Review: Scythe

In Scythe, 5 different factions fight for control over a war-torn dieselpunk Europe.

Publisher

Stonemaier Games

90-115
minutes

€70
cost

1-5
players

Game overview

Scythe is a economic area influence game in which you will compete as 1 of 5 factions for control of Europe.

In Scythe, each player plays a different faction. Each faction has certain strengths and weaknesses. For example, one faction focuses more on production and the other more on fighting. Each player also starts with his character and 2 workers at his home base.

Each turn you may use 1 of the 4 actions shown on your player board. In doing so, you may use the top and/or bottom actions provided you can pay for them. Some actions let you move your units around the board. Depending on the action you may move the worker, character or mech a number of spaces. When you land on an opponent's field you chase away the workers or start fighting with the mechs. The winner earns control of that field and any resources.

With workers you can produce raw materials or new workers. For example, if you have 2 workers on a food field you may produce 2 food there. The lower actions must be paid for with resources on the fields you control. These are usually strong actions such as deploying a new mech or upgrading actions.

The game ends immediately when you have placed 6 stars on the different goals. There are a lot of goals, such as having deployed 4 mechs or having won a battle. So when you have reached 6 of these goals the game stops and everyone adds up all their wealth. You also get money for your stars, occupied territories and remaining resources. The player with the most wealth then wins the game!

Our thoughts

Scythe is one of the games that has been on our wishlist for the longest time. The opinions about Scythe as a 2 player game are very divided, but fortunately there are also many people who are positive! We were therefore very curious about our experience with Scythe as a 2 player game. By now we have found out. Today we share our 2 player review with you!

Our expectations of Scythe were high, as was our enthusiasm! When the mail carrier arrived with Scythe, we immediately unwrapped the game and sat down at the table to learn the rules. In fact, we had already watched an explanation video before we even got the package! Of course, with this attitude a game can easily be disappointing, but fortunately that was not the case with Scythe!

Scythe has a complexity rating of 3.43 on BGG. For a game of this severity, we found Scythe very easy to learn. Especially if someone already knows the rules, you can start playing like that. The rules also state that you do not need to understand Scythe 100% during the first game. This will come naturally! On the player aids there are suggestions for the first 5 turns and this is very useful for your first game. We had already mastered the game during our first game, halfway through! We found Scythe surprisingly smooth during the first game for a game of this gravity. Of course, this only gets better as you play the game more often.

Scythe is an incredibly strategic game. But make no mistake, thanks to the different factions and different player boards, you can't stick to one strategy. You will have to figure out how to win each game. Enough challenge and variation. We can't imagine that Scythe gets boring quickly. After a handful of games we still have the feeling that we have not discovered everything. This certainly stimulates us to put the game on the table again and again.

We have only played Scythe with 2 players and are very satisfied with this. The dynamics will undoubtedly be different, you are a bit more flexible and have more space and there is generally less confrontation. However, this is not necessary. You can play a game of Scythe with 2 players as passive or aggressive as you want. We find it fine not to engage in too much combat, but you can also choose to do so. 

For us, Scythe is a very entertaining, challenging and strategic 2 player game. Of course, we would also love to have "the full experience" of a 4 or 5 player game, but as far as we are concerned, you certainly don't have to pass up Scythe if you only play with 2 players!

Pros and cons

+ A lot of variation and challenge
+ Plays smoothly
+ A lot of fun with 2 players

- Long setup

or:

This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by Stonemaier Games.