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Time Stories: Under The Mask Expansion Review

Time Stories Under The Mask Expansion Review

Time On The Nile

Welcome to Time Stories: Under The Mask. The year is -1146 NT and your group are being sent to Egypt, but this is no holiday. The mask of King Tut has been stolen by the Syanns and Bob has tasked you with the important task of locating it. To do so, you must explore the city, find the artifact, anoint it with black henbane and return it to its rightful place in the tomb. But don’t dawdle, as always, time is of the essence!

Use your gifts of agility, charisma and strength to overcome any obstacle. Barter your way through the streets of Egypt with gold and grain. And most importantly, don’t lose track of time...

Our group tackled this expansion after completing A Prophecy of Dragons; which is next in release order, and we found this expansion had a geographical charm to it. Familiar locations, historical artefacts and rumors of hidden pathways drew us in excitedly.

Inside The Tomb

Crack open this tomb of an expansion, and you are greeted by two thick decks of cards, labelled with the name of the adventure. Peel the seal of those packs and you’ll find new characters, mechanics and a mission that only you can complete.

Standing out from the other Time Stories expansions, are two interesting features that are new to this set:

Characters And Extra Receptacles:

Although there are only four characters that you can start the game with, you may not finish the game with the same line up. Thanks to the invention of the Instantaneous Receptacle Device, you can transfer consciousness to another receptacle to open up endless possibilities

I’ll refrain from giving anything else away, but I can’t help saying that this mechanic gives Time Stories the replayability it needed. Even after you have completed the mission, you can come back to it, and know that there will always be a new option to take, and a new choice to make.

Communication Mechanic

If you’ve played Space Cowboy’s Unlock Series, you’ll know that they enjoy finding new ways to affect player interaction. Time Stories: Under the mask is no different, and one puzzle lends its design to a unique form of immersion. This was definitely the highlight of this expansion for me, and I just hope that future expansions include more puzzles like it.

The Pharos Jewels

There are parts of this expansion that really shine, and make it one of the best Time Stories missions so far. Therefore, I really recommend experiencing this with a group of four. As always, you can choose to take on the challenge alone, and succeed, but there are elements to this expansion that work best with two or more players.

I also can’t express how far Time Stories: Under the Mask has come with replayability. This expansion features a few hard-to-make decisions, which in turn add a few layers of replayability and makes the second and third runs more interesting. To get the most out of this, trust your gut instinct in each playthrough, but remember the choices you couldn’t make along with those that you did.

Fleeting Thoughts

Time Stories: Under the Mask is definitely one of my favourite expansions so far. The story and environment were thematically exciting, and drew you in as a play from the very start.I also enjoyed the several eureka moments that we encountered throughout this adventure. There’s nothing better than mulling a puzzle over and feeling the solution click into place.

Whilst suitable for a variety of ages, it was nice to find that Under the Mask expansion is more mature than previous instalments. Our group particularly enjoyed the Egyptian theme to this mission, and had great fun pointing out locations that they had actually visited. This added a nice charm and a sense of immersion whilst exploring.

Unfortunately, Under the Mask did seem to lack a variety of puzzles and player interaction. Space Cowboys are known for including mechanics in their games that limit the ways players can communicate, and this makes parts of their games really exciting. Although this game was no different, the one time this communication mechanic appeared, it was over far too quickly.

Nonetheless, I’m glad to see that so far, every expansion to Time Stories has been more experimental than the last. Each expansion pushes the boundaries of what a deck of cards is capable of without an accompanying app. What’s more, with lots of expansions and a new cycle to explore, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.

If you’re ready, don your fez, plaster on the suntan lotion and pick up your copy of Time Stories: Under the Mask!