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Keyforge’s next set is complete but won’t be released until it comes back from hiatus

A “broken algorithm” forces the card game into an interminable break, but a digital version is on the horizon.

Keyforge publisher Fantasy Flight Games announced that the competitive card game would be entering an interminable hiatus in order to prepare for a planned relaunch in the future. It also teased the sixth expansion, Winds of Exchange, and talked about the game’s broader future.

The blog post, published on September 10th, begins by outlining how trying the past year and a half has been to a game designed to be played in person. Keyforge is the brainchild of Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield and eschews deckbuilding for unique arrangements of 37 random cards in each box. Two players go head-to-head with their decks in a bid to be the first to forge three Keys by collecting Aether through a variety of mechanics.

The last two expansion, Mass Mutation and Dark Tidings, released in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020 and 2021, respectively), and despite offering print-and-play versions it suffered from the lack of safe ways to play. A digital client is in the works through a collaboration with Stainless Games, but even that still exists in a space beyond hard release dates. The Crucible Online has been offering an unofficial browser-based version and is one of Dicebreaker's best board games to play in such a manner.

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Worse still, the algorithm that powers the unfathomable number of unique deck constructions available in the game is apparently broken and “needs to be rebuilt from the ground up,” according to Fantasy Flight. Exactly how an algorithm breaks and what happened isn’t clear, but the publisher characterised it as the main impetus behind the game’s imminent dormancy.

“ This is neither an easy process nor a fast one, which is why the game will be going on hiatus for a while. We wish we had better news in this regard, but the fact is that, even if the pandemic was not a factor, we cannot currently generate any new decks,” the post read. “We ask for your continued patience as we work to rebuild the unique deck engine in preparation for the game’s relaunch. And don’t worry, all existing decks will still be valid and playable when the game relaunches.”

All of this must be as frustrating for the designers as it is for fans because the next expansion has reportedly been completed and is ready for release. Winds of Exchange, Keyforge’s sixth set, was planned for a fall retail release ahead of the computer math going haywire (don’t email me about this) but is being shelved for now. It will herald the card game’s official relaunch sometime later.

A piece of promotional art for the 2-player starter set shows a tinkerer or merchant peddling dubious ware while their dour bodyguard looms in the shadows. As with past sets, seven factions will be represented in the mix of random decks - this time looks to bring Brobnar, Mars, Sanctum, the Star Alliance, the Saurian, Logos and the Unfathomable from Dark Tidings into the mix.

Keyforge surpassed 2 million unique decks sold in August of this year, according to the associated Master Vault app, and Keyforge: Adventures expanded on Dark Tidings’ mechanics to provide a fully realized cooperative way to play in March. It’s clear the audience hasn’t yet abandoned Keyforge, but Fantasy Flight Games hasn’t offered any dates to circle on their calendars. Keep checking Dicebreaker for more news about the eventual relaunch as it becomes available.

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