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Stonemaier Games Scythe Board Games
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From the manufacturer
Deisgned by Jamey Stegmaier & Artwork by Jakub Rozalski.
- 1-5 Players
- 115 minute playing time
- Ages 14 and up
Board game set in an alternate-history in 1920s
A time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor
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.
Other than each player’s individual hidden objective cards, the only elements of luck are encounter cards that players will draw as they interact with the citizens of newly explored lands and combat cards that give you a temporary boost in combat. Combat is also driven by choices, not luck or randomness.
- Every part of Scythe has an aspect of engine-building to it
- There is no player elimination, nor can units be killed or destroyed
Each player represents a fallen leader attempting to restore their honor and lead their faction to power in Eastern Europa.
Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.
Each player begins the game with different resources, their choice of several faction-specific abilities, and a hidden goal.
Scythe gives players almost complete control over their fate!
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I've currently played well over 100 games of scythe, which probably clocks in close to 150 hours of total game time. I can honestly say it is THE most fun board game I've played, and I'm still not tired of it. Many other board games I will vouch for as being amazing, and I've played them several times over, but at some point, even those games become a little stale, and the gameplay itself becomes boiled down to a science. Such is not the case with scythe. It's got just enough random elements to keep it fresh and new every time you play it, without making it so random that you have no control over the outcome. It's the perfect blend. And now with its most recent expansion "Wind Gambits" the game has evolved anymore. But for newcomers, don't let the expansion intimidate you. I highly recommend playing the base game of Scythe for all it's worth (which is a TON) before worrying about playing with the expansion. I am an avid board gamer, and this is truly a one of a kind game that I have yet to become bored with, and I have yet to dice up into a science. Every single game will have you attempting new strategies, and exploring new options to declare yourself the victor. One of the most exciting parts of Scythe is that when the game ends, rarely will there ever be a distinct winner before the final points have been carefully calculated. There is a Scythe app on iOS and Android that I highly recommend downloading for deciding factions at the beginning of the game, and tallying score at the end.
Without going into game play detail (I'll leave that to the rulebook) What I can say is that Scythe is, on the surface, a very complex game, but once you get your feet wet and play it, it really isn't too terrifying to learn. There's only so much you can do per turn, and once you run through it a few times, you begin to see the gears of the game click and turn, and you'll have a well running engine of a faction in no time! If you're just starting out with a group of people who are also new to the game, you're going to have your questions and missteps along the way where you might find you weren't playing certain rules down to their very exact intent, but this is perfectly fine. A lot of the fun in Scythe is discovering all the things you missed, or even may have been doing incorrectly, and changing up your game for the next time.
For the most part, Scythe is an incredibly balanced game. If you get into a rhythm of playing with a core group of people, you'll start to realize the few imbalances it has *cough* Industrial Rusviet *cough* and learn to play around them. Again, figuring out what each faction is good at, how to make it work with your unique play mat, and formulate the best plan of attack, are just a few of the things that make Scythe such an immersive and brilliant game that will have you wanting to re-rack the game again and again. Hour and half to two-hour sessions seem like mere minutes when you really start grasp how fun the game is.
If I had one gripe about the game, it would be the amount of players that can play. It's nice that Scythe can include 7 players, especially if you have a lot of board-game savvy friends who all want to be included. But be warned! 6 or 7-player games of Scythe tend to drag on, and when that happens, more often than not, one if not more people will lose interest, and thus become unenthused with the game. And nothing kills the fun of a game, like some one who is currently playing the game and not giving a crap about it. So if you have 6 or 7 brave souls willing to stick it out, it's best that all parties involved have a vast knowledge of the game, and indeed the actually WANT to play, knowing full well what they are signing up for. The sweet spot for Scythe, seems to be around the 4-5 player mark. The games are long enough that you don't feel cheated out of an epic board game experience, but short enough that the ADD in your friends doesn't start to show itself, and manifest into playing candy crush on their phones in between turns.
Scythe is a massively wonderful game of strategy that I would absolutely suggest to any board game enthusiast looking to play one of the greatest games of all time. If new to board games, I would suggest watching several Scythe tutorials on the internet or playing with some one who has played before and has a good concept of the game. Again, it's complex, but not so much that I would say anyone wanting to learn the game, wouldn't be able to, regardless of their prior knowledge of board games. If you're willing to invest a little time to learn this game, you won't be disappointed!!
The biggest downsides I can think of is that it's a long game (with two players, we average about 2:15), and if you're trying to teach friends to play, better factor in an additional hour. Besides that, I would say everyone has got to play it at some point. While the instructions and rules are dense, it never felt overwhelming and plays surprisingly smoothly from turn to turn. Haven't had a friend yet who didn't like.
My only recommendation is for one person to sit down with the rules and really learn it, because most of the rules can be taught as you progress through the game. Otherwise, it's a beautifully designed game with little to no "luck" involved and you feel like the game designer really had a good idea of what this game would feel like when he made it.