Questing for Keys: A Game Guide for Beginners
Ahh, Key Quest. A deceptively simple and fun game. In case you couldn't tell, this is a guide for new players to get into Key Quest, commonly abbreviated as KQ. In this guide, I'll explain what the game is, the rules of the game, and how to play. I'll also cover what happens on the boards and other events that can happen. If you are interested in this game and want to get into it, read on, good sirs (or madams). If not, then why on Neopia would you have clicked this article?
Warning: This is not a strategy guide, just a basic gameplay guide. If you need help with the game, try checking the board for it.
What is Key Quest?
I'm sure you've seen the advertisements for KQ all over Neopets. There is even a full board dedicated to Key Quest on the Neoboards page. However, the advertisements don't give that much information. First things first; the game is through Neopets, meaning you won't have to deal with any other parties or web sites to play it. There is a link to the game on the pulldown menu under the Games tab.
Key Quest is a virtual board game on Neopets, obviously, in which the goal of the game is to gather all the Keys on the board and then go through the goal door. Upon this happening, the game ends, with the winner being the one who made it through the door. Sounds simple enough, but it's gonna get harder now.
Before starting the game...
Some things I would just like to cover first: Upon your first visit to the site, you should go to your Collector's Case. This is where you will pick your playing token. Initially, you can only choose between four different tokens (You only have to do this once). You can get more by buying them in the NC Mall. And don't worry about having the same token as another person; you will both still be able to play. Unlike other board games, where the piece you pick doesn't matter (although everyone likes the car and hates the shoe), the token you choose can affect how you play the game. Each token has an element, which I'll explain later. For now, though, remember your token's element. It'll help you along the way.
One last thing, and this has proven to be a problem for many players, myself included: The game is much easier to play on a fast computer with a good internet connection. My apologies to anyone who experiences slow loading times or lag.
Starting a game
Time for the game. Upon clicking Play Game on the Key Quest page, you will be taken to the menu of the game page. If you want to quickly join a game, click the Quick Game option in the lower right-hand corner. If you want to organize a game, click a room and create your own game with your own rules. For the record, Quick Games are set to 5 Key games, where you have to get all 5 keys and make it to the door first to win. Once you find a game, which hasn't taken more than a minute for me in Quick Match, choose a color you want to use. Your piece will be placed on that colored marker. The game can be played by two to four players. Most of the time in Quick Match, the games are 2 player. Once the first player in the game decides to start (If it's you, start by clicking the door on the left. The one on the right leads back to the menu), you roll the die by clicking it to determine the turn order, going in order from first to last by highest to lowest. After this, you have to pick a starting point. Each map has 4 specific starting points, represented by a house. You choose a house to start at. Unfortunately, you can't see what map you're playing on before the game begins, so the point you choose can either help or hinder your efforts. For the record, the chat menu is annoying to navigate, so unless you really want to or are playing with friends, don't even bother with it.
To Rule Them All
There are two major rules when playing KQ. Breaking either of these is a reportable offense.
1. If a power-up (will explain soon) is played on you, do not let the timer on your turn run out to avoid the effect of the power-up. This breaks the balance of the game and is considered cheating.
2. Do not quit if you aren't going to win first place. Let me say that again: DO. NOT. QUIT. just because you aren't going to come in first. It's a waste of time to you and your opponents, is completely unfair to your opponents, and you still get prizes even if you don't come in first. You will be reported. If your connection messes up or you experience a computer problem, especially in a 2 player game, record the other player(s) name so that you can send a Neomail to them explaining what happened. Again, you quit, you will be reported.
Let's Everybody Go!
When the token colors have been chosen and the starting places selected, let the game begin. The turns will be taken in the order determined earlier. When your turn comes, you roll a die with numbers 1 to 6 and can then move that amount of spaces. Don't expect to be rolling around at the speed of sound every turn; it's a simple random number generator restricted to the designated values, but given the graphic of a rolling die. In short, it's random, so you won't always move far. The goal of the game is to get at least one of each color of key and be the first to reach the door. If you come across a junction, you will be presented with a set of arrows in all directions except the one you just came from. Click on an arrow to move in that direction. There is a time limit on rolling and decisions. If you take too long to roll, your turn will be skipped. See the first rule in the above section for something about this. If you take too long to decide which way to move at a junction, you will automatically move down a random path.
Now, let's go over the game board a bit. Each space has some kind of effect, easily separated into two groups: Ones that take effect by moving over them and ones that you have to land on to get the effect.
Passing Over spaces: These spaces give out something just for moving your token over them. You don't get any extra bonuses for landing on them.
Gold Tile: Gives 50 Neopoints for passing over it. Very common.
Multi-colored Diamond Tile: Gives a random power-up for passing over it.
Portal Tile: Gives you the option of warping to the other portal of the same color. You don't have to use it if you pass it.
Keys: Gives you a key of that color. Get at least one of each and reach the door to win.
Landing spaces: In order to get the effect of the space, you have to roll the exact amount that allows you to land directly on it. Passing over them gives no bonus.
Purple Space with Stars: Minigame Space. Forces you to play a randomly selected minigame. Winner gets either a choice of a power-up or a key of their choosing. The winner also gets more Neopoints.
Red Space with White Emblem: Location Space. Landing on this gives you 200 Neopoints.
Blue Space with an Orange Star and White Question Mark: Character Space. Causes a random event that affects all players. Again, it's random, so don't get upset when it doesn't always help you.
