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Destinies

RRP: £47.99
Now £35.99(SAVE 25%)
RRP £47.99
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Destinies is a competitive, story-driven, game of adventure and exploration, mixing an app and a board game. The first in a series of games using a brand-new system called Destinies. This game is set in a dark medieval-fantasy universe. The Destinies system offers a fully story-driven, app-supported, RPG-like board game experience, without the need for a game master. Each scenario d…
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Category Tags , , SKU ZBG-LKYTLDR01EN Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Dice Tower

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Easy to set up and learn
  • Fantastic app
  • Immersive experience with a great narrative
  • Beautiful artwork with lovely components
  • The branching story makes every decision feel important

Might Not Like

  • Some may be put off by the medieval theme – don’t be!
  • Map tiles are very thin
  • Box needs to be kept organised to allow easy access to required components
  • Only three players
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Description

Destinies is a competitive, story-driven, game of adventure and exploration, mixing an app and a board game. The first in a series of games using a brand-new system called Destinies. This game is set in a dark medieval-fantasy universe. The Destinies system offers a fully story-driven, app-supported, RPG-like board game experience, without the need for a game master. Each scenario depicts a part of a vivid world, full of dark stories, epic NPCs and mysteries to solve. Each player takes the role of a hero on a quest to fulfill their destiny. Each destiny is a final goal of the character and has at least two, completely different paths to victory, composed of branching series of quests. Players compete with each other to push the world towards their own destiny. The game uses an app and the Scan&Play technology to offer players a unique story-driven experience full of dynamic events, epic adventures, and an ever-changing game world. Each turn players discover new parts of the world presented on tiles, explore them and pick one point of interest to visit. There they learn more about the story and make crucial choices of how they want to interact with people, creatures or situations faced there. The consequences of each choice are meaningful and often change the state of the world forever.

Destinies is an app-driven role-playing game designed by Michal Goblębiowski and Filip Miluński and produced by Lucky Duck Games. Each player takes on the role of a character with the aim of fulfilling their destinies. Each character has two different destinies allowing the players to choose their path. Once a player completes one of their destinies, it triggers their finale. The first player to complete their finale wins.

This description may make the game sound simple. Although it is very easy to get into and has a fast start-up time, this game is so much more than the brief synopsis suggests. This game is special. It is a game that will draw you in and stay with you long after you pack the pieces away in the beautiful box.

It’s What’s On The Inside That Counts

Once you open the Destinies box, you’re presented with something that promises to be special. The inserts are well designed to keep everything organised and to make the most of the modest-sized box. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place. This makes the game easier to set up and keep all the components organised. It also means that you can leave in the box the components not currently in use as they can easily be accessed later. A word of warning – make sure you take a photo of where the miniatures belong before you take them all out. Trying to work out which one goes where without a reference is quite a challenge.

Looking Good

This is a good point to talk about the component quality. The player boards are well designed with insets for the skill pegs and a recess to store active dice. The notches on the bottom help to organise your item cards and are a nice little touch.

There are lots of miniatures and they are fairly well detailed. They do not all feel high-end but they definitely add to the feel of the game. The larger miniatures look impressive on the board and provide a sense of scale. The majority of the miniatures are very small, though. The tiny size may help them to fit comfortably on the map tiles but they can be hard to distinguish between. At the end of one game, I realised I had been moving the blacksmith around instead of my playable character.

The cardboard tokens are worthy of a special mention as they are some of the thickest I’ve seen. This gives them a more substantial feel and suggests that they will be durable. If only the same could be said for the map tiles. There may be a lot of them but they are almost paper-thin. This means that they require careful handling so as not to bend or crease.

Overall, everything in Destinies looks beautiful and there is a high production value. The artwork is atmospheric and striking. Everything suggests that this is a game that is more expensive than its price tag, particularly if you buy it from Zatu!

How It Plays

Destinies has five scenarios, each with a different story and different characters. Once a scenario is chosen, the app guides you through character set-up and tells you which map tiles to place. As the players explore the map, more map tiles are revealed with points of interest to explore.

On their turn, each player can choose to interact with a point of interest. The app then provides the player with decisions to be made. How the player navigates those decisions, impacts on future events. The choices can range from engaging in conversation with NPCs to trying to steal artefacts. Often, you will be asked to complete a skill test.

The skill test is a clever mechanic and is perhaps the only thing you need to learn before starting the game. There are three skills – intelligence, dexterity and power. Each player board has three skill tracks, one for each type of skill. At the start of the game, the app will tell each player where to place wooden pegs on each skill track. Each track will have a total of 3-4 pegs. The higher up the track a peg is placed, the harder it will be to be successful.

When asked to complete a skill test, the player chooses to roll a combination of white and purple dice. The two white (main) dice are always rolled but the player can choose to also roll up to three purple (effort) dice. When you use purple dice, they are exhausted and cannot be used again until the app tells a player to refresh them. The player tallies up the score on the dice and finds that number on the corresponding skill track. Any wooden pegs that are at or below that number count as successes. Some tasks require more successes than others to pass but you are never told exactly how many are needed. This adds some more strategy to the game as you have to decide when to use the effort dice and when to hold back.

