KeyFOrge image from FFG's website

Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new card game they will be releasing this year called KeyForge. I think this card game sounds like the most interesting modern card game I've ever heard of. First of all, the designer is Richard Garfield. Richard is the designer of the world's first and still most popular collectible card game, Magic The Gathering.

In collectible card games you construct your deck by buying blind packs of cards. The cards in each booster pack you buy are randomly generated from the total pool of cards available for purchase. Some cards are great and some are basically worthless. As a buyer you have no idea what you are buying when you buy a pack, which results in a gambling mentality. You can, however, buy cards from other players in a secondary market, at a serious price increase usually, if you really need one particular card to make your deck competitive. This monetary gambling mentality does not appeal to me personally and so I don't play any of those types of games in tournaments. The games are fun to play casually, however. Magic itself is a great game if you just buy some starter packs and a random assortment of used common cards to mess around with at home. The same also goes for Pokemon, another CCG aimed at children, or Heroclix, a collectible miniatures game. To stop all tournaments from becoming a simple matter of the richest person winning, collectible games also have a drafting format that can be done. In a drafting format players purchase sealed packs of cards or miniatures and then do the best they can in the tournament with whatever they happen to have gotten randomly. The problem with this is that players can end up with wildly different strength decks in the tournament.

As a way to mitigate the gambling aspects of those types of games Fantasy Flight has been putting out what are called Living Card Games for the last several years. In these games the card packs are not random or hidden. The players know exactly what cards are in each deck they are purchasing. However, the companies are sure to put one or two valuable cards in each expansion deck to entice the competitive players to buy every single expansion that comes out. Expansions tend to come out monthly in these games. So it can still become an immense money sink if you want to play in tournaments

Taking these things into consideration what makes Keyforge so exciting is that there is no deckbuidling in this game at all. You only buy full decks at a time. However, each deck you buy is completely different from every other deck in existence. There are never any duplicate decks sold. Not only that but each deck is supposedly completely competitive based on a computerized algorithmic card selection process that is used to create each deck. Decks have a handicapping system which offsets the possibility of someone getting a megapowerful deck. Also, cards cannot be added to these decks at all. They are 100% self-contained. So this completely takes the monetary gambling aspect out of the game, as well as the exhorbitantly priced secondary market. FFG is promising that each player will become the master at playing their individual, completely unique deck. Nobody else in the world will have their deck so there will be no deck copying going on by players. This means there is no reason to keep buying card packs and expansions other than you as a player wanting variety in your deck choices. No more of a minimum financial outlay in the hundreds of dollars to get just one competitive deck. Each KeyForge deck has an MSRP of $9.95. The core starter set, which includes the tokens used in play as well as two original decks and two non-original training decks, has an MSRP of $39.95. So in real terms that means the starter set will be about $30 at retail and the single decks will be about $8 each.

FFG says the manufacturing technology has not existed until now to be able to pull off this type of game. So this represents a true evolution in game production

I really hope this game is everything they are promising. If it is, it will definately become a game I would do in a school club. And I and my children will certainly play it as well.