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Subject: Help - Keyflower vs Key to the City London rss

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ArcanumTL ArcanumTL
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Hi there

I have been reading the various reviews between Keyflower and Key to the City London. Actually when looking for games, I found the London game first before finding the first game. I am a bit torn on which one to get - my wife and I love the city of London so the whole borough building with monuments sounds very cool. Yet - as I read the reviews - there's seems to a meatier but more strategic side with Keyflower which our gaming group enjoys (we've played a bunch of Agricola, Puerto Rico, Terra Mystica).

Any thoughts or suggestions? If you have both, how often do you play either one? I think we would like both of them but it kinda feels if we buy London then we are missing on out something in Keyflower. Or vice versa?

Thanks!
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Matthew Mayes
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Haven't played London but seeing what games you enjoy I would say you need to get keyflower. It's a fantastic game and I've enjoyed it a lot. I own the other 3 games you mention and keyflower fits perfectly with that collection.
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Jake Waltier
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Keyflower is probably in my top 10 favorite games ever, and my Key to the City: London is probably going to get traded away for being too simple.
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Oliver MacFarlane
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There is not a huge difference between the two games.

However I would say everyone should go for Keyflower for a few reasons

1) Love the green meeples in the original which give you the ability to just win tiles with 1 meeple essentially as well as block people
2) London is fiddly with the roads etc
3) Don't like all the standup london landmarks they look cheap
4) Orginal is much preetier
5) Original is a tighter game


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Jarek Szczepanik
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Keyflower is a much, much deeper and more meaty game. It depends on what you want - if it's a gamer's game - go with Keyflower, if you want a simpler, more streamlined one (to be honest, Key to the City does one thing much better - deciding player order) - go with London. If you are Richard Breese's fan - go with both.
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Morten K
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Keyflower is a wonderful game. This is what I wrote about Key to the City: 'If you want the tension and difficult decisions removed from Keyflower and have it replaced with fiddliness and blandness then this is the game for you.' and rated it a 5. It's very far from a good game in my opinion. If you want a game where you build up London then get London. Either second hand or when it gets a reprint which looks like it might be later this year.
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Mark L
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I just recently got Keyflower and have only played it once so far: I haven't played Key to the City.

But I was in exactly the same boat as you: I wanted to get one but wasn't sure which one. The idea of building London boroughs appealed far more than generic villages. But after researching them, I ultimately decided that Keyflower seemed a much better game. Key to the City may have the better theme, but I didn't feel that would compensate for a much simpler and ultimately probably inferior game.

There's probably a much bigger learning curve with Keyflower, though, and it can be very unforgiving. But it doesn't sound like those will be big problems for you.

And Keyflower has expansions! (If you like that sort of thing. I do, but won't be getting any till I've played it a few times.)
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A J
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Hearing how Key to the City is more streamlined, etc., it really appeals to me. However It seems more fiddly to me for some reason.
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Morten K
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ayejae wrote:
Hearing how Key to the City is more streamlined, etc., it really appeals to me. However It seems more fiddly to me for some reason.


It is fiddly and the streamlining makes it much less tense because most of the time it's easy getting what you need in a different way. Just because it has a real setting doesn't make it more thematic either I'm afraid.
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ArcanumTL ArcanumTL
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So - Keyflower it is then! Thanks to all the helpful suggestions - it seems the streamlining reduces some of the overall feel and tension to the original which we would enjoy.

Next question - should I pick up the expansions ?
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Chris
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ayejae wrote:
Hearing how Key to the City is more streamlined, etc., it really appeals to me. However It seems more fiddly to me for some reason.
Less game != Streamlined
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Chris
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ArcanumTL wrote:
So - Keyflower it is then! Thanks to all the helpful suggestions - it seems the streamlining reduces some of the overall feel and tension to the original which we would enjoy.

Next question - should I pick up the expansions ?


