Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chris and Nathan Review Key Harvest

by Chris McGin-Key and Harvesthan Stout

CHRIS: Nathan and I played a new game Saturday night. It was called Key Master. No, it was Finders Key-pers. No, it was Key Harvest. No, yes, maybe. Nathan can inform you as to manufacturer and such things. And the story behind buying the game.

NATHAN: The game is by Rio Grande games. I am guessing it's a German company. Anyway I was browsing the clearance section of Amazon when I ran across a few games I recognized at some really REALLY cheap prices. Key Harvest was 14.53 (71% off)! I also picked up Cleopatra And The Society of Architects for 17.49 (65% off) and The Bridges of Shangri-La for 7.75 (82% off). These were such good deals I couldn't pass them up. Before I bought them I did check them out on Board Game Geek (the definitive gaming site).

CHRIS: As fair warning, we’re writing our parts completely separately, so any resemblance to actual conversation is luck.

NATHAN: Thanks for ruining the magic there McGinty...

CHRIS: When I arrived at Nathan’s he had the game laid out and it reminded me of another game he owns called Carrcassoine (he can totally spell check that for me.)


NATHAN: I did, it's spelled Carcassonne. Anyone who knows anything about France can tell you this (especially Google).


CHRIS: They are tile based games and use no cards. They are also games where you spend most of the game trying to achieve points, but only have a simplistic idea of how many points you have total until the end of the game. Nathan handed me the rulebook, which was so confusing that it felt like I was reading German. And actually I was. He handed me the English version and pointed out that it was written with British sensibility: colour, favourite, labour… And at that I give the game five stars. No need for further review.

NATHAN: The German writing on the instruction book and the back of every piece gave the clue Rio Grande games was from Germany. I would often begin reading the German on the back of the tiles then correct myself. I am sure Chris loved that.

CHRIS: Our first game we had to forfeit after a few turns, because we were having issues with the phrasing of some of the rules. After a quick look up online for simpler explanations we started playing what we believed to be the right way to play. By the end of the game we both realized that once you got the rules straight it was a pretty straightforward game, though we will have to play it a few times more I’m sure before we don’t have to refer to the rulebook a number of times in the course of play. Also the game seems to have a pretty good balance between luck and strategy.

NATHAN: I feel it's more strategy than luck. It really didn't take THAT much learning. I have had games like Shogun (the old Milton Bradley one, not the newer one) and games like Axis and Allies where it took FOREVER to figure out rules. This wasn't too bad. In the game manual they also had a column on the right side of the page that summed up all the lengthy instruction. There was only like two things we couldn't really figure out and had to reference the web for. Where did we go you ask, well we went to Board Game Geek of course!

CHRIS: We played twice. The first time Nathan won by two points. The second time I was 20 points down. Not sure if he picked up on it faster or if it was luck of the draw on what field tiles came up. I do know that my groups were too tightly clustered, and it made it hard to play the 4 and 5 point workers (if you ever play you’ll understand what I mean.) But since the player mostly chooses what field tiles to play, that was my doing.

NATHAN: I like to think it was strategy. I knew where the points were and I went for them! The game is basically a race to fill in your map by buying tiles. The more tiles you can have adjacent to each other the more points you get.

CHRIS: All in all I have a positive view of the game. It has a bit of a learning curve (as somebody somewhere put it) but if you have the patience to learn it (which I barely had) you get a good gaming experience out of it. I do look forward to playing it again, and scouring the rules to see what we were still doing wrong.

NATHAN: I think the rules were pretty straightforward and we aren't missing anything. It will be neat to see what it is like with three or more people playing though.

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