Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Saturday, 14 September 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Chronicles of Crime: Welcome to Redview

Game: Chronicles of Crime: Welcome to Redview

Publisher: Lucky Duck Games

Designer: David Cicurel, Ghislain Masson

Year: 2018


Chronicles of Crime was a huge hit for us last year, firmly cementing a place in our Top Ten of 2018. Chronicles of Crime is a cooperative game of deduction and crime solving which really stands out for its integration of technology. An app is necessary to drive the game and manages to create a fully interconnected world that you, as detectives, can interact with. Whilst this style of deduction games isn't typically for us, Chronicles of Crime was light enough and yet immersive enough to have us gripped.

Kickstarter backers may have received the first two expansions as part of their pledge, but now both are available to all gamers. Noir was the first, which we've still not played and Welcome to Redview is the latest expansion. Welcome to Redview looks like something out of Stranger Things or perhaps Scooby Doo, and you, a bunch of school kids are the amateur detectives, trying to establish what's turning your town upside down.


Gameplay

Welcome to Redview features the same gameplay as the base game Chronicles of Crime with a few new twists. You will generally be using your device to scan QR codes on locations to visit them, people to speak to them and then other people or items to ask them about that person/object. Do this in the right way and you will be able to gain new insights into the story and potentially unlock new character cards or locations to visit. Every now and then you will come across a crime scene which you are able to investigate. When you do so you will be able to use the device as VR goggles (or simply a 360 view picture if you lack the VR glasses) to explore the crime scene and discover new evidence for your case.

Welcome to Redview has you playing as a gang of young detectives seeking to solve the mysteries of their sleepy American town. At the start of the game each player will choose one of the kids to take the role of, complete with 3 stats and an amount of energy bars. During the game you may be asked to, or have the opportunity to choose to make skill checks. These come in easy/medium/hard difficulties (+1/+0/-1 to your roll). When you perform a skill check every player rolls a single D6, adds their relevant stat and then if they rolled 5+ they gain a success, if they rolled 7+ you gain 2 successes. The team needs a number of successes equal to the number of players. In case you need an extra success you can consume an energy bar to roll again. Don't be too sparing as these refresh at the end of every day.

The other differences are largely story based, and the inclusion of a fresh set of character and special item cards and a campaign of 4 interconnected stories. No need to worry about spoilers, we'll leave the discovery of the story to you.


Amy’s Final Thoughts

Welcome to Redview starts you as a group of friends who get mixed up is mysteries that start appearing to be slightly beyond normal. Sure there are rumours of monsters, but are they real? or are they just people in suits? I'm certainly not going to tell you! As you'd expect from the original game Welcome to Redview is a highly narrative game, almost all of the gameplay is scanning cards and then reading out text, now mixed in with both the 3D scenes and some dice rolling. The point of this game is to uncover the stories, work out the mysteries and make it home before 10pm, because you don't want your parents to worry!

Welcome to Redview does a great job of pulling off the mystery gang feel. While your characters don't ever have unique personalities, their stats and character art paint them as a typical group of teenage misfits. Unlike the police force in the original game, you don't have any experts you can call up to analyze samples or run criminal background checks, which helps the game feel a little purer. It's just you and your wits going it alone.


While I don't want to spoil the story the 4 games in the campaign do continue a narrative. However this mostly occurs with reoccurring characters and some references to previous cases. There's no reason you couldn't jump into case 3 if your friends have already done one and two. This is both handy and a little disappointing, as I was hoping that previous cases might have had a few more hints towards the future. Of course it's possible that they did and I simply didn't find them.  Difficulty wise, I found Welcome to Redview a little easier than the base game campaigns, with us getting higher point scores, and noticeably getting two perfect scores out of 4. That didn't make the game any less enjoyable though, I still love Chronicles of Crime and adding this extra content has only increased my enjoyment of the game.


Fi’s Final Thoughts

Welcome to Redview is a great standalone expansion box. We've been avoiding playing Chronicles of Crime with friends because of the concern over dropping them in halfway through our journey into the base game. But, there's no need to worry with this expansion. You need the base game to play, but most of the material, including characters and the special item deck is new, so you'll be forming all new opinions about the characters. The expansion also starts easy and gets more complex, so it would be perfect to play with a group over a couple of game nights. Only the fourth game recommends that you've played the previous scenarios, but the characters remained the same throughout and that way a nice thread through the four independent stories for me.


The biggest new feature in Welcome to Redview is the dice rolling. You are a bunch of kids, relying on your wits and the energy of candy bars to help you solve the crimes. There's no forensic lab or scientists as back-up, but instead you can make courageous moves, like sneaking past a character or charming your way into a situation. These are nice and thematic although dice luck will play a small part. The only thing you're typically wasting with bad rolls is time, but your decision at each of these checkpoints seems to lead to different information. The different layers and branching paths in the game are on another level and feel mightily impressive to me.

Whilst Welcome to Redview gave me the same rewarding feelings on unfolding a story, some of the stories were a little too unwieldy for me - perhaps feeling less linear or with more threads to the story than previous scenarios. Unfortunately this drove me away from enjoying this expansion so much because story really isn't my thing. The linearity in the base game was helpful for my enjoyment, although perhaps less challenging and interesting to others. The third scenario concluded way before we felt we knew what was going on and specifically stated that there were a bunch of lose ends, and in the forth I completely failed to identify the good guys from the bad guys, getting the whole thing backwards because I'd lost the thread of the plot. I guess both were marked as hard, but since Amy got full marks in the quizzes I have to conclude that they just didn't work for me.

I think that for theme and the choose your own adventure style aspects, Welcome to Redview will appeal to big fans of Chronicles of Crime. But, if it was simplicity and satisfaction that you enjoyed in the simpler scenarios, then you might find yourself in my frustrated situation with the later games of this expansion.


You Might Like...
  • The game really guides you to a natural point of understanding the whole plot.
  • The choose your own adventure feel adds some fun and presumably some impressive layers in the background story.
  • If the base game was too basic for you, then Welcome to Redview seems to add some more complex interwoven stories.
You Might Not Like...
  • Whilst the characters pass from scenario to scenario, the overarching story is a little incoherent.
  • One scenario in particular ended with bad taste of not really having solved it when we got full marks.

The Verdict
7/10 Welcome to Redview adds an extra aspect to Chronicles of Crime, which incorporates some choose your own adventure flavour, but doesn't particularly alter gameplay, which was a little disappointing for us. The narrative in this expansion is well connected and it's interesting to stick with the same characters throughout the four scenarios. Whilst the later scenarios are marked as hard, they were a little more frustrating to Fiona in particular and you've perhaps really got to be into the narrative to enjoy them to their fullest.


Chronicles of Crime: Welcome to Redview was a review copy kindly provided to us by Lucky Duck Games

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