Noir is an expansion authored by Stephane Anquetil, a very talented writer with credentials including Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective scenarios as well as Escape Books and Box (404 éditions).
In Noir, the whole group is collectively representing one private detective with unconventional methods.
Instead of Forensic Contacts, players have 4 action cards they can use at any point and any moment:
You won't be able to intimidate everyone without repercussions.
Also, your money is in a shortage, so you can't bribe everyone you meet.
Noir really brings another side to crime busting!
This Expansion requires the base game (London) to be played. It also requires an app to work (it's impossible to play without it), but once downloaded no Internet connexion is needed to play. You currently need Android 4.4 or newer, or iOS 8.0 or newer to run the app, which may change in the future.
Chronicles of Crime: Noir
In case you didn't know, Chronicles of Crime is the award winning surprise hit from Lucky duck games, it is a detective narrative game set in current day London which uses an app and QR codes as well a VR module (which is a separate item you can buy which I very much recommend).
It is a narrative heavy game with relatively few components. You will discover evidence throughout the game in the form of cards. Characters are also shown in the form of cards which can range from suspects, to others will who aid you along your investigations. All of these cards have QR codes which are scannable to gather evidence or engage with characters.
The app is mostly brilliant it helps everything stay immersive even with the lack of components, the stories are very interactive and can range from easy to extremely challenging, which are all very different making each case unique.
Scan Me Up Scotty
To do all this you simply scan a location, character or item this is your means to interview suspects and present evidence. You scan a character and then scan the item or other character; this prompts the suspect to react.
To move location you simply hold the scan button and move the phone over the location to move there, everything is managed by time in the game which is reduced with each scan of location or character.
The VR module is used in locations to discover evidence, this works really well and fits easily over your phone, you have a time limit in the module and you simply call out what you see, and your crime fighting partners find the evidence card that closely fits the item described.
This continues in the new Noir expansion which takes place in California after the Second World War, which adds new mechanisms, characters and mystery’s to uncover.
In Chronicles of Crime: Noir, you or your group are working as the private eye, Sam Spader, this is set in post-World War II California. This is different from the base game where you’re working for the police and can rely on forensic scientists helping you, in Noir you’re predominantly working on your own.
You generally get hired and you’re attempting to solve cases for your clients or for yourself. This is all still done using the app and scanning QR codes to gather clues and interrogate suspects.
This biggest change to the game other than theme is the mechanisms, with the base game of Chronicles of Crime you could solve mystery’s but not heavily interact with anything other than talk, the main changes Noir brings are:
- Intimidate – This is exactly what it sounds like, you can attempt to intimidate someone, this is a risky action but can really pay off if used wisely, if not It can mean no further dialog with a particular person or even worse, being kicked out of a location.
- Break In – This is yet another risky action because you need to be careful who’s home and how long until they come home.
- Bribe – You generally start the game with money and can earn more through particular actions, sometimes it might be beneficial at times to bribe someone, which again can be risky depending who your bribing.
- Tail – This involves following someone which can blow a case wide open, but does also take up a lot of time, which as you know from the base game is limited.
I feel like in this expansion it’s a little more restrictive in terms of time, as it can ask you to be in specific locations at particular times, which can have negative effects if you don’t plan your time correctly.
Other than the actions and the theme, the game plays identically to the base game. Search for clues, gather evidence, interact with potential suspects, and solve the crime, all under a time limit, using the clever app to board game integration which still works amazingly well here.
Chronicles of Crime: Noir is honestly a must have for a fan of the base game, in my opinion the new actions you can take here are everything, they make the game even more immersive, which generally makes it feel like your having to make tough decisions, and that each action has more consequence without adding further complexity.
The theme here is amazing and I love the new characters and art. I would say don’t be put off by the lack of replayabilty or the lack of fancy components, this is all app driven and adds to the real immersion of this game.