Chronicles of Crime 1400 is an app-driven investigative board game. It uses the core rules from the original Chronicles of Crime, but has an entirely new setting and is a complete stand-alone product. In this article, we’ll review the game, spoiler-free, and also have a look at what’s new for anyone who’s already played Chronicles of Crime.
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In Chronicles of Crime 1400, players take on the role of Abelard Lavel, a knight with visionary powers in medieval Paris. Each mission starts with Abelard having a vision and players drawing specific vision cards to illustrate the dream. These cards aren’t used in the game but can give clues to help solve the crime.
Chronicles of Crime is entirely app-driven, and all games start with the app led mission briefing. Players are then free to investigate and explore as they wish. To start with, players usually investigate the scene of the crime, with a 360-degree image in the app. Players then draw cards from the item deck, looking for items that match what they saw in the scene and scan their QR codes to see if they reveal clues they can use in their investigation.
During the investigation, players will also discover new locations, and place the location display board in play. They can then scan the location QR code to travel to that destination, and talk to the characters there. Discovered characters are placed on locations, and undiscovered characters are placed on a central clue board until they’re found. Characters, like items and locations, are scanned when you want to interact with them. They can then be questions about other characters and items you have discovered.
A core mechanic of Chronicles of Crime is time, and each interaction with an element takes time. This means that you might not want to scan every item during an investigation or ask every character about every other character if you want to solve the investigation quickly.
The time mechanic is reinforced with the entire game being a living world. Characters move around, they might not open the door to see you at night and there’s pressure to solve a case in a certain amount of time. They also react to certain clues. If a character asks you to keep something a secret, and you scan that item with another character, you can get a negative reaction next time you speak to them.
To help you during your investigation, you also have the assistance of your family. Your uncle, a Monk, sister a merchant, and your brother a spy. They each have an area of expertise and can be interacted with like any other character. You also have the assistance of Perceval, your faithful dog. He can be used to track by scanning items, following scents, or identifying characters. Other characters can also interact with Perceval when you meet them, which gives a great sense of immersion.
Once you think you’ve gathered enough evidence, you can try and solve the crime. The app will then ask you a series of questions, and you will have to scan items, characters, and locations to answer them. You will then get an ending that reflects how well you’ve done. Solving cases quickly also gives you a bonus. It’s also worth noting that sometimes you also need to wrap up story elements, by presenting evidence to certain characters. Simply solving the case can leave elements unsolved and reflect the ending you get.
CoC 1400 comes with a tutorial scenario and 4 full missions. Getting the 100% ending for each means that you probably won’t play them again, but failing, or missing elements gives a great opportunity to play them again. There is a difficulty curve if the missions are played in order, and their difficulty is displayed before starting. The difficulty means that you will have to work harder for clues and evidence. The tutorial does an incredible job on onboarding everyone, even players without any Chronicles of Crime experience, and the short, punchy rulebook works for anyone who learns better by reading.
Chronicles of Crime does have a fantastic cooperative nature, and there is usually a lot of discussion about who to talk to, and if they’re lying (characters lie). One player can keep the phone, and control everything, but as each player has a go investigating the 360 images and also the map spreads out with location cards around the table, it’s easier to pass the device running the app around and have discussions about the next steps.
The living element of realism in Chronicles of Crime 1400 is incredibly immersive. Missing something during an initial investigation can lead to you running around trying to find it, or spending too long talking to a character, can mean another wanders off. There’s always constant pressure to solve a case, and you’re not left to just spend time showing every item to every character.
Chronicles of Crime or 1400
The original Chronicles of Crime is set in modern-day, and features 6 scenarios, with more purchasable through the app. It also has 2 expansions, Noir, with its 1950’s LA setting, and Welcome to Redview with its 80’s teenagers. You can read our review of them all here.
Chronicles of Crime 1400 is as good as the original, and it’s Paris setting is captured well. 1400 will be followed by 2 more standalone games, set in different timezones, but following the same family.
Each Chronicles of Crime feels unique in its theme, and I would advise players to pick the one that appeals to them the most. If you enjoy playing it, then you will enjoy playing the rest.
The Bottom Line
1400, as with all Chronicles of Crime is an amazing, immersive experience. It is entirely app-driven, but the blending of physical and digital elements is done well. The physical components help to visualize the narrative and keep everyone engaged. It does have limited longevity, but the experience of the 5 scenarios is worth it. The difficulty curve is perfect, and the living world handled with the time mechanic really drives home the immersion.
Get This Game If:
- You loved Chronicles of Crime and want more.
- You want an immersive investigation experience.
- You want a great cooperative game.
- You want a game that blends digital and physical components perfectly.
Avoid This Game If:
- You don’t want an app-driven game.
- You don’t like solo or cooperative games.
The copy of Chronicles of Crime 1400 used to produce this review was provided by Lucky Duck Games.