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Ghost Galaxy Acquires KeyForge from Asmodee

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Designer
Board Game: KeyForge: Call of the Archons
In September 2021, Fantasy Flight Games announced that new releases of Richard Garfield's game KeyForge — in particular, KeyForge: Winds of Exchange, the sixth set in the line, which was already developed and ready for production — would be on hold until future notice because "the deckbuilding algorithm for KeyForge is broken and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up".

One of the hooks for KeyForge is that in this two-player game, each player has their own deck of cards, with this deck containing cards from three factions within the larger game world, and this particular combination of cards is unique, with the deck having a unique, computer-generated name and image on the back of each card to ensure its one-of-a-kind nature. If you can't create new decks, then you can't publish the game.

Turns out that Asmodee, FFG's parent company, found a savior for KeyForge by returning to the source. As noted in this article on, "Concerned for KeyForge and its players, Asmodee approached Ghost Galaxy in late '21 about acquiring the IP and game."


From gallery of W Eric Martin
Ghost Galaxy is a brand owned by Strange Stars, with Strange Stars being a venture capital company that has Christian T. Petersen as its principal investor and managing partner, Petersen having been the founder of Fantasy Flight Games.

In 2016, Petersen was President of Asmodee North America, which had purchased FFG in 2014, and that year (as explained here) he took a meeting with Richard Garfield, who pitched the concept of a head-to-head game in which each player would have a unique collation of cards in the deck they would use during the game. Petersen signed that game, and FFG developed it into KeyForge, the first set of which saw print a few months prior to Petersen's retirement from ANA.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
In 2019, Petersen founded Strange Stars, with Ghost Galaxy being one of its brands and being described as follows on the SS website, which apparently hasn't been updated in a while:
Ghost Galaxy aims to be a premiere publisher of tabletop games specializing in gameplay with digital augmentation. The world of mobile and optical technology is rapidly advancing, and we believe there are amazing experiences where physical products and technology meet. The team behind Ghost Galaxy includes some of the early staff behind Fantasy Flight Games, as well as the software engineers and digital developers of innovative digital/physical tabletop games such as Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Road to Legend), Imperial Assault (Heroes of the Resistance), XCOM: The Board Game, Mansions of Madness (2nd Edition), and The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth.

Work is currently taking place on core technologies and product development. Ghost Galaxy expects to have products to market in early 2021.
To quote more from the article:
Ghost Galaxy had been quietly working on its own software suite that would power the next generation of procedurally-generated card games, but it was not ready, and a mature game like KeyForge was not what we had in mind for its first voyage. Also, we were not sure what the long release delay had done to the KeyForge playerbase. Was this complex and ambitious game viable for continued publishing?

Yet, we could not help to be impressed by the continued strong fan-support for the game, and by the wonderful product development that FFG has already undertaken for unreleased KeyForge products, such as the Winds of Exchange set. That is not to speak of the gobsmacking 2.7 Million registered KeyForge decks! Ultimately, we decided it was worth taking the chance.
In June 2022, Ghost Galaxy acquired the KeyForge IP and card game rights from Asmodee. Here's an excerpt from the press release announcing the deal:
"Ghost Galaxy loves KeyForge!" said Petersen. "Given that we have already been working on a next generation software engine for creating procedurally generated card games, KeyForge is a perfect fit". The company intends to have news for KeyForge fans within a few weeks regarding its future plans for the game.

"We're thrilled to place KeyForge into the caring hands of Ghost Galaxy," said Chris Gerber, Head of Studio at Fantasy Flight Games." This is a game that requires substantial dedication to the underlying technology, which is in their DNA. There is a wonderful community of KeyForge players that are in very good hands."
The article summarizes some of the issues Ghost Galaxy must work out, starting with the need to rebuild the logic and rendering modules required to create KeyForge decks, and continuing on through a rebuilding of the organized play system, a commercial release plan to reboot the line given that the most recent set — KeyForge: Dark Tidings — was released in May 2021, the transfer of deck registration and player accounts from Asmodee to Ghost Galaxy, and the question of how many languages KeyForge will survive in beyond English.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
The winds will still blow some day...
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