Designer: David Cicurel
Publisher: Lucky Duck Games
Artist: Matijos Gebreselassie, Mateusz Komada, Katarzyna Kosobucka
London, today. You just left the Police Chief’s office. A body was found in Hyde Park, and your boss just made it your case. It’s not your first investigation but something about this one feels worse than usual. You shake off your thoughts, start the engine, and drive to the crime scene. Time to get to work!.
Chronicles of Crime is a cooperative game of crime investigation in which you and your friends work together to solve crimes around the city of London.
The game mixes an app, a board game, and a touch of virtual reality. Using the scan & play technology, each component (locations, characters, items etc) has a unique QR code, which, depending on the scenario selected, will activate and trigger different clues and stories.
Setting up the game is straightforward. First of all, select the case you want to try and solve from the list of options in the app. Next the evidence board is placed in the centre of the table along with the home location (Scotland Yard) and the starting character (the Chief Inspector) as directed by the app. Finally place the stacks of character cards, evidence cards, special Item cards and additional location cards nearby where they can be easily accessed and share the four expert contact cards between the players.
Start by scanning the QR code on the Chief Inspector who will give you some initial information about the case who will present you with a victim and crime scene location for you to start your investigation.
This is where the VR aspect comes into play, the glasses clip straight onto your device which you look into like any other VR unit. This will enable you to search around crime scenes for clues. (Note: the VR glasses are an optional additional purchase and you don’t want to add this element to the game it is still perfectly playable without them. You will instead explore the crime scene in a 360° view).
While one person is exploring a crime scene the rest of the team will have the evidence category cards laid out in front of them on the table. The person looking at the crime scene will shout out any potential evidence that they see, and these will be put aside to be scanned and investigated further. Once these are confirmed as clues relevant to the case, they will be placed on the evidence board.
When you’re interrogating people, you also scan these items or other people to see what they know about them.
It is important to remember to make use of the four given forensic contacts scanning both the suspects and objects as they will provide essential information that can help towards solving the case.
The game will expand and grow around the main evidence board as you work your way through the investigation, adding new characters locations and evidence.
Every time you talk to people, move from location to location or search for clues, time passes. The quicker you manage to solve the case, the higher your score will be at the end of the game.
Once you feel confident you have enough information you return to Scotland Yard to answer questions and solve the case. You will then be given a final score based on how many questions you got right and the amount of time it took to solve the case.
The base game comes with 1 tutorial case and 5 additional scenarios with varying levels of difficulty (if you purchase the VR glasses there is an additional 6th scenario which you can download as a reward). Each session lasts around 1h to 1h 30mins and the first 3 scenarios are connected to each other building a larger linked case.
The best thing about the scan and play system is that players will be able to access new content as it is released simply by downloading the app updates, without any shipping of new physical components.
Additionally, there are more cases available to download within the app for £4.99.
So, what do we think of Chronicles of Crime?
Let us start by saying: Wow! What a masterpiece! Chronicles of Crime is a game which is so simple and elegant yet incredibly cleverly designed and extremely immersive. I don’t think we have ever looked at a game before now and truly thought - yes, this really is the future of board gaming.
Teamwork comes into play perfectly when using the VR. We have found that sometimes when exploring a crime scene there may be a piece of evidence that a number of you will miss, and an eagle-eyed friend will spot something critical to the case that had been completely overlooked.
We love the way that the set-up of the game looks as you develop through a case. The game board and cards are really cleverly designed so that they actually look like a police evidence/ suspect’s board. There are small details such as coffee stains, dirty marks and sticky tape on the evidence board and push pins on the cards which make it feel really authentic to the investigator setting and all the more immersive.
The cases are interesting and challenging, it gives you a real sense of satisfaction when you are able to piece together all of the clues, solve the crime and catch the suspect in good time.
We have so far played Chronicles of Crime with a whole range of different people from teenagers to older adults, all of whom have loved it and have gone away saying that they really wanted to play it again. Many of these people expressed that they were excited by the modern feel of the game and the thoughtful aspect of trying to piece together the evidence.
The artwork is wonderfully gritty and perfectly matches the theme, each of the characters in the game has a really striking (and often suitably shifty) appearance.
We have seen some comments around the community from people wondering whether Chronicles of Crime feels too much like a video game, and though the game is heavily app based, I would have to say that we disagree with this. I can appreciate that the reliance on the app would potentially put some people off but to us the link between the two is what makes the game so unique.
We feel that there is enough of a connect to the board and the cards for it to still feel like a board game and all of the investigatory discussion was made using the cards and the board separately from the app, like any other cooperative board game.
For us the addition of the VR makes it feel really modern, being able to explore the scene whilst the other players gather up the physical clue cards to start to piece together a picture for discussion is a really exciting and refreshing element.
Overall, we think that Chronicles of Crime is a clever bridge between board game and video game which uses brilliant aspects of both combining them perfectly to create a really exciting new style of game. Honestly, we think this game is ground-breaking in the board game world and it is amazing to see something so different that explores a whole new area for board games. It brings something new and fresh to the detective genre and we can’t wait to see more content added as the game develops!
Chronicles of Crime works perfectly as a co-operative game, it’s is really exciting to weave your way through the twists and turns in each case together.