Keyforge Review - Header

Keyforge Review

Rob Kalajian review, tabletop Leave a Comment

Keyforge - Fantasy Flight Games $39.95
Keyforge Review - Cover

Game title: Keyforge - Call of the Archons

Game description: Enter a world where anything is possible in KeyForge! In the center of the universe hangs the Crucible, an artificial world built from the pieces of countless planets. Here, in the world’s first Unique Deck Game, created by legendary designer Richard Garfield, two players step into the roles of mighty Archons, racing to forge keys that unlock the Crucible’s hidden Vaults.

Overall
4.1
  • Play (Mechanics)
    (4)
  • Pieces (Quality)
    (4)
  • Pictures (Art/Illustration)
    (5)
  • Placements (Graphic Design/Layout)
    (4.5)
  • Plan (Rules)
    (3)

Summary

What’s that in the sky? A TCG? A CCG? No! It’s Keyforge, Fantasy Flight Games’ Unique Deck Game. What’s that, you may ask? It’s a card battle game where there are over 104 quadrillion possible 37-card decks, every deck completely one-of-a-kind. It’s also designed by Richard Garfield, father of Magic: The Gathering. It’s a fast-paced, exciting card game where players can’t customize their decks, but can know that their deck is unlike any other in the world.

Pros

Purely unique pre-constructed decks

Fast gameplay

Wonderful Art/Layout

Handicap mechanic

Cons

No deck customization

Full rules only available online

No idea what kind of deck you’re purchasing

Full Keyforge Review

What’s that in the sky? A TCG? A CCG? No! It’s Keyforge, Fantasy Flight Games’ Unique Deck Game. What’s that, you may ask? It’s a card battle game where there are over 104 quadrillion possible 37-card decks, every deck completely one-of-a-kind. It’s also designed by Richard Garfield, father of Magic: The Gathering. It’s a fast-paced, exciting card game where players can’t customize their decks, but can know that their deck is unlike any other in the world.

The goal of Keyforge is to forge 3 keys using a resource called Æmber. The first player to do so wins. Unlike many other card battle games, each player doesn’t have a set number of hit points that need to be widdled down to defeat them. There’s also no resources needed to play cards. Each deck has a character card displaying 3 different Houses. Their deck will be filled with Actions, Artifacts, Creatures, and Upgrades from each of these Houses. At the start of a player’s turn, they choose a House and may discard or play as many cards from their hand that match the selected House. This can make for some very exciting turns as each unique decks’ properties unfold.

Keyforge Review - Example Cards

A Hero and their cards

Play is exceedingly simple. At the start of a player’s turn, they must forge a Key if they have at least 6 Æmber. They then choose a House, play/discard cards, ready exhausted cards, and draw back up to 6 cards. The meat of the game lies in the play phase where Creatures can be summoned, Actions can be played, Upgrades can be placed on Creatures, or Artifacts can bolster your forces. Creatures are used to Reap Æmber or attack other Creatures so the opponent can’t Reap. Combat is quick, simple, and usually brutal. Health and Attack Power are a shared stat, while Armor gives your Creatures a bit of protection against incoming attacks.

Oh yeah. Let’s talk about Chains. Chains are a way of handicapping a particularly powerful deck or skilled player. By changing a player’s Chain count it changes the number of cards they’re allowed to draw back up to at the end of their turn. It’s a fairly simple, yet elegant solution to the fact that every deck is unique and some may be a bit too overpowered against others. There are other ways/reasons to change a player’s Chain, but the main focus is to balance the game.

Keyforge Review - Chain Tracker

Chain Tracker

Keyforge streamlines the best from many different TCGs and CCGs to provide a streamlined experience that plays in 30 minutes, and sometimes less. It’s easy to get into since there’s no deck customization, and the price of entry is fairly low. You can get into the game for as little as $20 (2 unique decks), or you can spend $40 on the Starter Set which gets you 2 non-unique practice decks, 2 unique decks, and a stack of health tokens, Æmber tokens, Token cards, and a set of Chain Cards. To be honest, the Starter Set is the best way to get into to game. Overall, it’s a better value and you’re guaranteed 2 decks that are perfectly balanced against each other and are meant for beginners.

A copy of the Keyforge: Call of the Archons Starter Set was provided free for review by Asmodee Games

Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.

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