Not initially. Note the two main expansions do different things. Farmers makes the game "wider", just more choices, more resource types etc. Merchants makes it "deeper"... more strategy to achieve more advanced goals etc.
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Svartisen wrote:
Keyflower is a much, much deeper and more meaty game. It depends on what you want - if it's a gamer's game - go with Keyflower, if you want a simpler, more streamlined one (to be honest, Key to the City does one thing much better - deciding player order) - go with London. If you are Richard Breese's fan - go with both.


I 100% agree with this (turn order point as well!). I have both and I'm very happy and won't part with either. I think Key to the City is very enjoyable in its own right, and Keyflower is my 2nd favorite game of all time. The other positive aspect of owning both is learning Key to the City makes it easier to learn Keyflower. While I prefer to play Keyflower between the two, I can use Key to the City as a gateway to eventually learning Keyflower.

Same reason I bought Agricola Family Edition. Something I can play with my kids (and still enjoy), and after several plays they are ready to learn it's parent.

Enjoy!
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Colin Marsh
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Svartisen wrote:
Keyflower is a much, much deeper and more meaty game. It depends on what you want - if it's a gamer's game - go with Keyflower, if you want a simpler, more streamlined one (to be honest, Key to the City does one thing much better - deciding player order) - go with London. If you are Richard Breese's fan - go with both.


how does key to the city decide player order? player order is a problem in a lot of game - any game that's essentially the person that does X becomes first player has the issue of more or less randomly benefiting the person to your left. i've played many a 6 player Keyflower game and been really happy when someone next to me outbid another player for first player.

The new Terra Mystica mechanic for player order handles this really well I think. I'm curious what Key to the City does.
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Peter Hendee
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colinmarsh wrote:
Svartisen wrote:
Keyflower is a much, much deeper and more meaty game. It depends on what you want - if it's a gamer's game - go with Keyflower, if you want a simpler, more streamlined one (to be honest, Key to the City does one thing much better - deciding player order) - go with London. If you are Richard Breese's fan - go with both.


how does key to the city decide player order? player order is a problem in a lot of game - any game that's essentially the person that does X becomes first player has the issue of more or less randomly benefiting the person to your left. i've played many a 6 player Keyflower game and been really happy when someone next to me outbid another player for first player.

The new Terra Mystica mechanic for player order handles this really well I think. I'm curious what Key to the City does.


A confusing aspect of Keyflower is when player order changes - depending on whether or not someone bought the boat with the start meeple. And it can change in the middle of boat selection. (If I remember correctly.) London does not have any of that confusion.

But I can still benefit from the person before me frequently becoming the start player in London. Did Terra Mystica do away with rotating turns around the table?
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Colin Marsh
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PeterHendee wrote:
colinmarsh wrote:
Svartisen wrote:
Keyflower is a much, much deeper and more meaty game. It depends on what you want - if it's a gamer's game - go with Keyflower, if you want a simpler, more streamlined one (to be honest, Key to the City does one thing much better - deciding player order) - go with London. If you are Richard Breese's fan - go with both.


how does key to the city decide player order? player order is a problem in a lot of game - any game that's essentially the person that does X becomes first player has the issue of more or less randomly benefiting the person to your left. i've played many a 6 player Keyflower game and been really happy when someone next to me outbid another player for first player.

The new Terra Mystica mechanic for player order handles this really well I think. I'm curious what Key to the City does.


A confusing aspect of Keyflower is when player order changes - depending on whether or not someone bought the boat with the start meeple. And it can change in the middle of boat selection. (If I remember correctly.) London does not have any of that confusion.

But I can still benefit from the person before me frequently becoming the start player in London. Did Terra Mystica do away with rotating turns around the table?


hmm well i find it really rare in Keyflower that 1st player passes because no one bids on it. i often forget the rule only because I've seen it maybe once in 30 plus games.

