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Traditionally, R&D Games = Richard Breese; buy a game from that publisher, and you know that you'll be playing a game from that designer. That tradition ends in 2010 with the publication of Key Market by designer David Brain.
That said, Key Market should have the same Breesian feel you expect from R&D Games since (1) Brain was a playtester on early Key games, according to Breese, (2) Breese developed the game and handled the graphic design, (3) Juliet Breese has once again provided artwork, and (4) Key Market seems like an involved worker placement and resource management game. For more details, here is Richard Breese's description of the sixth title in the Key series of games set in the medieval lands of Keydom:
Each player controls an extended family of workers. Over the course of two years, players will organize their workers in an attempt to turn their initial scanty resources into a thriving economic system.
After an initial set up phase, the game is played over eight seasons. Each season has three distinct phases, during which players may take a variety of actions. The topography, weather and seasons will influence the ability of workers to produce crops and livestock in the fields and luxuries in the villages. In addition, resources and luxuries may be bought and sold in the market, or gold and favors sought and acquired. Other workers may be sponsored to join the powerful guilds, where they will acquire skills as they gain promotion to become craftsmen or even the guild master.
Turn order throughout the game is determined by the player's position on the season track, which changes at the end of each season. At the end of the game the player who has acquired the most gold will win the game.
Breese also sent along this designer's note from Brain: "Key Market is a reasonably intricate game. Some of the strategies that can be employed (particularly the effective use of the market) are not immediately apparent, and some of the Guild combinations do not look so devastating at first glance. But for those looking for a challenging medieval resource management/economic engine game, here you are."
Despite the disappearance of Breese's name from an R&D box, some traditions do remain: Key Market will be published in a limited edition of 1,000 copies and will first be available at Spiel 2010 in October. To reserve a copy for pick-up in Essen, write Richard Breese and put your name on the list.
Update, August 9, 2010: Richard Breese has now posted a Geeklist explaining the basics of game play in Key Market, in addition to some history about the game.
Players: 2 - 4
Time: 90 - 150 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 1,414 grams