A super serious board game thing.

List of Shame – Keyflower & For Sale

List of Shame – Keyflower & For Sale

I’ve never had as many unplayed games in my collection as I do currently. Tracked on BBG.com, I have 42 unplayed of 154 total in my collection. I get a lot through trades because I’m pretty judicious about what I keep and why, but it’s also fueled in part by my own unfortunate penchant for retail therapy. That said, I’ve reserved to not spend any more money on board games until I finish playing everything in my “list of shame” – the boardgames that I own but have not even played (or finished) a single time. This series of brief write-ups will hopefully keep me motivated to finish this challenge.

Last night, at our bi-weekly game night at The Proper, we played two games off my list of unplayed games – Keyflower and For Sale.

Keyflower - Midgame

For Sale is a classic that pops up continually on lists of games every gamer should own (or have at least played) and I had actually not played it before tonight. The game plays quickly (maybe 10 or 15 minutes) and lasts for two rounds. In the first round, players are each given equal funds and conduct open bids on 7 sets of properties of varying value. In the second round, players then use those properties to secretly bid on cards of varied value, with the highest value property taking the highest value card. If you’ve paid attention, you can game the numbers and persuade other players to underbid or overbid to your advantage. The player with the most money wins. This game is simple to learn, quick to play, and was a great opener for the evening.

Keyflower is a heavier Euro game that is currently at #20 of all games on BBG. The game plays over 4 seasons (rounds) with players coming in and out of the rounds to take actions as opportunities arise. The actions are either using a tile (in typical worker placement fashion) or bidding to own that tile and add it to your village. The player with the most VPs at the end of the game takes the win. This scratched a few itches for me because, sure, I like heavier Euros, but I LOVE bidding games – always have. The ability for a player to pass during a round and then return later is really clever, because it lets you reallocate workers from losing bids, and also push other players into a false sense of security about their own bids while you pool workers, hidden behind your screen. All of this is mitigated by a “press your luck” risk of being cut out of the season entirely if all players pass after you. I liked this game a lot – I like that there are many paths to victory and a lot of choices to make. That said, it was also surprisingly balanced.

I don’t gather that Shane and Logan liked this one as much as I did, though. Shane certainly doesn’t like bidding games as much as I do and he and Logan are right in that there are many opportunities where a player can be outright screwed by the actions of the other players. I would imagine that playing this game with experienced players would be fairly cutthroat. It had a strong player interaction element that isn’t present in a lot of Euros, so be warned.

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