Review: Chronicles of Crime: 1400

Take on the role of the knight Abalard Lavel and travel to medieval Paris. There are strange things going on here that you need to get to the bottom of!

Publisher

999games

60
minutes

€28
cost

1-4
players

Game explanation

Chronicles of Crime 1400 is one of the games in the detective world of Chronicles of Crime. This time you travel as a knight Abalard Lavel to the Paris of the late Middle Ages. With the help of visions, family members and your trusty four-legged friend, you must solve mysterious crimes. Chronicles of Crime 1400 is a completely standalone edition, for which the base game is not required.

To play Chronicles of Crime you need a smartphone or tablet. You need this to scan the QR codes on all cards. When you open the app you will see that there are 4 scenarios and a tutorial to play. In the tutorial the app is explained and you will also see how you can talk to people and collect evidence.

Scenarios are started on your phone and not in the game itself. This means that you only have to get everything ready for use, but you don't have to figure anything out beforehand. Scenarios usually start with an introductory story and a vision card, this vision gives you a taste of how the crime played out. After the introductory story, you usually visit the crime scene. Here you can interview possible witnesses and residents and take a 360 degree look around the location with your mobile, this can even be done with VR glasses! When scanning locations or evidence, the app will tell you which cards to take and when. Proof can be saved on the designated board. You can then ask people about this evidence and they will respond (or not). 

Sometimes people also refer you to a new location. You may then grab this location and scan it to go there, the app will then tell you who is present at that location. Scanning QR codes will cost you time in the game though. The time you spend will change your final score, the fewer scans, the better! If you think you know how the crime was put together and who the possible culprit is you can go home and solve the mystery. You then have to answer questions about the crime, such as who did it and with what object. Did you get this (partly) right? Then you have solved the mystery and you get a score based on the time you used and the answers you gave.

Our thoughts

Chronicles of Crime 1400 is definitely a worthy game in the series. It is super fun and unique that this game combines analog and digital components. The app is very well put together and really puts you in the shoes of the main character. By using the app, the game is really extensive and the options are unlimited. 

We started by playing the tutorial, everything is explained very well using an introductory story. You learn how to scan locations and use evidence to get the right information out of people. After the tutorial, we played the first scenario. Of course we are not going to spoil the story, but it is very exciting. At the beginning you know nothing, but as you talk to more people and scan locations you learn more about the story. 

Chronicles of Crime is a fun and accessible way to play a board game. The game is especially suitable for people who like escape rooms. Not in the mood for Netflix? Then you can enjoy an evening of mystery solving as Knight Abalard. You dive into the story and try to find the solution together. We think the experience is a bit less engaging with multiple players. This is because only one person uses the app and has to read everything aloud. We are easily distracted and therefore we tend to drift away when it takes too long or when we have nothing to do. A solution is to cast it on a larger screen, so everyone can watch.

Everything in Chronicles of Crime 1400 goes through the app, so it often feels like the game supports the app more than the other way around. We think this is a pity but at the same time unique. Another point is that you have to scan a QR code for every action, which means you spend an hour just scanning. As far as we are concerned, it would be better if a few options, such as asking your family for help, were already integrated into the app. Scanning the cards and using your cell phone can be an addition to the game, but it can also get in the way. It sometimes feels like you're not really playing a game but like you're just scanning cards. You really have to keep paying attention to really get interested in the story. If you can do that, then Chronicles of Crime 1400 is really a nice game for a cozy night with your partner, parents, boyfriend or girlfriend. 

Playing with 2 players

We think Chronicles of Crime: 1400 is best played with 2 players. As described above, it is difficult to get multiple players engaged because you are only playing with 1 phone. This would be easier if you could cast on a larger screen. Even with 2 players, we sometimes had trouble getting the other player engaged enough. We kept passing the phone around after 5 minutes. With 2 players you can still follow what is happening on the app and discuss about the solution!

 Pros and cons

+ Unique game mechanism with an app
+ Exciting story
+ You can start playing right away without rules

1 person controls the app and the others are just watching and listening
- After 4 scenario's the game is done

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This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by 999games.