Going Back to Keystone


Welcome to Unscripted–a lighthearted, unrehearsed, and sometimes silly Q&A series with Rose Gauntlet Entertainment founders and tabletop game designers Isaac Vega and Lindsey Rode.

In this edition of Unscripted, we discuss the ins and outs of our new project, Keystone North America 2nd Edition and Coastal Expansion.

First question – why a second edition of Keystone: North America?

Isaac: Lindsey and I discussed many reasons as to why we wanted to bring a second edition of Keystone to the market. We saw a lot of things that we did right and that really resonated with people, especially the solo edition of the game.

People really liked the puzzle that we were bringing to the table with Keystone. People loved the art. But there were some things that we felt the game could be improved upon, and really it needed a second edition in order for those improvements to take place – it had to be more than just some simple rulebook edits.

Number one, we wanted to make sure that the graphic design was a little bit more legible across the table. We wanted to make it easier for players to see exactly what was happening on the table in a much clearer way, so we had our Graphic Designer Stephanie Gustafsson work on that. She made some great decisions to make things more streamlined.

We also wanted to lower the price point, which found to be a barrier for some players of first edition. The good news was, a lot of people were already playing Keystone exclusively as a one to two player experience and it was really resonating most at that player count. So, in order for us to achieve the reduced price, we made the decision to focus on the solo and two player experiences for the core game.

Finally, the biggest thing we noticed from the first edition was how much people loved the solo-mode and accompanying scenarios, so we wanted to make sure that mode was as robust as possible. Moving forward with the Keystone series, solo play will be a huge focus for us, including the coastal expansion.

Lindsey: Yeah, and I'll just add that throughout the entire process of this company, Isaac and I are always listening to feedback and revisiting our product brands because we want to continue to support them for an extended shelf life.

So, this really felt like the best choice for Keystone to not only continue supporting a game people are enjoying, but to implement the player feedback that we've been hearing for the last couple of years.

Can you talk about some of that awesome new art? The cover looks amazing!

Isaac: Yeah, we really wanted to implement something that was more eye catching and better represented the brand. When we first launched the Keystone series, we had limited funds and really invested a lot of it into the art inside the box to represent the animals as beautifully as we could. Unfortunately, by the time it came to the box cover, we kind of ran out of funds, so we ended up just utilizing some of the animal art that we had within the game to try and pull together the best cover we could, given the restraints.

But as we've been able to grow as a company, we were able to invest a little bit more and make a more eye-catching cover that really represented better represented our vision for the series as a whole.

Moving on to the expansion releasing alongside the second edition, what can Keystone fans expect with the coastal addition?

Lindsey: Ooh yeah, I'm really excited about the coastal expansion! So obviously there'll be a ton of new coastal-themed animals. We're focusing on the various ecosystems by lakes, rivers, and oceans which are very cool. We had Irem Erbilir, one of the artists from the original game, come back to do that new card art, which is stunning and amazing.

Alongside the new animals, we are also including a brand-new field journal, packed with new missions to complete. There will be ten new puzzle scenarios in total, tying together a new story as you take on the role of a coastal biologist working alongside a documentary film crew. Together, you’ll experience a brand-new adventure across North America, as you film and highlight the different coastal species and what's happening with conservation efforts of our water sources.

Another cool thing with the expansion is the new mechanics, particularly the new conservation centers. I don't want to spoil too much because they're very, very cool, and I'm super excited for people to see them, but they are stunning and super fun, and I think they're going to really get people excited to play with a fun new wrinkle to the game.

Isaac: Yeah, what's really interesting about the conservation centers as well is it really helps players figure out how to utilize their cards in a different way. It also makes more cards feel useful when building out your different ecosystems on your board. So basically you have more options, more decisions, and we think more fun.

Lindsey: Speaking of options, the expansion also includes ten new skill tokens with brand new abilities to try out. These skill tokens can be used exclusively in your playthrough, or you can mix and match with the ones in the core game as well.

With all these updates to the core game and new features in the expansion, what are you most excited for both returning and new players to experience?

Lindsey: For me, it's definitely the updated graphic design. I think this new version of the game is incredibly beautiful and streamlined. Stephanie has gone through and not only updated the symbology to make things clearer like Isaac mentioned earlier, but we've also entirely redesigned things like the player boards, time track, and tokens.

The game was already visually beautiful, but the layout on the table in the new version is just so seamless and creates a really cool table presence that I'm super excited about. I think players are going to love it.

And then, yeah conservation centers. I don't think I've ever been more excited about a token in my life as I am with the conservation centers!

Isaac: For me, I’m most excited about the solo players getting another 10 scenarios to experience. We've received so much love and support for the solo mode of Keystone and we just want to continue seeing players enjoy it. More puzzles to play with, different stories to experience, and another angle to help highlight the importance of biologists and their efforts to ensure animal ecosystems remain intact.

I just love that we can create a game that has an important message like that around it as well. Exposing people more to this message has always been a treat with the Keystone series.

So, most important question – when can we expect to see the second edition and expansion available, and where?

Lindsey: Keystone: North America 2nd Edition and the Coastal Expansion will be launching together in April on Kickstarter, the home of our original launch of the first edition.

If you want to make sure that you don't miss the launch of the project, be sure to subscribe for updates on our pre-launch page. That’ll also ensure you get our early-bird promo, plus you’ll find a nice sneak peek of the game there!

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