Hot on the heels of recent Kickstarter blockbuster Time of Legends: Joan of Arc reaching its fulfilment date, Time of Legends: Destinies is a brand new, joint venture between veteran publishers Mythic Realms and augmented reality experts, Lucky Duck Games. Destinies shared the world and setting of Joan of Arc, but offers a very different experience.
Where the original Time of Legends: Joan of Arc offers the kind of big box, miniatures heavy kind of role playing experience that Kickstarter has been known for, Time of Legends: Destinies looks set to maximise Lucky Duck’s experience in using apps to deliver a lower cost and highly innovative approach. For those not familiar with Lucky Duck’s other games, it might be worth checking out our Chronicles of Crime review.
First of all, I should say how awesome and important it is that Destinies is being made at all. The fact that two companies have chosen to collaborate in this way, sharing their mutual talents, is very likely the kind of thing we’ll need to see more of as the board game market reaches saturation point. The Time of Legends: Joan of Arc universe looks likely to keep expanding, so who knows where we’ll end up next.
Anyway, I’ve digressed. Time of Legends: Destinies is an app driven role playing experience that currently supports up to three players via the choice of three playable heroes; the maire, the herbalist and the deserter. In turn, you could also refer to these three as the fighter, the smart one and the rogue, such are their skill sets aligned. I’ll explain more about how skills are used later.
With the characters chosen, the app (which is currently in beta and therefore not representative of the finished product, much like everything pictured in this preview) will provide some basic setup instructions. This usually involves placing a handful of map tiles face down onto the table, along with any miniatures or points of interest.
The app will then read a brief introductory passage. Some of the images I’ve included in this review are mild spoilers that relate to the first chapter of the game only, but nothing you won’t reach relatively quickly. The first chapter takes place in a rural French town just before Christmas. The townsfolk are being murdered and all signs point to the presence of a werewolf somewhere in the hills.
The players are free to explore as they wish, although there are some mild time constraints and events to consider in this first scenario, and I can imagine that the need to act decisively will become more important over the campaign. As the players explore, they’ll earn income, purchase items and influence the game world in ways that will add or take away miniatures from the board.
This can result in any of a few different things happening. Almost all locations or conversations result in the opportunity to test one of the three skills that each character has. Power, Intelligence and dexterity are all represented, with power representing strength, intelligence a measure of education or wisdom and dexterity demonstrating overall agility or nimbleness.
Each player has a character board that features a track for each of these skills. On each of the tracks, two or three tokens will be placed at set locations. When a test is taken, the number of success is the number of tokens that sit on numbers lower than the value on the dice roll. So if a character has tokens on the fourth and the eighth space, then rolling a total of ten will score two successes.
Given that players only roll a six sided dice by default, it’s clearly necessary to roll two or more dice to achieve success. To do this, whenever a test is taken, the player can expend one or more of their three effort dice as well. Only one of these is recovered each turn, so while it is sometimes necessary to achieve a certain outcome, one important feature in Time of Legends: Destinies is also smart management of your dice.
As the game goes on, characters can increase their chances of success by spending experience to either add new disks or to move disks closer to the lower numbers. Conversely, taking wounds can move these skills up the track, making it harder for a good outcome to be achieved.
One of the most interesting aspects of Time of Legends: Destinies is that it is either a solo or competitive experience, not a cooperative one as you might expect. The way the world is affected by one player does impact everyone, but in fact, each player is working towards their own destiny and the first to achieve it will be the winner.
Just as in Chronicles of Crime, item and weapon cards will be added to the players inventory and can be scanned by the app to deliver effects. Scanning a weapon, for example, will allow you to fight with it, whilst scanning a trap in a specific location might allow the player to set it and gain an edge when the fight starts.
All of what I’ve described here relates only to the first scenario, and I know from experience of previous Lucky Duck Games products that there will be plenty of surprises. The quality of the prototype components also bodes well for the finished article, and with a bit of polishing, I think Time of Legends: Destinies could be one of the most interesting role-playing board games that we’ve seen to date.