T.I.M.E. Stories: The Marcy Case
Teaching Time: 20 mins
Playing Time: 90 mins per session
Setup Time: 20 mins
Value For Money: Mid
Solo Play Review
On balance The Marcy Case is one of the weaker T.I.M.E. Stories scenarios. That's not saying that its terrible, it still tells an effective story and its presentation, as with throughout the series is top notch. It just has a set of flaws and issues that make it a questionable entry.
First and most minor is that it is, again, a horror themed scenario, specifically zombie apocalypse. I was personally doubly disappointed since the title and the bloodied audio cassette tape on the front of the box led me to hope for an '80s set private eye murder investigation story. Horror is by no means a flaw in itself, but as part of a series sometimes horror related and sometimes not it can make experiencing the full series difficult for some players. The first real problem with this scenario is that it has one of the smallest ranges of playable characters throughout the T.I.M.E. Stories series so far, making it difficult to muster enthusiasm for any replay value. The other significant issue is with the scenario itself. Without wishing to ruin anything at the end of the story you are required to make a vital choice that the scenario lays in a series of clues towards. However, you can make the right choice by luck and you are forced to make the choice on your first run possibly without even knowing that there were clues to a range of choices that you were meant to be picking up. Particularly, some of the clues require quite hard work to access. The result it that on my first play through I lucked out and won. It wasn't until a later repeat play through that I realised how much more fun the scenario would have been if I had known I was playing it "wrongly". Lastly, the scenario includes a few sections where bad luck can ruin any chances of victory.
The scenario runs fine all the same and it has some sound and simple mechanics representing both the tendency of zombies to be attracted to noise and to spread zombie creating viruses. It tells a decent story and its flaws are minor disappointments rather than deal breaking problems, particularly in a series of such high standards. If you want a solid zombie story to play through this ticks most boxes, just bear in mind that you'll have a slightly stronger playing experience if you wait until you have a good reason for making vital decisions before you make them.