Roy and I had an opportunity for a short gaming session. We started off with Commands and Colors Napoleonics, then moved on to Keyforge.
This was a first outing for Roy with the Napoleonics version of Richard Borg’s hugely successful series. However, he had played the Ancients version, and was highly experienced with Memoir 44 (WW2) so had no trouble pitching in and playing away.
We played the Vimiero scenario, the August 1808 encounter between British and French forces (with a few Portuguese on the British side). I played the French, who were on the attack, with Roy manning the defense lines.
The scenario began with probes by the French forces which were bloodily repulsed. The victory goal was six banners (victory points). Roy had run up a two-nil lead before I even got close to a first banner.
My cards were awful, but then things changed when I drew the cavalry charge card. This allowed me to utilize my cavalry advantage – four units to two – and well and truly pile into the British lines. The killer was another wonderful card – supply lines or similar? – which allowed me to banish a key British artillery unit back to the baseline. In combination, this just was too much for the British. Although they fought hard, and did some damage, I surged ahead to a lead that was slowly converted into a win.
Next up, Keyforge. This is a game from the designer of Magic, the original collectible card game. Much of the core is similar – generate monsters and magic items, do damage, and win – by this is a very different game.
First, there is no collectible element. Every single deck in the world is unique.
Second, there is no deck building.
Third, the play doesn’t involve resources, but Houses. Each deck has cards from three Houses. Each turn, in essence, you can only use one your Houses. So, there are some tricky decisions to be made.
Fourth, you win not by eliminating the other guy, but by using the games currency – aember – to build three keys before your opponent.
Roy got off to a good start and set up a monster line of monsters. I slowly managed to get some of my team out, but Roy was soaring ahead in aember collection. He kept his lead and ran out an easy winner by three to one.
I like the accessibility of Keyforge. It’s easy and fast to play. But without the deck building, where is the skill? It will be interesting to see how this one fares, and whether there are further Keyforge type games.