A very brief review of T.I.M.E Stories: Expedition Endurance, sans spoilers this time for a change.
It all feels very different, from the very start. Even the briefing is handled differently.
The characters are hardy enough but each have small little advantages unique to them. Closer to the Asylum level of difficulty in character choice, while Marcy-PoD-Mask being stronger than these/more focused probably.
There are a number of unique mechanics and cards/events tied to them in this scenario, which really refreshes the run, fail, run again etc. of the others. I like that they're starting to invert the same old formulas.
Plot-wise there is a good bit there. If you are any way savvy in the themes it uses it may influence how you handle certain situations. However it wasn't too obvious about it in most instances - there was a trend in PoD and UtM to show a good/bad situation on the card and do the opposite for gits and shiggles, usually at player and fun expense. Not to mention TU. EE has a good few narrative building cards that you may end up ignoring on the subsequent runs but do add plenty of flavour.
This was certainly one of the harder more recent scenarios. The unique mechanics and certain tests will brutalise you and they do it so simply. It's a lean, mean scenario and was refreshing to run through 3 times until we beat it. There was none of the misery of PoD in doing subsequent runs, it was like Under the Mask - refreshing and new each time you play. If you kept failing, then it may get tedious for sure.
Run time - for us it took about 4 hours, with a good bit of chat but plenty of strategising and discussing what the next move was. Lots of decisions and stuff to be made, making tie breaks necessary. They definitely looked at everything that made T.I.M.E good and started fresh with a great new scenario.
New ranking w/ EE added:
Under the Mask
Prophecy of Dragons
This is probably the way I'd rate them for now. If PoD was still good that just means the rest are even better. PoD was "here's 4-5 different routes to the end with different templates on them" but still managed to be good. UtM and EE bring so much freshness to the series but Asylum and Marcy still loom large, even if the latter has that one big issue built into it - it can never really be played again. All of them can't really be played again but Marcy is the most like that! Here's hoping for more scenarios soon.
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