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Key Quest Power-ups and Their Many, Many Uses

by 5qua5h5qua5h


If you have played Key Quest at least once or twice in your life, you will know that power-ups have the biggest impact on the game (aside from the actual board, players and keys, but that’s beside the point). They can stall for time, put you in an advantageous position, and hinder other players. You will find that certain power-ups can even turn the tables on your opponent! How great is that? Of course, whatever you can use, your opponent can use as well, so it’s vital that you learn the multiple pros and cons of each power-up. That way you can at least match your adversary in wits.

Obtaining Power-ups

Let’s start with the basics. Power-ups can be obtained multiple ways. The most common way for players to obtain power-ups is to pass over or land on the space with a red diamond inside of a yellow diamond inside of a green diamond. *long exhale* To keep it simple, just look for the space with a diamond. No other space but the power-up space will have one. Once you pass over/land on that space, a random power-up is granted to you.

Another way to acquire a power-up would be to win a mini-game. Your prize will either be a key or a power-up. If it is a power-up, you get to pick out of three different power-ups. Pretty cool, eh?

The least common way to obtain a power-up would be to land on the blue space with the question mark. If you get the random event with Jerdana, each player is granted a random power-up.

Power-up Limitations

Sadly, you can only hold up to three power-ups at any one time. If you already have three and you get a chance to obtain another one, you will be faced with the unthinkable dilemma of either swapping a power-up out or keeping your original power-ups. If you have less than three, then sorry, you have no say in the matter. You get a power-up. That’s life. Deal with it.

Obviously you want to keep the power-ups that (you think) will benefit you the most. Keep in mind your and your opponent’s current position in the match when choosing. Think carefully when given a chance to swap out your power-ups; don’t be rushed by the timer. (Once you press “OK,” however, you MUST switch out the power-up for one of your own, so be careful.)

Also, you can only use one power-up per turn. There are no exceptions. So I’m sorry if I just shattered your dream of a Boots of Flight + Virtudice combo, but that’s how it is.

The Different Kinds of Power-ups (2-player Only)

Now we get to the good stuff. Obviously there are some power-ups that are better than others, but each can be helpful in their own unique situation.

You may notice the handy little “2-player Only” in parenthesis. Make no mistake - I didn’t put that there for show. These power-ups are the only ones that will appear in 2-player matches. There are more power-ups that appear in 3+ player games, but I’ll address those later.

Battle Dice

I personally dislike this power-up the most. When activated, they allow you to pick and duel an opponent. However, no matter how fast your computer is or how much you’ve practiced Key Quest, there is no guaranteed or reliable way to win a Rock, Paper, Scissors match. If you win, you get a power-up, but unfortunately, the reverse is also true.

I only tend to use these if I’m in a desperate situation (like if my opponent is heading to the gate with all the keys and I need to stop them somehow). Remember, you may just be giving your opponent the upper hand if you use this.

Boots of Flight

Ah, the Boots of Flight. They grant you the ability to roll, not one, but two dice on your current turn. You can roll as low as 2 or as high as 12. These are generally not as reliable as Virtudice, but when they do roll higher numbers, they can provide the extra distance necessary to reach... wherever you want to go. In a footrace to the finish, the extra roll is extremely helpful.

It’s generally best to use these immediately when you get them. Since an extra roll isn’t extremely helpful, it would be better to have used it than to be forced to toss it for a better power-up.

Distraction Potion

This is one of the more useful power-ups you can attain in Key Quest. You pick an opponent and swap one key of yours for one key of theirs. Using this method, you can swap one of your common keys for one of their harder-to-get keys. Even better, you can swap them one of your spare keys for a key that you need. If you ever get a Distraction Potion, make sure to use it to its full potential.

Giant Lint Ball

Whenever my opponent uses this power-up, I get quite annoyed. Basically, it prevents any one opponent from picking up keys and/or power-ups for two turns (two meaning your opponent’s and your successive turns.) The most annoying way to utilize this power-up is to use it on opponents when they are one or two spaces from a key. If they roll too high, they pass the key without the luxury of taking it. Also, if you land on a mini-game while the opponent is under the effects of the lint ball, the opponent won’t be able to collect his/her prize if she wins, making it that much safer to chance a mini-game. Yep, the Giant Lint Ball’s just awesome like that.

