Winning the Game: A Guide to Key Quest Power-Ups
It's no secret that next to sheer luck and computer speeds, power-ups are the most important part of any Key Quest game. Knowing how to properly utilize them makes the difference between a gold and silver key, the difference between a silver and bronze. Power-ups exist within the game as a way to further your progress and inhibit your opponents. As a self-proclaimed Key Quest veteran, it seems only fair to explain these power-ups and their uses in a friendly, easy guide.
This guide will explore several different aspects of power-ups: their uses, their strengths and drawbacks, helpful tips for game play, and scenarios in which power-ups are at their strongest. With creativity, combinations of power-ups can be used over several turns, which makes comprehension of the mechanics even more vital. Understand the game and try to think ahead of your opponent. That's the key to winning.
A player is allowed to hold three power-ups at a time during a game of Key Quest. To decide which power-ups to keep and which to discard, you must consider their usefulness to you at the time and your game strategy. (For example, a Spare Keyring is useless whilst your opponents don't have any spare keys and do not look like they'll obtain any in the near future.)
Once the uses of power-ups are understood by a Key Quest player, they will be well on their way to earning more gold keys and having nifty bragging rights!
The following power-ups appear in all games.
Use: Changes the recipient's direction. Going north? Suddenly you find yourself going south. It's quite an inconvenience - or, if you play this on yourself, an asset. The Misdirected Compass is one of the blessed power-ups that can be used both to further your own game or to inhibit your opponent.
General Situations to Employ Use: Your opponent is about to grab that one key they've moved across the entire board for. It would be a shame if someone was to turn them around . . . Or perhaps a pesky random event has caused all players to switch direction when you were just about to grab a key. You can use this on yourself and it will be like the event never happened! You can also counteract an opponent's Misdirected Compass with one of your own, with a tiny exception.
Tip: This is the tiny exception. If your opponent has a compass of their own that could be used to counteract yours, wait until they're at a crossroad. For example, they might be going straight. They now have an option to continue going straight or turn left. You know they want to turn left, and you want to play your compass on them. But, you say, they could just use theirs in turn! This is not strictly true. If you use your compass and they attempt to counteract you, they will be forced to continue straight at the crossroad, instead of being able to take that left turn. I am unsure whether this is a glitch or intentional programming, but regardless it can be worked in your favor.
Use: Switch places with your opponent.
General Situations to Employ Use: Is your opponent coming up to a key you desperately need? Or perhaps, does your opponent have all five keys already? You can use this power-up to transport yourself to a part of the board you need to visit, or to displace an opponent who is far too close to their goal.
Tip: Look around to see how your current location may benefit the opponent you're switching with. Many a time I've had my game partners switch places with me in order to benefit themselves, not realizing they were placing me in close proximity to keys I still needed. Inadvertently, they'd helped both of us! Don't do that. If you want to win, there can be no mercy. (Except have a good attitude, sheesh. Nobody likes a rotten sport.)
Use: Jump in front of your opponent's square. Similar to the Transporter Helmet, but with significant different advantages and disadvantages.
General Situations to Employ Use: Unlike the previous power-up, the Mortog does not have as much potential to harm opponents. Using the Mortog will allow you to start your turn one space ahead of wherever your opponent is stationed. It can be used for easy game maneuvering as well as to wield a sense of power in the end-game. An important note - you WILL NOT reap the benefits of the space you jump to. If you jump to a power-up space, you will not receive a power-up; if you jump to a key space, you will not receive that key. You will only receive the spaces you reach after you roll the dice.
Tip: Should you and your game partner(s) have all five of your keys, the next step is a mad dash toward the Key Quest door. Having a Mortog power-up is fantastic for this. If one of your opponents gets ahead of you in the race, you can leap past their square and take your turn. And if one of your opponents stops right in front of the Key Quest door, you can use the Mortog power-up to teleport directly to the finish line. It's great.
Use: Jump to any Portal square.
General Situations to Employ Use: Any time one of your game goals is close to a portal, you can use this power-up. This has no potential to harm your opponents, but it's incredibly helpful for maneuvering. Because Portal spaces on the board don't move, you always know your exact square-jumping options and can factor them into your game plan.
Tip: Note that when game portals become clogged, the Portal power-up cannot be used. This power-up is especially valuable when playing on boards with many different portals.
Loaded Gummy Dice
Use: Choose the value of your next roll.
General Situations to Employ Use: I personally view the Loaded Gummy Dice as a valuable commodity and try to use it sparingly. Often my goal is to use it to hit the X square on the board, or to hit my token alignment square. The Loaded Gummy Dice can also be used at the end of the game, should a player wish to choose a roll that would bring them to the quest door.
Tip: Always know exactly where you are planning to land and what your game plan is. From the moment this power-up is in your possession, you should be planning what to do with it. There are many valuable squares on a board; know which one is best for you.
