Kickstarter Preview: Chronicles of Crime

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Publisher: Lucky Duck Game

Designer: David Cicurel   

Artists: GebreselassieMateusz KomadaKatarzyna Kosobucka

Player count: 1-4 players (1 and 2 player were play for this preview)

Play time: 60 to 90 minutes

A prototype  print and play file of  Chronicles of Crime was provided by Lucky Duck Games for this preview. I want to thank Lucky Duck Games for supporting Jambalaya Plays Games. Everything you see today is in prototype form and may not represent the final product.

Chronicles of Crime is a cooperative detective game that uses an app and VR technology to enhance the experience.  Players will gathering evidence, interrogative suspects, investigate crime scenes and call upon the help of specialists to crack these cases. I was able to play the introduction (tutorial) and first campaign case for this preview. Let’s take a deeper look.

The majority of the gameplay in Chronicles of Crime is through the app.  The beginning of each case starts in the Police Station ,where you speak with the Police Chief.  He will brief you on the case and provide you with the first location, which is the scene of the crime. The Chief is your in game motivator…sort of.  When you return to the station, he will give you a quick refresher on investigating or he will ask if you’re ready to solve the case. When you’re ready leave, you can scan any location to “arrive” at the location.

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Word on the Street

 When you arrive at the first location, you will  speak with witnesses or look for clues at the crime scene using the app. Each location, person, and piece of evidence must be scanned by QR code. Any person that doesn’t belong there won’t register so you can’t just guess. If you want to interact with a witness or talk with a suspect, you will scan their QR code to simulate asking them questions. A witness is may be light on details, but all information is important when murder is involved right?  If you want to interrogate someone, you approach the suspect and then scan some evidence to watch for a reaction. The person will spill their guts, give a clue to a location, identify a new person, or leave you guessing.

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(NO SPOILERS) Adding, locations, suspects, evidence, and leads requires TABLE SPACE

Virtual Detective

When you’re done talking to witness characters, it’s time to do some virtual detective work and look for clues. The app will ask you to put on the VR glasses before looking for clues. I did not receive the VR glasses with the print and play prototype, but the app allows you to play without them. Here is the cool part, the crime scene is shown to you through your phone in a full panoramic view.  You have to get out of your seat and spin around while looking at the phone to see the whole room. You can zoom in and out. Even without the glasses, you will still get a sense of the immersive gameplay. You have 40 seconds to look for as much evidence as possible. You’re looking for blood, weapons, phone, food, plants, toys, just anything. With a large selection of evidence cards and 40 seconds to look over the scene, having a little help from friends makes it easy to gather the evidence cards while you’re scanning the room on the phone. You may spend as much time as you want passing the detective duties to each person, but time is passing on the case. Once evidence is gathered, you have to scan each piece and see if it’s relevant to the case. You will receive a message to add a clue to your board if the item is relative to the case. We should talk about about the importance of time…

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Time’s Up

Everything you do in Chronicles of Crime costs you time. The time it takes you to finish a case contributes to your final score. Time also factors into where suspects are located during the case. Five minutes of time passes for interrogating suspects, scanning items, or observe a crime scene. Twenty minutes of time passes every time you switch locations. There is a lot of pressure that builds when night time comes and the case isn’t solved. The Police Chief might send you a message and “encourage you” to hurry up! You might have to go back to multiple locations to interrogate people with new leads or stop by the crime scene again. It’s something to be aware of and it doesn’t take away from the fun of the game. If you want to just solve the case, scan as much as you want.

My Squad

You’re not alone in your investigation. You have four specialist that will assist you with analyzing evidence, people, and technology. You scan them just like suspects and witnesses, and present them with whatever you want them to interact with. The criminal profile information is my favorite specialist. He gives you a full profile of a characters past, natural tendencies,  or overall demeanor. I like when developers write interesting background stories for all the characters. Nice touch!

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Each specialist can assist you with putting the pieces of the puzzle together. With the right information, your interrogations easier.

To Solve A Murder

When you’re ready to solve the case, return to the Police Station and talk to the Police Chief. He will ask questions about the murder case. Each question requires you to scan specific people, locations, and evidence. You’re scored on your accuracy and the time. I honestly didn’t care about my score, but I wanted to know if I was right. If you choose, they give you a full explanation of the solution.

Why Should you back it?

  • You’re looking for a modernized version of Sherlock Holmes type game, but not with the Sherlock Holmes theme or jokes
  • The game is good without the VR glasses (based on my experience)
  • Enjoyable for solo players or coop
  • Immersive gameplay
  • I didn’t have one problem with the app reading the QR codes on anything
  • The campaign potential is already teased
  • The expansion possibilities with this tech (Noir, Cthulhu, Minority Report, Western)
  • Replayability is high IF you’re fine with beating your score and not revealing the solution (I’m thinking some cases will have multiple endings)
  • The artwork is fantastic already

Any Concerns?

  • Cases might be too long for your crowd (60 min or more)
  • Some people are completely turned off by QR codes and you do a lot of scanning
  • I wanted voice work, but I know the budget would be ridiculous
  • I didn’t see a hint button, so there is a chance people may get frustrated with being stuck
  • The scoring mechanic might kill the replayability for you

Final Impressions

Chronicles of Crimes is one of the most immersive games I’ve played in a while. You won’t feel like you’re missing out on “the fun” at any point because you don’t have the VR glasses. I was able to play the preview solitaire and cooperative. You will probably have the most fun sharing the experience, since you have the advantage of locating evidence easier and discussing suspects. Chronicles of Crime has a lot going for it already from what I played. It has an opportunity to expand to so many different detective themes and the technology involved will take the experience to the next level. For people who are hesitant about the use of the app, this is the game that proves the true potential of technology creating a seamless and enjoyable board game experience. I think Chronicles of Crime is the right game for you if like mature crime shows, cooperative game play, and a technology integrated gameplay.

I hope my preview will help you make an informed decision. If you have any questions please, please let me know. For your information, I do not tell people to back or not back a project based on a prototype of a game. Thank you for your time.

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