Loaded Gummy Dice

The Loaded Gummy Dice is one of my favorite power-ups. When utilized, it allows you to pick the number of your roll for that turn. This power-up is the most reliable way to land on the Treasure Chest. Just hone in on your target space, and when you’re 6 or less spaces away, utilize this die. It’s that simple.

Just as a pointer, don’t waste this die just so you can roll a six on your turn. Save it for instances when you need to land on a precise space. You may use it to roll a six if you want, however, but the Virtudice is best suited for that.

Misdirection Compass

This power-up can be extremely helpful in some cases. It has helped me win in tight races many times before. Basically, you can use it on any player, and that player will reverse direction. This power-up can help stall for time if your opponent is approaching the gate with a full key set.

Additionally, it can be used on yourself to get you out of sticky situations. For example, if you just strayed off the main path to get a key, you can now use the Misdirection Compass on yourself to turn your token around. This way, you don’t need to take the long, winding path around. (It can also set you back in your regular direction in the case of a Misdirection random event.) Note that this power-up can’t be used on players who haven’t determined which direction they are going, for example, players who have moved one space from their start space immediately onto a fork.


The Mortog allows you to “hop” one space in front of any opponent. This power-up often gives you the jumpstart you need to get ahead – no pun intended. If one space separates your opponent from a key, you can use the Mortog to jump in front of your opponent, right before the key. Just be wary not to use it if your opponent is right next to the key. You won’t get it if the Mortog causes you to land on the key space.

With this power-up, you can practically let your opponent lead you to the gate. While your opponent is slowly approaching the gate, go around and collect the remaining keys you need. Once you have all of them, you can hop in front of the opponent and reach the gate first. Obviously this is assuming that they don’t reach the gate before you have a chance to use your Mortog.

Pocket Portal

You may notice the round, rippled, purple-bluish spaces on the board. These are portal spaces. Basically, the pocket portal allows you to immediately teleport to any portal space on the board. This is handy for getting yourself near keys or near the gate. You can also use this like the Mortog or the Transporter Helmet – get a key on a side trail and then teleport away. Lots of times, these handy transporters can nudge you in the lead, just enough to snatch the win right from under your opponent’s nose. *evil, maniacal laugh*

Rainbow Fountain Water

The Rainbow Fountain Water is one of my favorite power-ups to have. You get to pick any player and change the color of one of his/her keys. You can use this on an opponent, changing one of their rarer keys for an easier-to-get key or a duplicate, forcing them to trek out and retrieve it. You can also use it on yourself and change one of your duplicates to a key color you lack. Once again, you can use the ole “switch-an-easy-key-for-a-hard-key” method on yourself. When used against an opponent, this key may just provide you with the time you need to finish your key collection and reach the door. When used on yourself, it may just save you the time of journeying out to fetch an isolated key.

Rainbow Sticky Hand

This happens to be one of the most comforting power-ups to have. It allows you to steal any power-up your opponent has, basically giving you insurance in the scenario in which your opponent gets a game-shaking power-up. If they get a Rainbow Fountain Water power-up, for example, nothing short of a Giant Lint Ball or the Pant Devil will stop you from snatching it right out of their hands.

One such example of such is something I like to call “The Sticky Hand, Sticky Hand Trick.” (Yes, I came up with a name for it, okay?) Basically, if your opponent manages to get his hand on his own Rainbow Sticky Hand, you steal it from him using your own sticky hand. This leaves your opponent with no sticky hand, whilst you still have one left, like before. If you use this tactic, your opponent will most likely not be able to hold onto a sticky hand until you use yours on something else.

Just as a tip, if you see that your opponent has a Rainbow Sticky Hand, make sure to immediately use any of your powerful power-ups before he/she can steal them. It’s better to use them now than to let the opponent snatch them. Also, if you obtain a powerful power-up and you are given the choice to swap it out, don’t accept it if the foe has a RSH, for obvious reasons.

Spare Keyring

In my opinion, this is one of the lesser useful power-ups. Basically, you can use it on any opponent. If that opponent has any more than one of a colored key, all his/her extra keys will go to you. This only works if your opponent has spares, however.

If you see that your opponent will pass by some keys (that he already has) on his current route, save the Spare Keyring until he gets those keys. This way, you get more keys out of the power-up than if you had used it earlier on.

