Board Game Battle: Detective vs TIME Stories

Board Game Battle: Detective vs TIME Stories

On the surface these games might not appear to be that similar, but I think, that they actually are really comparable and should make for a fun match. Both of these games scratch that itch for solving puzzles and figuring out what is going on. So there is definitely something similar between the two. Let’s mee the game.

Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game

In Detective you are playing as a group of investigators at Antares. Basically an offshoot of something like the FBI. You are investigating, in the base game, a case of an artifact, a watch to be exact, that has shown up in Virgina that had last known whereabouts in Poland before the Nazi conquering and looting. From there the story unfolds as you go through five cases in the first box. But wait, there’s more. There’s an LA Crimes expansion where you are going to be investigating in LA or Dig Deeper a small expansion from Rob Daviou, one of the designers of Pandemic Legacy.

TIME Stories

You are part of an organization that is set to protect the multiverse and the timelines there in from those who would mess it up and profit from changes and incursions into the past, thus changing the present and the future. You do this by having your consciousness put into the body of where someone is trying to change the past so that you can stop that from happening and keep the timeline where it should be. Now, in the base box, you get a single case to deal with and everything you’ll need for future expansions. Right now there are a lot of expansions out there and the stories can vary wildly from ancient Egypt, a fantasy world with dragons, or an insane asylum.

Image Source: Space Cowboys


There is actually a fair amount of overlap between these two games, they both have a great diversity in the story that they can tell. While Detective: A Modern Crime board game kind of puts itself into a corner of some sort of crime having happened or happening, They manage to make the cases feel different, some of them you are out doing a lot of fieldwork, some of them you are trying to get leverage on witnesses to be able to question them, there is one where you never leave the HQ and are trying to solve the case from there. But in TIME Stories, like I talk about, ancient Egypt, fantasy, asylum, zombies, and so much more, they can really do anything with it.

But both of them use cards to tell you the story. So there’s a fair amount of reading off of information, but they both are done a little bit differently. In TIME Stories everything you need to know is on the cards, Detective might have you searching the web to find out about some piece of history or using the Antares database to look up a police record on someone or get case files. This makes Detective, in this case, more dynamic because it can tie into real world events and you don’t need to be a history expert.

Finally, both are cooperative games, but they handle information differently. In TIME Stories you go to the various locations and you have a display of cards that lay out a picture of the room or location that you’re at. Each player picks a location, and you can double up, in that room to interact with. They then can’t fully share the information on the card, basically you can’t read aloud what is said, you just have to paraphrase once you’re done looking at it. Compared to Detective, all the information is known by everyone, you go as a group to investigate someone, exhume remains, and more.

The Battle

They both come out swinging with similar move sets. The fight almost seems like a mirror match. TIME Stories starts to get an advantage by being able to have a more diverse move set. But the moves seem to be flashier than doing that much damage to Detective who just seems to be handling the punches well. Detective goes down to a knee selling the story well and starts to make a comeback. TIME Stories makes a big move but Detective has it scouted and looks like after the surprise flurry they’ve scouted and know all of TIME Stories moves. The match slows down, but TIME Stories tries the same flurry of moves again and gets caught be Detective who hits it with a big move and gets the pin!


Image Source: Portal Games

Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game

Detective gets the win because the storytelling is just better. While it doesn’t quite have the breadth of stories it can tell, the base box just weaves such an interesting story that it’s a better and more compelling story in each case than a lot of movies. TIME Stories does a good job of staying interesting, but it doesn’t have the through line running through it like Detective ultimately does, and for me that’s the difference. I really really like both of them through I think four or five cases, expansions, for each and both are enjoyable, for me the story element pushes it over the edge, and the hidden information in TIME Stories, if someone doesn’t fully remember the rules or misses something important, ends up causing it to drag longer than it always needs to.

Which do you prefer between the two?

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