Drinky Drinky
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Mr. Cat. Hold on I think I know my next move, just give me another minute....NO!!!!!!!
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Unique, Richard Garfield, FFG NetRunner replacement, you just need one deck ever, blah blah blah, we know the buzzwords and novelty.


What is this KeyForge game really underneath all its unique mechanics besides a great 2 player game.


Players are not playing an LCG or CCG, though a deck collecting game (DCG) is probably more accurate. KeyForge is a mix of various ‘point-trick’ and ‘trick and draw’ mechanics that make up a 2-player trick taking game disguised as a battle game. KeyForge is a game to get to 18 point with some provisos.


KeyForge is a dang good 2 player trick taking game, and the best I have played. Here is why it is more of a 2-player trick taking game:


In KeyForge, I am calling a suit to play each hand. I have zero tie to any story or mythos of any of these 7 suits of cards. I am simply naming a suit to play. I am playing 3 soccer balls, 4 camo cows, angels, demons, and the what are these hairy things?


On a side note, Martians are probably the only suit people ever get properly called, and being this is FFG you can probably be sure of some Cthulhu suit in future expansion. No one starting out knows or usually cares what the suits are called, but everyone knows what you mean.


When I bid or call suit in a trick taking game before each turn, I am deciding how many cards to play of what I have in hand (and tableau) and what order to play them from my hand (and tableau).


This one aspect is the genius and the minutiae of the game that makes what you played 2 to 3 turns ago a winning or losing move. Do I call 4 cards and only play 3 of my called cards to keep that extra card safe as it has a taunt capability, so I can protect other cards in my hand/tableau? Do I play for the sake of my tableau or my hand? Do I want to hold one of the cards I called not playing them all from hand as I may be able to pull any of the cards that got discarded last round, or that my opponent is about to take and discard? Just like a trick taking game, the order and more importantly timing you play cards has immense impact in KeyForge. Heading the trick with all your called cards at once, unless it IS the obvious move will not help in the long run, but it sometimes does.


The one difference in KeyForge from most trick taking games, is you are actually trying to play from your tableau. Consider your tableau like your partner you are feeding for your next turn. At the end of my turn, I am hoping to use my called trump cards to either play into my tableau, to either beat another player called trump cards they played, or to use my played cards from my current trump call to gain points to win, I just need to make sure I have values of 6 points to forge a key on my next turn. I’m merely gaining points or trying to stymie my opponent’s ability to make points, and this is where the genius in the KeyForge tug-of-war.


If you treat KeyForge like a game where you are trying to attack your opponent, you are more likely to lose, the key is to get points, not win battles. This is not Richard Garfield’s Magic the Gathering; this is Richard Garfield’s 2 player bridge, except your partner is your own tableau.


How does a trick taking game not go stale?

I or any new players “should” be able to pick this game up 2 to 3 years from now and have relatively no difficulty in playing KeyForge. You are no longer tied to playing a history of expansion packs and releases or 25 years of MTG history. You can just grab any old deck and learn it (or remember it). The only problem I see so far, is if someone “wants to try something new or replicate what they have seen, the only method to really do such is trade decks for a play, or keep buying decks until you find something similar.


Barring any of the FFG rules lexicon updates and that FFG does not cut themselves off with constant escalation of releases to where the earlier versions of KeyForge become obsolete without a complete retool. KeyForge should have some staying power. FFG has already done that with X-wing and there is a possibility it could happen with KeyForge. Though I do like the trade deck option, similar to how we would play the 2nd half of NetRunner.


Until then we can only wait for R&D games, the makers of the original Key series games, to make a game about Blacksmiths coming over on boats to really cause some confusion.
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Rich P
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I reckon you're stretching the definition of a trick-taking game beyond its usefulness, but I have a feeling you already know that.
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Dave Bergin
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I enjoy the challenge of playing the game and not having to attack my opponent or their tableau to win the game. The majority of the times I have used the "fight" action is as a defensive move - the removal of a card from the opponent's tableau.
 
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Reggie P
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Are there any examples of traditional point-trick games in which the value of the point cards is variable? I'm interested to know, as I have no experience with traditional point-trick games.

You could never assign a value to most point-earning cards (creatures) in KeyForge, because how many times they will reap is a variable.

I'm struggling to see the connection between KeyForge and trick-taking games, but it is spurring me on to some interesting critical thinking.
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Jesse Pudewell
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This is a bridge too far. There is no definition of a trick-taking game from Boston to Bangladesh that could fit Keyforge into that mold. Let's call spades spades here - you're doing this merely to drum up feedback on a strange idea you had. I am filled with a mighty rage. This would be like calling Rook a chess game because it has a rook! There are rules here - you just can't skat whatever you want and call it trick taking!

Oh hell. No matter what wizard words I can write, you won't change. As traditional card playing aficionados know in their hearts, a trick-taking game must have tricks. You know that, I know that, Napoleon knew that.

So, let's put a deal on the sheepshead. As a special boon from me, I won't prosecute as long as you acknowledge the superiority of my arguments. Otherwise, I will put you in the clag heap and send you where the Kaiser went.

(This is all in good jest. I just wanted to write a semi-coherent rebuttal with the name of a trick-taking game in each sentence.)
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Florian Woo
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TheFourthJesse wrote:
There is no definition of a trick-taking game from Boston to Bangladesh that could fit Keyforge into that mold.
Which one is the trick-taking game here? Boston, Bangladesh, Mold or KeyForge?
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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Wolle_Petterson wrote:
TheFourthJesse wrote:
There is no definition of a trick-taking game from Boston to Bangladesh that could fit Keyforge into that mold.
Which one is the trick-taking game here? Boston, Bangladesh, Mold or KeyForge?

Or Trick-Taking: The Trick-Taking Game?
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Justin R
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I am inclined to agree with OP. Keyforge is a trick-taking game. It's also a balloon, a pair of sneakers, a cactus, and pancakes. Postmodernism FTW!
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Jesse Pudewell
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Wolle_Petterson wrote:
TheFourthJesse wrote:
There is no definition of a trick-taking game from Boston to Bangladesh that could fit Keyforge into that mold.
Which one is the trick-taking game here? Boston, Bangladesh, Mold or KeyForge?

Boston.
 
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