Have you tried three-player KeyForge yet? It is one of the most fun ways to play the game! In this shorter article today, I’m going to take this opportunity to go over some of the finer points of this multiplayer format, and why it is such a fantastic casual way to play the great game of KeyForge.
Firstly, when you’re playing KeyForge and an odd number of people have shown up to a casual night, it sucks being that one player sitting out while everyone else plays. Having a game going with three people keeps everyone playing all the time, and allows you to potentially play a deck that is not the greatest in a one vs one setting, but with multiple opponents really shines! So start digging through your collection and look for cards that affect multiple targets or each player. I see a future for this type of game growing, and I wanted to make sure the community was fully aware of this format and to give it a try.
Let’s go over the rules that differ when playing with three players, since there are some situations that need to be addressed, and slightly altered for this format. To start the game, high roll a dice to determine who goes first, and proceed to play clockwise from that player who won the roll. If you wish to play a faster less drawn-out game, I recommend two keys forged for the win. Three key forgings can really make the game go long, and with only two keys needed, it really puts the pressure on to make moves when someone forges that first key and provides a more interesting game.
Now, the most significant change in three-player KeyForge is the mechanic of Capture. When a creature Captures æmber, whoever kills that creature gets the æmber, except for the player who captured it. If they sacrifice one of their own creatures with captured æmber, or they destroy it with their own board wipe, then the æmber goes back to the original owner. This creates a much more interesting strategy around Capture, as you could put the player who didn’t lose æmber in a prime position to steal that.
Certain cards allow you to distribute damage or other effects amongst multiple targets, and in three-player KeyForge, you can do this between the two opponents you are facing. You can also split up which creatures fight which opponent, choosing specific threats between your other two opponents. I’ve found at the start of the game, most attacks are spread evenly between the opposition, but as the game progresses, the true threat emerges, and that will not always be the case.
In my opinion, the best part of this multiplayer format is finding a select group of cards that have the word “each” in their text. This one word creates those cards to have a much stronger effect on the game/board state, as they hit more than one opponent. You will start to notice some cards seem a lot better with this multiplayer effect happening. The best example is Doorstep To Heaven, followed closely by cards like Champion’s Challenge and Mars Needs Æmber. A card that can make games really silly, is Grump Buggy, as each player is contributing to the other, essentially causing a two-player 5+ power creature count to be in effect. Just ridiculous, but it can be kind of fun!
Something that was unforeseen, but a great discovery when playing three-player KeyForge is the table banter. MTG Commander players will be familiar with this aspect, the politicking with the other player to stop a third player from running away with the game, then that being followed up by the player being targeted saying their peace as to why that shouldn’t happen is such an amazing part of this gaming experience! Throughout the game, this back-and-forth usually happens among all players at some point or another, and it is this aspect of the game that makes it a lot more social, increasing the level of strategy involved beyond just the cards in your deck and how you play them. So get your poker faces on as you try and convince your opponents to make moves in your favor.
If the game is being played in a fair manner, with each player working with each other, to stop a third player forging, then essentially all players should be close to winning the game within one turn of each other, or at least two of the three players should be. The idea isn’t to gang up on one player, but everyone works together to keep the game going until essentially two of the three players don’t have any answers to put the other player off a key. It’s a very different end game from one-on-one, but so much fun to play with friends or in a casual setting. I hope you take some time during your next casual night to try this format out. If you have played this before and have some other rule changes or suggestions for greater success in this format, I would love to hear about it. Comment below, or reach to me directly on twitter @blvdPAPERFIGHT.
While at the NOVA Open KeyForge Grand Championships, I had an opportunity to teach some new friends the 3 player format. One new aspect came up that is not addressed above, and that was that when you can “Steal 3” or “Capture 3” it does not all have to come from the same opponent. This makes for much more interesting gameplay decisions, and should be utilized if you ever play 3 player KeyForge. Hope you all enjoy playing some 3 player casual! Stay Forging!