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Keyflower - Board Game Box Shot


Keyflower is a game for two to six players played over four rounds. Each round represents a season: spring, summer, autumn, and finally winter. Each player starts the game with a "home" tile and an initial team of eight workers, each of which is colored red, yellow, or blue. Workers of matching colors are used by the players to bid for tiles to add to their villages. Matching workers may alternatively be used to generate resources, skills and additional workers, not only from the player's own tiles, but also from the tiles in the other players' villages and from the new tiles being auctioned.

In spring, summer, and autumn, more workers will arrive on board the Keyflower and her sister boats, with some of these workers possessing skills in the working of the key resources of iron, stone, and wood. In each of these seasons, village tiles are set out at random for auction. In the winter, no new workers arrive, and the players select the village tiles for auction from those they received at the beginning of the game. Each winter village tile offers VPs for certain combinations of resources, skills, and workers. The player whose village and workers generate the most VPs wins the game.

User Reviews (5)

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120 of 128 gamers found this helpful
“Derivative, but with an interesting twist on worker placement”

Keyflower marries worker-placement and bidding mechanics in a game where your workers also function as your currency. That, in short, is how the game distinguishes itself from all the other worker-placement games out there. If you like worker-placement mechanics, this one might appeal to you. On the other hand, if you loathe worker placement, Keyflower does not risk any significant changes to the formula and probably will not convert you.

Everyone starts with several random worker meeples and a starter building for his/her own personal town. A number of random buildings are set up in a communal pool. Over the course of the game you place meeples to bid on communal buildings to add them to your town, gather and transport resources, and upgrade your buildings using those resources.

On your turn, you place 1 or more meeples on a building to take the building’s action or next to a building to bid on it and try to add it to your town. Simple enough by itself, except that there are 4 colors of meeple, and once a meeple has been committed to a building, all additional meeples committed to that building must be the same color. E.g., you place 1 blue meeple next to the Stable to bid on it, so now any additional meeples placed on or next to the stable must be blue.

A game lasts 4 seasons. A season ends when everyone passes, usually because everyone has run out of meeples. You gain more meeples 1) at the start of each new season, 2) from some building actions, and 3) when other players place meeples on buildings in your town — you keep the meeples they place. You hide your supply of meeples from opponents so they cannot see how many you have and which colors, but if you pay attention to the colors each person gains, you can keep a mental tab of opponents’ meeples and plan your actions accordingly.

Win by earning the most victory points from your buildings. At the start of the game each player chooses 1-3 special VP buildings that everyone bids on in the final season. These special VP buildings provide bonus VP for collecting sets of resources, same-color meeples, etc. which can focus your strategy. Additionally, many other buildings bestow a flat number of VPs, and they can be upgraded to increase their VP value — as well as their functionality, which improves your available pool of actions. E.g., use the Mason to quarry stone; upgrade the Mason to gain 7 VP and the ability to mine gold.

You develop an old-timey town, with new workers shipping in each season. Workers migrate to the towns with jobs. Not much more to say about the theme than that. As with many Euro games, the theme lacks imagination, but at least it ties the game mechanics together neatly.

Keyflower ships with a hefty bag of wooden meeples and resource bits as well as card-stock player screens. Cardboard hexagonal building tiles feel sturdy enough as well. Materials aside, the little touches in the artwork deserve particular praise. E.g., the artist illustrated both the exterior and interior of your player screen “house”, and building hexes set out in the game’s autumn season are landscaped with trees in red-orange autumn foliage.

+ Keeping a mental tab of opponents’ hidden supplies of meeples tests your short-term memory but pays off when they end up a meeple short of outbidding you.
+ Workers also functioning as currency adds an interesting twist to the otherwise-common worker-placement mechanic.
+ Random buildings vary the available pool of actions from game to game and boost replayability.
+ Simple rules make the game accessible to a wide audience.

– Even with the workers=currency twist, worker-placement and bidding mechanics may feel overly familiar if you have played many other games with these mechanics.
– Randomly drawn buildings can result in some resources being impossibly scarce, which in turn renders buildings requiring those resources useless.
– Unremarkable theme may deter players looking for something more imaginative.

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Comic Book Fan
Book Lover
Pet Lover
97 of 105 gamers found this helpful
“To Everything There Is a Season”

Keyflower is a Worker Placement game using both Auction/Bidding, and Tile Placement, both with a bit of depth, to add variation and deeper play as well as player interaction to a standard worker placement resource gathering and actions. While everything is familiar, down to the obligatory meeples, its subtle changes how they are used that keep the game interesting.

