First thing to note. All KeyForge Adventures, so far, are available for free from Fantasy Flight Games. Our offer is for a high-quality printing service for these free cards. To find the free versions, please see the official KeyForge product page.
If you’re a KeyForge player, it’s not much news to you that FFG has released the print-and-play KeyForge Adventures to bring co-op play to this unique game. What might be new to you is that Kingwood Hobbies is bringing its well-loved printing facilities over from Star Wars: Destiny to join the game of professional printings. Our first round of shipments have gone out, and to quote one of our customers, “That Keyraken Card. I can’t stop looking at it.”
Some of the advantages of the Kingwood Hobbies printing are:
- The gorgeous oversized KeyRacken card. It’s giant, it’s foily, and it’s trying desperately to escape the depths and flood the world.
- The oversized Tide card. With four spots at the table for players sharing one Tide card, you’re going to want something everyone can easily see and manipulate. We’ve got you covered. It’s not as giant as the KeyRacken card, but everyone is going to know what the tide is at.
- Delicious professionally printed cards for the KeyRacken deck. These beautiful cards will make you feel like a Vegas blackjack dealer as you flip over cards for the KeyRacken. If you’re familiar with our Star Wars: Destiny cards, these are from the same process.
- Plastic protection for all of your cards. The KeyRacken and Tide cards come in hard plastic top loaders to keep anything from bending or marring the surface, and the KeyRacken deck comes in a sweet hard plastic box to keep everything protected and organized.
- Discounts on Dark Tidings decks. If you’re already loaded up with decks you might not need more, but for those looking to jump straight into KeyForge with the co-op play, we have a bundle to get you started right out of the gate.
But How Does it Play?
As a KeyForge family ourselves, we definitely had to try out this KF Adventures thing as soon as they arrive in-house, so we broke out the oversized KeyForge playmat, shuffled up the three Dark Tidings decks we’d opened, and got to playing.
First, some lessons learned from the Dismukes family about playing Rise of the KeyRacken.
- The game says it supports up to three players, but I see no mechanics reason you couldn’t do more. The only difficulty we had was with space. KeyForge takes up quite a bit of table space, and with the three of us playing alongside the KeyRacken, I’m not sure how we would have fit my other daughter in.
- You’re going to need tokens, and I mean a lot of tokens. You’re going to want to keep the tide high most of the time, meaning 18+ aember are on the KeyRacken before it rises. That, coupled with 90 health in a three-person game mean bits are floating around everywhere. I’d highly suggest getting a big supply of pennies for aember and maybe a scoresheet for KeyRacken damage.
- It’s a little awkward at first as you fumble your way through how the KeyRacken plays, and that’s ok. Press through, however, and you should get the hang of it before long. Don’t be afraid to take a break for dinner or something. When you come back things will run more smoothly.
- The rest of my family suggested that there should be a player who sits at the table only to run the KeyRacken rather than each person flipping up KR cards themselves. I’m not sure I agree with that one because it seems like that would be boring, but we did find it easier to have one person flip all of the KeyRacken cards instead of each player.
- We found it useful to apply our creatures, ‘Opponents’ keys cost X more’ cards towards the KeyRacken’s advances so that these cards contributed to the game in a meaningful way. I could not find anything referring to this in the rules for this adventure, so this may just be a house rule that we keep.
- If you make a mistake, just keep going. There’s a lot of action going on, and it’s easy to forget a step here or there. Since your opponent doesn’t have an intelligence to get offended by an accidental cheat, it makes much more sense to keep the game flowing smoothly than to back up and try to iron out a mistake that happened a couple of turns ago. Our family members are all game players, but some are less interested in getting all the fiddly bits perfect than others. Smooth gameplay goes a long way towards helping everyone have a good time.
Our first time into the Rise of the KeyRacken gave us a bit of a pause as we tried to figure out exactly what on earth we were trying to do. We all know how to play the game, but what is our strategy? Are we assaulting the KeyRacken directly? Do we need to try and build a battle line? Are we going to try and forge any keys or just go straight through the armor? This, coupled with the confusion of learning how to run the KeyRacken’s turns, made the first several turns of our game a bit of a mess. Cards and tokens everywhere. No one really understanding what’s going on. It wasn’t great.
The KeyRacken, on the other hand, had no such qualms about its strategy and hit the ground running. Some of its first actions were to tack on upgrades that give it extra cards on each of its turns. Since the KeyRacken’s power is directly tied to playing cards, doubling the number of cards played every turn means things are going to get out of hand VERY quickly. I blame Tori’s shuffling skills. I let her shuffle the KeyRacken’s deck, and it let this guy rip out of the gate swinging. I really need to spend more time teaching her the finer points of messing up an opponent’s game with a good shuffle (note: this is a joke. It’s like when I tell Destiny people they should subscribe to my Patreon where I will teach them to roll dice better).
Despite the mess of the early game, we were able to get a grip when Melissa and I combined to thoroughly house one of the KeyRacken’s advancements. She managed to stick a Bombyx on the table while I helped it capture something like 20 aember just before the KR advanced. This six-armored up egg sat there like a giant turtle hoarding all that aember while we got our feet under us.
The mid-game saw us start to land some big shots on the KeyRacken’s body itself, mostly through Melissa’s Saurian monsters (who, incidentally, also let her start spending all that Bombyx aember forging her own keys). Tori’s Shadow cards and my triple Ritual of Balance worked to slow the KeyRacken’s advance, but there was only so much we could do before our opponent began advancing.
We went round and round the table doing work but weren’t quite able to prevent this horror from creeping ever closer towards laying waste to the Crucible. Things were looking pretty grim as we started our last trip around the table. Tori went first and had to do something, anything, to get the KeyRacken below 18 aember. With a bit of desperation in her plays, she was able to just barely accomplish that and punt to me. Now, with defeat looming even closer, I was able to once again just barely hang on to prolong the game one more round.
The final turn came around, and my wife was despondent. Tori and I had scrabbled and clawed and held off the KeyRacken’s last advance as best we could, but Melissa couldn’t keep the game up any longer. The KeyRacken had amassed an insane amount of aember and had a battle line that was multiple rows deep (this game can take up a lot of space). In frustration, she was about to toss her hand down and concede when I looked at her and said, “Honey, just play out your turn.” I didn’t know what was in her hand, but I knew the deck I’d given her. In exasperation, she called Star Alliance and proceeded to lay down her deck’s copy of Selective Preservation.
Turns out she’d completely forgotten about that little line on the bottom of the KeyRacken’s creatures that says, “When this card is destroyed, deal 3 damage to the KeyRacken”. After choosing a creature at each power level, I dramatically picked up each of the KeyRacken’s dudes, slapped them down in his bin, and said “3 damage to the KeyRacken. 3 damage to the KeyRacken. 3 damage to the KeyRacken…” With this one play, the KeyRacken from eight remaining health as it crashed over the world to us obliterating it with well over 100 damage.
It was an amazing victory! Melissa was the hero of the tale and saved all of the Crucible from destruction at the hands of the KeyRacken. Tori and I looked on as pleased sidekicks while all the denizens of the Crucible celebrated my lady’s victory.
Rise of the KeyRacken is a really fun way to spend an evening with the family. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to managing all the bits you have to keep track of, but after a few rounds you will get the hang of it and the game will flow much more smoothly. This is definitely one we will pull out again. If you’re looking for a high quality professionally printed version of this Adventure, please consider the Kingwood Hobbies printing.