Scythe is a great board game. Set in Post WWI scythe is about five (or 7 if you buy the expansions) world powers fighting it out politically and economically. War is a possibility but more often than not war is a better threat than reality. Players will work to strategically spend resources and labor to score points.
So I’m going to go over my usual points in a board game, but I will say that this game is not a casual board game. Most of the games I discuss have a low time commitment and not too many rules but this game. This game is good for the completely opposite reasons. It has a ton of different rules and it also takes three hours easily.
Most of the games that I talk about are short and sweet like eating your favorite candy bar. Scythe on the other hand is like eating a three course meal that makes you want to sit back on a Lazy Boy and watch some TV. If you play Scythe you are looking at at least a three hour commitment for playing and that’s a good thing. As you play you feel the pace of the game from beginning to end. When we started I felt the rush and grab for resources. In the middle I felt that I had to start formulating a better thought out plan and I WAS in a race with the other players and at the end I felt the like I was listening to the “Sonic running out of time” music. Every moment in this game felt significant and I was coming up with new strategies at any given time.
The rules in this game can be described better as a rule book rather than a rule pamphlet or piece of paper. The rules are very complex and dynamic and it opens up more choices then I knew what to do with in my first few playthroughs. Of course that didn’t mean that I didn’t understand the game. I was able to pick up the rules as I played and had them down in about four rounds. It just gave me a wide variety of strategies. My favorite example of this is picking out the factions.
Your faction and economy cards are broken up into two parts that are both chosen randomly. First is your overall faction is drawn randomly and each faction has their own special power ups in the beginning of the game, and they also have special power ups with the mechs they purchase. After you pick the faction cards you then randomly draw another set of action cards that dictate how your faction will handle its resources. This can change strategies, purchasing powers, and upgrade abilities. So even before you start the game you have a one in twenty five chance of getting any certain combination of cards. This is just a small taste of how varied the game is, and all the rules make this happen.
If you’re going to play scythe make sure it’s with people who know they are in for a long complicated game.
Now I can go on to some of the things that I judge universally in games. I have to say my favorite aspect of the game is the flavor. The cards, boards, resources, and choices all put together this feudal society that has giant robots in it. Players will be faced with the choices like helping farmers, or sacrificing livestock to gain a military benefit (all at the expense of your popularity of course). Every bit of this game has that flavor it that kept me interested in the game.
The next thing to talk about would be the materials of the game. Honestly when cards have that silky textured feeling I get all fuzzy inside and think about how much the game producers appreciate me. I then immediately put card cover on everything so that my clumsy fingers don’t destroy them. That initial feeling though is something that I got with Scythe. The meeples are made out of a solid wood and are not cheap. Most of the other game pieces are made from a solid plastic and cardboard that would be hard to damage and nearly impossible to hurt on accident. I do have to add in that every single type of game piece has a tiny baggy, much to the excitement of one of my good friends.
Setup and takedown is going to be a chore of course as with any large board game. The good thing though is that friends will be able to help with stuff such as putting up the colored pieces and putting all the cards in stacks while you focus on putting everything in it’s exact place with pinpoint accuracy.
One last thing about this game that I love, other than the economy, and the strategic thinking, and the silky smooth cards is the humor in this game. Ok so this is not a big aspect of the game it is mostly just with the event cards, but I liked them so much I could not help myself. Every event card has one of three decisions. The last decision is always, without fail, some sort of ridiculous solution that is completely silly and lets players know not to take themselves too seriously.
You can find an Amazon link to Scythe here
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