Keyforge: Worlds Collide
- Designer: Richard Garfield
- Players: 2
- Time: ~30 min/games
- Played with review set provided by Asmodee NA
I am just catching up with the world of Keyforge, having recently just reviewed Age of Ascension, the second cardset for the game. Before I’ve even had a chance to grow weary of my initial four decks, I find that my tardiness to the world of Keyforge has once again put me behind the eight ball as decks for the next expansion have arrived on my doorstep!
I quickly broke open the new box to see what was new. As I have gone over the basics of the game in my previous review, I will not do that again here. If you are unfamiliar with the game, I’d recommend reading that review first.
As with the previous releases, you do not need to have any knowledge (or decks) from older sets to get started. You can pick up Keyforge: Worlds Collide and start playing. Per the press release from FFG, the decks here are balanced and can be played against any previous Keyforge deck.
To me, the biggest and most obvious change are the new Houses. What?! Yeah, that’s right – “Worlds Collide rotates out Mars and Sanctum to make way for the Saurian Republic and the Grand Star Alliance, but that does not mean that they are gone for good. The Crucible is ever-changing and evolving, and these beloved Houses will have the chance to return in future sets of the game!”
As you might guess, this change leads to an entirely new set of cards to be added to the Keyforge universe. Again, the actual set doesn’t really matter too much as each deck is meant to only be played with itself – but this does exponentially increase the number of possible unique decks that could be created. Per the website, there are 405 total cards available in this set, and some cards from the older sets are still included in the pool.
The other big change that you will quickly see is that there is a new card type, the Anomaly card. These cards are easy to see with a lightning bolt pattern on their periphery, and interestingly, these cards are not tied to any of the Houses. Thus, they are free to show up in any deck in this expansion. From what I can see, these cards have powerful and swingy powers, but these powers are balanced by the fact that their effects are usually not limited to your opponent’s cards, but instead, can affect any card in play.
In addition to the new cards, there are a few new mechanics that have been added to the mix. The first is “Enraging” – this status, which is marked with a cardboard chit – obligates the involved creature to fight on the owner’s turn, and once it attacks, the enrage counter is removed. This status leads to some interesting strategies where you can force an opponent’s creatures to attack, thus leaving them open to counterattacks. Enraged creatures also can’t use their abilities or reap; and this can be a powerful denying maneuver.
Another new facet is Warding. A Warded creature gets a Ward token placed on it, and this essentially acts as a one-time shield. If a Warded creature is defeated or forced to leave play, the Ward token is simply discarded and the creature remains in play.
The third new rule is Exalting. When you Exalt a creature, you place 1 Aember on the card from the general supply. While it stays on the card, it counts as being in your supply. However, this strategy is not without risk. If an Exalted creature leaves play, your opponent then takes control of the exalted Aember that was on the card. So, the whole thing is a risk/reward proposition. I have had some success with this strategy, but I have also lost a game in impressive fashion when I could not protect multiple-exalted creatures.
So, I’ll admit that I’m maybe not the best suited to review this new set as I’m not a veteran of the first two, but I will say that I have had fun exploring the new decks that I have. I now have a few decks from each of the three sets, and as of yet, I have not found any one of my various decks to be overpowering in relation to the others. It’s nice to see that there is flexibility within the system to allow new rules to be cycled into play, and an expansion like this certainly promises the prospect of new cards and mechanisms to be added in the future.
The new mechanics added to the system give a little more depth in strategy, and I think it is an improvement – though it does make things a bit more complex to learn, so there is that trade-off. But, I’m all for more variety in the game, and as I said, my group has yet to find any of my decks vastly superior to any other.
While I haven’t embraced Keyforge in the same way that I latched onto Magic: the Gathering, my pocketbook really does appreciate the way in which I can get a marvelously varied game at about $10/deck. Furthermore, as each deck remains an independent object, there really is no rarity issue nor secondary market. There’s nothing to chase here. If you wanted, you could own a single Keyforge deck, and pull it out anytime someone wanted to duel, and you’d never have to pay another dime to be able to participate. And, I love the fact, that so far, the newer expansions have not made any older decks obsolete. For me, it scratches the itch to play a CCG without having to head back down the rabbit hole.
Until your next appointment
The Callipygious Gaming Doctor