Fantasy Flight Games Delays New KeyForge Decks Over “Broken Algorithm”

KeyForge is a card game whose gimmick is that every deck is unique and generated by a computer algorithm. It is essentially a collectible card game, except in this case, the card decks themselves are collectible. Apparently, the game has been fairly successful, selling two million decks at roughly $10/deck.

Alas, all is not well in the land of algorithmically generated card decks. This month, Fantasy Flight Games released a statement saying the game would go on an indefinite hiatus due to technical problems.

The “unforeseen complication” that we mentioned above is the fact that the deckbuilding algorithm for KeyForge is broken and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. 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. 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.

When I first read that, I assumed they meant they had found some sort of flaw in the algorithm, but that does not appear to be the case. Rather it appears that Fantasy Flight Games has lost access to the software that generates the card decks and enforces the various deck generation rules to avoid disallowed card combinations, etc.

This apparently coincided with the release of several FFG staff members. The company has long had a reputation for an extremely toxic work environment.

Regardless of whether that reputation is deserved or not, it is odd that the company would somehow allow itself to lose control over a process that had generated $20+ million in revenue since 2018.

Business continuity planning, what is it good for?

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