I was looking for a bit of a different experience this week, something a little more casual and not as learning curve-intensive, so I gave in to a few hearty recommendations from friends and tried out Chronicle: RuneScape Legends. It’s a card game spin-off of RuneScape and has been getting some good word of mouth.
From the get-go, you realize that this isn’t just a Hearthstone/Elder Scrolls Legends-type game. It is a match of sorts, but the idea is that you place cards on the board that are kind of “encounters” for your hero, and depending on the order of placement, your hero could win or lose. Little bit of math involved as you look ahead three or four turns, trying to figure out when your hero will need that extra bit of health or armor reward after getting beaten up. After three or four encounters, you beat the zone and head to the next.
I really dig both the music and presentation. The music is welcoming and contains a lot of environmental noises (babbling brook, chirping birds), but the “board” is actually an open book from which the setting pops out.
As you proceed, your rival goes forward as well on a parallel path with his or her own cards and encounters. Sometimes your paths intersect, with cards striking out at each other and so on.
The idea is that by the time you clear all four or five zones and end up fighting your rival for a winner-takes-all smackdown, you’ve put your hero in the best possible position with full health, lots of armor, a good attack rating, and so on.
It’s a relaxing, cerebral experience, letting you make all of the decisions between rounds and seeing how they play out. While you know exactly how your cards will function, there’s a huge unknown factor with your rival’s cards. So there’s a bit of anticipation and reaction. I like it.
Between bouts is the deck-building portion. Pick a champion, select the cards, and try to balance cost and value. You can train up on PvE fights, unlocking a few free decks, and drinking deep of that freebie well before it dries up and the game makes you pay for the next high. Past that I guess there’s a lot of PvP and Syp losing.
I’ve played quite a few digital card games and I have to say that presentation is pretty important. It’s one thing to slap some cards on an imaginary table with stationary art and descriptions, but it’s a lot more engaging when you see pieces in motion and the cards coming alive, even with minimal animations, moving through a variety of colorful environments. As someone who has not really played much of RuneScape, it’s nice to get a taste of the world and setting through this.
After a few matches, I’m on the fence about Chronicle. Nothing’s wrong with it at all, I’m just not in the market for a card game at the moment. But I think I will keep this installed just in case I do get the urge. Solid product.