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Subject: Is Keyper a unique enough worker placement game to warrant a purchase? rss

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I know this is a pretty open-ended question, but I’m just wanting to get a bit of insight from those who have already played/own Keyper.

I’ve got a lot of worker placement games (Agricola, Caverna, A Feast for Odin) so I’m admittedly a little bit reluctant to pull the trigger on Keyper. I feel I probably should branch out a bit from the worker placement world, as I find it’s hard to get past the whole taking/using goods for resources sometimes.

Having said that Keyper seems to have some really interesting mechanics built into it. The folding boards, the scoring tiles, and the ability to share action spaces look like they would add an interesting dynamic to the gameplay.

So does Keyper have enough uniqueness to it for me to go out and get it? Or would a game like Caverna or A Feast for Odin be enough to scratch the worker placement itch?

 
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Nathaniel Chambers
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"I’ve got a lot of worker placement games (Agricola, Caverna, A Feast for Odin) so I’m admittedly a little bit reluctant to pull the trigger on Keyper." - if anything, this tells me you like worker placement games, so you should not be reluctant. As a genre, most worker placement games just don't feel at all the same to me (though, admittedly, you listed Rosenburg games, which all feel similar to me)

I have good news and bad news though. I like Keyper. It's not in my top 10-20 (yet!), but it's solid. I've only played once, but I hope to make it many more. It is, overall, a very 'open' worker placement game. Which, unfortunately (or fortunately), is very much like what you already own. You can kind of do what you want and aren't too restricted. I think that's cool. But I also don't have many Rosenburg games, which are often praised for how open they are. Unlike Agricola, Keyper isn't really at all punishing. I like that you kind of join in on actions together. I think that would probably be cooler 3+ player and I only played 2 player. I felt the boards, while neat, honestly weren't as cool as I thought they'd be. You have 4 options for each season, and sometimes it can be tough to find them all, and especially tough to hold it in your head which one has which resources you need the most over another.

In the end, even though I like it a good bit, I would not put it particularly high on the 'unique' scale. I actually thought the coolest thing about it was the sort of game of chicken you play with your opponent. You can tell him you want to keep all the meeples in an area, but do it too soon, and you are screwed, and do it too late, you are also screwed. (well, not screwed, but at a disadvantage)

But, if you are really looking for a unique worker placement game to set itself apart, I'm not really sure this is it. For all my enjoyment of it, I'd say Keyflower, Tzolkin (w/expansion), Dungeon Lords (arguably not WP), Dungeon Petz, and Argent are more 'unique' and I'd probably recommend them over this if you want something 'different'. On the other hand, this is a solid game, and if you like an open ability to do things, a fairly friendly 'follow along' mechanic, and a cool game of chicken sounds appealing, then this is a good buy. I prefer my worker placement games a bit more tight and puzzly.
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James Myers
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As far as I can tell, you'd want to grab Keyflower well before Keyper if you haven't played either.
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Matthew Mayes
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How many players are you typically playing with? I think you would enjoy keyper and it definitely has some unique mechanics.
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Mitch Harding
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Terwox wrote:
As far as I can tell, you'd want to grab Keyflower well before Keyper if you haven't played either.

Agreed. I enjoy (and own) both games. They're pretty different games, but I'd certainly recommend Keyflower more strongly. It's one of my top several games (whereas Keyper isn't on that same level for me).
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I can only recommend the game. The joining on actions, the different colored specialists, the laying down is all very unique and works well. Then you have the many different buildings and ways to score points and the fact that this game works very good with all possible player counts.

The only downsides might be, that it takes some time to explain and a 4 player game is also not short. If you do not mind these things, I wouldn't know why not to have this lovely game.
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Jake Staines
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Keyper - and as others have mentioned, Keyflower - are definitely "different" enough from games like Agricola and Caverna (I don't know much about Odin, myself).

Keyflower is a worker-placement auction game - and a very good one. Still probably my "favourite" game insofar as such a concept has meaning. Keyper is harder to pin down with a simple label; it's definitely quite optimisation-puzzle, it's got a bluff/chicken element to it... The game comes down as much to how well you can manage your collection of workers (and mess up other people's) as anything, so far as I can see. I wouldn't say it's definitely the case that anyone should get Keyflower before Keyper; they're different enough games they'll appeal to different people.

Both are quite vicious - far more than they appear on the surface. Games of Keyflower frequently end up with players peering suspiciously at each other across their screens, silent for minutes at a time before making a move, causing someone else around the table to glower at them! Keyper isn't quite so quiet, in my experience - maybe because of the joining, maybe because there's basically no hidden information, just some fair tiles - but still just as tight.
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Keeper is a solid game. It’s very open, in the sense that you will decide what scores for you. The game is won by exploiting marginal efficiencies, especially by leeching off (“joining”) to actions of others or by allowing them to leech off of you. This latter aspect makes it more unique than the variable boards do (the boards are variable to allow players to pursue the scoring pathways they have chosen).

