Space Cowboys’ T.I.M.E Stories Narrative Game

 Guest Writer: Dave Johnson

-This review was brought to you by the gift of a review copy, the letters QWERTY and rolling natural 20s.

T.I.M.E. Stories is a fantastic science fiction board game/role-playing game. It has elements of both types of games and I really think this makes it a unique and entertaining gaming experience that all will enjoy.

T.I.M.E. Stories back box cover © Space Cowboys

T.I.M.E. Stories back box cover © Space Cowboys

Months ago I was at my local game store and spied T.I.M.E. Stories. It caught my eye with its elegant box design, simple color scheme, and palette. I was drawn to this game because of my penchant for science fiction. (I have been a Traveller fan since the 1980’s.) Playing a board game has its advantages over RPG’s; No game master, long study/prep time for the GM. So when I found that this is a hybrid RPG/board game I said I must play it!

On the first page of the rulebook, it has an invitation for all who believe they can stand up to the challenge.

Here is a quote from the T.I.M.E. Stories rulebook:


You’re looking for an exciting job with limitless career options that provides the opportunity to visit a vast number of realities and eras?”(Time Stories rulebook)

The world needs heroes, the world needs you!

T.I.M.E. Stories’ main idea, for the designers, was to create a framework in which to drop differing scenarios, in the form of cards, that can be used to extend the game. You can purchase additional scenarios with differing themes. At least five exist available on

First Impressions.

What you get in the box. The game includes a large play surface that unfolds to a whopping 27¾ inch by 18½ inches. A die-cut cardboard with punch-out tokens. Some short dowels. A deck of cards that serves as the scenario. It has some custom wooden dice too. The manufacturer spared no expense. This is worth the money for sure.

The object of the game & play:

In the beginning of the game, the players are at the Agency HQ. You will be read a mission briefing and then you are off. You must complete your mission in the allotted time or you will fail. Time is measured in Temporal Units (TU). When you start your mission it’s called a “run.” A run is a complete game session. All missions start at the base and this is where the players learn the particulars of this scenario and any special rules too. The core box game comes with one deck of scenario cards. Additional scenario decks can be purchased vis

In this game, a Time Captain will be chosen for a location in the game world. Each location will have a different Captain. The TC will locate the card that describes the location to be explored. Each player can explore the part of the location that interests them. This is the thing I like about the game! The hybrid role-play that is offered. Individuals ability to do what they want away from the others.

During the course of play, a character will face differing situations. Situations such as a creature to fight, a Non-Player Character to deal with, a lock to pick, etc. Another situation will be combated. So, the situations are called “tests” and will be resolved by rolling dice. The mechanics are thus:

A test will have certain characteristics such as “Normal Shields,” “Skull Shields,” and a “Characteristic.” The guidelines for facing a test is explained on page 11 of the rulebook.

  1. Roll dice
  2. Hits
  3. Riposte
  4. Automatic penalty

Roll Dice:

The player rolls the dice that corresponds to the receptacle’s characteristic related to the test.


Each time you “hit” (indicated by a flash icon on the die) eliminates a (1) shield. Shields are always removed from left to right. Many types of shields can be present.



([…] [T]he riposte (French for “retort”) is an offensive action with the intent of hitting one’s opponent, made by the fencer who has just parried an attack.)”(Apple dictionary).

If you rolled at least one skull, and the test has at least one skull shield this triggers a response. A parried attack back at you! See the rules book on page 11 for further understanding. This reminds me of a similar situation in OSRIC RPG. We were attacking some monsters and we decided to retreat… Well the monsters attacked us as we ran away. Well, this is sort of like a retort.

Automatic Penalty:

See age 12 of the rulebook.

As you can see this game has a lot of potential for heroic fun! We played this game and enjoyed it immensely. It is not my intention to explain the rules but to give you an idea of how this game plays. Bottom line… This is a fun game. It has at least four or five more decks available via Although,  is not a low priced game… It is less expensive than the books you will need to play other RPG’s like “The world’s first Role-playing game.” This game has science fiction, Victorian era, and mystery “who done it” card decks.


Dave Johnson is an avid RPG player and book reader. “I have been playing games since the 80’s.

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