After playing several different cooperation storyline exploration games like Tainted Grail and Mansion of Madness for example. We were very excited for Destinies. This game is also a tile placement exploration game, but competitive. We had no idea how this would take form since we have never played anything like this competitive and with an app. But seeing all the components, art on tiles and miniatures definitely set us in the right mind already! So we charged our tablet, set up drinks and snacks and were ready to find our destiny.
How to Play.
Destienies cannot be played without the app that comes with it. For the set up, this app is already required and will tell you from what characters you can choose, what tiles you can place on the table and what the scenario is. Once you have chosen a character through the app, each player also receives a player board, two main dice and three effort dice, a coin and the character’s destiny card and miniature.
Before each game starts, the app will guide you with the scenario and possible starting items per character. On the back of your character card, you can find two possible destinies to fulfill during this scenario for your character. The first scenario is a standalone story which is perfect as a first game. The remaining scenarios form a campaign. You win the game when you complete the destiny of your character found on the back of the card. You will have to choose one out of two to fulfill.
There are almost no rules you need to remember before starting the game. The app will remember almost everything for you and can even save the game.
A turn in a scenario will look similar to this:
At the start of your characters turn, refresh one effort die. Then you may move up to two tiles away from your current position (not diagonal). If you move onto an unexplored tile, you may flip it and the app will tell you every point of interest on that location. Then you can choose to end your turn, or to visit a point of interest. When you visit a point of interest, you will have multiple interactions to choose from. Some of them might need you to perform a test and scores successes. You can see in the app what skill is targeted for the test. If you want to perform a test, you may throw both main dice, as they never exhaust, and you may throw any available effort dice you have to score more successes. To see how many successes you have scored, simply add up your dice roll score and see if you have an equal score to any skill markers or more. If you have a score that surpasses two skill markers on your player board for example, you have two successes. The rulebook also shows great examples of this.
Not every option will ask for a test, but choose wisely. The easiest option might not be the best option for you. If you choose wrong, this could influence the game and this option might not be available later. You can also scan item cards you have gained along the way. Some NPC’s you meet might ask you for a specific item, if you manage to scan the right items at the right moment, this can work out well for you. Note that all information is shared simultaneously except when you ask about your destiny. If your character travels to a location and investigate a point of interest, all players will see what happens with your character and the point of interest or conversation. Learning what other players talk about or discover, might also help your character with your own destiny. If you are ever stuck or not sure what to do, you can always scan your destiny when you are talking to an NPC. They can help you with advice or tips on what to do next. Just choose what destiny you would like advice about and scan the QR code. Lastly you might come across some vendors or selling points who will have the option to trade. The app will instruct you what items can be bought, meaning you will be able to buy those items with money you have collected. Each player can carry a maximum amount of five items.
Sometimes the app will tell you to gain experience. Experience can be used to upgrade a skill on your player board, meaning you can move one marker to the left to make gaining successes easier. For each experience point, you can either move one marker two spaces left, or two markers one space left. Losing and gaining experience can happen throughout the game by interactions or items for example. The app will always instruct you what skills are inflicted and by how much.
When you have completed all the steps leading towards your destiny, you can start a final interaction at a specific location hinted on your destiny card. Once you have completed this before your opponents, you win the game.
Playthrough of the game.
The first story you begin with in Destinies is a standalone story where you can choose three different characters. I myself chose the Witch, Tomasz chose the Huntsman and a friend we were playing with chose the Nobel. The app instructed the setup which created a starting environment and introduced us to the story. We then read the back of our destiny cards which contained already some very interesting information about our characters. Then we started to play. With no idea who my opponents were and what their goal was, I focused on trying to complete my goals as soon as I could. We were surprised with how many things you need to remember in this game. Their might be a villager in need who needs a specific item that you don’t yet have. But two turns later, you have claimed it and can rush to help, or not. There are many things to see, discover and possibly gain on each tile, it’s hard not to get distracted and just explore every point of interest. Since you can only visit one each turn, you need to decide what might help you further. The longer we played the game, the more pressure we had. We could tell some of us were coming close on fulfilling their destinies. In the end, Tomasz won with the Huntsmen being the first to complete his goal.
This game is brilliantly designed. Not only is there a clear rulebook and a well built app that helps with everything, but also the stories make sense. You are not just a bystander trying to complete a goal. No, if you complete you destiny, this might mean drastic life change for the remaining characters. We noticed we were even a little emotionally invested, when we saw what the consequenses could be for our characters when an opponent wins the game. The stories in this game are very well written. The art, in the app but also on the tiles and cards, is also beautifully done. Unexplored tiles have a foggy side and once reveal gain a lot more color and is filled in by the app as finishing touch. The app also has it’s own sound effects and shows the name of each location so you don’t have to remember this yourself. We have played this game with three people so far since we didn’t want to miss anything of the story. I don’t know for sure, but I think you miss a part of one characters story if you play with two only.
Destinies is a tile placement exploration game where you have to fulfill your destiny before your opponents. We had so much fun playing this in the first few sessions already, that we bought the expansions as soon as we could to have more stories to play. We think this game is brilliantly designed since the rules are easy to learn and you have a good build app to guide you. At the moment there is not that much replayability When you finish a scenario, you know the destinies of the characters and it’s just less fun. But we have heard rumors of a creative mode maybe entering the app where more stories can be created. The art is also amazing and each story really pulls you in the game. You are not just a bystander who is trying to complete something, you are really part of the story and surroundings can influence everyone. But in the end, one will find his destiny and finish the story.