Ok, so Richard Garfield wrote a big thing about the design and development of Keyforge.
The most fascinating part was this:
Varied Power: One thing that had to be embraced early was the fact that decks would have different power levels. This was inevitable given the wildly varied deck generation I wanted. My goal was to make most decks be able to have a good game against most other decks, and to introduce a handicapping system that allowed stronger decks to play on a more equal footing against weaker ones. The handicap system is based on “chains”; basically, each chain a deck begins with costs them a card during play. This system gives players a lot of flexibility for balancing their experience to their taste; including ‘bidding chains’ for very experienced players with knowledge of various deck strengths. When playing without chains certain match ups may not be fair – but for people like me they are still fun. …
He doesn’t fully explain the “bidding chain” mechanic, so we’ll have to see how it works. It’s still fascinating. Serious competitive players will presumably always play with the bidding chains. Players with stronger decks will somehow have to bid more, and that will cost them some cards. I assume as long as both players bid properly, this will create an equalizing handicap similar to golf, or maybe like letting one player start with stones on the board in Go.
I have renewed hope for this game because although FFG is publishing it, they seem to have had nothing to do with the game design. Richard went to pitch to them because they have the print on demand facilities the game requires.
The way I see it, I’ll probably get two decks,. If it’s good, I’ll convince other people to get at least one for themselves. Any time two people are waiting for a seat in a larger game, they can bust out some KeyForge. It will be more crunchy than other two player fare like Lost Cities, or Hive. Good for when the players in the larger game aren’t super close to finishing. Due to the lack of deck construction it will be a much better experience than M:tG or Netrunner.