2 / 5
Keyforge is massively hyped because it was designed by renowned father of CCG, Richard Garfield. However, I can’t get into this game due to three major flaws: lack of immersion, lack of interaction, and the illusion of choice.
The win condition lacks immersion–just mcguffin with no consequences. No personal attachment or drive. In other games, players fight over the same resources or protect something that has value, like territory that grants resources and bonuses. Here, amber and keys have no value, just a trophy.
Actions don’t feel impactful or rewarding. Creatures have two main uses: fight and reap. Here fight is extremely simple, but lack the intricacies and depth of combat in other card game. Moreover, the opportunity costs and rewards for fighting are rarely conducive to your strategy. Generally reap is more productive than defeating opponent’s creatures. Yet reap is also extremely simple, banal action. Basically turn the card and gain an amber. Whoop-de-doo. Consequently, the main actions in this game lack strong emotional and gameplay impact.
All combo decks. Can win just by reaping and not worry about opponent’s board. Ironic because majority of Magic players hate combo decks–mainly because of non-interaction. Here the entire concept is combo and non-interaction, yet people love and embrace this game.
Illusion of choice. Reduces interaction between cards. Reduces amount of choices you can realistically take. You choose 1 of 3 house at the beginning of the turn. So on average 2/3 (math?) of the cards don’t interact with each other.
Thus they boldly advertise the game using gimmicks of absurdly large numbers of unique decks. First of all, the number of unique decks is not more than other card games. They are more or less the same, depending on card pool and deckbuilding constraints. The only thing different is how the decks are built. Keyforge decks are built by computers; other CCGs decks are built by humans.
Secondly, the more important number is the amount of interactions during gameplay. This is dependent on the size of the card pool, the size of the decks, and the amount of cards on the board and in the hand. As the game and board state progresses, even if your entire deck is on the board, though, a player will always seem hampered to due the rule to choose 1 of 3 houses. Thus the amount of interactions in Keyforge will be way lower relatively to other games with similar board states, but are not limited to 1/3 rule.