Use: Roll a six.
General Situations to Employ Use: Slightly less powerful than the Loaded Gummy Dice, this remains an excellent power-up all the same. Should you want to reach a faraway key in one turn, move closer to the door, or land on a square that's conveniently six spaces away, this is yours for the taking.
Tip: Always be sure that you know what space you'll land on. All too often people don't count beforehand and accidentally land on a token alignment that isn't their own, resulting in disaster.
Boots of Flight
Use: Roll two dice.
General Situations to Employ Use: This is a power-up for someone who is more of a risk taker. Unlike the Virtudice and Loaded Gummy Dice power-ups, the player has no idea what square they will land on. However, in normal circumstances someone could move twelve spaces rather than the normal six. Boots of Flight are meant for players who want to cover ground, rather than land on a specific space. They're all a game of probability - the highest probability number is a 7, with the probability of rolling a 2 or a 12 being 1/36. It's simple mathematics... all things to consider before playing.
Tip: Should a King Roo random event allow you to roll a twelve-sided die, USE YOUR BOOTS OF FLIGHT. Not only will you be rolling two dice, but you will be rolling two twelve-sided dice. In these circumstances you could move twenty-four spaces rather than twelve. Wow!
Rainbow Sticky Hand
Use: Take a power-up from someone else.
General Situations to Employ Use: You want that power-up? Take it. You know your opponent will use that power-up against you? Take it. The Rainbow Sticky Hand is often overlooked but is a huge game changer, especially in three-four player games with intense power-ups.
Tip: If another player has a Rainbow Sticky Hand then take it - you are depriving them of their power-up and never really losing your own. Make sure that you make the best use possible of your Rainbow Sticky Hand. It's an excellent weapon in and of itself. Seeing that another player has a Rainbow Sticky Hand can seriously alter someone's strategy, so consider that before you give it up to take a power up. Make absolutely sure your decision is worth it.
Use: Scramble someone's power-ups.
General Situations to Employ Use: Oh man, your opponent has three great power-ups that could all be used to help them win the game! (Especially in cases of having Super Power-ups, oh no!) Scramble them. Do it. Your opponent has a good power-up but you don't have a Rainbow Sticky Hand to take it? Scramble it.
Tip: When you scramble the power-ups, your opponent will get all new ones. This is a risky power-up to use because there's the potential for your opponent to receive better power-ups in the end. Therefore, use it wisely. If your partner is at an extreme tactical advantage and nothing can make it worse then yeah, it's definitely time to throw this down.
Giant Lint Ball
Use: Make player unable to collect items.
General Situations to Employ Use: This is a purely offensive weapon. There is no benefit to yourself whatsoever, but you sure do inhibit your opponent! Really there's no wrong situation to use this, because there's a good chance that at any moment in the game you will be hindering your partner. However some times are more opportune than others - for example, if your opponent is about to get a key they don't have yet.
Tip: If your partner is under a Giant Lint Ball (or a Pant Devil random event, for that matter) for a turn, then all inhibitions you may have about duels and minigames can cease. Even if they win the duel or the minigame, they will not be able to collect their prize. There's no way for them to benefit. You either benefit or nothing happens. Yay!
Use: Duel another player.
General Situations to Employ Use: This power-up starts a rock-paper-scissors duel. The winner can choose one of three power-up options. It's not my favorite by far because I don't like giving my opponent the potential to benefit from my turn, but duels can add spice to a game. That being said, I usually only use this power-up if I have nothing left to lose and desperately need something to delay my opponent's victory.
Tip: . . . I don't have a lot of tips about this. It's a straightforward power-up. Pay attention to the moves your partner makes in a duel and remember them for if you duel them again. Don't make the same moves twice; you will become predictable and easier to beat.
Rainbow Fountain Water
Use: Change the color of one key.
General Situations to Employ Use: This is another glorious power-up that can be used to help you or hinder your partners. Perhaps you have two of one key and zero of another. You can change the color of one of those keys to the color of the one you don't have. Or perhaps your opponent has all five keys and is quickly moving toward the door. You can change the color of one of their keys so they no longer have all five.
Tip: Carefully consider what power-ups your opponent has and how they might counterstrike against you. There are many different power-ups in a Key Quest game dedicated to the changing of keys.
Use: Swap one key with another player.
General Situations to Employ Use: You have two of one key but zero of another. Your partner has that key you need. Give them one of your two keys and take the one you need. Alternatively your partner has too many keys and is fast moving toward the door. Use this power-up to delay their victory.
Tip: Should you be planning to use a Distraction Potion on one of your game partners, try to have a duplicate key at the ready. You can obtain one from winning a minigame (rather than just picking a key you didn't have yet). That way you can put the power-up to maximum use. This is why strategizing beforehand is important. Also note that you should try not to accidentally help your partner with this power-up by giving them a key they did not have before.
