Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
 Hide
3 Posts

Keyflower» Forums » Strategy

Subject: How to see your Village for all the Tiles and Keyples rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Nicholas Hjelmberg
Sweden
Saltsjö-Boo
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Where to start?

At first sight, Keyflower appears to be a chaotic affair where strategy is secondary to tactics and where the players are at the mercy of the game and the opportunities that may be handed to them. Keyflower has no less than four random setups, one per season, and items such as workers and tools also arrive randomly. The players must make the right decisions at different mechanics like bidding, production, pick-up-and-delivery and upgrades. The decisions in turn affect the entire game economy and make it difficult to benchmark bids, production levels and final scoring. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow to increase the probability of succeeding. Let us do what you often should do in games and start from the end.



The Goal of the Game

1 Keyflower is a game about victory points.
2 Victory points are earned from tiles.
3 The value of tiles depend on input, output and final scoring.
4 The input is workers (for bidding and production), resources and skills (for production and upgrades), and transport and upgrade capacity (to increase the output and/or the final scoring)
5 The final scoring depends on upgrades and relevant items moved to the tile.

From this perspective, there is little difference between Keyflower and traditional economic games. You have a snowball effect where you produce items, invest in production and produce even more items until it's time to switch from investing in production to collecting victory points. "Items" refer to everything that you have to husband, not only resources and skills but also workers and transport and upgrade capacity. The challenge is thus to understand what makes a good investment and when to switch to collection of victory points. To understand this, we must first understand the differences between the different seasons and how the random setup affects the strategy.

The Seasons

The Spring brings tiles that provide output of various items. The Summer brings tiles that require input of various items to increase the output of various items. The Fall brings tiles that require input of various items to increase the output of victory points. The Winter brings tiles chosen by the players themselves which, given that the right items have been collected, provide output of a lot victory points.



Example: The Spring tile Key Mine provides 1 iron. The Summer tile Ferrier provides transport and upgrade capacity so that Key Mine provides 3 iron and the iron can be transported. The Autumn tile Forge can be upgraded with 3 iron and get a value of 10 victory points. The Winter tile Watermill provides 1 victory point per iron.

Hence, a strategy should answer the following questions:

wood Spring: Which resources should I acquire?
sheep Summer: Which investments in increased production should I do?
brick Fall: Which investments in increased victory points should I do?
ore Winter: Have I successfully collected the right items or should I refrain from adding a certain tile to the Winter bidding?

The Spring

During Spring it's important to identify which items that are plentiful and which are scarce to understand which investments you should aim for the next season. Say that there are few tiles with iron output during Spring. Then it might not be wise to acquire Summer tiles that require iron input. However, it can still be good to acquire such a Spring tile, since all players who need iron will have to leave workers on your tile so that you may use them the next season. I often prefer to acquire a transport and upgrade tile as well, either for my own need or because other players may need it and leave workers on it for me.



The Summer and Autumn

During Summer and Autumn it's time to acquire the tiles that require items there are plenty of. But you must also produce from and upgrade your existing tiles so how should you prioritize? One rule of thumb is to prioritize tiles that are rare and/or cost less permanent workers. If you need iron and it's only available on an opponent tile, you will lose it to your opponent and hence it's better to place it there early while the price is low. I also try to upgrade all my tiles rather than acquire many tiles that I may not have time to upgrade, since upgraded tiles provide both more resources and more victory points.





The Winter

During Winter, it's time to start calculating. How many victory points can you get for your Winter tiles and how many victory points can the others get? The answer to that question determines which tiles you should let go to the bidding and which tiles you should discard. Do the same calculation for the Winter boats so that you know how high you can go in the bidding.



The Bidding

Naturally, the bidding is important in the other seasons as well so let's elaborate on that. While Winter tiles are reasonably simple to valuate (you know how many resources you have and what value they have on that tile at the end of the game), the value of previous tiles depends on how well you use them. Since workers used for successful bids are lost, you must weigh the worker's lost future production against the tile's potential production. A rule of thumb is that a tile for one worker is cheap while a tile for three workers is expensive. In the latter case it's often better to let the tile go and use the workers to produce on the opponent's tile. You lose the workers in both cases but get production for them in the latter case.



The Production

Similar rules of thumb can be used for how many workers you should let produce on the same tile. In this case it's good to balance your hand so that you have two workers per tile. You can then afford to use one to two workers per tile for production and the rest for bids, giving you a good return on each worker. Using three workers on one tile gives less return, since they could have produced on two or three other tiles instead. However, those rules are far from without exceptions. If there is a shortage of an item, all players will get less return and it might be necessary to bid high to get any return at all.



The Colors

So far we've looked at the number of items but when it comes to workers, the color is important as well. Since you must "follow suit" it's good to try to have a balanced hand so that you don't get blocked from tiles because you lack the right color. You can't control which colors you get but you can control which colors you lose (that is, which you place on bids or other tiles). If you should find yourself short of a color, try to place them early while places on tiles are still cheap.

The green workers are a special case. They help you to block other players from tiles but they must be used wisely. If you bid with them, you lose them to the bag, but if you place them on other tiles, you lose them to other players (and also your ability to block that player). If you place them on own tiles, you get to keep them but block yourself if you don't have more green workers. The best thing is to use them carefully in the early seasons and then block the other players from the most valuable Winter tiles.



Conclusion

There are many stones to turn in this multifaceted game but the above should give some support in the many decisions that the player is faced with. The important thing is that you understand how the overall economy works so that you understand the many tactical opportunities that open up during the gameplay. One thing is sure: one game of Keyflower is never like the other.
25 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Lamoureux
United States
Indialantic
Florida
flag msg tools
Thank you for this article and your other one addressing the "chaotic point salad" concern. I was disappointed after my first play, finding the tiles and ways to gain points too unrelated. I'll read this to my players (my kids) and we'll take on another game with a bit more structure in mind.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas Hjelmberg
Sweden
Saltsjö-Boo
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I hope you find your next game better. I've become less interested in games which are all about accumulating victory points but in Keyflower the victory points merely serve as a motivation for the exciting part: the bidding.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.