Destinies: The New RPG Experience
I've been waiting for Destinies by Lucky Duck Games for a long time, and we've finally played the first scenario (no spoilers here). My all-time favourite game is Descent, and I wondered whether I'd like this game as much. I can honestly say that Destinies definitely has the potential to become my new favourite game.
As a D&D player who greatly looks forward to our gaming sessions, Destinies is the closest board game experience to an RPG session I've ever had. This game is actually a competitive game for 1-3 players, and yet it doesn't feel like it until one of you announces that you're starting your character's finale. Up until that point, although you are trying to complete your own [secret] destiny, you are totally enthralled by the unfolding story which develops on each player's turn.
The game plays using an app which, once downloaded, doesn't need internet access. The app flawlessly builds a fantasy setting and makes you feel as though you're actually in that world. Rich descriptions and dialogues are accompanied by a thematic soundtrack which builds the ambiance of the game scenario's setting. When you visit the blacksmith you can hear him working, you can hear the sounds of the coal forge, it's like you're actually there. It's these details which add to the RPG world-building experience.
In addition, the world feels very open, very much a sand box game. If you want to go somewhere, you're not blocked and prevented from travelling that path.
In terms of rules, the rules are very straight forward and you'll be playing the game fairly soon after opening the box regardless of whether you're a seasoned gamer or a casual participant. The app also does a great job at guiding you through your turn. You'll be given several options, but you may not want to do all the options presented so you can end your turn early if you choose to do so.
The game components are all of a high quality, and the double-layer player boards do a great job of making sure your markers stay where they're supposed to be with the inset marker tracks.
The dice system is lots of fun, and you can use your XP to move things more in your favour, although some choices may fight you on that!
The cards have QR codes and the game play using the codes feels very natural. If you're worried you'll have to use the QR codes every turn, you won't; but they are available for use and when used they don't remove you from the world you're playing in. They blend seamlessly with the game play, adding valuable information rather than just being a gimmick.
The base game includes 5 scenarios; the first of which is a standalone adventure with the remaining 4 scenarios forming a complete campaign.
I am judging this game from the first scenario alone and I know that, for me, this game is going to present long-lasting memories as vivid as the tales from our D&D sessions.
I am reluctant to give any game a 10, especially after the first game, so I'll give this a whopping 9.5. Was this game worth the wait? You bet it was!