T.I.M.E. Stories: Expedition: Endurance
Teaching Time: 20 mins
Playing Time: 90 mins per session
Setup Time: 20 mins
Value For Money: Mid
Solo Play Review
Expedition: Endurance has a Lovecraft based story drawing heavy inspiration from "At The Mountains Of Madness". As such its another horror story and, which seems to be a pattern with T.I.M.E. Stories' horror themes, its one of the weaker modules. At the risk of repeating myself, I don't know why Space Cowboys persist in doing horror themed stories, they're not very strong and are quite divisive.
The game has two sections, one searching a lost expedition's ship post a terrible disaster, one section before. If the second half had let you interact with the elements you found in part one and avert the disaster this could have been an incredibly effective device for a mystery module. It doesn't and it isn't. Generally an actual story about a failed arctic expedition would probably have been more satisfying.
As a Lovecraft pastiche it has insanity as an element. The insanity mechanic is fairly effective, however part of its effect is based on hiding facts from other players. I play T.I.M.E. Stories solo, mainly because the horror elements of the base set put off my wife so much that she refused to play it again. As such I found a lot of this game's central element to be lost in its effect, which is clearly disappointing. Generally there is no good reason not to play T.I.M.E. Stories modules solo, however in the case of Expedition: Endurance if you are planning solo play I would say that it genuinely loses too much from the experience to recommend. Horror and the limitation or direction of player's choices are very difficult game mechanics to do well, and this module does not succeed.
Whilst a large part of the failure of this module for me was dependent on it being played solo, I would still say that the story and element interactions within the module remain some of the weakest in the series.
In the overall arc of T.I.M.E. Stories Expedition: Endurance is entirely stand alone. There are one or two minor comments on quite locked away cards but nothing that doesn't mean that it can't be played at any point or even left out entirely without effecting the overall story. As such, unless you absolutely must play everything even slightly Lovecraft adjacent I would suggest skipping this module entirely.