Although Keyflower is a WP game, I guess, it’s really a bidding game (and a pick-up-and-deliver game, and a spatial game, and a hidden goals game). Rather than go on and on I’ll just say it’s a crowning triumph of modern game design that everyone needs to play. And it is mean. And thus better.

Finally, if unique WP is what you are after, take a look at Tzolkin. The schtick with it is that the WP is dynamic, which means that if you can delay your workers from “coming home” you will get increasingly juicier options. Again, a triumph of design. Player interaction very high here.
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Breese is credited with having the first Worker Placement game and kicking this whole genre off. So it is good to see him continue to stretch the mechanic with new and interesting things.

As others have said, Keyflower is a must. The concept that your workers are also your currency in the game used in bidding is great and sets Keyflower apart (though if Sails to Steam had gotten developed more quickly, it might have been first to offer this). Keyflower is probably my number 1 WP game.

Keyper I was a bit unsure of how it would rank. While I don't think it will knock off Keyflower for me, it is a solid game in its own right. A lot of the concepts make more sense having played Keyflower so I also recommend the path of that first followed by Keyper.

But what makes Keyper cool is the cooperation aspect and the 2nd use. It is a bit more open as to what you can do but there are the limits of color matching, and whether or not to give a worker to a claim country board or the extra convincing to get people to go to your claimed board.

So with as many WP games I have, both of these are at the top of the list and unique enough to add to any WP collection.
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Thanks for the replies everyone, you’ve definitely gave me something to think about.

I shied away from Keyflower because I play with 2 players most of the time, and just didn’t feel I’d get enough from the Auction mechanic.

The second use and sharing actions mechanic in Keyper is certainly interesting. In fact I like the look of the whole worker management and interaction mechanic, that might just tip it over the edge for me.

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i’ve played keyper a dozen times and keyflower 75 times. does keyper hold the magic of keyflower? hell no! is it a great game? yes. but get keyflower first, it is a magical experience at every player count
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Fred Wojtkielewicz
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keyflower is an amazing 2 player game. one of the best auction games for two, i have never tired of it
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wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
keyflower is an amazing 2 player game. one of the best auction games for two, i have never tired of it


Keyflower is also a very different game at two players. It's still a great game, but some of the concerns you have in a larger multiplayer game aren't really there, and in my experience the memory component is much more significant.

(Obviously this isn't an abrupt change - a two-player game is more like a three-player than a five-player game. But I guess I do consider it 'best' at four or five.)
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wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
keyflower is an amazing 2 player game. one of the best auction games for two, i have never tired of it


Agreed. Keyflower at 2 is an absolute masterpiece. 3 is incredible, but once you hit 4 players, while still a very very good game, it begins to become mass chaos where you lose a lot of your control. Also, in 4 up pretty much every "key" item is in the game. Resources, green meeps, transport. 4 is not as cutthroat which many will prefer but I don't. I vastly prefer the 2 and then the 3 player game, but I can see how some would enjoy the openness, less cutthroat gameplay of 4+.
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Nathaniel Chambers
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snowey1210 wrote:


I shied away from Keyflower because I play with 2 players most of the time, and just didn’t feel I’d get enough from the Auction mechanic.



I usually play it 2 or 3 player. I'm actually not sure if I've ever played it 4 player? I really like it as a 2 player game, though I think 3 may be the sweet spot for me if I were playing with expansions.
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Ok I just finished my first two player game of keyper. I prefer it over keyflower as a two player game. It feels similar to caverna but one think I like better is that the tiles are drawn from the bag so you will get more variety and be forced to possibly change your strategy a little each game. The country boards are fun to play around with and the back and forth with the Keyples is so much fun.
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snowey1210 wrote:
I know this is a pretty open-ended question, but I’m just wanting to get a bit of insight from those who have already played/own Keyper.

I’ve got a lot of worker placement games (Agricola, Caverna, A Feast for Odin) so I’m admittedly a little bit reluctant to pull the trigger on Keyper. I feel I probably should branch out a bit from the worker placement world, as I find it’s hard to get past the whole taking/using goods for resources sometimes.

Having said that Keyper seems to have some really interesting mechanics built into it. The folding boards, the scoring tiles, and the ability to share action spaces look like they would add an interesting dynamic to the gameplay.

So does Keyper have enough uniqueness to it for me to go out and get it? Or would a game like Caverna or A Feast for Odin be enough to scratch the worker placement itch?




one of the great things about Keyper is it is the only worker placment game I know of which workers have specialization... A green worker would only be able to do something here once, where the same green worker elsewhere gets to do it 2-3 times.

I like that there are 8 different workers each with there own specialization.
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sao123 wrote:
I like that there are 8 different workers each with there own specialization.

Only 7. Of the initial 8, 2 are white - generalists.
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
sao123 wrote:
I like that there are 8 different workers each with there own specialization.

Only 7. Of the initial 8, 2 are white - generalists.


laugh
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
sao123 wrote:
I like that there are 8 different workers each with there own specialization.

Only 7. Of the initial 8, 2 are white - generalists.


well i have the character edition... one white male, one white female...

and yes there is a tile which only 1 of them can activate.
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