Technology can quite often take something away from the board game experience, rather than add to it. However, Lucky Duck Games seem to have hit gold with Destines, which makes use of Scan&Play technology to tell a rather gripping story.
Destinies is a game that has been on my peripheral vision for some time now. It’s one that I’d seen snippets about but hadn’t really looked into. It wasn’t until I saw a friend of mine posting about it on Instagram that I started to pay more attention. With July fast approaching, I decided to pop it onto my birthday wish list and thankfully my wish was granted.
Destinies is a competitive, story-drive game, which mixes Scan&Play technology through the use of an app, with a board game. The story is fully driven by the app, giving a unique RPG experience that doesn’t require a GM. The game itself is for one to three players and features four campaign scenarios plus an introduction session. Each mission can be played on their own, however to get the full Destinies experience, it’s best to play this as a single group to allow the story to develop.
At the start of each scenario, players will be prompted to select a character to play as, which is closely followed by where to place skill tokens. Each player starts with 2 coins, 2 Main Dice and 3 Effort Dice as well as their own miniature. The app then walks players through an easy to follow set up, which consists of laying out the first few map tiles and any points of interest. On the back of their character cards, each player will have two Destinies, which act as their objectives. These must be kept secret from the rest of the group. You don’t need to select a single Destiny, in fact you can begin to explore both and swap throughout the game, however to win, you must be the first person to complete a single destiny.
The turn order is very simple; replenish effort dice, move and then interact with points of interest. It’s these points that further the story, giving clues, vital equipment and important story elements that will help players complete their destiny. As players traverse the fated landscape, they will gain money and experience for completing quests and challenges, all of which aid in preparing them for their epic finale.
When players have completed one of the tasks on the back of the character card, they will be prompted to start their finale. It is at this point where the end game starts, which can last a few turns. Once activated, players must be the first one to fulfil their destiny in order to claim victory, which I can assure you is no small feat if you’re not properly prepared with the correct equipment.
I’m always a bit dubious about board games that use apps, but this use of technology added a new level of depth to the storytelling. While destinies are kept secret, everything else players discover is open and must be read out loud from the app. Interactions with NPCs, unearthed treasures and items are all revealed via the app before making their way onto the tabletop.
Although we only played the introduction mission, there’s still so much more explore in that scenario. Unfortunately, I didn’t complete my destiny, however jaws were left agape when revelations were made about the winning player, which tied all of our stories together.
Destinies was a fantastic game to play and one that has left me telling everyone I know that they need to play it. It’s incredibly easily to pick up and the story is beyond gripping. We could have quite happily spent another few hours exploring the rest of the app (if we hadn’t been so competitive and wanted to be the winner.
If you like story-driven RPGs this is a definite must. At £39.99 there is tons of replayability in this game and is well worth it.
Destinies is published by Lucky Duck Games. To grab your copy, visit your friendly local gaming store, or visit www.luckyduckgames.com