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Chronicles of Crime: Noir

Encounter femme fatales, mafia baddies, and corrupt cops, in an expansion to the cooperative mystery solving game Chronicles of Crime.

With a couple of new mechanics that give players more choice, it’s up to you how you treat witnesses and sometimes when to break the law yourself.

Gameplay

In Chronicles of Crime, players work together to solve a mystery, using the game components as well as a free app. As you play through the mystery, the app tells you which locations to use, and which character and item cards appear, and where.

Players scan the cards’ QR codes to move to locations, search locations, look at items, or question witnesses. When searching a crime scene, one player uses the app which will show a panoramic 360 degree display of the crime scene for a short amount of time, and calls out what she sees, while the other players search through a stack of evidence category cards for things that match what the player is seeing. For example the player may say she sees a laptop, in which case the other players will search for the electronic devices evidence card. Afterwards, players can choose which evidence category cards to scan to look at more closely. Every action in the game takes time, so players want to, ideally, only look at evidence that is pertinent to the case.

Chronicles of Crime: Noir is mostly similar to the base game, with a few changes and additions. While in the original you are police and have police contacts to help you, in Noir you are a private investigator. You may have a contact, but you can’t always trust them depending on the mystery.

There are also four action cards now, which you can scan at locations in order to perform them. You can intimidate suspects or attempt to bribe them (money is scarce so you have to spend it wisely), though you can’t always be sure how suspects will react to either. You can also follow a suspect and watch what they do, though this does take a lot of time. Finally you can break in to places, though if you are caught you might go to jail or even be killed.

Once you think you’ve solved the case, you click ‘solve the case’ in the app, and answer a series of questions, to find out if you really know what is going on.

Chronicles of Crime: Noir

Review

Chronicles of Crime: Noir is a lot more thematic than the base game and really dives deep into its noir theme. The rulebook even goes into an explanation of what noir is and the influences they turned to. The artwork for this expansion is also different from the base, more fitting with the setting and more realistic, particularly the character art.

While the gameplay is mostly the same, the addition of the actions cards is really easy to learn to use but add an interesting new layer to the gameplay. You feel like you are making more choices as an investigator, you have to weigh your options more carefully, and it’s fun to see how your choices play out.

The mysteries veer to the more difficult side, and while time played a role in the base game, it’s more important here, with time being something you have to think about when considering when to break in or altering where you might run into some one. Some mysteries even have to be solved within a certain time frame and the game encourages you to simply start over if you hit that time limit and don’t have the solution.

It is unfortunate that the game cannot be played by itself. All character and location cards you use are in the expansion, but you still need the base game for the evidence category cards, the evidence board (though you could easily play without this), and some special evidence cards. You can pack these cards into the Noir box so that you don’t need to carry both games if taking it somewhere, but Noir is so close to being standalone that it really should be.

If you enjoyed Chronicles of Crime, you will find Noir a lovely addition. The mysteries escalate nicely in difficulty, the theming is excellent, and while much of the game stays the same, the new additions here and there are solid.

Pros: Improved artwork, good theme, action cards and time add a new layer to the gameplay

Cons: Not a standalone expansion

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.