Thursday, January 6, 2011

HOT BOX - Key Market (What's in the Box?)

I FINALLY got a chance to open my Key Market box last night. I was up late gaming but I was getting tired of not opening it! So, I finally did (although I had to take a nap today after being up so late).

A quick summary: Key Market was released at Essen 2010 and is designed by David Brain. It is an economic game that fits into the R&D Games 'Key' series. Similar to at least 2 of the other games in the series (Key Harvest and Keythedral), you have a farm and workers who must work the fields, but in this game you must bring your goods to market to turn a profit. Some workers can be promoted to the Guilds from Apprentice up through Master which gives your farm better capabilities in producing and selling goods.

I have not played this game myself yet and am very excited to bring it to the table this weekend with some gaming buddies of mine here in the Board Game Back Room.

Here's the box, just waiting to be opened!

Key Market ready to be opened and punched!

It's like Christmas all over again! Mind you, I have a friend who also owns this and I had an opportunity to see what was in the box back in November, but I've been patient as I wanted to experience my new copy myself. There's just something special about opening a new box, sorting through the pieces and punching it out yourself and I'm particularly excited about this game.

Bottom of the box.

Note the image on the bottom is important as it shows how to set up the game and is labelled to show the various components.

I use my pocket knife... cut through the wrap at the corner.
Then, grab the corner and pull....
...until I can grab it and pull it off easily.
Removing the box lid.

You know everything is right with the world when you hear that wonderful sound. Did you hear that? Box fart! You smell the fresh cardboard, the ink, the wood scents all mingling together as it escapes!

First glimpse inside!

English and German manuals are included.

The player screens have already punched themselves!

Love the artwork on the screens!

 The 'Key' series of games from R&D Games (Richard Breese's own publishing company) is loved as much for the artwork as for the game play. Juliet Breese, Richard's sister, does the artwork for most of their games and I just love the attention to detail. There's a lot to look at in the artwork.

Nearly every component has unique art. There's even unique art on the box edges and in the manual! Click some of the images to take a closer look! I love the fox on the red player screen and the rabbit hiding in the grass on the blue one.

The first layer of the cardboard components.

Lots and lots of beautiful cardboard components!

I count 11 different layers of cardboard to work through!

A handful of baggies.

And a bag of neat wooden bits.

Crops, livestock and luxuries intermingle.

I love the wooden components. Interestingly, they are a little different than your typical Euro components. Not so much the shapes (most are similar to those seen in other games) but these appear to be plywood layered wood rather than the solid wood you normally see.

And, they appear to be dyed rather than painted, so they have a clean yet rough finish to them, a natural sort of feel that seems to fit well with the theme of the game. A couple of the components have a couple of irregularities and one of the wheat pieces was split along one of the layers, but nothing a little wood glue can't fix. And they smell really nice!

Examples of player pieces, money pieces, harvest
pieces, a farm board and a fields board

 There is a good variety of components in this game and they are all terrific to look at.

Player aid with lots of useful information that summarizes the game perfectly.

Market board.

The back of the market board is for end game scoring.

The player screens.

Everything punched, bagged, and ready to play!

Plano box for the money and player pieces, and a craft
box for the wooden components.

Usually I'm very OCD about managing my games. I have to bag everything separately and have hundreds of plastic baggies in my game room for bagging stuff up. You will often find me providing baggies to less OCD friends to help organize their games after we play them. Lately I've taken to using plastic boxes for some games, either games that I really like and want something a bit nicer, or if the game just needs it to make setup and take down easier.

Key Market could probably have done just fine with baggies, but I happened to have a couple of plastic boxes around that worked out nicely for this game as you can see here.

I should also mention I typically NEVER get rid of inserts in game boxes. I have lately been taking a turn away from that and been willing to chuck them in lieu of having plastic boxes inside instead. On this game I was torn as I prefer to leave my really nice games with the original inserts, but leaving it in in this case didn't quite work height-wise with the boxes.

However, the insert in this game was a basic white cardboard insert, so I don't have much anxiety about leaving it out. If it had really nice artwork on it I would have had a serious dilemma!

Everything packed away, ready for this weekend!

So there you have it, everything you will find in the Key Market box. After playing it this weekend I'm sure a review will soon follow.

Also, as a preview for a future blog, I will be doing a review of "Settlers of America: Trails to Rails". My friend, Bob, brought over a copy and we played his newly created 2-player variant (modified version of a couple of other existing variants) and found it to be a very engaging and well designed 2-player version. We will be playing 4-player this Friday evening so I will then be able to do a comparison of the two.

Now go play a game!

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  1. I also started using Plano boxes with my games. I got the idea after seeing Roberts Civ setup.

  2. Yes, it's definitely a time saver for games with lots of bits. I'm fine with baggies to a point, but opening dozens of baggies can be a real pain.


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