Athens business battles 'board'om with new games

If anyone understands how to make the best with the hand they’ve been dealt, it’s Kyle Key.

“I was born with a bad heart,” says Key. “I found out from my cardiologist during just a normal checkup that I needed to have a third open-heart surgery.  So, it was about a six-month period of prepping, doctors meetings, and stuff like that, and you kind of assess what you’d doing in your life, of course, with any major news like that.  I started looking at what I was doing as a job, and I realized, is it really what I want to do? What would I really want to do?” 

The answer was board games. Kyle Key created Keymaster Games just about five years ago, launching the Athens-based company with a card game called Control.

“It took off. And I think some of it was timing, some of it was just that it’s a small game, it was $20 at the time, and we tried to make it look nice. And the board game community as well as general people just picked up on it.

Other games followed, like the two-person strategy game Caper and the ghoulish Campy Creatures, inspired by the B-movie monsters of the 1940s and 1950s.  One of the company’s crown jewels is Parks, a board game celebrating National Parks and featuring artwork by The Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series.

“We made a game called Space Park, which was about, what if there was National Parks in space? And so we made this whole system…and they approached us and said, we’ve got all this artwork, about the real National Parks, let’s make a game.”

Of course, all of the aforementioned games hit shelves before the new era of social distance and sheltering-in-place — leading to families around the world buying new board games to pass the hours at home. And Key says he’s proud to be part of something that can help bring some joy and entertainment to these uncertain times.  

“These experiences that these games provide are magical.”

For more information on Keymaster Games and ordering the company’s merchandise, click here.