The game uses Red, Yellow and Blue meeples as the standard workers which are drawn randomly from a bag, and Green meeples which can only be acquired through specific actions. The meeples serve a few functions:

1) as workers – they are placed on tiles to take actions (gaining resources, skill tokens, more workers and transporting resources) – the twist : workers can be placed on any tiles in play, even opponents tiles or tiles still up for bid. The color of the meeple is what’s important, as once a color is placed on a tile, only meeples of the same color can be placed there.

2) as resources – the meeples are used to bid on tiles placed for auction each round – the twist : the color restriction works the same way as in worker placement, once a color is used only that color can be used to bid on or placed on that tile. Because everyone has varying quantities of the same colors, they each choose a side of the hex tile to place on to bid. Meeples used in a losing bid can be moved to bid on another tile.

3) as hidden info – each player has a screen to hide their meeples (along with skill tokens and winter village tiles) – players who can monopolize a single color or keep a few green hidden can manipulate bids, even control tiles in play

Players start the game with a home village tile, as well as a handful of randomly chosen meeples and a couple of Winter village tiles to be hidden behind their screen.

The game has 4 rounds, each one a season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.
Each season has a selection of village tiles up for auction (random except Winter) and boats that bring a random selection of workers(meeples) and skill tokens.

Each player takes an action either placing workers on a tile or bidding on tiles until they pass. Worker placement actions, gain resources, move resources, or upgrade tiles when placed. Winning bids take their tiles (losing their meeples used to bid). Losing bids get their meeples back. Everyone gains the meeples placed on the tiles they control (even opponents meeples). Then the newly acquired tiles are placed.

Tile placement – roads have to connect to roads, streams to streams, fields to fields. Transportation tiles make it possible to move resources from one tile to another via the roads. Planning short routes and convenient access ( a tile that requires wood placed next to a tile that generates wood) are important to strategy.

Lastly, the round comes to an end, boats are refilled, and the next season’s tiles are put out for auction and the next round begins. THe last Season, Winter, the tiles for auction are each chosen by the players from behind their screens (1 or more from each). These tiles are primarily focused on Victory Points and give each player a means of implementing a strategy to shoot for in the final round.

The object of the game is to have the most points after the Winter Season (4th round). This determined by tiles with point values, or tiles that provide points depending on collected workers or resources. Event tiles for having the longest continuous road or stream. Its a bit of a point salad.

Keyflower seems on the face simple worker and tile placement, but the truth is the subtleties that make it interesting make it hard to master. They also make the game hard to teach. This is for experienced gamers with a solid understanding of worker placement, tile placement, and auction mechanics.

Cons : symbols on tiles are not always intuitive. The game takes a few plays before a lot of things come more naturally. Teaching it is awkward. It can be aggressive with quite a few “take that” actions possible. Everyone sucks starting out – it takes a couples of plays to “get it” and you may lose people in the process.

Pros : it is a nice blend of elements that allows for more player interaction in most player choices. It scales nicely for 2-6 players. The subtleties of game strategy, the random tiles, and a few experienced players add up to quite a bit of replay value. And the fixed number of rounds keep games from dragging on.

While not for everyone, if you like the above mechanics, are an experienced gamer with solid players in your group – this is a great option for 5-6 players.

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Gamer - Level 9
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel
114 of 151 gamers found this helpful
“One of my new favorites.”

