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Key to the City – London» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Two players first impressions rss

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Mark God
Israel
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After purchasing this game at Essen, this was the first one we decided to try. We already own Keyflower and enjoy it very much, especially with 2 players. We tried Key to the city with 2 players and here are our impressions:

Box: we bought the Quined version. It looks nice from the outside but the cardboard is very thin. The box comes with an insert already inside, that has 9 places for all the resources that are in the game (6 colored connectors + 3 resources). But sadly our box had 1 piece of the insert missing. But the rulebook had a section about missing pieces and who to contact - so we did that, and still waiting for an answer.

Game components: Same game components you will find in every other euro game - wooden meeples, wooden sticks - all in good quality. The hexes - bigger than regular ones, with lovely art. The monuments are well constructed and not fiddly. The screens are a bit thin, but work just fine. Thsi version also came with the picture book.

Rules: The rules are short and easy, but they are missing some key moments like "can i count something twice for scoring". Also, the rules structure is a bit weird since you find about scoring the different hexes only when you read each hex discription.

Gameplay: The pace of the game is faster. Many mechanics of Keyflower are not in the game - you can't generate meeples, you don't need to move resources anymore, no need to align hexes based on roads etc. this actually makes the game faster and a bit less mind blowing to our taste. It doesn't remove complexity, Its still a complex game and you need to plan ahead and have a strategy. The phases between each era are so easy to do now, and i found it very impressive, because in Keyflower i had to look for the order of things in the rules everytime, and everytime the ships and turn order were a bit fiddly. But now, it is very easy and has almost exactly same results.

Interaction: It seems there is a problem with interaction when playing 2 players. In the first era you put out so many tiles to auction that you barely have a struggle with your opponent. Second era - same problem. third era - less tiles, moreinteraction, but only on that 1 ot 2 tiles you both maybe want. Last era - this are the tiles that you could have seen from the game begining and try to develop a strategy to use their scoring. you would think there will be a fight for those, but nope - each takes his own and thats it. Maybe we played it wrong, but it seems it doesn't work with 2 players and probably work with better with 4 to 6.
The interaction with using opponents tiles to generate resources only comes to play when you need some color of connector you don't have or some other resource, other than that you pretty much playing solo developing your tiles.

Replay value: Defenetly worth playing more, But seems that at least half the tiles are used every game, so some diversity is missing. But still has tons of different options for every game.

compared to Keyflower: I will also use the term "streamlined". Its still a complex game, but now more family friendly, less AP prone, Less mind blowing with all the options you have each turn, more smooth player experince. I will gladly own both, and use each for a different crowd of gamers and for shorter playtimes.

so thats it. Hope my bad english didn't make you suffer.
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Chris Broadbent
United States
Covington
Washington
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Very helpful - thank you!
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Andrew Burnett
Germany
Leipzig
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I'll second the feeling of having too many tiles with two players. The scaling for how many tiles you use is strange and much different than Keyflower. Resource tiles are guaranteed to be out in every game which also limits tension because everyone can get plenty. I only played a partial game but I missed the competition, the theme, and I actually really missed the logistical puzzle with the resources.
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Kathleen Nugent
United States
Tamworth
New Hampshire
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Mark, your "bad" English is a ton better than my Hebrew, so I'm very happy you decided to review this game in English. I too love Keyflower, but I'm a 2-player gamer for the most part. It's too bad Key to the City isn't going to work well with just 2. I've had it on my Wishlist to investigate.
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Mark God
Israel
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Thanks! We tried it again yesterday and it kind of grew on us. I tried to play more confrontational game this time and we had some bidding war, but nothing to big happens. Mostly because it seems more profitable to follow your own strategy to squiz points instead of denying points from the opponent.
The scores get really high if you follow the path. First game i had 90 and SO had 77. This time i finished with 110 and she with 117. And i could defently planned more and get close to 150.
All in all its a fun game. Its rare my SO asks to play something, usually i have to drag her. So this game goes on the shelf with the games she likes! A win for me
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Mark K.
Austria
Vienna
Vienna
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We played a first game with two players yesterday and enjoyed it very much. Yes, there are lots of tiles available in the first two eras but with the need of laying down connections to upgrade those (and those stay fixed for the remainder of the game) tiles I had the feeling that obtaining too many tiles could be somewhat of a burden under certain circumstances.

Besides that, the bidding war is certainly there for the upgraded tiles as well as for the scoring ones in later eras.

Keep in mind that I only played Keyflower a few times so I am no expert in that game. However, I think this game has enough going for it in order to stand on its own feet and should also be approached as a different game and not just "Keyflower light".

I am curious to see what plans the developers have in mind for this game. It could certainly benefit from more tiles and maybe an expansion or two? At least I'd love to see the ghost from Keyflower make a comeback as Jack the Ripper in this game
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Erik-Jan van Oosten
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I've played Key to the City: London now a couple of times with a group of 4 to 6 but yesterday I tried it for the fist time with 2. I think I might have even liked it better with two. Let me tell you why:
- Where you are happy to get some tiles in when playing with a lot of people and base your strategy on what you can get your hands on, you can better plan and focus in the two player version.
- This means that the 4 scoring tiles become way more important. from round 1 you are already thinking how to score highest on the tiles you want, and of ways to mislead your opponent in thinking that you're also going for a tile (the collection of yellow meeples was a thing during our game, I played along with that)
- Because of the importance of these 4 high scoring tiles in the last round many tiles that come to the table aren't that valueable or useful. We've had to put tiles back in the box in the first 4 rounds because neither of us were interested in themL 4 in the first round, 2 in the second and 1 in the 3rd and 4th round. This made the bidding war between us just as vigorous as in a 3+ player game, if not more intense.
- And finally, the final round was where things got really interesting. I made sure to be the first to set sail in the previous round because I knew had to be the start player. I placed one yellow meeple as a starting bid on the scoring tile that rewards having yellow meeples while pulling a smug face. The more she'd bid on this, the more points she'll lose. She decided to ignore it and do upgrades in her buildings and activate tiles. I got inpatient and started bidding yellow meeples to the other scoring tiles, including the one I needed the most. my reasoning was that I could move my yellow meeples from a losing bid to one of these tiles when that time came and that she wouldn't go out to waste her precious yellow keyples to bid on the tiles she didn't need. The bidding started on the yellow keyple scoring tile and after her bid I thought it'd be smart to raise the bid, 3 yellow of my keyples against her 2. She still had loads of yellows so she'd still gets a decent amount of points if she bids again, just not the great amount it could have been. To my surprise she moves these two meeples to the scoring tile I desperately needed, locking my 3 poor yellow meeples to a winning bid on a tile that does nothing for me. And worse: in order to regain a winning bid on that essential tile I needed these meeples! This type of back-and-forth thinking and bluffing isn't there to this extent in a 3+ player game because of the chaos it adds to the game.
To conclude: I think Key to the City: London is a wonderfull two player experience where it is really up to the players to decide how confrontational or solitaire the playing experience is.
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