Hey you, yes you! Do you want to read about a great way to spend time, stretch your brain in a fun way and get out of the house among a group of fellow geeks a few evenings a week…?
Well then let me introduce you to KeyForge a fun and unique card game.
The aim of the game is simple – to forge three “keys” before your opponent. You forge a key by spending six Æmber. Each Æmber is represented by a “rock”or “pebble” that you gain during the game by either reaping with your creatures or stealing from your opponent or by playing actions or… lots of different ways actually!
Each deck is made up of three “houses”. For example House Mars are the classic “little green men” Martians that have a lot of cards on the theme of abduction, invasion and battlefleets. House Shadows are elven thieves and so they focus on underhand tactics like stealing Æmber from your opponents pool.
Each house has their own creature cards… but there are other card types such as actions, upgrades and artifacts. These buff up creatures or increase your opponents key cost or… well, they do all kinds of things!
The game is known as a unique deck game because every deck is truly unique. It will have a unique name and unique set of 36 cards drawn from a pool of a few hundreds. This means that every deck you own is totally unique – there is no one else on Earth with a deck just like yours!
Personally, what I like most about the game is that it is simply a great way to spend time. There is the social aspect because it gets you out the house among people, you can face a real human opponent be it your friends, co-workers or a player at your local KeyForge organised play event. After a few weeks these strangers become regular people who you see week in week out and can have a great time with, bantering and talking about what we’re watching, reading and just having a laugh.
One interesting thing is how you learn a bit more about yourself when you play. How do you handle winning or losing? Are you introspective and analyse why you lost? I found that I get a bit stressed out and over excited in the closing stages of a game when the outcome is on a knife-edge. It only takes one mis-play and you could lose that one Æmber you need to forge a key on your next turn.
One another great thing is how the makers of the game FFG have put a lot of effort into supporting “Friendly Local Game Shops” in organised play. I’m lucky where I live here on the South Coast of Hampshire because I have several game shops with a thriving community of KeyForge players. In fact I could play three evenings a week if I really wanted to:
- Monday – Board in the City, Southampton
- Wednesday – DICE, Southsea, Portsmouth
- Friday – A Fistful of Dice, Portsmouth
Most of these club nights attract between 8 and 16 players. In November last year we even have a large event, the KeyForge Prime Championship, that attracted a massive 75 players from all over England. It took place at Southampton University, right on my doorstep so I had NO excuse not to go!
You can play (unofficially) online too but I’ve not done so, preferring instead to learn from experience and discover a decks unique strengths through playing it or by studying the cards offline. I know that the more competitive players in my local scene DO play online though 😉
As you can see I’m enthusiastic about the game and my enthusiasm even led me to interview my fellow players one night and ask them “what does KeyForge mean to you” – check out my YouTube video of it here.
If you want to jump into the game, all you really need is a deck and some tokens. A deck costs about £8 and the tokens can be bought as part of a starter set. Once you buy a deck you can register it via scanning the QR code with the KeyForge app. A deck is then considered “discovered”. At the time of writing this there are approx 1.6 million decks that have been discovered.
Discovery is an important aspect of the game because you essentially “discover” the strengths of the deck through playing it over and over again – winning and losing and trying it against different decks. Also, because there are hundreds of cards, you can discover and be suprised by new cards that your opponent plays. This brings a fresh new angle to the game. It has many layers like this.
The first set of the game came out in November 2018 and there has been a new set every 6 months. The second set Age of Acension introduced keywords like Alpha, Omega and Deploy – there was also more interaction between players on each turn (eg. cards which affect both players creatures).
The third set of the game, Worlds Collide, is out which has introduced new mechanics like Exalt and Ward. The game designers have said that future sets will introduce exciting new innovations like this while still maintaining backwards compatibility with older decks.
I’ve only scratched the surface in this post – check out this video of a typical game by Team Covenant then go buy a deck, find a local event and join in the fun!
PS. I have to give credit to my old Jobsite colleague Tristan Greaves for introducing me to KeyForge back in early 2019 – thanks Tris 🙂