Use: Take spare keys from a player.
General Situations to Employ Use: This is a power-up that's often best combined with others, like the Rainbow Fountain Water or Distraction Potion. Creativity is encouraged. Alternatively there's the traditional "one of my partners has duplicates of a key I need" strategy.
Tip: Know when and where this will come in handy. As mentioned in the introduction, this is a useless power-up if none of the other players have spare keys and do not look like they'll obtain them anytime soon.
These power-ups appear in three player or more games:
Use: Send a player home.
General Situations to Employ Use: One of your opponents is too close to a key or the door for comfort? Send them home. You're missing a key that's closer to your home base than your current location? Send yourself home.
Tip: This is a pretty straightforward power-up. Know where your opponent's home is and how much you're inconveniencing them by playing this.
Pile of Dung
Use: Block a player.
General Situations to Employ Use: Any time one of your opponents is moving somewhere you don't appreciate, play this to divert them.
Tip: People most often use this as a way to make a player "lose a turn." While this is a practical use, it's also not nearly giving this power-up its full potential! These power-ups can be placed on the opposite sides of portals an opponent wants to use in order to force them to pass over the portal. They can be placed on paths at crossroads, forcing opponents to divert their path. Doing this will destroy their game strategy, rather than simply delaying them for a turn.
Use: Make a player lose a turn.
General Situations to Employ Use: This is another offensive power-up. If an opponent is too close to the door, feel free to use this. Honestly feel free to use this in any situation. It's a great asset.
Tip: Consider combining this with other power-ups. You can use this to take away a player's turn and while they're inhibited, play other power-ups on them. The possibilities are endless.
Giant Rock Mote
Use: Roll over other players.
General Situations to Employ Use: Another offensive power-up that causes players to lose turns, although this one with an interesting twist. The Giant Rock Mote interacts with the game board itself by being rolled across the paths. If it hits a player then they lose their turn. This is a great power-up because it can take away the turns of more than one person at once; however, it lacks the sureness of Bottled Quicksand. Everything is largely dependent on the positions of players during the game.
Tip: Know exactly where the mote is going to go before you throw it. If possible, do it when the players are relatively lined up so you can knock out all of them at the same time.
Use: Take a key.
General Situations to Employ Use: Take a key you need from a player. Or take a key from a player who has too many. Or both!
Tip: This is a very straightforward power-up. Just consider which keys you need most versus which keys would do the most damage if taken from your opponent.
Use: Swap keys with another player.
General Situations to Employ Use: Ohhhh, here's my favorite power-up. I like this one not only because it's so powerful, but because it's the ultimate game changer. This is the power-up that can cause someone who wins absolutely no mini games and has terrible luck to win the gold. This power-up changes the ENTIRE power dynamic of a game. All the other players will look to you in fear. Beautiful.
Tip: If possible, try not to acquire one of these too early in the game. All eyes will immediately be on you. If you do acquire one of these early in the game, do not rely on it as your plan. Do not avoid keys and think, "It's all right, I'll just swap keys with someone else!" If you gain one of these early on, there's a very good chance that someone will take it via Rainbow Sticky Hand or it will be scrambled with a Tornado Ring before you ever get the chance to use it.
Use: Play a minigame without landing on a minigame square.
General Situations to Employ Use: You desperately need a key, or you desperately need a power-up to help you get a key / help you ruin your opponent's game. Or maybe you just want to gain Neopoints from having another minigame. Whatever. It's your call. Just be aware that if you lose, someone else will get that prize you want.
Tip: Wait until you've played a few minigames already so you have a feel for the game and can judge your chances of winning. Don't play this power-up unless you're relatively sure you can win, or you're desperate.
These are all the normal game play power-ups. There are other power-ups that are given should you land on your alignment token. These are better than the normal game ones, but beware - they can be taken with Rainbow Sticky Hands or scrambled with Tornado Rings just like all other power-ups.
These power-ups are:
Super Key Grabber - allows you to grab two keys at once
Super Catapult - allows you to send two players home
Super Pile of Dung - allows you to place two piles of dung instead of just one
Super Boots of Flight - allows you to roll three dice
All the strategies remain the same for these as for their counterparts above (the Key Grabber, Catapult, Pile of Dung, and Boots of Flight).
This guide is only a very basic introduction to the power-ups and how they work, but hopefully these tips will help some wayward player out there. These are the bare bones of what I've learned from the hundreds of games of Key Quest that I've played. Strategies and combinations vary greatly from game to game, from board to board, from player to player. The important thing is that you understand the dynamics at work, how to use your power-ups to their full potential, and how power-ups can in turn be used against you.
I wish you all happy gaming, and good luck!