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Scythe» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Early Impressions of Scythe with 2 Players rss

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The Mirror
United States
New York
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As will be my approach, I will not speak on the game rules in my reviews unless they pertain specifically to something that I found to be particularly exciting or problematic.

Background:
I have played the game exactly twice, the first with Blue (Scandinavian-ish) and then with White (Polish-esque) and had two wonderfully different game experiences. My opponent played with the Yellow faction both times.



Gameplay:
In the first game with the Blue faction, both of us played a more engine-building solitary Euro-style game, with not a single instance of battle. I had the Agricultural board and the engine I built was extremely efficient (granted I accidentally cheated twice, with one instance of me moving my Character two spaced in a single turn and another where I river walked into the wrong territory) and I ended up scoring $109 at the end of the game (something which the designer states is incredibly rare, and that I was probably misplaying something). But mostly what was learned in this first round was that there is a beautifully elegant resource management game here and I was getting my head around planning several turns into the future in order to maximize the amount of times that I could use both of my actions per turn. So for players adverse to combat, with only 2 players, you can easily make this a game about creating the most prosperous nation. This round lasted maybe 2 hours.

In the second game with the White faction (and by chance again with the Agricultural board) I spent a good deal of the early game utilizing my submerge ability to run around the map and collecting encounter cards and doubling up on the resources and advancements there. This allowed me to work fairly quickly toward staying rich in resources and quickly deploying three of my mechs. I was also able to get a factory card which enabled an upgrade and one popularity point. In this game we both won two battles and I had a more reasonable $76 at the end of the game. We were finished in 1.5 hours easily.

What I appreciate about the game:

This is a medium-heavy Euro with a lot of strategy and very little chance outside of the initial board choices and the encounter cards, and yet, unlike games like Carcassone, Agricola or Steven Feld games, this doesn't simply feel like a theme and pictures pasted onto a pile of mechanics, rather the art and the scope really add something: creating ambiance and tension as though you're really overseeing the growth of your tribe in the aftermath of a great war. You are trying to grow and become prosperous and economically dominant, avoid war yet embattled and prepared to fight when necessary like an epic world building 4x. But it is still quite elegantly designed like a great Euro with plenty of spacial reasoning to negotiating the board, engine building, turn optimization. In fact while the various mechanics implemented throughout Scythe are mostly easy to see what sort of games inspire Jamey's designs here, the relationship between the mechanics feels fresh and integrated so seamlessly. Through the bulk of the game, there are always a wide variety of paths to take (though to be a bit critical, the end game, and the beginning do feel a bit scripted based on your starting location and the strengths of your boards or the setup to completing the final one or two stars) and while battles feel a bit tame compared to say Eclipse (or Risk), there is no dice chucking to create that epically frustrating feeling of a terrible roll. Both players are aware of the strengths and battle has a hint of two known bluffers left in the poker hand.

I look forward to playing with the Automa, and perhaps two or three, but also this game seems like the nature of it would change at every player level, though it's hard to see how 3-4 players wouldn't be the sweet spot. Just the right amount of board tension and neighborly jostling, and the board movement mechanisms could get really brain burning in a great way, trying to sneak from the tunnel to the right spot to approach your opponent from the left rather than the right because of your river walking limitations.

In Conclusion:

This is a (kinda sorta) 4x game for Euro fans with a real ease to the mechanics after only a handful of turns, but a sense that the strategies will run deep, and expose themselves slowly over time. The critiques I've seen of this game have mostly been in relationship to the ridiculous expectations that a game should be all things at once with the art like it has. Obviously this will not be met, but it is an excellent, elegantly designed, richly immersive game that I can recommend to anyone who enjoys medium-heavy to heavy Euros but wants a little pizzaz.
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Matt Highfill
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mirror33 wrote:
this doesn't simply feel like a theme and pictures pasted onto a pile of mechanics, rather the art and the scope really add something: creating ambiance and tension as though you're really overseeing the growth of your tribe in the aftermath of a great war. You are trying to grow and become prosperous and economically dominant, avoid war yet embattled and prepared to fight when necessary like an epic world building 4x.


Wow. I didn't get that feeling at all.
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The Mirror
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Matt62702 wrote:
Wow. I didn't get that feeling at all.


