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WonderWAAAGH

KeyForge: Gateway to CCGs?

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I know there's been some divided talk about whether KeyForge is capable of dethroning other dominant card games, or if it simply fills a niche of its own unique creation. I know there's also been some recent talk about the player base being divided between the haves and have-nots (or those with 3 decks versus those with 30), which I find analogous to splurging on chase singles. The question I'm posing is thus: as much as KeyForge might be beloved at present for its novel take on the genre, is the long term consequence going to be a push back toward customizable card games?

Hear me out. I know many players, even those who've never counted themselves as WotC fans, bemoaning the inability to swap just a few of their cards out of a given deck. Sacrificial Altar with no humans? Too bad for you. Disappointed by the Biomatrix Backup ruling? That sucks, deal with it... or go buy a new deck. It really only takes one card to ruin what should have been an otherwise entertaining experience. There's a solution, sure, but I don't know many people who aren't left with a serious case of the feels-bads. And, frankly, the idea of a game with "chase decks" - while novel - has already been discussed to some degree, and is a bit beyond the scope of what I'm trying to discuss here anyways. 

I suspect that people will eventually realize they can scratch that itch by moving on to other games. That other game may or may not be Magic, but the supposed barrier to entry becomes slightly less daunting once you've dabbled for a bit in the kiddie pool. It's also not as expensive as you think it might be, given some of the recent entry points into various formats. The pre-constructed commander decks, for example, cost the same as a KeyForge starter and can be cheaply upgraded with inexpensive format staples. That's a level of balance and gratification that KeyForge might never achieve. 

Let's be clear: I'm not suggesting that KeyForge will wither and die as a result of this long term consequence. Having uniquely balanced decks at a reasonable price is a strong incentive for weekly sealed events, even if it does sometimes lead to the King Arthur effect. I do, however, think that some players - not all - will grow to a point of dissatisfaction that compels them to seek entertainment elsewhere, and that customizability will play a critical role in such a move.    

Thoughts? 

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Keyforge offers an experience you just can't get with other card games. It is like the early days of MTG (that will never return). You get to play what would be considered Jank in MTG and since everyone is pretty much in the same boat that Jank can be not just goofy and fun, but effective.

I think the biggest factor in doing well in Keyforge is something most over look. Adaptability. Being adaptable is hands down far more important than having 1 bad card in your deck. Even the alter with no humans is not dead. It gives you an aember.

Any game where you have control over your deck list WILL fall prey to netdecking. While netdecking can help to even the playing field it creates narrow metas. Some are fine with that. Some find that the game gets boring when it is that predictable. For example in MTG. If your opponent has 2 white mana and 2 other mana open and you are going to attack, do you go all in? Lets say you have no counter play in hand (IE not playing blue or have no counter spells in hand). Do you attack with everything even though he has no blockers? Why or why not?

With the way decks work in Keyforge I find that playing two different decks produces a vastly different experience when facing off against a single deck. Its far less predictable and way more exciting. Time will tell if this can persist. I think the 2 minute review of the opponents deck list diminishes this but not entirely.

Additionally I personally find the game play and chess like feel of Keyforge is great. I love MTG, Netrunner, L5R, Jyhad/VTES, Doomtown and many others. But none have ever really just caught my interest as much as Keyforge. I think a lot of it is because the space is so undefined and unlikely to become as rigid as those more established games with pre-constructed decks that are optimized to the most minute level. 

Most of my games of Keyforge have felt like a chess match with an ever moving target. It's a puzzle that keeps moving the goal post on you. From turn to turn your plans change. Its just always so exciting, and that has persisted after over 100 games. With something like MTG or Jyhad I often know exactly what I need to do from turn to turn even before the game starts.

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58 minutes ago, Krashwire said:

Keyforge offers an experience you just can't get with other card games. It is like the early days of MTG (that will never return). You get to play what would be considered Jank in MTG and since everyone is pretty much in the same boat that Jank can be not just goofy and fun, but effective.

That's actually exactly what the limited format in Magic is like. There's a completely different dynamic to playing with what you crack from a pack versus constructing a deck, and that's the aspect of KeyForge that makes it endearing, though not altogether unique. 

 

58 minutes ago, Krashwire said:

Most of my games of Keyforge have felt like a chess match with an ever moving target. It's a puzzle that keeps moving the goal post on you. From turn to turn your plans change. Its just always so exciting, and that has persisted after over 100 games. With something like MTG or Jyhad I often know exactly what I need to do from turn to turn even before the game starts.

I would argue that constructed formats are no less like chess than KeyForge. Knowing what the various pieces in your deck do and having a plan to use them doesn't make Magic somehow non-interactive. You still have to play the board.

