I used to play a lot of RPGs when I was younger. Not just classic pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons but also a lot of the 90’s RPGs on my PC. Sitting down to play Time of Legends: Destinies instantly took me back to that frame of mind. Starting off with a lovely scroll text intro with a voice over, simple rules and a character with a goal, a destiny to fulfill…
But something was different this time, not only was I older, I also wasn’t playing alone, I was playing in the company of friends and loved ones. We all had our own hidden destiny to fulfill. We took turns exploring that map and unfolding the narrative of the game. All through the help of an app that told us what was located where, where we could buy items, what happened in the world and let us make choices that affected the game. We got XP, got better equipment and worked towards our own goals and final climax of the game. I did not “win” but that really didn’t matter to me.
I won’t beat around the bush with you. Time of Legends: Destinies might very well be the best RPG-like experience I’ve ever tried in board game form. While it is not the first to try this, it is the first, in my opinion, that focused more on the story than slaying hordes of monsters. Fights were few and there were always alternatives.
I know it sounds strange to have a narrative RPG-like game be competitive. I was very skeptical about this at first too. But it actually works very well. When it’s not my turn I’m still engaged in the story, what other players are doing and who they are talking too. Since all of it is public information, new areas will get explored that I might want to go to later, to buy certain items or interact with NPCs.
In Time of Legends: Destinies you pick a character and read that characters secret goal/destiny. Your destiny will be very different from the other players which will set you on your own unique path to victory. To win you need to do this before your opponents do theirs, but you’re not really working against them. It’s more like a race to see who can do it first. You each take turns moving around a map, possible exploring new map tiles. Wherever you end up you have the option to interact with one point of interest, it could be a character, an inn or a strange stone. You click on the item in the app it will give you various options, you could talk to the innkeeper, buy equipment from the blacksmith or try to sneak into a guarded mansion. You get to do as many things as you can at the location you choose, possible changing it for the rest of the game. Sometimes you need to make skills tests, which is done by rolling dice and comparing their total value to your skill stats. You always roll the 2 standard dice, but you have up to 3 extra dice that you can use any number of on your turn. But you only get 1 of them back each turn, and you never know if the test you just made was the last test for you this turn or if there will be more.
Now where it gets even more clever is that your character and the items you acquire during the game all have QR codes that you can scan with the app. So you could in some situations use the rope you have to climb down a hole, tell the innkeeper about you character and so on.
The system behind the game, the simple stats, the skills check with the added push your luck element of the extra dice that you don’t always have available, is brillant. It is simple enough to teach easily but it still offers you a sense of “building your character” the way you want. Getting better and better equipment and XP to increase your skills gives you a wonderful sense of progression. I can see this system working for many different stories and settings, not just the one I played. In fact, Lucky Duck Games will also be releasing a community scenario editor to facilitate even more awesome stories for this amazing game system.