T.I.M.E. STORIES is a cooperative game by Manuel Rozoy. You require the main boxed set to be able to play the scenario.
EXPEDITION ENDURANCE 1914 NT is the latest scenario for T.I.M.E. STORIES from the SPACE COWBOYS TEAM; there are 155 cards in the box. The artwork for this scenario is by Bernard Bittler and it really helps to create the atmosphere of the tale.
The box tells us that this scenario is for 2-4 players aged 12+ and runs at 90 minutes per session. It doesn't however, describe exactly what a session consists of. From experience, three of us sat down to play the EXPEDITION ENDURANCE 1914 NT expansion and from unsealing the box to revealing the correct solution it took us just under 2 hours.
The story begins with an Expedition Ship, the ENDURANCE, going missing on a Trans-Atlantic voyage of discovery, disappearing somewhere in Antarctica on October 24th 1914. The player's characters are called into Base, given the small amount of details that are known, and sent on their way via the receptacles they use to create their out-of-body experiences and time travel. The idea of the T.I.M.E. STORIES game is a bit like the old television programme "Quantum Leap" but instead of one man jumping around from one body to another solving anomalies there is a scientific team projecting their inner selves to wherever the missions occur. The essence is speed, solving the problem and putting the world back on track in as few journeys as possible. The games are set up for you to win, but to do so you have to fail, often more than once. You learn each time you fail and thus on your next journey you should avoid the pitfalls of the previous journeys. The first time we played T.I.M.E. STORIES we played the mission that comes with the basic game and it took us three or four attempts to reach the correct solution; with EXPEDITION ENDURANCE 1914 NT it took us just two missions.
The fact that it only took us two attempts would have put us off playing it again because once you know the correct route it is difficult to not remember it. However EXPEDITION ENDURANCE 1914 NT is interestingly close to the Lovecraft genre of Cthulhu especially the going insane aspect that we had to play again as soon as was possible because we wanted to discover all the different places to explore in the hope that we could find another way through to the end without every character losing their mind. How did we get on ? Well that is something I will keep to myself, but I will say that it wasn't long before we were playing it for the third time, and I, for one, was so sure that T.I.M.E. STORIES scenarios can only be played and enjoyed once.
From the moment Bob explains about the loss of the ship and then sends the characters on their Mission the tale of the ENDURANCE is one steeped in death and mystery and cold, extreme cold. In fact it is so cold that unless the characters keep moving they are likely to be frozen to the spot. If this were a role-playing game the GM would be explaining continually how the weather was affecting the characters and this is where the genius of the author of this scenario shines through, for they have conveyed the urgency of the mission without the use of a GM and with just a few words and some alarming illustrations. Although the illustrations are excellent some of them are also a mite obvious, such as the crusty old man in blue serge, stern face and grey-white beard that runs thick from under his Captain's hat down the sides of his face to join in a widow's peak on his chin, the moustache area under his nose is kept clean to ensure the grit and grim expression formed by the thin mouth and the heavy raised eyebrows portrays the archetypal Sea Captain of early 1900's literary novels (and later Black & White silent movies).
T.I.M.E. STORIES can be found on sale at Your Local Games Store for around £28.00 and the EXPEDITION ENDURANCE 1914 NT expansion for around £18.00