It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory”, which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries. Scythe is a 4X board game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europa who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction's stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs. Each player begins the game with different resources (power, coins, combat acumen, and popularity), a different starting location, and a hidden goal. Starting positions are specially calibrated to contribute to each faction’s uniqueness and the asymmetrical nature of the game (each faction always starts in the same place). Scythe gives players almost complete control over their fate. Other than each player’s individual hidden objective card, the only elements of luck or variability are “encounter” cards that players will draw as they interact with the citizens of newly explored lands. Each encounter card provides the player with several options, allowing them to mitigate the luck of the draw through their selection. Combat is also driven by choices, not luck or randomness. Scythe uses a streamlined action-selection mechanism (no rounds or phases) to keep gameplay moving at a brisk pace and reduce downtime between turns. While there is plenty of direct conflict for players who seek it, there is no player elimination. Every part of Scythe has an aspect of engine-building to it. Players can upgrade actions to become more efficient, build structures that improve their position on the map, enlist new recruits to enhance character abilities, activate mechs to deter opponents from invading, and expand their borders to reap greater types and quantities of resources. These engine-building aspects create a sense of momentum and progress throughout the game. The order in which players improve their engine adds to the unique feel of each game, even when playing one faction multiple times.
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by Reilly on January 25th 2018
Amazing game. The production on the art and components are second to none as well the gameplay is fine tuned smooth. Immidate decisions are simple while the complexity comes from the long range planning.
Be aware this is not especially a war game. Depending on group you could have none too only one or two fights the whole game.
Anyone starting out in board games should get this possibly as their second or third game. Any other board gamer who likes the look of the art will also love it.
by Joel on August 5th 2016
This game is beautifully-crafted and a true new frontier in excellent game development and execution. It is rather complex and not a great option for newbies - but the design is intuitive and the set-up makes it actually quite navigable and there are lots of reminders of the rules built in to the game itself. Definitely a game of strategy and diplomacy and takes a bit of thinking and cunning.
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