Sunday, 15 May 2016

Back to the Caissons


T.I.M.E Stories was back at NoBoG this week ( or MoNoBoG or BoGoN or whatever splitter group acronym you favour ) and once again I was fortunate enough to get to play. This time we played the second scenario for the game - one that isn't included in the box and marks the first expansion scenario. This one - I think it's fair to say without spoiling it - is a much more direct in your face scenario where you get to roam around the zombie apocalypse in search of a girl that is described in a vague way by "Bob" your Time Lord / Chief Time Dude / The Boss / The Idiot Management / Twat as being the saviour of humanity. So. Get in. Battle zombies. Get girl. Of course. Bob being Bob he utterly fails to note that the zombie apocalypse is going on - a teeny tiny minor detail - and it's only when you jump through time straight into a zombie fight you realise, ok, so, zombie apocalypse. Thanks Bob.

T.I.M.E Stories. We're back. And this time it's zombies.
For all the ultra modern and fantastic science of time travel the scenario also goes through a bit of radio interference at the start once again, where seemingly super important information is mysteriously garbled by the radio breaking up. Tsk. If only there were more time in which to properly brief you eh. Wait a minute... aren't we time travellers ??! Or failing that. You know. Email it. Or something. Basically anything other than your crackly shitty oh no we've failed to communicate vital information to you on this 20th century technology piece of crap. The future. Great time travel tech. Really poor communications tech. Not even your basic SMS. Tsk. And management seems to be as inept as ever in failing to properly plan for that. Management is hard you guys. I have to stand here. And forget to tell you about the zombie apocalypse. And like, try and send you information too late, through this utterly inappropriate communications device. It's a tough job sipping coffee whilst you guys actually do shit. My name's Bob. Time administrator.

I have issues with Bob. I'm sure we'll have a nice 1:1 employee progress meeting about it at some point.

Bob also keeps referring to my time capsule as a Caisson. A Caisson. A what now ? Can't you just say capsule Bob, you pretentious twat. No. Apparently he can't. He might be French, which would explain it. Aller dans le caisson.

Mechanically and thematically, if you were trying to show that the T.I.M.E stories premise could deal with both investigative and fighting based scenarios, then the first two scenarios that drop with the game are doing a pretty good job of that - and you'd have to think that's not an accident.

There were a couple of nice little mechanics additions to The Marcy Case beyond what happened over the first one - to do with how much noise you're making and ammo tracking, but by and large the same general mechanics applied to both scenarios. It's nice though that in a scenario that isn't entirely combat focused things like ammo for guns is abstracted away into a "you have a gun", whilst a combat focused scenario wants you to carefully track ammo and consider how you're using it - and where to resupply. It really is quite clever in an understated way, and crafted by someone who "gets it" - it being when to know to abstract and when to know not to.

So The Marcy Case is much more in your face, and whilst it certainly had an element of investigation to it, to be frank, you know the story score here - there were no great shocks or puzzles to solve in this case. In fact it's so straight forward that you can kinda fill in the blanks of what needs to happen without needing to find it all annnddd.... well. Let's just say that we aced the scenario on the second run through, managed to score maximum bonuses and kinda understood entirely what was going on. Ok so we managed to fluke a 1 in 3 guess at the end, but, it wasn't a surprise, we knew the score. Perhaps this is a disadvantage of making a scenario with no or few puzzles with a much more straight forward combat focused pitch - you can blast through it.

Nevertheless, I found the experience to be great. Not as great as the first one. T.I.M.E stories to me does better when it has puzzles to solve and has a less rushed more story driven thing going on that requires a bit of poking around - not just a been there seen that experience. Of course the Marcy Case has narrative and things to find out. But that narrative is mostly, see zombie, shoot zombie, encounter sad rag tag group of survivors. But ! No matter. The Marcy Case was an enjoyable romp through a zombie wilderness, and I will say this - it was the most narrative story driven zombie tabletop game I have played ( think Telltale video games The Walking Dead ), which is something. Well. Maybe something like The Quiet Year provides a similarly narrative blast. ( What do you mean you don't know what The Quiet Year is - you can read about it in the noblog here or even here way back when we hilariously referred to 14 people in attendance at NoBoG as busy )

There were some cool highlights in the game. None of which I can really share without giving genuine spoilers away. But it was cool. And my character - well, he was loving the zombie apocalypse. He had never had as much stuff or as much fun. I guess that kinda made me Pope from Falling Skies. If you're into your Falling Skies.

A thumbs up again for T.I.M.E stories. Play it. You need to play T.I.M.E stories. But again. I'm not sure you need to buy T.I.M.E stories.

Elsewise on Monday, the rarely spotted and flip flop* wearing Med Ed ( because if you're not doing Medical things, then flip flops are the super chilled way to go ) turned up to join in a game of Ticket to Ride with Elliot, allegedly to give "Staceface" a chance to practice her ticket to ride skills for the upcoming Ticket to Ride competition. She lost. To Sean. Not boding well for her competition chances. They then played Medici. Which we now like. But old school NoBoGers hate. I don't know. Gaming politics man.

Imperial Assault. And the Imperials really did Assault and Batter
Tuesday was the more usual fuller fat crowd of people - not that people attending were fatter, just that there were more of them. More calorific. In a zombie eyeing up dinner kind of way. 42 of them to be precise. Which isn't especially busy these days ( ha ! take that in the eye 2013 NoBlog with its busy numbers of 14 ! Pfft ! 42 is nonchalantly unbusy !).

