FTW Staff Picks - Scythe
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
Player Size: 2 to 5 Players
Game Length: 100 minutes
For fans of: Kemet, Eclipse, Terra Mystica
Rewind to 2016 and you'll notice that Scythe made a large, favourable impression on most gamers even topping various lists from established websites. It took a while for us to get around to, but we've finally gotten a chance to experience it for ourselves. And let me tell you, it is quite the ride.
In Scythe, players play as competing civilizations based on an alternate-reality of 1920's Europe. The game contains four basic standard actions, each with an additional advanced action that can be performed alongside it. There are many ways to accumulate Coins which act as the victory points of the game. Players can build Mechs to increase their military power. They can upgrade their civilizations allowing them to be more efficient. They can choose to farm and build landmarks across Europe. There's a lot to consider and with a fluid game-end mechanic, you constantly have to be aware of the game coming to an abrupt close.
To begin the game, each player is assigned two boards at random which will give them unique abilities that will influence their decision-making throughout the game. Each combination of boards is unique allowing for diverse games. It can feel a little overwhelming at the start. But once you understand how to value certain things, the game can go by quickly. We were surprised with how simple each turn actually is. Because of this, the game manages to avoid most AP (analysis paralysis) problems.
There's a lot of things that Scythe does that feels inspired by many other successful Euro-style & civilization games. You can see where they drew from games like Terra Mystica, Eclipse & Kemet. The alternate reality they've created feels unique and oddly believable. We've only had a chance to play the base game, but the expansions which add support for up to 7 players and giant airships look really enticing. If you're looking for a heavier game which doesn't feel like a chore to play, take a look at Scythe.