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Keyforge: Call of the Archons


At the minimum, I do think the article from the back of the rulebook should be inserted into any conversation about the game.

As mentioned in the deck-building thread, I am super stoked for this.


I really liked this idea that any one deck might get balanced by dragging around chains to.new matches–but then I realized I misunderstood the rules.

If I’m reading correctly now, chain handicaps only apply to a single matchup, not universally. So if “Bob the Destroyer” has 4 chains against “Conan the Endomorph” because it consistently beats it–it will still have no chains versus untried Challenger “A.Nonymous the Mystery Man”.

I guess this makes sense, as “Bob” might be a specifically powerful deck versus “Conan”, but might have problems versus “A.Nonymous”. But then how do players account for a beast deck getting randomly generated?

I think the answer is that they’ve tuned the decks so that there won’t be any possibility of a universally overwhelming deck. In the match ups I’ve seen, I think that holds true–but it’s hard to predict it will always be true for quadrillions of decks…


Also there is a huge variance in player skill, so the quality of the deck is likely only about 50% of the equation.


This is why it appeals to me more so than say MtG or Heartstone constructed. I have always been much more of a “limited” format player. I am an infinite heartstone arena player, but have never got above rank 10 on the constructed ladder.

This is not exactly like most limited formats as there is no deck building from a limited pool of cards element, but there is the level playing field of everyone having more or less similar semi-constructed decks.

I look forward with interest to see how it pans out.


Also interestingly it creates a dynamic where if you win you can feel like an awesome player but if you lose there’s a huge space to blame the deck. Maybe that’s a good thing in creating a friendlier competitive atmosphere.

Actually that Garfield statement has made me more stoked to play the game. Imagine that there is a perfect deck: it probably won’t ever be made.

a previous worry was that you’d spend 10 pounds and it’d automatically be trash. But most likely is that every deck made will be there or thereabouts average.


I wonder about this. It feels like 504, in that it could be huge numbers of possible combinations that all feel relatively similar. It would be a very impressive trick to procedurally generate decks that both play very differently and are generally balanced in effectiveness.

If it can only be one, I’d prefer that they are wild and different


That’s not going to happen, surely?


I expect from what I have seen and read that each faction will have an identity, so you should have some idea what the opponents deck is about in general before you even play them, similar to Magic if you are facing a green, or white or whatever deck.

Obviously the devil is in the card details though, so games should still throw up surprises.


My speculation is the faction + rare cards are the important parts of a deck. The three factions will suggest how your likely overall game strategy. The rare cards in each deck will then be the powerful surprises that change the game to cater for a more specific strategy, but need the effective use of the weaker (and likely more generic) common cards to play well. The rare cards effectively give the deck an identity to hinge a play style around.

That would work within a randomised deck system without too many balancing issues, since the game only really has to put effort into balancing the rare cards. It would also be a decent compromise between variation and player skill in blind tournament, and two decks with the same faction.combinations could still play differently enough to matter by having different rare cards. That’s really essential if the randomised deck model is to work.


I think this is all true, and at least hope Garfield’s conjecture about no perfect deck neing made is true.

And, as far as being able to blame a deck–in some ways, that’s desirable, but if not, you could always play a mirror match. The better pilot should win both matches, or by a wider margin of aember/keys.


Richard Garfield has said somewhere that rarity does not equate to power. Maybe in the Dice Tower interview video. But I do agree that the rare cards will be where deck distinguishing features may come in.

I haven’t played myself but I’ve heard people that have been using the TableTop Simulator mod to play mention that all the decks they’ve seen feel very different (which are just based on random decks they’ve been able to scan the contents of). This sounds really promising for them all being “wild and different”!


There was some talks on BGG regarding how to make the most out of different decks and balance inbuilt deck power. The option I like being thrown around was play a best of 3 where you play your own decks, swap to play your opponents and finally play a third match and bid chains for whichever you perceive to be the most powerful/easy to pilot.

As well as seeming pretty fair and giving an edge to players with more skill you’d get to experience a wider array of decks!


I think the 504 comparison is inaccurate. That is a game with loads of different combinations of mechanics that will make different games. This is a single game where each deck is constrained by the rules of that game, despite the contents being different. I guess it will be like any CCG in that respect.


One of the things that seems really interesting to me is the price thing. My first thought was is there gonna be a good reason to buy an “upgrade” which costs £10 compared to a booster that costs £3? Having thought about it though clearly people don’t buy boosters one at a time. as far as I’m aware people buy entire cartons for the guaranteed single card per pack that’s “good” (I think). In this case you buy for £10 and you get something that’s definitely likely to be functional as a holistic thing rather than a gamble (like getting a super good card that doesn’t fit what you do).


The only comparison I suggested was that both things are creating a model and generating instances. Procedural generation of this kind can end up feeling samey. Instances could be rulesets, decks, individual cards, video game worlds, anything. I must stress that I don’t know that will be the case for this game, and given the designer’s track record, I’m optimistic.

I made the comparison just because I was wondering if I bought a handful of different Keyforge decks, will they end up feeling even more different to play as the MtG decks I have built by hand, all feel more or less the same, or at what point between?


Cool! That sounds promising, and I do have TTS.


BTW, they’re getting ready to do a KeyForge/Discover stream over on their Twitch page.


I may have sourced some scans to print proxies to try out this weekend. :no_mouth:


New article up today with a Richard Garfield interview talking about Keyforge.


I have to say, acknowledging the chance of disappointment, I’m still pretty hyped about the game.
The interview left me wondering about deck strength, though.
Will they be able to determine relative strength of each deck by the combinations of cards, using that magic algorithm, so it will be possible to register one’s deck and get to know how (relatively) powerful it is?
Because otherwise I’m not sure how deck strength is supposed to be determined, considering each deck is mostly going to be played by the same player, whose level of play will be determining win/loss-ratio probably as much as the interplay of the cards.