Edited by WonderWAAAGH

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I hate Magic, but when I started getting into Keyforge in August, I did start checking out other CCGs like Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. The problem is that once there is a meta, I am really bad about understanding it, and making the decisions of what cards to put into my deck feels like I am at work building a spreadsheet. I have to do a lot of that when I have lists of cards I am trying to balance for my own games. When I play games, I want to play the game and not pore over statistics and spend a ton of time in excel. Because the net result of that effort is usually a deck that doesn't actually work in the meta, rather than a new game to play that I invented.

I'm definitely going to play more ccg's because of keyforge though, if still at a pretty shallow level. It brought the genre to my attention again.

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Happy to oblige 👍

I played magic for about 5 minutes, back in the day (1997?) - the CCG format never grabbed me, and I dislike deckbuilding, I also dislike the slavery to the meta, etc etc. So, no not a gateway drug for me.

l like LCGs though, Lotr and Arkham.

Edited by Daft Blazer

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In my opinion, @saluk64007 hit the nail on the head. While I did enjoy deck construction in MTG, it often felt like I was fighting the meta. @WonderWAAAGH has mentioned the “feels-bads” several times, and not feeling like I could pursue my own creativity in the construction without coming up short against net decks was a huge case of the feels-bads for me. While I was fortunate enough to play in limited tournaments once or twice (and actually did well and very much enjoyed it), my LGS primarily hosted standard, so the construction frustration (and huge time investment) was a constant weight.

In contrast, KeyForge offers the feel of MTG’s limited format as a primary feature, albeit without deck building. Furthermore, I can count on experiencing that feeling consistently whenever my LGS hosts a KeyForge event instead of feeling like my favorite format is only hosted occasionally.

To directly address the OP, no, I don’t think the pushback will be towards customization. I anticipate people who strongly desire deck building will switch to deck building games, and people who can’t or don’t want to spend time on construction will stick with KeyForge.

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11 minutes ago, Daft Blazer said:

Happy to oblige 👍

I played magic for about 5 minutes, back in the day (1997?) - the CCG format never grabbed me, and I dislike deckbuilding, I also dislike the slavery to the meta, etc etc. So, no not a gateway drug for me.

l like LCGs though, Lotr and Arkham.

That's certainly fair, since LCGs maintain that aspect of customizability. I would just add that, even without a meta, FFG's cooperative properties can still lend themselves to net-decking. 

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22 hours ago, WonderWAAAGH said:

I know there's been some divided talk about whether KeyForge is capable of dethroning other dominant card games, or if it simply fills a niche of its own unique creation. I know there's also been some recent talk about the player base being divided between the haves and have-nots (or those with 3 decks versus those with 30), which I find analogous to splurging on chase singles. The question I'm posing is thus: as much as KeyForge might be beloved at present for its novel take on the genre, is the long term consequence going to be a push back toward customizable card games?

Hear me out. I know many players, even those who've never counted themselves as WotC fans, bemoaning the inability to swap just a few of their cards out of a given deck. Sacrificial Altar with no humans? Too bad for you. Disappointed by the Biomatrix Backup ruling? That sucks, deal with it... or go buy a new deck. It really only takes one card to ruin what should have been an otherwise entertaining experience. There's a solution, sure, but I don't know many people who aren't left with a serious case of the feels-bads. And, frankly, the idea of a game with "chase decks" - while novel - has already been discussed to some degree, and is a bit beyond the scope of what I'm trying to discuss here anyways. 

I suspect that people will eventually realize they can scratch that itch by moving on to other games. That other game may or may not be Magic, but the supposed barrier to entry becomes slightly less daunting once you've dabbled for a bit in the kiddie pool. It's also not as expensive as you think it might be, given some of the recent entry points into various formats. The pre-constructed commander decks, for example, cost the same as a KeyForge starter and can be cheaply upgraded with inexpensive format staples. That's a level of balance and gratification that KeyForge might never achieve. 

Let's be clear: I'm not suggesting that KeyForge will wither and die as a result of this long term consequence. Having uniquely balanced decks at a reasonable price is a strong incentive for weekly sealed events, even if it does sometimes lead to the King Arthur effect. I do, however, think that some players - not all - will grow to a point of dissatisfaction that compels them to seek entertainment elsewhere, and that customizability will play a critical role in such a move.    

Thoughts? 

No.

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If I feel the need to play a game with deckbuilding then it's not going to be Magic.  Plenty of games out there that I find more enjoyable than Magic, even the blatant Magic rip-offs like Eternal and Hex.

The only format I enjoy for MTG is draft.  Taking decks comprises of all commons to the local standard play nights is pretty fun too.  Once MtGArena hits the iPad I doubt I'll ever play paper magic again.......

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23 hours ago, Krashwire said:

If your opponent has 2 white mana and 2 other mana open and you are going to attack, do you go all in?

Smells like Settle the Wreckage. Someone was playing standard recently...

