Game Review Week: 5/7 – Key Harvest

by Nathan Stout and Chris McGinty of

CHRIS: Well, well a joint blog. Groovy. I didn’t even know we were doing a joint blog today. And on game review week! I wonder what we’re going to cover. Maybe we’ll discuss Magic: The Gathering and how Nathan can’t stand it. I can do a sub review of Magic Online. Maybe we’ll discuss our days playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, and all the themed theme parks we made. Maybe we’ll the discuss the various dice games, the card games, the board games, or even the bored games we’ve played. So Nathan, what are we doing today?

NATHAN: This joint blog will give you the rundown on Rio Grande’s game Key Harvest. No, you don’t collect keys or anything like that. Key is used in the sense that the harvest is important.

CHRIS: Oh, Key Harvest! Wait, I’m confused. Hey, Nathan?

NATHAN: I picked up Key Harvest when Amazon had this crazy super duper sale. It wasn’t really Amazon’s sale, it was one of Amazon’s sellers. In case you have been in the digital dark all this time, Amazon sells stuff, and Amazon lets others sell stuff though their website. It all looks seemless until you read the details of the item you are looking at. Did you know Amazon was started in someone’s garage? Key Harvest was 15.00 so I snatched it up. Key Harvest was made in 2007 and is for 2-4 players. rates it at 516th on their board game rating system.

CHRIS: Nice picture. Hey Nathan, we seem to have done a review of this before. And I understand that you asked me to do Net Runner this week, when you already did a review of Net Runner, but I could give different perspective. The problem is that we already did a review of Key Harvest on May 9, 2010… and it was a joint blog. What happened? I could have just pushed my surprise game review up from Sunday to today, since I only really had two chances to mention it anyway. What do you have to say about this, Nathan?

NATHAN: The focus of Key Harvest is to bid and buy fields in order to create the largest fields and score the most points. Each player is given a cardboard matrix with hexagonal spaces and numbers on it. Each turn some randomly picked fields are put up for bid, and players bid (or not) to buy the field and place in the corresponding space on their matrix. Players attempt to fill in their matrix with fields that are adjacent to each other (thus creating larger fields). At the end of the game (which is determined when a certain amount of special tiles are drawn) the points for fields are calculated and the winner is declared. That is it in a nutshell, and I have left out a lot of detail, but that is the BASIC idea behind the game. There are other special aspects that help you or slow your opponent down, and I didn’t even get into the way you generate money for the bidding process.

CHRIS: Right. I was actually asking what you thought about the fact that we’ve done a joint blog before. Let’s see here’s the list of reviews from the Monday review:

Monday – Clue Mysteries
Tuesday – NetRunner
Wednesday – Rockettville
Thursday – Mastermind
Friday – Key Harvest
Saturday – Mad Magazine/ Facts In Five
Sunday – Chris’s Surprise Game Review

Yep, there it is. Friday – Key Harvest. I figured that would change when I pointed out that we had done a joint blog before. Nathan?

NATHAN: Key Harvest is about making money and bidding. It’s not called money, it doesn’t even look like money. Colored wooden pegs are used. They represent what is produced from your fields. For instance yellow pegs represent wheat. So a wheat field can produce wheat for you to bid and pay for fields that come up at auction.

CHRIS: Since you’re being so responsive, I went to our private newgroup, and I found that you wrote this: “… but I will need your camera to do it with. I MIGHT be able to do it with my camera though.” I’m not sure what that means, but I want copies.

I also found that you wrote this: “You said we were going to be doing a joint Key Harvest blog for today. I did my half of it (it’s in there).” No, I said that we already did one. This explains why you just keep going on with your review no matter what I say.

NATHAN: Some of the aspects of strategy I have seen are outbidding your opponent and buying a field he or she really needed, but this will eat your resources and you end up with a useless field. Also there are several ‘worker’ tiles that you can purchase that will give you various advantages over your opponent. Another bit of strategy is to have one large field of smaller adjacent fields and one slightly smaller field and little to no other fields. You will get more points for having larger fields (as opposed to having several smaller ones).

CHRIS: Uh-huh. Yeah, it is a good game, though we haven’t played it since the last review. I remember the rules were a little confusing for me at first, but once I got a hang of it I enjoyed. Oh… Oh!!! Here’s the problem, not the problem with the game, but the problem with why we’re reviewing it again.

I wrote on the private newsgroup: “Hey Nathan, we review Key Harvest as a joint blog. I saw that you had put it down as one of your reviews.” That sounds like I’m giving a command that we do the review as a joint blog. All because I missed a suffix. Sigh. Communication is Key.

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