Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Chronicles of Frost

This is it! My Number ONE favorite board game of all time!!

Chronicles of Frost

Back in 2020, I shared my board game Top 100. This time, I have decided to post just my Top 23, but I did rank and organize a Top 100, and I can use that for a quick comparison. Let's look back at my Top 10 games from 2020 to see where they rank now. 

2020 Top 10 Board Games and where they are now.

  1. Ethnos - It's #31 now.
  2. Quadropolis - It's #30 now.
  3. Cosmic Run - It's #19 now.
  4. Istanbul - It's #29 now.
  5. Red7 - It's #54 now.
  6. Chronicles of Frost - It's #1 now.
  7. The Quacks of Quedlinburg - It's #88 now.
  8. Century Spice Road - It's #48 now.
  9. Archaeology the New Expedition - It did not make it onto my top 100 this time.
  10. Sentient - It's #27 now.

With the exception of Chronicles of Frost, none of the games from my Top 10 of 2020 are in my Top 10 now. Only one game: Cosmic Run, made it in to my Top 20 this time. My number 9 game fell out of my Top 100 completely! That's a lot of change in just 3 years. Chronicles of Frost held on and moved up the list from number 6 to number 1!

Chronicles of Frost is just that AWESOME!

Chronicles of Frost is a fantasy adventure game with clean simple rules that plays in a few hours. Players get to select a unique character from a variety of traditional fantasy archetypes like warrior or mage. Each player also gets two randomly chosen personal quests that will give them goals to accomplish during play as they strike out to explore the world.

Chronicles of Frost is a deck builder. In a deck building game each player begins play with a small deck of cards. Each player then plays with only their personal deck of cards. In many deck building games each player begins play with an identical deck of cards. In Chronicles of Frost each player's deck is slightly different to reflect the uniqueness of their starting character.

Cards played from your hand provide you with resources. In Chronicles there are resources that you can use to obtain better cards for your deck. There are resources for fighting enemies that you encounter during the game. There are resources that facilitate movement and exploration.

Chronicles' board is made up of cards that are revealed one at a time as the world is explored. Each player is travelling the world, discovering new areas, defeating enemies, and completing quests. Players do not battle each other, but they do share the same world. So, what one player does during their journey and the lands that they discover will affect the other players.

Each location card gets a specific type of monster token placed on it. There is a discovery bonus for first revealing a location, and there is a camping benefit for resting at a location. Defeating monsters will give you resources and victory points, but the monster can also hurt you. Players can pass through or stop on a location with a monster, and don't have to fight it. Fighting is always optional, but players don't get the camping benefit for stopping on a location with a monster on it, and those benefits are really helpful.

The game has a shared market of cards where players can purchase items and skills to improve their personal decks. You can even recruit companions to travel with you for a short time. Doing this effectively is key to doing well in the game. Defeating enemies, adding cards to your deck, and completing quests all give a player points toward victory. Once any player has completed two personal quests the game is over and scores are tallied.

Chronicles has a lot of moving parts, but game play is intuitive and engaging and the theme is strong. Playing Chronicles of Frost feels like going on an adventure. I have played Dungeons and Dragons for the past 40 years of my life. To be able to experience a thematic fantasy adventure in board game form is a dream come true. There are actually a lot of games in this play space. If you are a fan of hobby board games, you have probably heard of Gloomhaven. Gloomhaven is one of many, many, many large monstrous campaign adventure games. Chronicles is special because it's small and not a campaign. This means that I can actually get it to my table.

Chronicles does everything with cards and some cardboard tokens. It takes 10 minutes to set up and plays in about an hour per player. It's an accessible, engaging, thematic, adventure, quest game that both Julie and I love. It plays in two hours and comes in a tiny package! It sounds like a pipe dream. It isn't. It's my NUMBER ONE BOARD GAME of all time: Chronicles of Frost!

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