Not going to lie, the second I saw a picture of Block and Key, I knew I was looking at something special. This game has an absolutely stunning table presence. Just from the photos, I’ll say top 10 for presence, and it will probably rank much higher when I get to see it in person.
What makes it so stunning, you ask? It doesn’t have fancy miniatures. The components aren’t made from some exotic material. It’s fairly clean and simple, but nevertheless unique in that it has a multi-level play area, created almost completely from the actual box.
Flip the box lids over, set each corner of one of them into the bottom notches of a cardboard column, then do the same at the top with the other lid. The bottom level is a setup level. with a space to draw new Key cards from, and a grid to choose new Blocks from. The top is the actual playing area, where you will be placing Blocks, almost like a 3D Tetris game, trying to create the patterns showing on your Key cards. Could this be accomplished without the multiple levels? Technically yes, but here’s the catch: you are placing these different shaped Blocks onto the board, in a three-dimensional space. BUT you are scoring patterns based on the two-dimensional side view from each player’s unique perspective. The height created from the different layers reduces the overall footprint of the game, but more importantly, makes it much easier to get that side view without having to duck down or lay your head on the table.
On your turn, you can either draw three blocks from a column or a row on the bottom level or play a previously drawn block onto the top level. This goes on until 12 Key cards have been scored, or for 11 turns in a solo game. It’s nice because the rules are simple and the games are usually short, making it a perfect filler game.
For almost two years, Inside Up Games has been testing and sourcing the components, everything is done and approved, pending a successful campaign. All that’s left to do is to pay the manufacturer. Because of that, there is only one pledge level, with no stretch goals to slow fulfilment down.
$54 (CDN) gets you the game and all content. Shipping estimates are provided but are charged later. That’s all.
With luck, I’ll have a CrowdFUNding PREVIEW on the gameplay in the coming weeks. But until then, you can back Block and Key on Kickstarter until March 8, 2021.