Shard of the Week: 10 Reasons to Play Keyforge
I decided to take a break from my usual weekly strategy article, and instead just take a look at some of the reasons I love this game so much. It’s all too easy to get swept into deep analysis and lose the fun along the way. Instead of facing that prospect, I’ll dedicate a small measure of time to inspect 10 parts of this game that make it my passion.
1 – Owning Something Unique
This is a big one for me. The last major Magic the Gathering event I went to was a room containing about 90% of the same deck build. After playing against the same deck for three rounds, I just wanted to leave. But I’ve never experienced this from Keyforge. Every deck is a different puzzle to solve and learn. A puzzle that only YOU own.
2 – The Excitement of New Decks
Every time I crack open that cardboard box, it’s like a present from a complete stranger. Sure, you get duds. Sometimes you get a Golden Ticket. But usually, I get the deck I never knew I wanted. Each time you pop open a new box you are given the chance to pull the greatest deck in the world, or the worst. Even the poorest Charlie Bucket only needs to buy one deck to get that Golden Ticket.
3 – Finding Your Name
This is a rarity, but hunting down a deck with your first or last name is a thrill. Some of my most memorable moments from selling decks came from people who didn’t care what the deck did, but rather what it was named. When I finally found one with my first name; exciting. One with my last name; epic.
4 – The Community
Could this be the best community in gaming? Some of the nicest people play Keyforge. From the highest level of a VT feature match, to your own kitchen table. Whether you own 500 decks or 2. What matters is that everyone can find a way to enjoy this game at any level. Sure, we might get a little salty when we lose- but I haven’t met a fellow forger that doesn’t feel like a long lost friend after the keys are all turned.
5 – Hysterical Names
That algorithm. Wow. The mad libs style of naming has led to some real gems. I’ve never owned anything too absurd- but wish I could have that luck someday.
Here’s just a small sampling of actual deck names that are too good not to mention…
It who Welcomes Æmber
Aiyana Q. Spinescream, the 999th
The Wizard who Absurdly Drowns Bricks
Screamin’ “Firebolt” Power
Aggressive “Sausage-Grinder” Petrov
He who Entirely Liberates Socialism
Dr. “TNT” Megadeath
Farticus, the Shrewd Street Vituoso
Overlord “Lunch Money” Ralphsen
She who Emulates Flotsam and Jetsam
Is it strategy to bring a funny name to a tournament? Not really. But it makes for a memorable game night. That’s what matters most.
6 – The Cost
Name a trading card game you can play competitively, right away, for only $10. I’ll wait. Sure, you might play your first tourney and realize that your deck is poor or doesn’t play to your style. That can happen. But in most card games you will be paying tens to hundreds for one single card. How about a game where you can buy the whole deck for $10?! I know quite a few players who only own 2 or 3 decks, and they do fine at local events. Try entering a tournament for another Collectible Card Game on a $30 budget. I’m sure there are some games out there where this is possible, but for most… you won’t have a good time.
7 – The Potential
Keyforge is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and being so unique makes me believe we will see more unique things in the future.
Will you someday be able to open an all-foiled deck?
Maybe a rare historic deck containing nothing but Legacy cards from the past ten sets?
Possibly a one-of-a-kind card that was built by an algorithm just for your deck?
Heck, who says they won’t print a new style of back on some of the decks?
One thing I really can’t wait to see… new houses.
With such endless possibilities, I can’t imagine this game NOT going down a path all it’s own.
8- Easy to Learn / Hard to Master
Keyforge feels like an instant classic. The look and feel brings me back to gaming in the early 90s. It’s outlandish, extreme, and surprisingly deep. Like many great games of the past, just about anyone can hop in and understand it. The depth of play, however, seems unending. Just when I think I know every bit of strategy- I fall down a new rabbit hole and am back to square one.
9 – No Rotation
In keeping with the theme of “a game for everyone”, all decks are always legal for tournament play. Forever. Sure, you get chains when you win, but you also get power levels. I’ve always viewed these like a badge of honor. The challenge to level up your deck to it’s pinnacle, allowing you to compete in future events that only allow the best of the best.
10 – Customization
It’s not hard to find playmats, tokens, custom tokens, deck boxes, and don’t even get me started on chain trackers. But there’s a nice feeling when that deck you grow to love also has it’s own matching accessories. Maybe you own a deck with “Dragonslayer” in the name and all your Aember looks like Dragon Scales. Maybe it’s as simple as some fishtank liner beads.
Personally, I own a deck with “Professor X” in the title which I keep sleeved up in X-Men themed gaming sleeves.
You can customize any game, really, but with Keyforge it’s special. A great unique deck, accessorized in a unique way. Nothing beats it.
Keyforge’s creator, Richard Garfield, is nothing short of a true mastermind. Many know him for his work in creating Magic the Gathering, Netrunner, RoboRally, and a slew of other successful titles. He has turned his name into a brand all it’s own. I recall buying King of Tokyo from my local Target, just because his name graced the box. You know what? I wasn’t disappointed. Anyone who hears this man talk about games will instantly realize his level of experience within the industry. Every game is a passion project. And years of mastery have led him to Keyforge.
What makes Keyforge truly great cannot be defined by any one point. But if I had to make an attempt to narrow it down to one thing, it’s this:
Keyforge wasn’t just made up in one day. It took the work of a lifetime. Years of creating, testing, and publishing games. The ultimate culmination being my favorite. Thank you Mr. Garfield.
Until next time, keep forging ahead and glory be to Mars!