 

I'm in a standby with Magic because the prices here in Brazil are absurd. For now I'll just play prerelease events and those rare drafts in my LGS (very expensive to draft here...). That leaves me with commander. There's no clear meta for non-competitive commander and that gives you more freedom in deckbuilding. I like to have my pool of singletons and be like "I want to try this as a cmdr" and then search for cards and new strategies.

KeyForge got my attention for the idea of learning how to use your unique deck, be creative in different situations (much like commander games almost always presents different situations). I think if the game is good it will probably last. Don't know about other card games, but return to Magic is not a simple task here.

Those are two different creativities that I like: a) The deckbuilding from MTG commander (because it's not restritive as other MTG formats), and sealed; b) The in game situations in KF that you've never faced before, like a puzzle you have to solve.

Both? Both? Both. Both is good.

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Of course some people will grow into other games and some ccg players who like deck building will give it up. However, it won’t be in numbers detrimental to KeyForge.

Your question is coming from the perspective of a MtG or other ccg player. As long as you view KeyForge through the lens of your past experience with ccg’s these questions  will always exist. KeyForge is different enough to be its own thing. The vast majority of people who play and like the game will eventually come to accept it for what it is and not stress over how it is different from what they currently accept as normal for card games.

It is very human look at the unknown or future  through the lens of our past experiences. It is also very human to adapt and embrace new ideas. I think most of us will start with the former and end with the latter. Remember, MtG was new and mind blowing before it became accepted as the norm for card game design.

Edited by Starbane

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5 minutes ago, Starbane said:

Of course some people will grow into other games and some ccg players who like deck building will give it up. However, it won’t be in numbers detrimental to KeyForge.

Your question is coming from the perspective of a MtG or other ccg player. As long as you view KeyForge through the lens of your past experience with ccg’s these questions  will always exist. KeyForge is different enough to be its own thing. The vast majority of people who play and like the game will eventually come to accept it for what it is and not stress over how it is different from what they currently accept as normal for card games.

It is very human look at the unknown or future  through the lens of our past experiences. It is also very human to adapt and embrace new ideas. I think most of us will start with the former and end with the latter. Remember, MtG was new and mind blowing before it became accepted as the norm for card game design.

All well and good, but a little beside the point. Are you suggesting that people who enjoy KeyForge won't feel even the tiniest bit bitter that they can't swap out one or two cards, regardless of their experience with other card games?

Let's take Magic out of the equation for a moment. I own a grand total of 5 KeyForge decks, 2 of which are the starters. One of those decks has double Curiosity in it. In your opinion, how should that make me feel, and what should I do about it? 

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Just now, Starbane said:

I’m suggesting that once they come to accept it for what it is those feelings will recede to the point of being meaningless.

How do I "come to accept it for what it is," though? Am I accepting that the game has its shortcomings, or am I accepting that I might have just wasted $10? Unless someone puts that money back in my pocket, those feelings aren't going anywhere. I can also very easily accept those shortcomings and just move on, as I've already done with several other FFG properties. 

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Who says not being able to deck build is a shortcoming and not a strength or just neutral?

if you accept you can’t deck build you’ll probably learn to accept the fact there is a card or two in your deck you don’t like. That is hardly an end of the word situation. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all.

If you aren’t going to be satisfied until you get the exact deck you want, you’ll have major problems with KeyForge.

I am saying more people will end up accepting that the design of KeyForge prohibits changing their deck than will become disillusioned and leave.

KeyForge isn’t a deck building game. Quit thinking of it as one. Evaluate it based on what it is. That’s all I’m saying.

Edited by Starbane

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Yeah I think not being completely happy with a deck, and wondering what else is out there, is part of the "magic" (pardon the pun) of the game. Once you have a deck where you wouldn't change a card... you're kind of done right? If you could change cards, that gets you to the end too quick.

Not everyone will feel that. Wanting to be in complete control of your mastery of a game is a preference for some. Others are more about the experience. Keyforge feels more aimed at that second type of gamer to me.

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9 minutes ago, Starbane said:

Who says not being able to deck build is a shortcoming and not a strength or just neutral?

if you accept you can’t deck build you’ll probably learn to accept the fact there is a card or two in your deck you don’t like. That is hardly an end of the word situation. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all.

If you aren’t going to be satisfied until you get the exact deck you want, you’ll have major problems with KeyForge.

I am saying more people will end up accepting that the design of KeyForge prohibits changing their deck than will become disillusioned and leave.

KeyForge isn’t a deck building game. Quit thinking of it as one. Evaluate based on  what it is. That’s all I’m saying.

Not being able to deck build isn't a shortcoming; getting stuck with unwanted or useless cards is.