The Imperial Assaulters finally got their groove back on, and perhaps it was the rust from not having played in a while, but the hopeless rebels failed at their task handing a much needed victory to the slightly bleary eyed martialling of David who dashed back from a several day stag do bender to command the Imperials. Perhaps there's a lesson in there about the effects of alcohol on David's command capabilities. If you think about it all the death stars exploded whilst being commanded by perfectly sober commanders. Perhaps that's where they went wrong.

Sheriff of Nottingham
Monika and James were playing Sheriff of Nottingham ( see this keeps on getting played lately ) and perhaps it was all the declaring of goods that goes on in Sheriff but James also rashly declared his love for me as I passed their table.

Which is random but good to know. I love you too James, I love all the NoBoGers. Even those who play Blood Rage.

They followed up with a somewhat bizarre four handed game of Codenames.Which would seem to be less like Codenames, and more like one of those gameshows where you have to guess your partners intent.

Steam Time
An entirely different James - where the last James was perhaps the American James, and this one would perhaps be the formerly known as Goth James or maybe Beardy McBeardface if we're keeping with the zeitgeist - eagerly brought the new game Steam Time to table, complete with original German rules and black and white hastily printed English rules that kept annoyingly referring to the colour of game components. I didn't get much of an idea of this one, it's pretty, and it looks Euro and from what Dave briefly said there's an element of spending your engine infrastructure to get stuff - but of course in the process hurting your engine. Sounds like some classic Teutonic euro quandary mechanics going on. Expect to see this on table again - unless James didn't like it, which I failed to note.

Lovely laid back no hassles Machi Koro
Lastly my table had some lovely laid back Machi Koro going on, followed by some equally lovely but not quite as laid back Isle of Skye. Stu wants you to know that he's played Isle of Skye twice now and won both times. I think he's setting himself up as the Isle of Skye champion. Pfft. Challenge him ! He won this time due to no single thing, but a nice spread of points from a variety of gains, and possibly helped over the top by an early game large lake that netted him a crucial half dozen or so extra points.

Quadropolis. With three. I think. Triopolis ?
Downstairs we had Quadropolis again on table, hardcore Euro gamer Nate turned up and brought one of my faves, Aquasphere to table, awesomesauce, Chinatown had another play and Lewis finally managed to get Takenoko to table with the chibis expansion. There was also some Catan action with the Star Trek Catan variant, which is Catan, but in spaaaaaace. With some characters thrown into the mechanics to change things up a little. This game has been played by the Wheaton on his tabletop channel. Sam however, playing the Star Trek variant for the first time was not a fan. Stuck with a character that didn't do much, and unable to see what the other characters were doing, Sam continually got smacked around the head. An average thumbs rating for Catan from Sam, and a thumbs down rating for Star Trek Catan. Well. They had to do something extra mechanically to justify the Intellectual Property cash in didn't they. Time to shoe horn some classic photo portraits into the game !

Lastly Champions of Midgard returned to NoBoG tables proving it isn't quite dead yet ! Mel asked if there were any expansions to it - Not yet, but given how well its gone down, I wouldn't be surprised if some pop up.

And. No Secret Hitler this week. Dun dun darrrrrrrr. Has Hitler Hitle'd his last ? Is the game burnt out before its already released ? Print and Play games versus full print releases for derivative games that arguably don't really need full releases. Discuss. A little bit of gaming politics.

The UK Game Expo looms on the horizon, the 3rd to the 5th of June, and many a NoBoGer will be in attendance, including Elliot who has a whole pile of games to auction off doing what he does best, and as a stellar NoBoGer has offered a space of quiet, seclusion and refreshment for all NoBoGers at the event in his exclusive access all areas rear auction setup space. So if you're going to the Expo, drop by and say hello to Elliot - you can't miss him, he will have three gigantic orc auction type banners - and maybe purchase one of the eclectic mix of games he has on offer at a bargain price.

Ye Gallery. Thanks to Monika for some pics of the upstairs gaming.

Tra laaaa.. la la la la la laaaaaaaa. Whoooosh. Star Trek Catan.

Takenoko + chibis

Chinatown

Mind blowing Aquasphere

Champions of Midgard !

More Assaulting

Steam time with Beardy McBeardface, Dave and Lee

Machi Koro, Tim keeps unsportingly refusing to roll two dice and open himself to many many taxes

* They were probably not flip flops. They were probably some amazingly trendy and modern stylish foot wear that only kinda looks like flip flops, and how dare you suggest they are flip flops, these cost 100 squid from London, and this is pure Italian virgin hand stitched craftware - not flip flops. Even though to my 1970s simpler times old bastard ignorant beach trained eye, they look like flip flops.

4 comments:

Elliot Symonds said...

Thumbs up on Star Trek Catan from me and I look forward to offering a safe space for NoBoGgers at Stand C25. Well written, again, Bork.

Darren J said...

i can comfirm there is a Champions of Midgard expansion coming .

Minitrue said...

Thank you sir. I think Star Trek Catan is fine, I can understand where Sam is coming from though, it requires card reading and paying more attention - you could argue this somewhat breaks the Catan elegance of zero text.

And a Champions of Midgard expansion ! Very cool ! That was quick...

'Weird' Lewis Walker said...

Following Takenoko: Chibis, we broke out a round of Tsuro followed by Aye, Dark Overlord, both 1st times of my copy of each game being broken out. I was the Overlord in what ended up being one of the most confusing games of ADO I'd ever played. XD