X Marks the Spot: The Treasure Chest space. Always a treasure to land on *Ducks thrown tomato*. But seriously, this is one of the best spaces in the game. Land on it and receive a load of Neopoints, far more than a minigame or Gold space gives you, and a random power-up. But wait, there's more! If you have any key and then land on this space, you get ANOTHER KEY! And you get to choose what color key you want! How marvelous.
Other Important Spaces
Home Space: Home sweet home. For the most part, you don't want to go back there. Once you leave the space you start on, you will only be sent back there by either a certain power-up, a random event, or one of the events from the Character Spaces.
Door: The door is actually a space, meaning you have to roll enough to get past it. Once you have all the keys, you have to get to this space, drawn as a Green Circle with a Yellow Arrow. You don't have to land on it, just pass it. But again, you can only go onto the space if you have at least one key of every color.
Element Spaces: Remember how I told you to remember your token's element? This is why: The Element Spaces. There are spaces for each Faerie element on the board: Fire (Red Flame), Earth (Green Leaf), Air (White Cloud), Light (Yellow Light), Water (Blue Water Drop), and Darkness (Purple Vortex. Do not confuse with a Purple Portal). Each token has an element. If you land on the space with the same element as your token, you're in luck. They always give you a Super Power-up, which are upgraded versions of regular power-ups, and will give you a blessing which you can either accept or decline. For the most part, there is no reason whatsoever to decline a blessing (except the Duel one. That one seems pretty pointless). From protecting your keys from other players to giving you an extra roll to sending allowing you to move to any one Key you want (and collecting said key), the blessings are an amazing benefit. However, there is a downside to elements. If you land on an element that doesn't match your own, then you've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?
One last thing: If you land on the same space as another player, it's time to d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-DUEL! You're given the option to duel another player in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner gets to choose 1 of 3 powerups.
Ok, so I've mentioned power-ups multiple times, but what exactly are they? These handy little items are given to you from power-up spaces, random events, the treasure chest, and you element space. They allow you to perform some kind of event to another player or yourself. And no, they won't make your power level over 9000. There is a lot of strategy involved with power-ups regarding what to use and when to use them. You can only hold three at a time and you can only use one at the beginning of your turn, before you roll the die. I don't remember all the names of the power-ups, but the effects they can have are: Rolling 2 dice, taking a key from another player, changing the color of one key (either your own or an opponent's), changing the direction a player is moving in, moving to another player's square, switching places with another player, moving to any portal space, blocking off a path, sending a player back to their home space, stealing a power-up from another player, choosing how many spaces you'll move, as well as a few more. Some power-ups have Super versions, only attainable from element spaces, that unleash a stronger version of a standard power-up. Powerups can be devastating when used at the right time.
I've mentioned minigames a few times already. The Purple spaces with stars on them are minigame spaces. Land on one and you're forced to play a minigame. Without a doubt, minigames are the most hated part of Key Quest, since they rely on the power of your computer and the strength of your internet connection. If you don't have a fast computer or your internet isn't nearly perfect, you're gonna have a bad time. Meaning there will be lag. Unfortunate, but a part of the game. However, if you don't have any lag and your computer is up to par, you can seriously capitalize off minigames. If you win one, you get extra Neopoints (you still get some if you lose, but just not as much) and you'll either get a choice of power-ups or a key of your choosing. They might be annoying if you don't have a good connection or fast computer, but they are easy ways to win keys, if you can win them. I'm not going into the actual games themselves. You'll have to play to find out.
What would a board game be without something that makes you want to throw a table and say bad things to the people you're playing with? As this is a Neopets-based game, the rage frequently comes from the Random Events. These events occur randomly. Captain Obvious away! They only occur before the player rolls, meaning that if there is no event, you can take your turn without fear of something else happening. Most of the events are the same as events from landing on a Character Space, like all players being sent home or getting an extra power-up or something like that. Other events include all players having their movement direction reversed, being teleported to a random square, and other thing similar to that. It takes skill (and luck) to adjust to most Random Events, but they can sometimes be benefits in disguise so if you see that Something Has Happened message, don't throw your computer at a wall in a fit of rage.
Pfft! You think people play this for fun? Ha. No, we play to get the prizes and money. It's a great way to earn easy Neopoints as well as some fabulous prizes! At the end of a game, you get all the Neopoints you collected in the game, up to a maximum of 5,000. You can get a maximum of 30,000 raw Neopoints from Key Quest every day, but that isn't including the value of the prizes. At the end of a game, depending on the place you come in, you get a key for the vault. First place (makes it to the door with all 5 keys) gets a Gold Key, while second, third, and fourth places are determined by who had how many keys when First Place wins the game. First place gets a gold key, second gets silver, third gets bronze, and fourth gets iron. Gold and Silver Keys give out the best prizes, like Paint Brushes, Lab Map pieces, Codestones, rare Neggs and unfortunately some junk prizes like Orange Grundo furniture for your Neohome. BUT! All the keys are usable in the Vault, so even if you come in last in a four-player game, you still get prizes. You can play as much as you want and win as many keys as you want, but you can only use 10 keys in the vault a day. Keys never expire, so you can store as many as you like. A fun challenge is to hold onto Gold Keys until you get 10 of them and then claim them all at once, like a boss. So even if you're going to lose, do not quit the game, because you and the other players won't get any prizes, not even the Neopoints you collected in the game. And you will be reported if you quit when a game is about to end.
So that pretty much sums up the basics of how Key Quest works. I just want to remind you not to skip a turn because a power-up was played on you and not to quit just because you aren't going to get a gold key. That's called cheating. Now, you can read as many guides as you want and know every theory on how to win, but unless you play, you'll never get experience. Carry on, my wayward sons, and happy questing.
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