I visited the Tangled Web in Spartanburg, SC, when I was presented with these decks for the first time. Never heard of the game. I purchased one for me and the other for the SpartanKid at $10 apiece. So what’s Keyforge all about?
Keyforge is a new type of collectible card game. Emphasis on collectible. Each deck is unique. When you purchase a deck, you are not supposed to change it. You are not to trade the cards, or sell them aftermarket as singles. I was mystified at first of how this can possibly work. But there are safeguards in place.
But first. The decks come in little cardboard boxes, which I suggest keeping to store each deck. Here is the back of the boxes.
You are taking control of the deck as an Archon (a stand-in for Planeswalker), and are battling another Archon in a place called the Crucible. (Not very original.) . I would like to point out that Richard Garfield designed this game. So he absolutely has a right to riff on his other little creation…MAGIC: THE GATHERING.
What’s in the box? Well the decks are sealed in cellophane with a cigarette wrapper. And this top card is the decklist for each deck. Both decks have a unique name…”Fatebreaker Brumhilde Landchess” and “Flashgrin, the Conscript of Knives.” This name also is printed on the back of each card, as well as in the bottom corner. Daniel Maccabee (the owener of the Tangled Web) explaned to me that in a sanctioned tournament (not happening anywhere yet, ) you would have to have the decklist to prove your deck is genuine and untampered with.
Each deck comes with an identity card as well. This is where you are supposed to place your “Aember,” which is how you win the game, as well as chains and other counters that the game produces. Each one is unique, and displays the “houses” that each deck is made of.
(This game requires you to declare a house for each turn…only cards from that house can do anything. The three houses from Fatebreaker Brumhilde Landchess are LOGOS, MARS, and DIS. The three houses from Flashgrin, the Conscript of Knives are UNTAMED, DIS, and SANCTUM.
So here is a picture of the cards from each deck. The art is reminiscent of FORTNITE, in my opinion. Not exactly….but cartoony in a similar way. (SpartanKid dissents from this opinion. How about you?)
Fatebreaker Brumhilde Landchess
Flashgrin, the Conscript of Knives
PLAYING THE GAME.
This game has a few moving parts. First of all, the aforementioned houses. You declare a house each turn, and can only use cards from that house.
The purpose of the game is to forge keys. (Imagine that…Keyforge…) . If you forge three keys, you win the game.
The battle system is creature on creature…similar to Yu Gi Oh. You also have Artifacts, Action Cards (sorceries), and Upgrades (Enchantment Auras in MTG). Everything pretty much takes place on the active player’s turn. There is no “instant speed” yet in this game. There is a discard pile, an exile zone, and an “archive” (exiled face down to play). Oddly, the draw step is at the end of each turn.
The houses feel like the colors of MTG. There are ten different houses, but me and the SpartanKid only got to experience five. In short, LOGOS feels like it is blue combo. DIS feels like it is black sacrifice. MARS feels like red goblins, UNTAMED feels like green creatures, and SANCTUM feels like white weenie.
I personally think it is novel to have a unique deck…one unlike anyone else’s. But there were some glaring weaknesses in these two decks. For instance, I have a DIS card called Sacrificial Altar, where you are supposed to sacrifice a human to draw a card. But…there are only two humans in the deck. It seems that the other deck has more doubles, creating a more consistent deck…and plays UNTAMED but is lacking creatures in that house.
I saw where one deck creates Aember more easily by only playing cards. The other wants you to work extra hard to create that aember.
I could see a person getting a great deck…and then another getting a really bad deck. The great decks will inevitably start selling in the secondary market for a bunch. The others…they will become bulk.
I suppose it is too early, and I don’t have that much experience with this game to really make a rating…I am pleased sort of with the novelty of the idea. I think this game will probably suffer from some of the after-market problems that other card games suffer from.
For now, I am going to rate this a cautious 3/5. I don’t necessarily feel the urge to play this game that much more often. On the other hand, if I bought a better deck, I might enjoy it more. (But that would be $10 more for a product sight-unseen.) . I guess we will see!
Keyforge, (at least to me) was a blast. it had instantly immersive gameplay, cool art, and not-too familiar but similar mechanics to mtg. as each deck is unseen by the eyes of anybody else, you have something that only one exists of. that, in my opinion, is a brilliant marketing gimmick to get money from players, and occupy them. it worked for me, as i’m loving the fact that they figured out how to mass produce custom decks. Flashgrin, the Conscript of Knives won me the only game i have so far played, and i enjoyed it. my father, i believe, is biased because he thinks i got a better deck, but i did not, my duplicates were basically all in UNTAMED, and so i only had two UNTAMED creatures, and only one of which was even a good card.
i rate Keyforge a 4/5, not believing it is 5/5 material like magic or yugoh, but it would still be fun to sit down and play casually (or competitively) every once in awhile.