Don't get me wrong, I wasn't saying that there is a "rich theme" a la Fantasy Flight games or Robinson Crusoe with a bunch of expository text, I just feel like part of the experience of the game is the map and the the sense of scale. Unlike Castles of Burgundy which could just as easily be different colored tokens, Scythe, in my opinion is made stronger by a physical sense of largeness and scale. Maybe it's not as epic feeling as say Eclipse, let alone Twilight Imperium, but then there is also no random dice chucking (which I personally don't enjoy) to determine winners in battle.

I personally don't really care very much about theme in games, and find most board game theme to reinforce narrative and cultural tropes which I find embarrassing to have on my table. And plastic miniatures in particular tend to emphasize hegemonic body ideals in distasteful ways, in my opinion. One of the main reasons that Blood Rage feels overrated for me is that when you don't like the miniatures, the mechanics aren't quite enough to feel like an earth shattering game (though I don't mind the game, I'm just not thrilled by it).
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Matt Highfill
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mirror33 wrote:
Matt62702 wrote:
Wow. I didn't get that feeling at all.


One of the main reasons that Blood Rage feels overrated for me is that when you don't like the miniatures, the mechanics aren't quite enough to feel like an earth shattering game (though I don't mind the game, I'm just not thrilled by it).


I really enjoy Blood Rage. The combat is more interesting and it's much less convoluted as a game. Blood Rage isn't deep and it isn't as balanced as Scythe, but that doesn't make me like it less. I agree that the miniatures are part of the experience. Without them, I would guess that my rating would drop from a 10 to a 7-8. But with Schthe, if you took away the chrome, I would rate it a 4 rather than a 6.
 
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The Mirror
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Matt62702 wrote:
mirror33 wrote:
Matt62702 wrote:
Wow. I didn't get that feeling at all.


One of the main reasons that Blood Rage feels overrated for me is that when you don't like the miniatures, the mechanics aren't quite enough to feel like an earth shattering game (though I don't mind the game, I'm just not thrilled by it).


I really enjoy Blood Rage. The combat is more interesting and it's much less convoluted as a game. Blood Rage isn't deep and it isn't as balanced as Scythe, but that doesn't make me like it less. I agree that the miniatures are part of the experience. Without them, I would guess that my rating would drop from a 10 to a 7-8. But with Schthe, if you took away the chrome, I would rate it a 4 rather than a 6.


I'd rate Blood Rage at maybe 7 and Scythe at 8.5, though luckily for us they both exist, and we can each have our cakes and eat them too! The gift of market capitalism!
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Forsman
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have enjoyed Blood Rage and Scythe, but scythe seems so much better for two players. Blood rage has much better look with the Art and miniatures. Both are amazing though and I look forward to game of each.
 
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Karl Ruppelt
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mirror33 wrote:
The critiques I've seen of this game have mostly been in relationship to the ridiculous expectations that a game should be all things at once with the art like it has. Obviously this will not be met


I think the hype machine for Scythe created the illusion that Scythe would be all things at once. As excellent a game as it is, no game will ever meet this expectation as tastes range as broadly as there are gamers. As games go, Scythe hits on so many cylinders at once it's hard to imagine more in one game. Worker placement, battle system, area control, resource management all with a strong theme come to mind quickly and all working together cohesively. I think the game is brilliant with more brilliance to be revealed with more plays.
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The Mirror
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MadVikingKing wrote:
have enjoyed Blood Rage and Scythe, but scythe seems so much better for two players. Blood rage has much better look with the Art and miniatures. Both are amazing though and I look forward to game of each.


With a name like yours I'm not surprised that you prefer the aesthetic elements of Blood Rage
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The Mirror
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MrMzchf wrote:
mirror33 wrote:
The critiques I've seen of this game have mostly been in relationship to the ridiculous expectations that a game should be all things at once with the art like it has. Obviously this will not be met


I think the hype machine for Scythe created the illusion that Scythe would be all things at once. As excellent a game as it is, no game will ever meet this expectation as tastes range as broadly as there are gamers. As games go, Scythe hits on so many cylinders at once it's hard to imagine more in one game. Worker placement, battle system, area control, resource management all with a strong theme come to mind quickly and all working together cohesively. I think the game is brilliant with more brilliance to be revealed with more plays.


As with all things new, I'm wary of overrating (not that it would matter if I did!) but I too feel like there is a lot of depth here and there will be years of enjoyment with this one.
 
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