20 August 2021
A delectable dance with destiny
Stories of hope and inspiration have long stood in counterbalance to tales of fear and superstition - but which side tells us more about ourselves? In Destinies, the folks at Lucky Duck Games have firmly settled for the latter. Theirs is a grim, dark, and hauntingly beautiful world, inviting us to play out stories of horror, famine, and destruction – themes with ever-unshakeable parallels to reality – as actors, forced to straddle the grey area between good and bad.
In this medieval landscape of fragile enlightenment values, where old gods encroach on the new and nature fights back at progress, who will you be?
Destinies is an app-driven, one to three player narrative game from the creators of Chronicles of Crime. Players will tackle its scenarios – together forming a campaign – assuming a new role each time, as they march forth toward one of two destinies.
Interestingly, despite the cooperative sense of discovering this world together, Destinies is a competitive game, with players racing toward their own finales and occasionally thwarting opponents’ progress. Thankfully it works, and stands out amidst similar, cooperative adventure games.
With such a brief and intuitive set of rules, Destinies leans toward the lighter end of the scale. Players will traverse the gradually revealed map, before choosing a point of interest to interact with. These can be represented by miniatures or tokens and are simply tapped upon within the app revealing a list of options. Some options simply flesh out the story, or give hints on fulfilling particular destinies, whilst others require skill tests or even allow you to scan your QR-coded items. In most cases, all of the given options can be explored within your turn, which, whilst generous, can drag out somewhat for other players.
Performing skill tests is a case of tallying up your dice roll and cross-checking with the relevant stat-bar. Each wooden disc sitting on or below the result counts as a success. At various points, the app will instruct you to shift these discs up or down a number of spaces, or grant experience tokens to spend at your convenience. At this point players have a choice: do you improve the likelihood of a guaranteed success or shift back the tokens at the far end of the scale, improving the odds of multiple successes? It’s a great mechanic that instils a decent sense of agency to your character’s progression.
As for its presentation, Destinies scores high for both quality and value. Its dual-layer player dashboards and unusually chunky cardboard tokens feel great, and the little touches such as the grayscale fog-of-war style reverses to the gorgeously detailed map tiles are genius. Of course, on top of that, the box is also packed with miniatures – literally. Whilst potentially off-putting for some, Destinies’ tiny figurines conversely seem to add scale to the game. Characters and NPCs dotted about the top-down map give Destinies the cosy feel of classic video roleplaying games, and when some of the larger miniatures turn up, the difference in scale aids in creating a sense of peril.
The app too is marvellously presented, and functions flawlessly. Aside from handling skill checks and story snippets, the app remembers the actions and decisions taken by players – updating the map and NPC’s accordingly – and inserts relevant events dependant on timing, location, and characters. It’s truly a step up for app-based tabletop gaming, and perhaps, for adventure games in general.
This is dark, epic, expansive fantasy with an unmatched level of accessibility thanks to a simple and intuitive ruleset and an impressively low price.
The handling of the app will feel familiar, but Destinies expands and improves upon it dramatically.
Designer: Michal Golebiowski & Filip Milunski
Publisher: Lucky Duck Games
Time: 2-2.5 Hours
What’s in the box?
- 67 Map tiles
- 3 Player boards
- 15 Destiny cards
- 150 Item cards
- 30 Character miniatures
- 1 Oversized boss miniature
- 15 Custom dice
- 36 Skill marker tokens
- 20 Trade tokens
- 20 Coin tokens
- 20 Experience tokens
- 26 Point of interest markers
This article originally appeared in issue 58 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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