There is also the opportunity to improve your character’s chance of passing skill tests. Certain decisions result in you moving a skill peg to the left of the track. This increases the chances of success. If a player has acquired an experience token, this can be traded in to move one peg two spaces left or two pegs one space left. This can make your character stronger over time. This means you may have more chances to pass trickier skill tests that you may have failed before. This is a nice levelling up mechanic. It feels like your character continues to develop throughout the game.

The Good

When my first game of Destinies ended, I was devastated. Not because I didn’t win (I came last) but because I wanted the story to continue. This game entraps you with its narrative. The app works seamlessly with the physical components to create a totally immersive game. Because your decisions and the path you choose shapes the story, you become part of it.

You feel completely invested in the game. I have played app-driven games before and really enjoyed them. There are similarities to games such as Mansions Of Madness or Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth, both fantastic games but I haven’t felt this involved before. Maybe it is the well-written story, maybe the atmospheric sound effects or maybe because you help create your character’s story. The app does a fantastic job of the admin side of things. This allows you to focus on gameplay and making decisions and keeps you immersed in the game. This game has something special that just works. It makes you want to return at the earliest opportunity.

There is a really good balance to the game. Even when I came last, I felt that I had travelled significantly on my characters’ journey. It is also forgiving in nature. If you fail a skill test there may be a small penalty but you also receive an experience token. This can be used to make future skill tests easier. The game wants you to move through the story. You may have to work for it at times but it makes the reward even more satisfying.

I think what helps to immerse the player is the unknown nature of certain elements. You are never told how many successes you need to pass a skill test. You never know what will be the consequence of a choice you are asked to make. This adds to the tension and suspense as you wait for the result. It also impacts your strategy. Will I sacrifice my effort dice or can I pass with fewer successes? Somehow it mirrors real-life decisions as you feel that there are no guarantees to what you decide. It just seems to matter more.

The Not So Good?

There are elements to the gameplay of Destinies that could have been perceived as negative. For one, there can be considerable downtime between turns. This doesn’t seem to matter as you have a real interest in your opponents’ stories and what they do. This is largely due to the fact that their actions can impact what you do.

It can be a bit fiddly finding the correct miniatures, tiles or item cards when directed by the app. This can be overcome to some degree by keeping the components organised. It can break the flow of the story when you have to sort out 10 different item cards to set up a market or you are struggling to identify the correct miniature.

The game is only a 1-3 player game and this could limit how often it gets to the table. It is possible for players to play in teams and this may add a different element to the game. The opportunity to discuss choices and destinies could add more depth but may hinder the flow. I have yet to play in teams but I like the idea of more people being able to join in with the experience.

The fantasy medieval theme is very much embedded within the game and this may not appeal to everyone. The experience outweighs this but I can understand that it may put some people off which is a shame. There will be expansions available with alternative themes.

Replayability

I have played the first scenario three times. This is because I wanted others to experience it and I wanted to try it solo. Most importantly, I wanted to see each characters’ story through to the end. Despite playing the same scenario, there were enough differences to keep me engaged. There are a total of five scenarios, each with three characters and each character having 2 destinies. That’s a total of 30 different endings. Some people may not have the desire to see each possible outcome but I know I want to explore this game to the fullest. It should keep me going for a while.

Final Verdict

I cannot recommend Destinies enough. This is a totally immersive game with a quick start-up time and is easy to learn. Whether you are new to board games or experienced, you can be up and playing in ten minutes. The app works so well to guide you through the game and involve you in the narrative. Your decisions really seem to matter and there feels so much to explore. This game will take you on a memorable journey that you and your friends will want to experience again and again.

Destinies is a great RPG-like game of adventure and exploration set in a dark medieval-fantasy universe. The core box of the game contains a 4 scenario campaign (plus 1 tutorial scenario) you could play solo or with other players.

Each scenario could be played by 1-3 heroes that will change from one scenario to the other. Each hero is on a quest to fulfil their destiny but players will be able to choose which destiny they want to pursue and which path will lead them to victory.

All aspects of each scenario are managed by a dedicated app with Scan&Play technology thus improving the gaming experience.

Unboxing And Storage

As you will soon realize, Destinies box organizers are extremely well thought. Once you open the box, you will just need to punch a few tokens and unwrap the cards to be ready to play. Each component has their very own space in the tray and you should be ready to play your first game in no time.

One strong recommendation: make sure item and location cards are always stored basing on the number printed on them. During a game, you will need to locate a number of cards each turn and the easier you could get them the smoother the game will flow.

Game App

As mentioned, you will need to download an app to play Destinies. The app is available for all common platforms and should be easy to locate. If in doubt, make sure you check the developer is Lucky Duck Games. I also recommend as usual to first download and check if it runs on the platform of your choice before purchasing the game.

