out the cards and the look on people’s faces when, as a team, you’ve made a bad move, or the joy when you’ve solved something. I’d advise a “no phone at the table” rule as it can really break the vibe of the game if people aren’t paying attention, it also doesn’t help as you need to remember things people have said to you from previous encounters. I can’t give a full opinion yet as I’ve not finished the first mission but the “re-run” style mechanic is looking to be a blessing and a curse at the same time. On occasions it’s really nail biting trying to get stuff done before your run ends, other times it just gets a bit tedious redoing the same things 3 or 4 times. I’m hoping once we have finished the first mission that opinion will have changed.

Overall, at this moment in time, I’d say T.I.M.E Stories is still worth picking up, it’s so unique in its play style and really gets the players immersed in the story. The fact each expansion just “plugs in” to the game board is really cool.

So until my final review, get in your time pods and secure yourselves, for time travel can be a little bumpy!

Gary

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Hey, That’s My Fish!

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I’ll start this review by confessing that I love penguins, plain and simple. I also love being able to screw my friends over in board games, less so when it happens to me but I guess that’s one of the rules of being “a bit of a git”.

After seeing the box art for Hey, that’s my fish!, I knew I’d enjoy it. I’d also heard a lot of good things about it before picking it up.

With a rule book (sheet) shorter than most fast food menus, you’ll be able to get straight into the fishy fun. The only downside I find to the game, and it’s really minor, is setting it up. You have to set up lots of small tiles, but if the whole group gets involved, it’s really no issue.
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So, in a nutshell, the aim of the 2-4 player game is to collect more fish than your opponents. Each player moves one of their penguins at a time, in a straight line and then collects the tile they started on. Your penguin can not pass through any other penguin during his move but that’s pretty much the only restriction. Tiles will have 1, 2 or 3 fish on them.
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In the beginning it seems a bit tame, but after a few turns you’ll start to notice the play area disappearing as you collect tiles. We quickly spotted that you can try to isolate other people’s penguins and leave their penguins adrift, it’s a bit mean but quite funny none the less.
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Hey, that’s my fish! fits nicely into the “pre-game” slot, it’s great as a nice warm up to a bigger games or for friends that are new to board gaming. Not taking anything away from it, as it really is a great game and you may well fill an evening playing it lots and lots. We managed to get a couple games in around half an hour and really enjoyed them. The small amount of game space needed is also refreshing! Proving that a game doesn’t need to be big to be good. I can see this being great to play with the kids as well.

With Christmas coming up, and landing in at around £10, I can see this being a great stocking filler for all board game enthusiasts.

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I love this penguin. You will have the same expression when one of your penguins gets isolated!

I’d highly recommended Hey that’s my fish to pretty much anyone. With it’s low cost to high fun ratio, I can’t see anyone being disappointed. So treat yourself to an early present and pa-pa-pick….(Gary was forcefully removed before finishing this awful joke).

You can find your local retailer for Hey, That’s My fish by using this link.

Gary.

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: The Grizzled

The Grizzled is a co-operative card game for 2-4 players. A lot of board/card games have based their setting in war. Where most games theme themselves around the fighting itself, The Grizzled is about the morale of a group of friends that have signed up to fight the good fight during the Great War. I always find it a bit difficult to play war games that are based during times of our close relatives, but The Grizzled presents itself in a tasteful way. At every step it respects it’s themes.

I think the first thing that will attract you to The Grizzled is the art. It’s absolutely beautiful by the fantastic Tignous and If there’s some thing that sticks with you, it’s his art. I’d find it impossible to think someone could walk past the cards laid out and not be drawn in by the art work. It’s the first thing that struck me that’s for sure!

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The games itself, to me, is a mix of strategy and push your luck. Your aim is to reveal the dove of peace, but if at any point the war monument is revealed or a soldier has 4 “Hard Knock” cards laid out in front of him, you lose. Each player starts with a soldier and some support tokens (these represent some kind of relief, that being a hot coffee or a friendly chat).

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Trial cards consist of ether threats or hard knocks. Threats represent pure danger while traversing no man’s land and hard knocks represent psychological conditions you and your friends may develop. At the start of each round, a certain number of trial cards are placed onto the peace card and the rest are placed on the monument card.
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During the game the mission leader choses how many trial cards will be dealt to each person (each player gets the same amount). Then one by one each player takes an action that can range from playing a card or making an inspiring speech to your best friends.

While the game is co-operative, your hand of cards are secret from each other. You could also end up with hard knocks like mute, which means you can not communicate with other players in any way!

When you play a threat into no man’s land you are trying to avoid matching 3 threats, the avarage card having 2, the worse card having 6! You also have to deal with traps that trigger more cards being played. If at any point, 3 threats match, the mission has failed.

After a while your only option is to withdraw from the mission. Cards are dealt from the monument pile, onto the peace card depending on how many cards the plays have left in their hand. The better the mission goes, the more chance, potentially, of succeeding with the next.
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The games ends when the dove or the monument is revealed, or if a soldier has 4 Hard knocks.

My group loved playing the The Grizzled. When you laid out the cards, it was more like you were working on a piece of art. Everything from the environments on the cards too the hand written hard knocks.

While a co-operative game, The Grizzled takes just enough away from your freedom to communicate to make it a different, more intense experience. Just reading some of the hard knocks make you really reflect on what those men went through; mustard gas, bombardment, and the dreaded whistle blow that signaled another push through no man’s land.
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Wether we won or lost a game, it felt like like an achievement, like you’ve tried as hard as you could. Every move you make, you think how it’s going to effect your brothers in arms. When you decide who gets your support token, it’s not always simple. Does the man with the most hard knocks get your support or the one who have 1 really bad one!

As a special mention I’d liked the “Happy Christmas” card. It really gets you if it gets drawn. That ray of hope in the worse time.

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I’d full heartedly recommend The Grizzled. It’s simple superb. I’ve been compiling my “must buys” for Christmas and this will have a well deserved place on it.

You can find your local retailer for The Grizzled by using this link.

You can pick up The Grizzled from Amazon for £16.99

Gary.