After hearing so much about the Chronicles of Crime series, I finally got the chance to dive into it, starting with the newest game in the series, Chronicles of Crime: 1900. This is the second game in the Millennium Series, following CoC: 1400 and preceding CoC: 2400. It follows the same system as the original Chronicles of Crime but adds a new mechanic to it: solving puzzles using Puzzle Cards.
Chronicles of Crime: 1900 tells the story of Victor Lavel, a young and ambitious journalist looking to investigate crimes for the local newspaper that employed him. The action takes place in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century. The players will be conducting these investigations to help him solve the cases that he is facing. Do you and your friends have what it takes to help our hero solve his cases?
Playing Chronicles of Crime: 1900
Before going further, I suggest you take a look at my Chronicles of Crime: 1900 unboxing article. It will help you get familiar with the components and what each one is used for.
Setting up the game is easy and should only take you a couple minutes. I recommend making sure that you have enough space on your table around the game, as you will have to place more and more location boards on your table the more you investigate. Start by placing the Evidence Board in the middle of the playing area. Look for the Newspaper Office location board and place it nearby. Make sure to add Charlotte on this board, as she will always start the game here, ready to help you. Finally, place all the card decks (characters, special items, category cards, and puzzle cards) and the location boards close to the Evidence Board. I would suggest keeping these in order (alphabetical or numerical) so you can search through them much easier.
The game revolves around a mobile app that helps you investigate cases. I know that many people hate the idea of using apps when playing board games but unlike in other games, the app is necessary for the Chronicles of Crime series. Unlike other games such as Alchemists where a player can replace the app, Chronicles of Crime games can not be played without the app. Don’t worry though, the app is available on both Android and iOS and it has been tested and proved to work on older phones too.
Besides providing the story of the game, the app also allows you to interact with the world. You can do various actions such as traveling between locations, searching for clues or interviewing characters. In order to progress with certain leads when solving a case, you may have to solve some puzzles using the Puzzle cards. Everything is done by scanning the QR codes on the cards.
When you and your group decide that you’ve gathered enough evidence, you can go back to the Newspaper Office and attempt to solve the case. You will face a series of questions regarding the crime and you will have to answer them based on your evidence. The app will calculate the accuracy of your answers and then tell you how well you scored. You can always try to solve a case again if you believe you can get a better score.
Thoughts on Chronicles of Crime: 1900
I’ve had many friends tell me that I should try Chronicles of Crime before. I was skeptical at first, as I am not a fan of app-driven board games. But boy, I was wrong. The app provides an immersive experience through various ways such as different background noises for each location. I expected it to crash or move slow, but nothing like that happened. It works really well, I did not experience any bugs.
There’s a tutorial that teaches you how to play. I found it very helpful, it is a great way to learn the mechanics and what you have to do when playing. Totally recommended for those of you that try Chronicles of Crime for the first time, just like me. You will have to solve a short and easy case, with only a few characters involved. The evidence is not hard to find and the puzzle that you have to solve is not that obvious either.
Happily, the cases that you have to solve are not related, so you can also play it with different groups or solve them in any order. I tried it at 2 and 3 players, but this feels more like a game to be played at 2 players or solo. When we played it at 3 players, the third player did not get involved as much as the other 2 and that may be problematic for some people. Having the possibility to try and solve a case again for a better score also felt nice, as we sometimes discovered new clues that we have previously missed and they helped us increase our final score.
My girlfriend is a big fan of detective novels and reads such books pretty often. When I received this game I knew that she’d love it and I was right. We had a great time playing this, as she felt just like a character from the books she’s reading. Her deduction skills also helped a lot, as we managed to score high on all the scenarios we tried! If you are also a fan of this genre, I totally recommend you to try this game, you’ll have a blast playing it!
I am not going to give you any spoilers, but I want to say that I love how well the scenarios were designed and how well everything connects when solving the cases. The storyline is well-written, there were no parts that did not make sense and everything fits well with the theme and the atmosphere of the 20th century. Clearly, there was a lot of work put into writing it.
We were thrilled to see how characters react when you interrogate them. More exactly, we liked how they change their attitude and answers based on what you asked them before. If at some point you asked someone if they know anything about some of your evidence but their answer seemed suspiciously defensive, don’t worry, there’s still a chance they may know something about it. Later, if you show them something or ask them something else and they mention the first item or person that you asked them about, it may be a good idea to try your luck again and question them once more about it. Maybe they changed their mind and are willing to cooperate now.
Time is an important factor in Chronicles of Crime. You only have one day to solve your case. Each action costs you in-game minutes. Think well about what you’re willing to do or else you may risk not finishing the case in time or not gathering enough information before finishing it. We enjoyed not being conditioned by a timer (like having only 30 minutes to finish the case) but by in-game time. This way you can take your time and look over the evidence gathered as much as you want before going further with your actions.
I was greatly impressed by Chronicles of Crime: 1900. I did not expect to enjoy playing an app-driven board game this much. It changed my impression about this category of games and now I really want to try more games in this series. I like how well the app works and how great the scenarios are designed. It is a great deduction game that implements some fun puzzles and provides a fun, immersive experience through the mobile app.
Designers: David Cicurel & Wojciech Grajkowski
Publisher: Lucky Duck Games
Time: 75-90 min
Times played: 4
Full disclosure: A copy of Chronicles of Crime: 1900 was provided by the game publisher.
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