Preview: Chronicles of Crime – can you catch the killer?
They found her sitting in the chair. It’s as if the old lady was just sleeping. Besides, who would want to hurt such a lovely grandmother? Is it even possible? And is it just an unfortunate accident? These thoughts are chasing through my mind, when I stand at the crime scene. I look around, grab a lead and pursuit for truth begins again.
This is a preview, so it does not make much sense to look at the box or component appearance. However, the final version will surely coincide with the fact, that there is a joint game board with positions for suspects and evidence. This is placed in the middle of the table. Players then put decks of cards of items, characters, and locations near. Among town areas, detectives need to find their home police station and place it under the board. Each participant gets under his control a police expert (such as a doctor or a hacker), but in addition to the picture and the name on each card, you will notice a QR code. This is reason, why team will also need one mobile phone or tablet and a downloaded digital app to play. Its absolutely essential to have it.
Players then run the app, select case to solve and the detective work begins. Starting entry will take them to one of the available locations, and detectives will find it in the deck and attach it to the game board from one side. At the same time, there may be some characters, they are seeing there. They should find apropriate cards with their portraits and place them on that location.
In the beginning, a team of investigators is present at the crime scene, where they will use mobile device for the first time. With its help, they are able to explore the location with their own eyes in detail. Just for this purpose, 3D lenses are also included in the box. But if you do not like it (some people may get dizzy after usage), you can choose a classic 2D view and look around with your phone as a window into the second reality.
Players have only a limited time to look, so they must quickly report all found items to their teammates. Remaining team members have a task of finding common item cards (such as food, paper, clothing or furniture) and setting them aside. Once search is over, other players can also look for themselves and possibly find something else in the scene, that first player may have missed. This also gives you a perspective and atmosphere of a real crime.
From that moment on, the main elements of the entire game is reading QR codes, reading texts and discussing all the clues. All the found items are read with scanner one by one into the phone and application tells players, if they can keep it in their pocket as evidence or when it does not have any meaning for the investigation. Regardless of this, every card read through scanner takes equal amount of five minutes to properly examine. Time in this game passes.
Similarly, QR codes will allow players to question suspects, witnesses, simply all the characters, that they encounter. Players can ask other people about items and other persons. They simply enter into the interview mode first (by reading some character card) and then read card, they want to ask about. Each time they get a reaction, although sometimes it leads them nowhere. And yes, all conversation and questions also cost time.
Story then moves forwards by players exploring locations. These locations are not all available at first, but they are accessible only through remarks of characters – they mention these places with letters. Characters are marked with numbers and when someone is mentioned with number, players find his card and place it properly. This is because some portraits can be used repeatedly in the future games. That would not be allowed, it there was a name.
Once players have no longer anything to do in their current location, they can move to another place by loading destination barcode. At the same time, they must remember, that every such travel costs them twenty minutes of their investigation time. Last option of what to do is to call one of the forensic experts sitting at the police station.
In fact, players do not have any time limit unless otherwise stated by the app. However, the length of the investigation may eventually influence conclusion of the investigation as a whole and also scoring. But basics of everything are fun, because experience is the central focus of the entire box of Chronicles of Crime.
Our game options were limited in preview version. Only two detective stories were ready and available in the prepared protype. One of them serves as a tutorial and other is a full-fledged experience. Thanks to that, we should have pretty good idea of how Chronicles of Crime will play.
And we have to say responsibly, that solving crimes is amazing fun! The game has an excellent atmosphere, because players are really the only responsible for informations, they uncover. And maybe that’s, why you feel like real detectives. Time is pushing, breathing behind your neck as you shift from place to place, number of suspicions is increasing and seemingly simple case gets more and more tangled.
Even the two detective stories we had at our disposal were highly inventive. The characters make sense, each one is interesting and somehow fits into the story. It is only by clever deduction and thinking, that you can put together the whole picture. And there are cliffhanders as well, so you will not know the killer from first moment of your adventure. That’s why we look forward to what designers will prepare for us in the full box and eventually for the campaign.
The course itself is beautifully simple. Players have a great deal of freedom. They decide, what they want and when they move to another location. However, they have to be careful with time, which will certainly have different meanings in different cases.
Of course, as with exit or story-telling games also this time, you will be able to play every detective story only once. You will then know everything and there is no need to come back. And here, perhaps, there will be a stumbling block for some of you, who simply do not like similar one-time gameplay. But for the detectives, this solution is absolutely inseparable, so this game should be forgiven by more players.
The more players take part in the game, the more heads to remember information and deductions. There is no negative impact on the game. But we enjoyed our adventures even in two. The investigation itself does not last long, and you can complete the more complicated stories in an hour, because our bigger investigation took us 45 minutes.
Finally, Chronicles of Crime is not quite a board game. Yes, players will be manipulating with cards, but in fact, it has a much stronger anchor in digital entertainment. The very emphasis on using the phone could be a disqualification criterion for many players as well. But we love it.
It is now clear, that Chronicles of Crime will be a great game. Its final content will definitely change based on result of its campaign, but playability itself is enough to guarantee success. If you do not mind games, that you play only once (each story) and you like detective stories, then you should not hesitate for a moment. Chronicles of Crime are all that a great crime story should be and something more!
Preview: Chronicles of Crime – can you catch the killer?
Our preview version of Chronicles of Crime is promise of tremendous fun. We have tried only two stories, but we are also excited about the possibilities and atmosphere, that this game can offer. Players control the whole investigation by reading QR codes, moving around the city, interviewing witnesses. And they will also have the opportunity to look for themselves with VR lenses (or just phone) at crime scene and find all the important items for investigation. Chronicles of Crime should definitely get your support on Kickstarter, if you want a true detective experience.