Terra Mystica did do away with turns rotating around the table in the Fire & Ice expansion. you don't need the expansion to start using the rule though. It simply make player turn order variable so if you pass first you go first next round. whoever passes 2nd goes 2nd next round & so on. So the player taking a lot of actions will consistently go last. the game came with a few components to track this but it wouldn't be hard to replicate that without buying the game.

it also introduced a really cool bidding system that gets people to play less popular races. i really like it anyway.
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A J
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
ayejae wrote:
Hearing how Key to the City is more streamlined, etc., it really appeals to me. However It seems more fiddly to me for some reason.
Less game != Streamlined


I'm not saying that it is in fact streamlined. I'm just using that word because many reviewers have used it, including Rahdo and Dice Tower.

I like streamlined games, because usually they fix an aspect of a game that causes friction. So, are you saying that London is not actually streamlined Keyflower?
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Morten K
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ayejae wrote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
ayejae wrote:
Hearing how Key to the City is more streamlined, etc., it really appeals to me. However It seems more fiddly to me for some reason.
Less game != Streamlined


I'm not saying that it is in fact streamlined. I'm just using that word because many reviewers have used it, including Rahdo and Dice Tower.

I like streamlined games, because usually they fix an aspect of a game that causes friction. So, are you saying that London is not actually streamlined Keyflower?


It is streamlined but to me at least that has made the game less interesting. And I normally like simplicity.
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I.M. Jeremic
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If you like Agricola and Puerto Rico get Keyflower.
I discovered those 2 games first and still love them.
Then I found Keyflower and it is just as good if not better.
Trust me.
 
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J F
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I have payed both about 15 times. I enjoy Keyflower more, it is indeed a meatier game. Others in my game group prefer Key London. KeyLondon is much less tight and it feels like you have more time to do all the things you want. It eliminates the transportation, and in the 3rd round upgrading,tile blocking, and bidding for turn order. All of this opens up your options and allows you to use more meepls for bidding or generating resources, and it adds a new spacial element. There is much less player interaction than keyflower.
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Colin Marsh
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Imgembo wrote:
I have payed both about 15 times. I enjoy Keyflower more, it is indeed a meatier game. Others in my game group prefer Key London. KeyLondon is much less tight and it feels like you have more time to do all the things you want. It eliminates the transportation, and in the 3rd round upgrading,tile blocking, and bidding for turn order. All of this opens up your options and allows you to use more meepls for bidding or generating resources, and it adds a new spacial element. There is much less player interaction than keyflower.


very nice summary of the differences. sounds like i'm going to continue to prefer Keyflower although I do admit i'd love to try Key to the City without being the one that buys it.
 
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ArcanumTL wrote:
...
Next question - should I pick up the expansions ?


I regret (only slightly) buying the expansions because the base game is already extremely good and offers tremendous replay value. Even though both expansions are nice additions to the game, they simply aren't needed in my opinion.

That said, there are arguments for buying either/both:

If you regularly play with large groups then I think Farmers would be nice though - it gives more tile variety, and adds a few options for movement and scoring.

If you want the game to be a bit more controlled and strategic then the Merchants expansion is very interesting; I've been content with the slightly more tactical play in the base game though.

If you just want to own it all, which is totally reasonable when you love a game, then I'm not sure what long-term availability will be so maybe you are betting off buying while they are around. It's a fantastic game, and one I could see playing for many years.
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Colin Marsh
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ArcanumTL wrote:
So - Keyflower it is then! Thanks to all the helpful suggestions - it seems the streamlining reduces some of the overall feel and tension to the original which we would enjoy.

Next question - should I pick up the expansions ?


both expansions are great. i would base which to get first on your most common player count. if you most commonly play with 2 I would go Merchants. If you most often play 4 or more I'd go Farmers.
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Mark L
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colinmarsh wrote:
ArcanumTL wrote:
So - Keyflower it is then! Thanks to all the helpful suggestions - it seems the streamlining reduces some of the overall feel and tension to the original which we would enjoy.

Next question - should I pick up the expansions ?


both expansions are great. i would base which to get first on your most common player count. if you most commonly play with 2 I would go Merchants. If you most often play 4 or more I'd go Farmers.

What if we most often play with 3?
 
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Alex P
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Merchants then.
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