Tornado Ring

The Tornado Ring is a risky power-up to utilize. Most of the time, it will either make you or break you. When activated, this ring will randomly scramble the opponent’s power-ups. Some may change, some may not. Generally it’s the safest to use this ring when your opponent has all really good power-ups. Also, it’s safer to use this ring the less power-ups your opponent has. This way, they have a smaller chance of getting a really good power-up.

Alternatively, you can use this on yourself if you have really bad power-ups. Just note, the more power-ups you have, the better. Three is recommended, one being the Tornado Ring. Basically it will scramble the last two, giving you the possibility of some helpful power-ups. On rare occurrences, the power-up/s might not change at all, so don’t come chasing after me if that happens to you. For the record, I told you so.

Transporter Helmet

This is another useful power-up. When used, you can switch spots with any opponent you choose. An insanely evil tactic I like to abuse is to let my opponent inch all the way to the gate before switching spots with them and nabbing the gold key. To make it even more evil, you can stray off the main path and activate the helmet, leaving your opponent to tread the meandering trail. Be creative. Switch spots when your opponent is close to a key, grabbing it for yourself, for example. The ways to use this helmet are (almost) innumerable.


This helpful power-up automatically causes you to roll a 6. Neat, eh? If you’re the type who can plan things ahead, this power-up may just win the game for you. If you can manage to land 6 spaces away from the treasure chest, or your alignment space, all it takes is one roll of this die to land you right where you aimed. If you accumulate these, then you can expect to travel a long way in the next few turns.

The Different Kinds of Power-ups (3-player+ Only)

The following power-ups cannot be found in 2-player games, most likely because they unbalance the game when used with so few players. Just note that all the previously mentioned power-ups are still available in 3+ player play.

Bottled Quicksand

Using this will force any one opponent of your choice to skip a turn. This power-up is the essential way to stall for time. Be wary when your opponent gets one, though. It can be frustrating to watch as each of the other players gets a free turn without you moving a single space.


Using this power-up gives you the option of sending any one player back to his starting space. This can be used to stall for time and/or hinder opponents. On the other hand, you can use it on yourself if, for example, your starting space is closer to a certain key or the gate than where you currently are.

Giant Rock Mote

Upon activating this power-up, you select a direction from your current space. Once done, the rock mote will roll in a straight path for up to 15 spaces. Any player unfortunate enough to be in its path will lose a turn. No, they will not go to the hospital - that’s a bit too violent, if you ask me.

The best time to use this power-up is if you have two or more players lined up as easy targets. Try to catch more than one player with your roll to maximize usefulness.

Key Grabber

The name should be self-explanatory. Pick an opponent. Grab a key. Simple, right? This power-up can be very useful when in your possession, but beware when the foe gets his/her hands on one. The results could get ugly.

Pile of Dung

This power-up will allow you to place a pile of dung on any one space on the board. This space is now impassable until the responsible player’s turn rolls around again. This is another way to block an opponent and stall for time (if you put it directly in front of them). When your opponent moves, his/her roll will end immediately when they reach the pile of dung. Try to mix things up. Instead of putting it right in front of them, you can manipulate where they land. Place the pile of dung a space just after an alignment tile your opponent is nearing, for example. If they don’t roll incredibly low, the opponent will be forced to end their roll on the alignment space (obviously make sure it isn’t their correct alignment space.) Your foe will now have to deal with a nasty random event.

A good time to use this power-up is when your opponent is at or nearing an intersection or fork. Place the pile of dung on the space in the direction you don’t want them to go. They will have no choice – they’ll have to go the other way.

Another inventive way to use this power-up is in the case of a Giant Lint Ball being used on you. You can place the pile of dung right on the key space so that however high you roll, you won’t pass over the key when you can’t collect it. Be creative.

Pocket Mini-Game

The Pocket Mini-Game immediately summons a mini-game in which all players participate. Afterwards, the player gets to continue with his regular roll. This particular power-up is only really useful if your strength lies in mini-games. Unlike dueling, mini-games require skill and certain tactics. Use this only if you feel confident that you have a good chance of coming out on top. Otherwise this power-up may just result in a helpful boost to an opponent.

Swap Keyring

This is one of the two power-ups with the most impact on the game. This power-up allows you to switch your complete set of keys for an opponents complete set. YOU CAN BASICALLY STEAL A COMPLETED SET OF KEYS FROM ANOTHER PLAYER!*

*If the player has a completed set of keys, that is.

