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Subject: Locke & Key rules unlocked rss

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Rodolphe Duhil
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Cryptozoic has published on this blog entry the Locke & Key rules.

Enjoy!
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Gregory Webster
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I'll be honest, I didn't read the rules. There are spoilers for several of the keys and plotpoints in them. How does it look?
 
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Galen Ciscell
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I only read the base rules, not the examples and card descriptions that follow, but from those the game seems pretty simplistic. I'm not really seeing the cooperative element either, as there seems to be no advantage to contributing to a challenge unless you know you are either going to win or get second place...

But again, I did not read the entire rulebook (partially to avoid spoilers as well), so I would also be interested in hearing others' thoughts.
 
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Rodolphe Duhil
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I've read the rules. There are no plot spoilers (except for a sentence about the black challenge cards). There are the keys though, so if you've never read the comic books, go read them first. They're that good!

This game is a simple family game, targetting the readers and the fans of Locke & Key. This is a kind of trick-taking game.

Each turn, one of the Challenge cards (out of 19) is revealed.
You begin with a hand of 1 4 Strength cards (correction after the designer's post).

On your turn, you
1vp Draw a Strength card
1vp OR Play face down up to 3 Strength cards to try to overcome the Challenge
1vp OR Discard 2 Strenght cards to draw 1 Key card

Challenge / Strength Cards come in 3 colors :
sugar White for personal and psychological problems / character and self-realization
indigo Blue for mysterious and otherworldly events / resolve and reason
coffee Black for attacks / fearlessness and conviction

Each card has a number denoting its Strength or, for a Challenge, its difficulty.
To overcome a Challenge, you need to have Strength cards of the same color as the Challenge's with a Strength total equal or greater than the Challenge's difficulty.

After flipping the cards played to compare them to the Challenge's difficulty, each player who played Strength cards can play a Key card affecting some elements (boosting some cards, changing the color of a card, drawing cards, ...)

The game is cooperative because each player needs the others' help to overcome a Challenge. But only one claim the Challenge card and its difficulty becomes the Victory Points (VP) earned. To claim an overcame challenge, you must have played more Strength points (of the color corresponding to the Challenge card) than any other player. The Keys are handy to get the upper hand. There seems to be usually a reward for the second player (draw cards).

There are no penalties for failing a Challenge. That's a bit of let-down as this means no tension. Nothing seems really at stake.

The game ends when the game over card appears some time after the twelfth Challenge (it's shuffled with the last 7 cards). The player with the most VP wins the game.

Some Strength cards have some effects and some combination of cards too.

The Key cards break the rules, it's apt as that's what the keys do. But their effects bear only a passing semblance to the keys' powers in the books. And some keys have the same power, only affecting a different color. In game, they are less wondrous and seems a bit dull.

The combos, effects and the Keys are what could redeem the game.

The major interest of the game is of course the Locke & Key setting and the memories brought by the illustrations. It's clearly a game for the fans and the kids. I'd have preferred a more ambitious game, maybe on a board of the Keyhouse, with players cooperating against another player or the game engine, with cards as events, keys to be found, ...

The rules are one thing, the game another. We don't know the cards yest, there could be a good game locked inside.
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Matt Hyra
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Messire wrote:

You begin with a hand of 1 Strength card.


More accurately, you start the game with 4 cards in hand. But at the start of each new round of play (including the first), each player is dealt 1 new Strength card.

The Keys open up creative and interesting plays, so things are never predictable.

Regarding the cooperative elements... the cooperation comes when you figure that another player is probably not going to overcome a Challenge on their own, so you play some Strength cards to help out figuring you might take the 2nd place reward.
The game should not be listed as cooperative. More like semi-cooperative. In the end, the player who has scored the most points wins.

Thanks,
Matt Hyra
Cryptozoic Entertainment R&D
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