Whilst recently attending the RuneScape At 15 event in London, I had the chance to sit down and try one of the new titles that Jagex have been cooking up. After a few years of building the RuneScape brand it seems the developers are ready to start moving the IP to other genres, one of the most popular genres of recent years has to be CCG ( Collectible Card Game to the uninitiated).
CCG have been around for years with the most commonly known one being Magic: The Gathering. In recent years the CCG genre has made a move to gaming with titles like Hearthstone, Scrolls and Hex growing in popularity. With the deep lore that Jagex has built with RuneScape, a card game based around it seems like a natural progression.
My thoughts when I first sat down with Chronicles were; here we go, another Hearthstone clone. It looks similar, the card system is similar and it even plays similarly but there is a lot more going on narratively in Chronicles. The game doesn’t play out in a static area, instead it incorporates elements of Dungeons & Dragons, where players move through a pre-set world in which they build up to a final showdown.
At the beginning of each game players are allowed to choose which cards they want to drop and replace. This will become more important in the full release as players will have the ability to build and create their own decks. Finding the perfect balance between offensive, defensive and support cards based on your playstyle will be a fun task.
In Chronicles you must lay down cards and defeat them, transferring the damage attached to a card over to your enemy. The more powerful cards are, the more gold they cost to use; players earn gold by defeating weaker enemies they place on the field. Right from the off the strategic elements of Chronicles are clear; plan ahead in the early stages and reap the benefits as you come towards the last few stages.
There is already a small competitive scene for the game among the early players, with tournaments having been arranged by people during the closed beta. This could be an early inkling of an engaged and active multiplayer community. There’s the potential for players to create their own stories in Chronicles: RuneScape Legends, meaning there could be an endless supply of community made boards for people to play on. This of course comes secondary to to the RuneScape lore which is prevalent throughout, those who have played the game during its 15 year life will feel right at home here.
For a game that I wasn’t initially interested in I found myself becoming quickly addicted, taking the spare moments between interviews and lunch to go get a quick round in where possible. While there may be more well-established CCG games, Chronicles is definitely carving its own path through this industries board game.
The game is officially slated for PC at the moment but a tablet/mobile release is very likely. The open beta begins the 23rd of March on PC, there is no release date confirmed yet but a 2016 release is likely.