With this single power-up, you can jump from lagging behind the pack to being in the clear lead. If and when you get this power-up, make sure to keep it from being snatched.

Super Power-ups

Finally we have the super power-ups, which are, in fact, true to their name - they’re pretty super. These can only be attained by landing on your alignment space. If you are lucky enough to land on yours, you will be given one of the following four power-ups:

Super Boots of Flight

This awesome power-up permits you to roll, not one, not two, but three dice! You can roll up to a whopping 18 with this one power-up. In a footrace to the finish, this will be the deciding factor – maybe even if you need to get a key on the way.

Super Catapult

With this Super Catapult, you can send two players home. You can use it on two opponents, or yourself and one opponent. The strategy is the same as the regular Catapult. Just realize that you now have the power of two catapults.

Super Key Grabber

The Super Key Grabber is one of the most powerful power-ups in the game. It sits right next to the Swap Keyring power-up in usefulness. You can probably take a logical guess as to what it does. Well, you’re right-on; you can steal two keys from any one opponent with this one, game-changing power-up.

To max out effectiveness, steal keys that you need and that would hinder your opponent at the same time (for example, avoid stealing duplicates unless they’re really the only keys you need). On the other hand, if an opponent gets one, keep your cool and think things through. A super key grab is not the end of the world, remember that. There are ways to recover and win, and I have, at least twice.

Super Pile of Dung

Yep, you guessed it. You can place two piles of dung anywhere on the board. This opens up a lot of possibilities. When your opponent is at an intersection, you can block off two paths instead of one, basically forcing your opponent onto the path you chose not to block. (Note: This would be at a four-way intersection, such as the one on the Springtime board.)

Combo Strategies

And that about sums up all the different power-ups you can get in Key Quest. Finally we get to the different ways to combine power-ups to your advantage.

Distraction Potion/Rainbow Fountain Water + Spare Keyring

This strategy provides a great way to gain an extra key with no cost whatsoever. Even if you don’t have any duplicates to trade for your opponent’s keys, this strategy will help you get your key back. Basically utilize the Distraction Potion and take a key that you don’t have. In return, give a key that your opponent already has. On the next turn, use the Spare Keyring to recover the key and... Ta-da! You now have an extra key at the cost of nothing.

Alternatively, you can use the fountain water to change an opponent’s key into a duplicate. Nab the spare the turn after.

Misdirection Compass + Mortog/Transporter Helmet

If your opponent just gained a key you need before you could utilize your Mortog or Transporter Helmet, there is a way for you to get that key anyway. Wait until your opponent is around 5 spaces away and then use the compass on them. They now reverse direction. Cross your fingers and hope they roll low and that they don’t pass the key. If they don’t, the time has now arrived to utilize your Mortog or helmet.

(Super) Boots of Flight + 12-sided Die

Just to clear things up, a 12-sided die may occur as an event when any player lands on the space with a question mark. As you may guess, all players now have one turn to roll a die with the numbers 1-12. With the Boots of Flight, you can move up to 24 spaces! If you have the Super Boots of Flight, you can reach up to a mind-boggling 36 spaces!!!

Remember, 12-sided dies don’t come often, so don’t hesitate to use your boots when it does roll around. (Again, no pun intended.)

Giant Lint Ball + Pocket Mini-Game

If another player uses a Giant Lint Ball on any player but you, then that would be one of the most advantageous times to activate the Pocket Mini-Game. With one less player who can possibly win something from the game, it makes it that much safer for you to play the power-up your following turn.

Note that you cannot be the one to use the GLB since the effect would have worn off by the time you use the PMG.

Giant Lint Ball + Giant Lint Ball (+ Giant Lint Ball)

Yes, this is pure evil. If you have an excessive amount of GLBs, it’s time to take them out on poor, (not-so) innocent opponents. This basically gains you 2-3 turns to gain a lead on your opponent.

Super Key Grabber + Super Key Grabber

Muahaha. This is about as evil as you can get. Not that you’re likely to get two SKGs in a row or anything, but if you do, go all out. ;)

And that about sums up everything you’ll need to know about the power-ups for Key Quest. Remember: play them smartly, not blindly. Utilize them wisely, not impulsively.

If you take in everything that you learned here and apply it to your playing style, you’re sure to see more gold keys flying your way. Happy questing!

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