For this week’s article, I wanted to talk about the value of playing casual KeyForge. Aside from it being a lot of fun, casual KeyForge provides many benefits for any player and can be the cornerstone to fostering a more close-knit local KeyForge community. The majority of the article will be looking at KeyForge in real life, but I will also touch upon playing casually online as well. So, without any further delay, I’m going to dive right in.

The casual game is often overlooked due to the competitive nature of a skill-based card game. Also, we all lead busy lives and making time to go out and play KeyForge is not always feasible at every opportunity, or maybe where you live creates this lack of opportunity to play. Another reason could also be that your local area only gets in one game night a week, so you want to spend that playing a Chainbound or another competitive format. But, even with that in mind, the reason I think a causal night in your local community is so crucial to its development comes from the more relaxed environment that is inherent in a casual format. You are not focused on the win in the same way as you would be during a tournament and the lack of time constraints allows for tabletop chit-chat, which also leads to you grow closer and develop relationships to the other players who participate in games with you during these events. You would be surprised how this kind of environment can lead to more growth of the game. 

The reason casual play has the potential for expanding the game is due to players playing with decks outside of their top-tier lineup. Players without truly top-tier decks aren’t getting smashed each week, thereby creating a more welcoming play opportunity. As competitive as you wish to be during tournaments, if you are bringing “the heat” week in and week out, consider a player who is consistently losing in a one-sided manner. They are most likely not enjoying themselves and this can lead to that player(s) quitting KeyForge altogether. Think about it. If you keep losing, badly, and are not having fun while playing, why would you continue playing that game? If you are looking to grow your community, you should keep this in mind; it could be a reason why the attendance dwindles for the game at any particular store or area and a lot of the time, the prizing for the game consists of a lot of fun, small prize-support items. Do you need to win every time with the same deck or even only your highest rated? Challenge yourself and bring something else out, it could lead to the maintenance and growth of your local meta. 

This brings me back to keeping it casual and having a casual night of KeyForge. If you offer an outlet for players to play different decks while not getting smashed by the top-tier decks, then these players who aren’t enjoying the local competitive nights have another time they can enjoy KeyForge. With this opportunity, perhaps they will not become disenfranchised with the game, which can lead to overall attendance drop in any given area. Even if players decide to stop coming to a weekly Chainbound archon as a result, but still show up to these other tournaments, they continue to be members of the KeyForge community. They could, potentially, still show up for more premiere events like Store Championships or Primes. This contributes to keeping a good attendance in your area and, in turn, strengthens the game. I think it’s safe to say that with KeyForge just being only a little over a year old, growing and fostering ways to keep player attendance up is crucial for the future of the game and any way you can make that happen is worthwhile.

Playing a casual game online is also a great way to connect with people in the community at large. Set up a game with people you get to know online and talk about playing decks in your collection with constraints, like no Dinos or even a lower SAS score specification. Using voice in Discord or Facebook Messenger gives you another layer of connectivity to your opponent and you can engage in some great banter during the game. This also creates familiarity, getting to know which players you enjoy playing with and provide the level of play you look for when playing KeyForge. As a bonus,you may have the opportunity to meet them in person at a Vault or other premiere event. 

That pretty much wraps up this article, I hope those of you who have never, or rarely, thought about the casual side of the game now have a new perspective and those who currently enjoy it can direct others to this article to help sell them on this format. If you wish to discuss this idea further, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram and Twitter, @blvdPAPERFIGHT. As always, may your æmber never be stolen, and your keys forged promptly. Have a good one!

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