This game is a tier 2(about a 2.5 really). It is for gamers with some experience with games that are more strategic and less luck driven. That being said there is still some luck involved and for it’s strategic value it is very easy to teach. It also does not punish 1st time players for their mistakes. It is part of a series of games with “Key” in the title and this is the best one done in the series in the last few years(IMO). The game plays 2-6 players, but I like it best at 4 and will review it with that # in mind. The 1st 3 seasons are played identically so let’s start with that. The “board” components are hexagonal tiles. To start the game each player gets a “home” tile and draws 8 little men called “meeples” in gaming of random colors(red, yellow and blue) which they place behind a player screen where they are not seen by the other players. Next 7 tiles are drawn from a stack of 12 for that season and placed season icon side up in a general area. Additionally, a number of boat and turn order tiles are placed in the general area loaded with random meeples and skill tiles. The season tiles in the seasons grant victory points, a player bonus or an action that can be taken. Not all tiles for a season will be available and this is part of the replayability. whoever gets the purple meeple starts the game and places the 1st bid/takes an action. On your turn you may bid for ownership of a tile or if it is an action tile may take the action. Bidding- you may place 1 or more meeples of the same color(all yellow or blue or red or green on a bid) on the hexagonal fedge facing you. Future bids have to be a higher number AND match the color already bid. Alternatively you may place meeples on top of a tile to take the action of that tile. If you are the 1st person to use an action you can place 1, 2 or 3 meeples on the tile. The next time the tile action is used by anyone they have to place at least 1 meeple than the last time the action was done-i.e. if I put 1 meeple the next time 2 or 3 must be placed to use the action and there can never be more than 6 meeples total on a tile. All meeples must be the same color just like when bidding and bid and action meeples must all match, i.e. if you bid yellow as the 1st thing that happens at a tile than all future bids and actions on tha tile must be with yellow meeples. The actions range from collecting skills and resources to drawing extra meeples from the bag. You may “pass” and not do anything on a round and still take actions on a future round, but the round ends when all players pass in succession(in the same round). If someone outbids you you may increase your bid or move your bid to another tile. At the end of the round the winning bids get the tile and all meeples on the tile and their bid goes in the bag. All failed bids go back to their owners. Additionally in the 1st 3 seasons if you bid on turn order you now choose a boat of workers and skills to add behind your screen. If you didn’t bid you get a choice in turn order starting from the holder of the purple meeple. Then you place out your tiles you collected attached to your home farm by matching the edges(road or blank edges) together. Most tiles can be promoted on future seasons to give you more od the action(i.e.- draw a meeple from the bag when promoted becomes draw 2 meeples) Promotion also usually give end game victory points. Starting with summer(2nd round) you can also place meeples on someone else’s tiles to take the action of that tile following the same guidelines as taking actions on unclaimed tiles. The difference is no one can steal a tile from someone and the owner of the tile will get all meeples placed on his tile at the end of the round. All resources collected from other tiles (owned by others and unowned are placed on your home farm.. Resources produced for you on your own tiles are placed on those tiles. This is important because to promote a tile to it’s flip side requires resources and/or skills and in the case of resources they have to be on that tile being promoted. Taking the “farm” action allows you to move resources around and promote tiles. Thye final season is winter and no new meeples arrive. All of the winter tiles are about end game scoring bonuse so there are no actions to be taken. No meeples or skills are available, instead you will claim boats(guaranteed) for end game bonuses as well as turn order(if bid on) tiles. The winter tiles are not laid out as normal. Instead at the beginning of the game each player gets a random set and for winter must place 1 or more in the general area to be on. One last note- You’ll notice Imentioned green meeples at 1 point. There are tiles in the non winter seasons that can generate green meeples. They may or may not be available in a round(not all tiles will be available). Green are very powerful. The victory points are based on gold resources, green meeples , promoted tiles and end game bonuses.
I enjoy the game because it is easy to teach, fast to play, good replay, and challenging choices to make.

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103 of 139 gamers found this helpful
“A great new feel to worker placement!”

This game is as simple as “Bid” or “Work” and from there it expands into a wonderfully complex and enjoyable euro type game. In this game you are settlers to a new world and you are trying to build your new towns into productive cities. The meeples are the pioneers to this new land that you use to produce your new cities.You use an assortment of different color meeples for everything in this game. You use meeples to bid on/ build new buildings in your home town, and you use them to bid on first dibs at the new shipment of boats and workers. You also use meeples to work on your own building, an opponent’s building, or on the buildings that are up for auction this round.
It’s interesting from there how instead of paying the owner of the building to use theirs you are instead giving them the workers that you have placed on their buildings in exchange for the building’s benefits.
The game is run in how many meeples you have and what color. You have to use the same color meeples to work on buildings more then once and you must increase the amount of meeples every time you or an opponent uses it. Every time you bid on a building and win, you lose the meeples you bid with. The same thing happens if you used them to work on other player’s buildings. Misusing your total number of meeples makes the amount of actions you have next round far less. So you need to balance between whether you should use your meeples to gain buildings and resources or if you should store them up for more actions later.
The game is wonderful and has pretty good replay ability. I would desire more buildings but it still is an excellent game. I would think about picking it up if I were you.

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Game Salute fan
84 of 143 gamers found this helpful

I really don’t know where to begin with this one. The game plays differently each game, has so much variety and is a joy to play. Sometimes people will have confusion as to what mepples can be used for, but It’s fairly straight forward, I’d just love to be able to get my hands on other key series games. I’ve yet to try the expansion, though I own, it but the farmers expansion seems to increase the replay value by expanding the number of tiles even more so. Great game. Not too complex, but skirts the boundary of family games. Some of my family members struggle with the depth of the game.


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