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Time Stories: Under the Mask game review

November 20, 2019


Hi! I’m Gary Peterson. “AATRAGON” on
BoardGameGeek; Mr.Plays out there on the world wide web and this is my first
board game review so please bear with me a little bit. I’m going to be reviewing
T.I.M.E Stories: Under the Mask. I’m gonna try to avoid spoilers in this review but
as many people have pointed out that’s really tough to do. You want to tell
about the storyline or show the artwork and you really can’t. I’m gonna show
little pieces that probably you can find on the world wide web anyway or they’re
on the back of the box, so that’s not really spoilery. The question is: did I like
Under the Mask? Yeah; a lot. And I think you will too if you like the Time Stories board game in general. Let’s start with the negatives. Right off
the bat there something you need to know particularly if you do this module out
strict order, which is what we did. Now this is a mild spoiler, but the game presumes that
you know who the Syaans are. I’m putting a link here that reveals the one base
card from Prophecy that explains just who the Syaans are, at least enough for
you to understand their existence within Under the Mask. Just click on Bob’s picture and then again when you get to the page that it deals with. Also when
you look at the map –the plan– there is a little confusion, at least for us, as
to where one of the locations is in relationship to the other ones. There’s a
tiny line indicating where this place is on the map but it’s easy to miss this or
mistake it for a river or a road or something like that. This is not really much of a
spoiler so I’m gonna show you the one single sentence on the one single offending card that kind of gave us a question mark or two. The very next
instruction tells you to put the group token on the starting position which of
course you couldn’t see if you had the cards face down. Also here’s a link
for some of the problem translations and card errors I suggest you have it handy. Spoilers are hidden. But these problems
are nitpicky. The good stuff far outweighs them. The theme of the
module was brilliant. Who can resist the lure of Ancient Egypt and their wonderful
temples and glorious architectures? This is the panorama from the game that is
depicted on the back of the box OK, I’ll blur it for you! No spoilers
here! But the artwork is great and this is one thing that Time Stories does
really well. They plunge you into a locale out of history and you immerse yourself in the experience. Even the location you start with–and I’m not
gonna give it away–is evocative of the Valley of the Kings! It’s wonderful. We
loved the setting of this module, probably the best out of the three that we’ve
played. I think you have to play “Asylum” in order to get the idea behind Time
Stories, and it comes with it anyway so there you go… But each of the games so far has built on
that framework that was established with core game and Under the Mask is no
exception. Each time they’ve added a new twist to
that basic game to let you know that you can expect the unexpected. This time they’ve added a very new and
brilliant mechanic that promises to break the already wide-open game space
even more. It would be way too much but spoiler for me to give that mechanic
away, but trust me–it’s brilliant. You’re gonna be hopping around a lot! Also I
will say this module is much more family friendly than the others. Which is good. I
have no qualms playing this game with a bright or interested preteen. There’s no
gore, and the priestess on the back cover is just about as salacious as it gets. Is Under the Mask more puzzley or combat oriented? I would say there’s a fair bit
of both. But there are a lot of tasks that have to be done in order to figure
out the central puzzle. There’s a strategy that must be discovered in order to put these tasks and puzzles in the correct order. This is a voyage
of discovery through an unknown land, without really knowing why you are there in
the first place. The clues are all right there; you just have to do your part and
be attentive enough to unmask them! I can’t recommend Under the Mask and Time Stories in general enough. It is a great gaming system for those of us who like
that kind of mystery. The game fosters adventure through teamwork and
observation and group thinking and communication. It is just marvelous! I have had
more “oh!” and “ah-hah!” moments in this game than any other game I can ever remember. Oh! Oh! Oh! Ohhhhhh! Oh! Pfft! Hmmmmmm! (Contemplative Silence) Where is it? Where is it? Right in front of your nose, right? Ohhhhhhh! Oh! Ohhhhh! So, did my gaming group like Under the Mask? Hell, yeah! And I think you will too.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Glen Pekin April 3, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    a good review but I would like to have learned more about how this game is played.

  • Reply Holistic Songwriting April 8, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Loved that last "oh!" bit and your review in general! You have a great voice and the video told me what I wanted to know. Thanks and I'd like to see more!

  • Reply beemex01 April 13, 2016 at 6:17 am

    heehee i like you sende of humour. "okaaaay, i will Blut it for you." 😀 and I also love the noises of your gaming group at the end of the review. I am looking forward to seeing more stuff from you!

  • Reply beemex01 April 13, 2016 at 6:17 am

    sense of humour (stupid autocorrect)

  • Reply Kyajin May 16, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Great video Gary! Hope to see more.

  • Reply Robert A. February 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks Gary, that was great.

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