It’s a Friday night in Oberlin, and the Cat in the Cream is hosting an open mic night, emceed by someone new in town… who’s also named Kat! You attend and see your peers perform and share the stage alongside some odd souls – like Flora, with a song to sing, or Genie, with an abruptly halted burlesque performance, or Penny, with a weird lecture about mountains, how time is a mountain, and how to time travel.
Then the lights flash, and things go wrong. Turns out, Kat and her companions are newly stranded time travelers, and their vessel – a time-traveling speakeasy named the Eleventh Hourglass (or Ellie for short), currently disguised as the Cat – has very suddenly broken. Perhaps too suddenly.
Through the ship’s guestbook and an art gallery showing, you meet Ellie’s passengers, hailing from across recorded history (and an alternate timeline’s future):
- Kat, a nervous college student who’s only just boarded Ellie;
- Flora, the soft-spoken artist-in-residence aboard the Eleventh Hourglass;
- Genie, a charming flapper secretive about her past;
- Douglas, a distrustful journalist determined to find Ellie’s saboteur;
- Anna Jo, an optimistic young housewife and sci-fi fan;
- Moss, a polite aspiring knight and adopted son of these two passengers:
- Penny, an amiable, peaceable scientist and wife of:
- Dan, the Eleventh Hourglass’s maintenance robot, and the only passenger from the future.
At the end of Flora’s gallery event, Douglas comes in with a smoking gun: Genie stole pages of the guestbook and wrote messages in code. Genie maintains her innocence, but with no way to remember what she wrote while she was drunk, she asks for your help to decode their contents. You find, among Genie’s secrets… that Genie did not sabotage Ellie. So, to celebrate and gloat at Douglas, she hosts a big, bombastic event: a karaoke night at the Cat, complete with a live jazz band (with Dan on trumpet)! Genie, Flora, Penny, and Moss all get to sing their hearts out, alongside you and your peers, and all seems well for a couple hours.
But while the party’s going, Douglas keeps on his trail. He asks you to meet him in the pool room and help him find the answer to the most important question: if it wasn’t Genie, then who sabotaged Ellie? Arriving at a conclusion, he sours a sweet moment between Moss and Anna Jo to declare the true saboteur: Dan. As chaos erupts from the accusation, the lights flash and a ghostly chime plays. Time stands still as Dan asks, “Ellie… what do you mean you broke yourself?”
Did we mention Ellie’s sentient? Because Dan and Penny didn’t, not even to the other six passengers. But as shy as she is, Ellie explains: danger is fast approaching, and breaking herself was the only thing she thought of that would catch everyone’s attention. The danger? A time avalanche.
What’s a time avalanche? Not even Dan knows. To help, you dive into Ellie’s desktop and hack the accounts of Dan and Ellie’s creators, and you find information on time avalanches to send to Dan. To prevent it before it’s too late, Penny calls a meeting to figure out a solution, but an argument breaks out and no solution emerges. And an argument breaks out, and no solution emerges. And an argument breaks out, and no solution emerges.
The time avalanche has hit. Kat, Flora, Anna Jo, Douglas, Genie, Moss, and Penny get trapped in an eternal argument, repeating a two-minute time loop again and again. Now, alone without their family, Dan and Ellie need your help to save them from the time avalanche and get them out of the loop. Can you investigate the past and fix the present to let these nine reach their future?
This was our second game without eliminations, and our three winning teams were:
- Homies O’Stasis, eager to include horse-emoji Morse code in their emails! Or should we say… horse code?
- twug, a solo team who sang the thematically apt “Time After Time” at Karaoke Night with friends!
- Feral Hog Apocalypse, who operated at least two fake Discord accounts to plant their Dan-framing false trail.
We’d also like to give a special shout-out to the staff of the Cat In The Cream, our fantastic hosts for Open Mic Night, Karaoke Night, and Endgame, and without whom this game would not have been possible. Thank you!