Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Chronicles of Crime


David Cicurell

Corax Games
Lucky Duck Games

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

In the last few years, a lot of publishers tried to integrate the smartphone in their boardgames, thus wanting to participate from both worlds: the boardgame world and the world of electronic games. But up to now, I haven't seen such a game that really convinced me, and moreover, a lot of these games have been more or less a dead loss. Ok, there was for example Alchemists from CGE, a serious attempt. But most publishers seem to have given up again, so at SPIEL 2018 you only found very few games that used an app. So, why the hell am I presenting you such a game at this very moment? For that's what we will be talking about in this review. Chronicles of Crime can't be plaid without the app that you must download onto your mobile phone...

The reason for me to present you the game is the fact that I think the mobile phone concept really works fine with this game. For me as a pure boardgamer it required getting used to it at the beginning, but after I had found out how to use it, it feels right.


To understand what I mean, let us have a look at the main game concept. Chronicles of Crime is an investigating game, in which players cooperatively try to solve a criminal case. For this they must explore a given site, find out more about places and persons, and must search for the key hints. There are four characters in our investigative team, each of them with their own specialised fields. And these characters can be asked about all that we find. In the game each player takes the control of one or more of these characters by taking his or her corresponding character board.

To ask one of our team members about something we have discovered, we simply take our mobile phone, scan the QR-code on the character board, and secondly the QR-code of the item, person or place we want to learn more about. As you can see, each game element of the game comes with its own QR-code that can be scanned.

After we have chosen a case in our app, we usually get a first place that is taken from the supply and added to the board, and a person, a victim or a hint or something else to start our investigation with. And all the time, the mobile phone tells us what has happened. All cases are stored in the app on the mobile phone, some already come with the boardgame, more will be available in the future and still others can be bought additionally in the app.


Each new person, place or item we find during the investigation is again taken from the supply and added to our board. And then we can travel to these new places, ask persons we have met about other persons or hints, and with the help of our team members we also learn more about the backgrounds or important things about these different evidences.

As said, all of this works with the massive help of our mobile phone. Depending on the current case, an investigation or interrogation will trigger new information, as well as introduce new persons and places. Additionally, hints can be found at the scenes of the crime by another innovative method: At some locations where something important for the case has taken place, you can start a VR-mode on your mobile phone. Then one player can either use the normal VR-mode by the mobile phone or use additional 3D glasses to investigate the site. Everything suspicious he describes to his fellow players, and simultaneously these players search for the fitting cards in the hint deck. Of course, the new hints have their own QR-code again, and can be investigated further or be used for interviews from that moment on.


Unfortunately, everything we do in the game takes its time. Our mobile phone merciless moves the clock forward, whenever we use it to change locations, investigate things or ask persons. As a result, we are remembered from time to time by our chief inspector to hurry up, and after a while we have to report what we have found out.

Then the time for solving has come. At this time, we have to answer several question about the reasons and backgrounds of the case. Depending on our answers, our victory points are added up. Again the smartphone takes us through it.

Actually, Chronicles of Crime is quite a typical detective game of the traditional kind. I still remember my vain attempts to solve cases in Sherlock Holmes Consultive Detective back in the eighties of the last century. I spent hours and hours jumping from one number in a big scenario book to the other, reading what had happened, and going to still another passage by searching the next number. And it was much more difficult to keep everything you have read in your mind, you had to take your notes. What was really annoying to my mind, was the massive text you had to read, and the endless jumps from one passage in the book to the next one.


All that works much better in Chronicles of Crime, thanks to our mobile phone. I still think, it's not the best to combine boardgames with mobile phones, but at the moment I make an exception with this game. Maybe I am fed up in some weeks, but right now it helps me finding the information I am looking much better than the endless searchings in a book. So time is going on. There are new ways to try out. Only one thing seems to remain: I totally flopped in my first case

But now, I am already in my third case, and I am getting used to the investigating methods and are much more successful than at the beginning. Last thing to mention: The boardgame itself is more or less language-independent. And the mobile app can be switched from English to German, French and Polish at your desire.

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Copyright © 2018 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany