Fifth Game: Keythedral
After a couple of games of Metro, we were ready for something a little different. In addition, the other couple had arrived as had Steve. I had brought Keythedral knowing of Clint's fondness for the game. When I pointed this out, he was ready for a game. Glen was interested in playing since he had never played before. Not being very fond of the game, Jared decided to sit this one out. Steve then joined us to make it a five-player game.
The object of the game is to have the most points once the last seat in the Keythedral has been purchased. Points are scored primarily by purchasing seats but also by resources remaining at the end of the game. At the beginning of the game, players lay out the board consisting of octagons representing the different resources as well as their cottages, which indicate where they can place their people to earn resources. After five rounds of placing workers from their cottages and taking the respective resources, players are able to perform various actions. After this, you bid for turn order and repeat everything until all the seats are gone.
In our game, the placement was a little bit different than the games I have previously been in. In this game, we were making a great effort to avoid surrounding another player's cottage. This gave the board a much more disjointed and spread appearance than I had seen previously. At the very end of the placements, Clint pointed out a stone that I had managed to keep sole access to. Steve then placed so that he had access as well. This began a low key between us for several turns over this territory.
In the first resource round, Clint managed to get the resources needed to build two houses. I knew this was going to be his strategy, but I was unable to do anything about it. Glen also managed a pair. I was only able to get a single house built. I did build a fence to keep Steve out of my stone field. This really helped me out over the next two rounds. At the end of the first round of play, it was quite clear that Glen and Clint were in the lead. In the second game round, Clint again was able to build yet another pair of houses. Dwight caught up at this point, but Glen and I were each only able to build one. I did go ahead and get one of the Keythedral seats as several were now getting purchased. I also was able to pick up one of the law cards at this time -- my only one of the game.
Meanwhile, Glen was winning the auctions for first player and giving the start player disk to Steve. This placed me in last place and was getting to be quite frustrating. Clint, therefore, began to occasionally take the bid and give the disk to Dwight. While this was an improvement, it still left me in the third position. At the beginning of the third round, Glen was still doing quite well, as was Clint. It was during this round that Steve tore down my fence. While I was only able to take advantage of it for two rounds, they were both critical rounds as I was able to build two houses in this round. Fortunately, Clint had so far been unable to really take advantage of his surplus of houses in the game. This was another reason for his starting to work on getting the start player spot a little bit closer to him.
At this point, we had seen all of the smaller seats in the Keythedral disappear. I managed to grab one of the eight point seats in the nick of time. Then there was the fight for the 10's. The law card I had allowed me to get a stained glass cube for cheaper than I would have otherwise. This was the last purchase of the round. The next round saw the beginning of the mad scramble for the end. I was quite fortunate that Clint had won the first player bid, which he took upon himself. During the round, we all began buying the cubes we thought we would need. Clint then took the start player and gave it to himself. He still had to buy a cube for his tile, as did I. When it came back around, Clint took one of the tiles, followed by me. Steve took the last 10 pointer.
This revealed the final 12 point tiles. Amazingly, when Clint, Steve, and I were preparing to purchase our 10 point tiles, our opponents were doing the same. This meant there were a lot of glass and iron cubes in possession, but not gold. Glen and Dwight would have first crack at the 12 point tiles. Glen was able to get one without too much trouble. Dwight was as well. I needed to get a gold cube for the last one. I caught a break here that Clint was not able to buy a gold cube and still have the two blues needed to finish. It looked as though I would get the last cube with no trouble. When I went to purchase it, Steve played his law card that allowed him change the price. While a good move on his part, it was supremely frustrating to me. Fortunately, it changed from gold and two blues to gold and two greens -- only, I had no green cubes. Since Glen was now ahead of me, I thought he would be able to trade up ahead of me ad get the cubes needed to buy the tile. I caught another break here. Glen had a lot of cubes, but all except a couple were craft cubes. When he and then Dwight didn't change cubes, I knew I could win. Steve wasn't even a factor. It took a couple of extra rounds, but I was still able to collect the final tile.
Stephen -- 45 4-8-10-10-12
Glen -- 42 4-4-6-8-12
Clint -- 40 4-6-8-8-10
Dwight -- 32 4-6-8-12
Steve -- 24 6-6-10
I started this game off really slowly and was therefore quite surprised to actually have finished in first place. Fortunately, I was able to come on quite strongly in the end. Being able to take two if the 10 point tiles was really key, I think. I was quite fortunate that my one law card was able to help me do this. Lest anyone believe otherwise, there were quite a few law cards purchased and used during the game, often to great effect. Glen had one of his houses destroyed by Clint, which may have ultimately cost him the game. Dwight stopped one resource from being produced during one round. Fortunately, while this hit Glen and Clint quite hard, it hardly even touched me. Perhaps, then, my slow start was an advantage as I was not considered a threat when these cards were played. All in all, it was a very pleasant game, even if it did take a while. Glen was so enamored that he bought a copy shortly afterwards. Our total game time was about two hours (even though it took a bit longer with breaks).
J C Lawrence
FWLIW I find Keythedral plays far better with three players than four.