R&D Games are pleased to offer through Kick Starter a special Character Edition of Keyper, the first completely new medieval ‘Key’ game since the award winning Keyflower. The game features special folding game boards, new mechanics and, in this special Kick Starter edition, 36 specially designed character 'keyples' (wooden meeples).
In Keyper the keyples feature prominently in the game. Each player starts with a team of 8 different coloured keyples (9 in the two player) game, plus a keyper (a waving keyple) in their own player colour. Each keyple has a special ability. We thought it would be great to have Keyper populated with character keyples – all 36 of them!
The character keyples will be sourced through Meeple Source. Production will be to Meeple Source's usual high standard, but character keyples do not come cheaply. Of course you do not need character keyples to play Keyper. But I know that once I have played with the character keyples I would not want to be without them! However I have no idea how many gamers will share my passion. Hence the Kick Starter promotion for a special Character Edition of Keyper.
The Character Edition of Keyper will also feature (at least) six additional ‘village’ tiles, some keyed to the characters. The rules and graphics to the Character Edition will in addition, where appropriate, feature the character keyples.
Also in Keyper you will find four specially sourced folding game boards. These are an integral part of the game, but have also needed to be sourced from a specialised manufacturer which has added to the manufacturing cost of the game, as have the 220 additional wooden components (including 96 animeeples including eight different types) and 64 gem tokens.
However recognising that some gamers may instead wish to acquire Keyper, but just the standard edition, I have added that as an option. The standard edition will also be available to the public at Spiel, Essen (October 2017) and afterwards. The Character Edition will only be available through Kick Starter at the present time (subject to the sale of a few extra which I will need to order in to allow for the manufacturers 10% margins and ensure that I have sufficient copies to meet all of the Kick Starter orders).
A little more about Keyper
Keyper is a worker placement game - Keydom (1998), an early game in the ‘Key’ series, is widely recognised as the very first worker placement game. Each player starts with their own village board, a small keyp board and will also claim a country board during each season.
The village board comprises of a farm, village, fair ground, storage area, dock and keyp.
The country boards are special folding boards which enable gamers to choose from four different options at the beginning of the summer, autumn and winter seasons.
As mentioned above, each player also starts with their own team of keyples.
There is a high degree of player interaction. If a player uses a country board then another player can join that player on the first player’s turn to both player’s benefit. It’s not a co-operative game in the true sense, but co-operative play can be beneficial.
At the end of each season, a player takes the board that they have claimed with their keyper together with the keyples on the board. So in subsequent seasons a player’s team of keyples is likely to be of a different colour mix and a different number.
It can be advantageous to play all of your keyples quickly. All keyples have the capacity to work twice. So if you run out of keyples, a player can continue playing until all players have played all their keyples by ‘laying down’ keyples (to denote they are working for a second time) in their village or on the country board they have claimed with their keyper.
As mentioned, the game is played over four seasons. Some fields on the country boards are only available in certain seasons. For example; raw materials can only be upgraded to finished goods using fields on the country boards in spring and summer. Gem mining only occurs in autumn and winter.
A player’s strategy is likely to be influenced by the spring country tiles they acquire and by the particular coloured keyples they recruit for summer. Different combinations will encourage a player to develop their farm and/or village, help with their shipping or mining activities and prepare for the seasonal fairs. Players will constantly need to evaluate whether to join other players, when to claim a board, whether to play on their own or another player’s country board, when to use their own village and whether to recruit a large or small team for the following season. Players are fully engaged throughout. The winner is the player to gain the most points, usually through pursuing at least a couple of the different strategies.
Well known gaming reviewer and co-founder of Counter gaming magazine Alan How said of Keyper: ‘I preferred Keyper to Keyflower as Keyper is inclusive, not confrontational, you can use what other players do.’
Please see the video for a more detailed explanation. Paul Grogan, presenter of Gaming Rules, was kind enough to record this at short notice. Apologies, I am not the most dynamic presenter, but hopefully it will give you a better feel for the game.
Please note that all of the game pieces in the video and in this presentation are prototypes. The style will be that of the previous medieval ‘Key’ games. I’m delighted that game artist Vicki Dalton will take on the illustrations after the retirement of my sister Juliet, who illustrated the earlier medieval Key games. Vicki will be drawing in a similar style as Juliet.
You can learn more about Keyper on the BoardGameGeek by clicking on this link to an explanatory Geeklist:
As a thank you and to meet requests I’ve added a stretch goal - £38,000. This will mean that for all of the Character Edition sets all of the 36 keyples (including the 4 keypers) will now all be unique designs as shown in the image below. (Previously there had just been a single female and male keyple design for each different colour of keyple.)
Risks and challenges
R&D Games have been publishing games since 1989. For the production of Keyper, R&D will be using the same reliable German based board game manufacturer that R&D has been using for over ten years. The character keyples are being produced exclusively for R&D by well-known US based Meeple Source, to their usual high quality production standards. Distribution in the US is planned through Funagain with whom R&D has again had a trading relationship for well over ten years.
Keyper is the latest of a series of games in the 'Key' series. As mentioned above game play is of a similar style to the earlier and popular games in the series. The Kick Starter edition of Keyper is being launched principally to determine the demand for this special character edition. Because of the long production lead time for the character keyples it has been necessary to launch the Kickstarter before the final rules are available in publishable form.
It is anticipated that the final rules will be published in late spring. R&D is confident that if you enjoyed the earlier Key games you will also enjoy Keyper. Therefore for a period for 30 days after the rules have been published on the BoardGameGeek R&D will offer subscribers the opportunity to cancel their order, for whatever reason, on receipt of an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note refunds will be made through Pay Pal where possible and be for 85% of the amount subscribed, as 15% is required to cover the fees and charges that will have been paid by R&D.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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