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I'm a new owner of T.I.M.E Stories and about to play my first scenario within the next few weeks. However, studying the rules book (v 1.1) left me confused about the optionality of tests.

If I understood the rules correctly, activating a test is voluntary (see page 11)?:

"You can leave the card, ignoring the test, or you can start the test, then drop it to go do something else."

For instance, a player reveals a card stating: "You can obtain item XY by attacking the guard." The test is on fighting with 3 shields and 2 red skulls. Moreover, there is no red lock on the card.

Can a player then simply do nothing, e.g. to wait for another/stronger player before activating the test?

What confuses me is the blue box on page 12:

"If you decide to do nothing during a test (because, for example, you do not have the required characteristic) and that test has at least one skull shield, your receptacle automatically loses 1 Life Point and the heart, time, and special shields take effect normally."

Does the player lose one life for ignoring the test or does this rule not apply since the test wasn't activated yet?

Let's follow this hypothetical card: Two players are facing this card. Player A reads the card first and then activates the test by attacking the guard. Is the second player B on the card now obliged to do the test or can he simply do nothing without automatically losing one hit point?

Last but not least: How are tests handled if there is indeed a red lock on the card? Is the player then obliged to activate the test? For instance, the card says: "A guard discovers your break-in and is immediately attacking you". Do you then have to activate the test and put down the shields beneath the card or can one simply do nothing (without activating the test)? I'm aware of the fact, that one is not allowed to leave a card with a red lock, but I'm uncertain whether or not the player actually has to activate the test.

I already discovered this thread, but the discussion ended before this particular question was resolved.

TL;DR: When does the hint from page 12 actually apply?

  • This really looks like multiple questions to me. You might be ahead to edit down to one question, and ask the others separately. – Zeiss Ikon Aug 15 at 14:17
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    My post can be broken down to the question: "When does the hint from page 12 actually apply?". I simply gave some scenarios which are not fully clear to me. – Eduard Itrich Aug 15 at 14:27
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Disclaimer: this answer is not well-sourced, but simply comes from my experience playing the game and my own understanding/reading of the rules.

For tests without a lock icon:

The "do nothing" text only applies if you have chosen to start the test. So you are allowed to simply stay in the space without being in the test. However, given that TU is your most precious resource in the game; it's hard to imagine a situation where you wouldn't be better off doing something with your TU rather than just standing still.

Each TU that is spent during a test can be spent in one of three ways:

  • Roll to attack/attempt the test.
  • Move to a new space.
  • Do nothing (this is when the blue box clarification applies).

In this situation, it is rare that this will matter; because you wouldn't have started the test if you were just going to do nothing during it. It could come up if 2 players were in the same space when a test is revealed, one of them doesn't have the required characteristic to roll, and they don't want to move somewhere else because they want to be in that space after the test ends.

For tests with a lock icon:

There is no option to start or not start the test. Simply by reading or revealing the card; you are now stuck in the test. The blue box text is more likely to apply in this situation, because you might find yourself stuck in a test where you don't have the required attribute needed to attempt a roll.

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