Locke & Key: The Game
Locke & Key: The Game is an interactive card game based off the Eisener winning graphic novel by Joe Hill. This dark fantasy novel about Keyhouse, a mysterious mansion in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, is filled with creepy characters and spooky keys with supernatural powers.
No prior knowledge of the story is necessary to play the game but if you have read the series you will probably enjoy the game much more since the thematic components in game will have more meaning.
The game comes with 184 cards total, a large initiative token, and the customary Cryptozoic cardboard standee.
There are several types of cards in the game, key cards, strength cards, and challenge cards. The physical card stock feels standard and the print quality is very nice. Cards have illustrations from the graphic novel which may seem quite strange for those unfamiliar with the story. If you’re a fan of comic book artist Gabriel Rodriguez you won’t be disappointed as most of the card’s real estate is dedicated to his work.
The key cards are what shine in this game — literally. Each is covered with a luminescent foil and grant the wielder special abilities (that part is not literal, durp). Cryptozoic did a great job designing the key cards to look and feel special.
The game mechanics in Locke & Key are interesting and have a semi-cooperative element. Players will be using their resources (strength cards) to cooperatively defeat challenges in competitive fashion. The gameplay is interactive but not in a ‘take-that’ kind of way. It is a game of deciphering what other players are up to and positioning yourself to reap the max reward. Some players may try and team up while others will take on challenges solo.
How it works
Each player will have a starting hand of strength cards. Strength cards come in 3 colors and have a number that indicates their strength. Some of the strength cards have additional abilities that could potentially come into play.
At the start of a round a challenge card is overturned. To beat the challenge players must collectively commit strength cards of the same color to the strength. This is sort of like battling one of the bosses in Defenders of the Realm but with some key differences.
The amount of strength each player contributes to a challenge is a secret, which adds a bluffing element and players will be looking at each other suspiciously. Players will be kept on edge until everyone reveals their cards.
The key cards players acquire will allow them to do special actions during their turn or after all cards have been revealed. For example, adding more strength to your play, changing the color of a strength card so you can use it towards the challenge, and other actions that add more fun and unpredictability to the game.
Only one person will actually win the victory points for defeating the challenge but there is also a second place reward. With that said, the game experience is very different depending on the number of players. With three players challenges are more difficult to overcome but with less competition rewards like key cards are easier to earn. More players isn’t necessarily better, it’s just different.
Who would enjoy this?
Locke & Key is very different from most card games that usually involve punishing other players and keeping them down. The cooperative element of this game and the really cool key cards make this game unique, and yet competitive.
Because Locke & Key: The Game has a cool theme and can be learned quickly, this game will have a lot of appeal to comic book fans who are new to gaming. It is a fun and attractive card game with a bit of a twist, fans and newcomers to the series will not be disappointed.
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