I don't think you're following me. I am in no way advocating for KeyForge to be something that it's not, nor am I saying that it isn't fun for what it is. What I am saying is that some players definitely wish there was a way to adjust one or two of those cards, and since there's no native outlet for that within KeyForge they'll have to go elsewhere for that experience. So yes, while for some it will "recede into nothingness," for many others it will prove an obstacle and source of frustration. It's not especially productive to assume that everyone who comes to KeyForge understands at the outset what they're getting into, or that they'll be so easy to forgive once they do.  

21 minutes ago, saluk64007 said:

Once you have a deck where you wouldn't change a card... you're kind of done right?

With that deck, sure. Any given deck offers a player 3 out of the 7 houses, and from each of those only 12 individual cards apiece. That's a pretty small sample size if someone's looking for a more complete experience. There's very little guarantee that you'll get the factions you want let alone the cards, and then you have some real standout duds that could easily spoil your fun. How much money are you investing before you get that one deck combination that suits your preferences? How much for a small collection of them across the various houses?  

 

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1 hour ago, WonderWAAAGH said:

Not being able to deck build isn't a shortcoming; getting stuck with unwanted or useless cards is.

I don't think you're following me. I am in no way advocating for KeyForge to be something that it's not, nor am I saying that it isn't fun for what it is. What I am saying is that some players definitely wish there was a way to adjust one or two of those cards, and since there's no native outlet for that within KeyForge they'll have to go elsewhere for that experience. So yes, while for some it will "recede into nothingness," for many others it will prove an obstacle and source of frustration. It's not especially productive to assume that everyone who comes to KeyForge understands at the outset what they're getting into, or that they'll be so easy to forgive once they do.  

 

 

I never in any of my comments assumed everyone would know what they’re getting into or adapt to it. I specifically said it would lose people because of it. My contention throughout has been it won’t be enough to be detrimental to the success of Keyforge.

My reason was because more people will lose the ccg paradigm we currently apply to card games accept KeyForge for what it is.

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4 hours ago, WonderWAAAGH said:

All well and good, but a little beside the point. Are you suggesting that people who enjoy KeyForge won't feel even the tiniest bit bitter that they can't swap out one or two cards, regardless of their experience with other card games?

For sure. It doesn't mean it's a good idea.

When someone wants to switch out an "useless" card, what counts as "useless" is different from person to person, and what someone else wants to swap in could be of a much higher power level than you think is "fair". You see it in Magic, where people build their spicy homebrews, expecting to beat the netdecks, and believing that there is a difference between them. A lot of "Johnnies" believe that any given format has dozens of potential decks, which only require an intelligent player (that's them) to find them. But in reality (and especially in the past decade), sets are being released already 'solved', with a greater focus on creatures and cards that say "all" or "X" being much more limited in potential. 

There are a lot of potential fans who would be happier with Keyforge if they would accept that most CCGs are solved, and that they aren't going to be the genius who homebrews the best deck all by themselves.

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For me it is the opposite, I've always been on the fence about getting into an LGC or CCG, because I do like the gameplay-loop (played HS since its beta, KeyForge killed my interest in that, though), but the financial aspect and the gravitation towards at most 5 viable decks in the majority of them always turned me off. Deckbuilding is not actually a thing anymore, it died when the internet spread, so it isn't something I'll ever miss. In fact I enjoy that in KeyForge you see a much larger part of the card pool consistently, since you can't chose what your good cards are paired with.

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22 hours ago, WonderWAAAGH said:

Not being able to deck build isn't a shortcoming; getting stuck with unwanted or useless cards is.

I don't think you're following me. I am in no way advocating for KeyForge to be something that it's not, nor am I saying that it isn't fun for what it is. What I am saying is that some players definitely wish there was a way to adjust one or two of those cards, and since there's no native outlet for that within KeyForge they'll have to go elsewhere for that experience. So yes, while for some it will "recede into nothingness," for many others it will prove an obstacle and source of frustration. It's not especially productive to assume that everyone who comes to KeyForge understands at the outset what they're getting into, or that they'll be so easy to forgive once they do.  

With that deck, sure. Any given deck offers a player 3 out of the 7 houses, and from each of those only 12 individual cards apiece. That's a pretty small sample size if someone's looking for a more complete experience. There's very little guarantee that you'll get the factions you want let alone the cards, and then you have some real standout duds that could easily spoil your fun. How much money are you investing before you get that one deck combination that suits your preferences? How much for a small collection of them across the various houses?  

 

Ok, I see what you are saying. I do think there will be a contigent of keyforge players who come in because it's approachable, get the inkling to switch cards around without fully enjoying or buying into the fact that finding the deck they would like to put together will require trading, buying a deck on secondary, or buying a bunch of random decks until they find it. From there, it's reasonable to assume they may opt to look for a game that does allow the customization they are actually looking for - even if they didn't realize that's what they wanted at first.

Which is super cool! The flow can definitely be both ways.

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