Once the app is downloaded, you are ready to set up your first game. I feel it is important to mention you should only use one app during your play thus you will end up passing your mobile or tablet around the table. Consider this aspect when you set up your game and also if you have enough battery that could last for the entire game.

Getting Started

After launching Destinies, the app will ask if you are playing the core game or one of the expansions and which scenario you would like to play. A small briefing of the scenario is available on the right to read while you download the data needed to play it.

While you are waiting, you may take a few minutes to check the setting on the top right side of the screen. I love having background sounds and music but it may not be your preference if your kids are sleeping nearby…

Before getting into the real play, you will need to choose the type of game you want to play. All the options but the fourth one are pretty self explanatory. In fact, the last game type (bound to destiny) could only be played if you have the related expansion as you do not have all the components in your base game to play two versus two.

Your choice of scenario will trigger the prologue of and some nice ambient music and the game will start to get real.

In the next screen, players will need to select the heroes that they will play in the scenario. As mentioned above, each scenario has a different selection of heroes.

Once heroes are selected, each player will take the hero card, one player board, a number of skill tokens, 2 main dice and 3 effort dice. They also take the hero miniature depicted on the left side of the start screen, any coin, and any item card as detailed in the centre part of the screen.

Players also place the skill tokens on the three hero main skills in correspondence to the numbered spaces showing in the app. Once set-up completed, the next player set up their hero the same way.

The two main dice should be placed on the right area on top of your player board. Effort dice are kept apart initially as they are gained during the game to increase the chance of success of tests and attacks. Every turn players will be able to “refresh” one effort dice and move it from their pool to the same area the main dice are stored.

Each player should check their hero card and start thinking which destinies they would like to fulfil between the two listed on the card. Your hero destinies should never be shared with other players.

Once all players are ready, the game app will instruct which location cards you will need to place. The starting location will always be placed with the explored side up while all the others will come into play as unexplored locations. NPCs and their related miniatures and points of interest with the adequate token will also need to be placed as instructed by the app.

Gameplay

During the game, players will play one at a time as instructed by the game app. After refreshing one effort dice from their pool, players could chose to move to a different location and/or to visit a point of interest or NPC.

Sequence And Actions

During their turn, each hero could move up to 2 tiles orthogonally to their starting point. Every time a hero steps into an unexplored tile, the tile becomes explored and the hero can not move further. Movement is traced in the app by selecting the destination tile and eventually populating it as instructed.

Visiting a point of interest will usually offer the active player a number of available options.

In some cases, players will be offered the chance to give, buy or inquire on an item and may need to scan the corresponding card. Make sure you grant permission to do so to the app.

In other cases, players may need to set up a stock of items as trading rows or in case they want to drop any item. The cards corresponding to the items are picked from the items cards and piled together with a trade token that can uniquely identify it. A second identical trade token is placed on the map to locate where items could be found.

Action Outcome: Taking A Test

Some actions will require players to take a test against one of the three character skills (Intelligence, Dexterity or Power). To take a test, players could roll any number of main and effort dice and sum-up the results.

The amount of successes obtained in the test is calculated by comparing the total rolled and the position of the markers for that skill: each marker with a value lower than the total of all dice is a success. Also, each star symbol is an automatic success.

Once you enter the number of successes, the app will define the outcome of the test. In some cases, players will need to move one or more skill markers to the right or to the left, making the chances of future successes lower or higher. In no cases, two skill markers could be placed in the same position.

Inventory And Experience

Each hero inventory is limited to 5 cards. Players could use the ability of any of the items in their inventory in the order they prefer. Some items clearly specify when ability should be used while others could be freely used at player preference.

Any item in excess of 5 could be abandoned at any time and it stays in the same location as the hero miniature. Items that are consumed after use are discarded and returned to the game box.

During the game, players could gain experience tokens as a result of completing or failing some actions. Experience tokens could be used to move any skill marker to the left of a hero, improving the chances of obtaining more success with that skill. Skills could be improved at any time during the active player turn.

End Of The Turn

The turn could either end as a result of some of the available actions in a location or a player could choose to complete their turn. Players should always choose the order of their actions carefully as turns could end unexpectedly.

Objectives And End Of The Game

As mentioned above, each hero card shows two different destinies they could fulfil in order to win the game. Players could pursue any or both destinies at the same time depending on how the scenario progresses and the choices they make.

The app will inform a player once they have fulfilled all the conditions for one of their destinies and suggest they move to a specific location. Once a hero reaches the suggested location, they could try to attempt their final act (Finale).

The Finale is a series of events or actions that players have to complete to fully achieve their destinies. Completing a Finale may take more than one turn and players may have multiple attempts to complete all the needed actions.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Easy to set up and learn
  • Fantastic app
  • Immersive experience with a great narrative
  • Beautiful artwork with lovely components
  • The branching story makes every decision feel important

Might not like

  • Some may be put off by the medieval theme dont be!
  • Map tiles are very thin
  • Box needs to be kept organised to allow easy access to required components
  • Only three players