Review – Chronicle
A trick taking game.
Year Published: 2009
Designer: Seiji Kanai
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Game Time: ~30 Mins
Set-up Time: >1 Mins
Mechanic: Trick Taking
How to win: Collect 3 Fame points.
An irregular trick taking game where various individual abilities of persons forming history are tangled together.
Who will use their powers to adequately handle the events of the lands? Who will leave their name behind in The Chronicle?
Shuffle the History cards into a deck and turn over the top card, this is the theme card for the round.
Each player receives a certain number of cards from the main deck depending on the number of players in the game.
Whoever has the card matching the theme card reveals it and is the start player.
Each round is played over various tricks called ‘meetings’. The lead player plays a card of their choice from their hand. (This is the lead card)
Then, in clockwise order, players play a card from their hand following the suit of the lead card, or may play a Wildcard.
If a player can not follow the lead cards suit, they play any card from their hand face down.
Any cards played face up activate their special ability.
When everyone has played a card, the person who wins the trick (Usually the player who played the card with the highest strength but special abilities can change this) takes all the cards and adds them to their ‘Allies’ by placing them face up in front of them.
The winner is now the lead player on the next Meeting. This continues until one player has 0 cards in hand, the round then ends.
When a round ends, any players with cards left in hand add them to their Allies, any ‘End of Round’ effects on Allies are activated. The player with the most ‘Evil’ Allies is excluded from scoring in the round.
The player(s) who fit the Victory condition of the History card will gain 1 Fame point.
If a player has all 4 Evil cards in their Allies they gain 2 Fame points and all other scoring is ignored.
Then a new History card is revealed and the main deck shuffled and new hands dealt.
When a player reaches 3 Fame point the game ends. If multiple players reach 3 Fame on the same turn, either call it a tie or keep playing rounds until the tie is broken.
This is a trick taking, take that game by one of my favourite designers.
It’s very tense as the scoring changes as will your collection of allies, then add in the mix of Evil characters which you DO NOT want under any circumstances. You can try and get them all but it’s fairly easy for a player to screw that up for you.
There are many trick taking games out already and very popular ones are still coming out now and the varied scoring each round and character abilities are something that separates this from similar games.
Let’s look at the Characters. Each colour has their own unique name and art but all do the same thing. Blue are Power, Green are Wisdom and Red is love.
1 – Assassin, Necromancer, Witch
Evil! If you have this as an Ally at the end of the round you can’t score (Unless you have all of them and the Demon)
2 – Prince, Queen, Princess
Counts as 3 Allies of that colour. Great if you need the fewest of a colour and you can pass this off to someone else.
3 – Sergeant, Merchant, Maid
This card flips the trick and the lowest strength takes it.
4 – Barbarian, Fortune Teller, Mother
Steal an ally from another player… Can be awesome!
5 – Hunter, Thief, Fairy
Ends the trick immediately. Can be a strong card
6 – Gladiator, Doctor, Bard
Pull back an Ally you control to your hand. Great for removing an Evil character or just to get back a character with a powerful ability
7 – Mercenary, Hermit, Dancer
Bounce a card already in the trick, sweet 🙂
8 – Knight, Scholar, Cleric
Discard a card from a players hand. Annoying, especially if they’re saving a card for later on in the round.
9 – Captain, Patriarch, Noble
Put a card from your hand into your Allies. Can be very strong.
10 – General, Wizard, Bishop
Discard one of your allies… Very nice.
Wild – Dragon, Angel, Sage, King, Fool, Demon
Very powerful abilities and can be played off suit.
My favourite trick taking game.
I give it 6/10