The Kingdom of Summer and the Winter Empire have been guided by the one and only wizard, Merlin but it’s soon time for him to pass the wand to the next generation. Do our young apprentices have the chops for wizarding?
The game is an easy set up like so:
You will need the two decks of cards, Character cards and Item cards, found in the box, the game board, as well as the Kids Chronicle app, which can be downloaded on the App Store or the Google Play store.
In the app, players select which adventure they will attempt. The game board has two sides, The Kingdom of Summer on one side and The Winter Empire on the other. Follow the app instructions for which side of the game board that your merry adventurers will be playing on.
Both decks of cards should be placed within easy reach of all players so that they may search through them freely throughout the game.
There are four main spaces on the board. The main section depicts six regions within the kingdom. From left to right, starting at the top of the Summer Kingdom board, there is the Swamp, the Mountains, the Forests, the Village, the Castle and the Volcano. Each region can hold up to two character cards, which players will collect as they interact with the story adventure. Players may also find and acquire item cards which they hold in the space that represents their Bag at the bottom of the board.
Finally, on the left, are spaces for unknown characters or unallocated item cards. These may be of interest to the player based on their interactions with other characters or places, but have yet to be found within the story.
The key driver of the game is the storyline within the app. In fact, most of the game play action occurs within the app. As players navigate throughout the different spaces on the board, they use the app to scan location QR codes which bring up 3D scenes to search through and characters to interact with.
As players look through these scenes to identify characters or items, they will then locate the actual Item and Character cards that correspond to those in the scene and place them in the corresponding sections. These cards also have QR codes which players can use to gain information from within the app that might help them solve their mystery.
To travel to another location within the board, players scan the QR code corresponding to the location on the board that they wish to move to. The game is essentially a series of puzzles as to where certain characters are and which items they want. Once the players solve that mystery, they win!
A role playing game that crosses the divide
I am quite fond of role playing games, so I love a good story driven game, even more so one that is highly accessible to really young children. As an RPG playing family though, the one thing my young kids have not caught on to as much, is the idea of asking about and “looking” around a new space.
Our experiences with Starquest, Adventure Builder and My Little Pony RPGs, take place in imaginative worlds that are abstract in nature. In those universes, swashbuckling adventure and action are my childrens’ priority in confronting all the characters they can interact with. So I was quite pleased to see how the Kid’s Chronicles’ in-game actions are non-violent and makes it second nature for the players to search through the 3D scenes for clues instead. My children quickly got the hang of what they needed to do. Once they figured out their modus operandi, off they went looking for items to solve the puzzles.
Secondly, as the adult and oldest player in our group, I am usually the de facto game master. I found it very cool that this time around though, I could delegate that role to the app to drive the story and play along with the kids instead. But, after playing one or two adventures with them, both the 7 and the 6 year old were quite ready to kick me out of their game. No problem for me since that meant I got to take a welcome break myself. Unfortunately, you might expect some bickering as to who gets to yield control of the device!
There is not much to say about physical game components. But the app brings an excellent dimension to the game. While most of the characters in the app read out their lines and spoke, there is still a bit of reading which might require help from the adults. But I have yet to meet a kid who couldn’t figure out the app’s functionality in short order.
All five storylines in the Quest for the Moon Stones are cumulative, so players need to work through them in order to find key items that help solve the final mystery. Our family played this game in short spurts over a couple of weekends, but I can see that it would also go well if staggered over a long weekend as a fun group activity.
At the end, the kids were asking for more adventures and mysteries to solve. Alas, once done, there is not much replayability. Wouldn’t it be nice to see these young wizards grow by playing through a series of similar Lucky Duck titles? Unfortunately, the last time I checked, Lucky Duck were not planning to add sequels to this, which is a pity. Nevertheless, this one will stay with us for a while. The girls have already asked to play it again at the next long weekend!