T.I.M.E Stories presents an unique twist to the cooperative game genre. Instead of a game you expand and play over and over, T.I.M.E Stories is a legacy game, where you play, win/lose, and then you’re done. Space Cowboys has been releasing expansions every six months, so players can dip back into the game mechanic, however they will be playing different characters, have different powers, and the scenarios give different twists to past eras to make them not 100% straightforward.
The main story thread is the same: In the far future, you and your group are time cops, recently graduated from the academy, and ready to start your first mission. The goal of the Time Agency is to send agents back into time to fix temporal faults before a ripple effect disastrously ruins the future. You are greeted by Bob, your boss, who will give you the bare bones explanation of what is going one, you then get a briefing from an android, before your characters are placed into pods and your consciousness is beamed into a person living in the era you're headed to.
In the first case you go to a creepy asylum, to prevent a temporal fault from happening. You have little information to go on, and so must investigate your surroundings, staff, and patients. Its creepy, and becomes creepier as you move along. And that’s where I have to stop because anything more would probably be spoilers.
Overall we like the T.I.M.E Stories mechanic. It's a one shot cooperative game, so if you like roleplaying and working with a group, but don’t have the ability to set up a long running RPG game, this is a good alternative. You will get one use out of it, unlike other games like Imperial Assault or Descent, but after each story players accrue points and boons to help out when playing future expansions.
That said, Asylum was poor choice to set up the game. We were frustrated playing it the first time, twice as frustrated when we were playing it a second time, and I know of other groups who became so frustrated they never finished the first game and the experience soured them for playing future expansions. There is one puzzle where, in other games, you could probably brute force your way to a solution. That wasn’t the case, and when we finally figured out what the solution was, it used up a lot of time and frustrated the group more than the other red herring plot bits we came across. So be aware that you can’t half ass note taking in this game, otherwise you might end up stuck and backtracking through areas you’ve been before.
The first expansion, The Marcy Case, runs much smoother and the story is really enjoyable. It's worth playing through Asylum, just to get to play the Marcy game. We highly recommend T.I.ME. Stories for a great night of sleuthing, investigating, and time travel.