$18.00
GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters: 61.08

4,370 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
27.5% of Goal | 29 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
36 
 Thumb up
 Hide
20 Posts

Scythe» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Scythe: Top or Flop? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Florian Stock
Germany
flag msg tools
mb
If I say this is my first review, I would lie: 2 days ago I wrote a very long, more eloquent and much more entertaining review of Scythe. Until I hit the wrong button, closed my browser, and all my text was gone. So here is (a shorter) version of it again.

I am not going to describe the game play - enough of them are already online. Instead I try to highlight some points, that are exceptional (good or bad), some that are omitted or ignored by others, or which influenced me when trying to decide how to rate the game (besides the game play itself).

Component & Theming: I have the CE, and I can only say: Absolutely TOP. The realistic resources and the metal coins are really nice (only drawback: my 5 year old tries to steal them for her play shop - wait a second ... - re: everything still in the box ). The graphics are very good and the theme integrates very well into the game play.

Replay Value: My judgment regarding this is:Flop. Do not get me wrong: It has a high replay value, but the game is/I am a victim of the hype. I expected more: and so an over the top game, can under perform, when it is below the expectations.
I use now as comparison the often used Terra Mystica (TM). It is very similar to Scythe in how it works: You got a race, have to make strategic decisions (which way do I take to get my victory points/coins?), and each turn you make your tactical decisions that fit best to your strategy. When someone looks at player guides/aids for TM you find almost always the same tips for each race => once you played/know all races the strategies are more or less fixed. It just boils down to the tactical decision you (and your opponents) do. And Scythe suffers from the same problem. Here it is even worse, as the starting positions (and therefor the playing order) are fixed. To reduce the "always-the-same"-problematic TM has some randomized mechanics, i.e. the bonus cards and the turn scoring cards. Scythe has similar approach: the structure bonus and the factory cards (and maybe the encounters - but they have usually less strategic impact). So when you once get used to the 5 races * 5 player mats ( =25 combinations), the replay value sinks. Of course it is not as bad as the replay value of tic-tac-toe, it is still good (what are your opponents, how do they play, which way to they go...). Its just below my expectations.

Analyze-Paralyze: You usually have only the choice between 3 different options (at most 5, when Rusviet with factory card)), and you have (when playing with 5) 4 players long time to think which of the 3 choices you want to take. Rarely they impact ones decision. Of course, sometimes has to think harder, or can only choose between two evils and it takes some times, but in overall its clear: TOP

Downtime: As already mentioned, usually the decisions can be done very quick. And as that would be not enough, the rules suggest an improved game play, where each player starts his turn when the previous is still in the middle of his (as there is usually no conflict. In the rare case where it is, one just can wait). I played already several games with 5 players, and never felt annoyed by the downtime. So in this category: TOP

Storage: In german we have a saying: "Das Gegenteil von gut, ist gut gemeint". Which roughly translates into "The opposite of good, is good intention". On the side of the box is a how-to-pack graphic. Nice idea. My edition came with 4 neat little plastic containers and enough plastic bags to bag everything besides the plastics, which are in a separate plastic box. Everything good ideas, but there are far from perfect: The 4 containers are really nice to place them next to the board and use them for the 4 resources. But as I have at my home not enough room to host 5 player games, we play at a friend, which means: Game transport. Not once all the containers stayed closed. Esp for the one, containing the metal resources its hard to stay closed. The realistic resources are really heavy. When they move, the container just opens. And while the graphic is a neat idea, it just suggest: Put the map down (the thing which I setup first, and store as last...), and all other on top of it. Together with the baggie hell, the setup and clean up can take a considerable amount of time. And I fear the add on (Scythe: Invaders from Afar) will not fit in. The forum contains already suggestions for better foam core inserts or at least tuck boxes for the cards. So overall the storage is, while good intended, the opposite: Flop.

The rules text: The rules are good, but they are far from perfect. Some phrases are ambiguous, so its a Flop. Most of it are good and very excellent phrased, but this "Flop" is not as much as the replay-value from the overhyped expectations, more this should bring down the "Best-rules-ever-read"-folks. (And before they kill me, here as an example for the ambiguity: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1614382/saxony-underpass--c...)

Jamey Stegmaier: I dont know this guy personally, and can only judge on his texts and work. But the impression he gave there was really outstanding:
- The patience he got with all the people ("Where is my track id?...")
- His perfectionism with the game
- Customer support when something missing/broken
- Transparency of his Kickstarter
- Communication & Update-policy for the KS
- Rules-problem? No problem, Jamey is on BGG and gladly helps
- The reaction time (KS or here on BGG forum) exceptional low
This guy really deserves his TOP rating.

Hal 9000: I know, thats not its real name, the name is Automata (or a variant there of) and it was build by Morten Monrad Pedersen. Its the artificial intelligence when playing solo. And it is really superb, a TOP machine, that supports different difficulty levels and is a worthy opponent.


In case someone now counts the top & flops: They are just my impressions for certain aspects of the game (some could be very minor aspects), that are not yet brought up on every other review.

Overall the game is very good, and I rate it an 8 and would recommend it to anyone, who loves a little more complex euro gaming. Maybe it drops later to a 7, when I have a 50+ games on my shoulders (due to replay-value).

28 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten Monrad Pedersen
Denmark
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Florian

Thank you for the review and the kind words about our Automa .

Cheers
- Morten
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
François Mahieu
Belgium
Rhode-Saint-Genèse
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The rulebook is over the top. I have to disagree there.

Overall the game is top. Though it's true I might have expected a little little more. Maybe too much actually. It wasn't a blast for sure. Some of my friends aren't keen to play it again, surprisingly. But the game overall anyway deserves a thumbsup.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Didier Renard
France
Saint-Louis
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I have to agree with Francois here... Florian, how can you rate this rulebook a flop, seriously?
It is very well written, illustrated and structured. It covers most points of details where needed. If anything, this got to be a model that most other designers should take inspiration from! We all have read crappy rulebooks over the years and this rating doesn't do it proper justice, really.

The thread you quote is actually not a good example... The ruling point itself is not ambiguous at all, but the confusion is raised by the wording on the player mat. Perhaps this could be improved; however, after reading the rules you should know how to interpret what the player mat says.

I sincerely hope you can give this more thought, or provide more nuance in your rating. Just my two cent...

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Mazzone
United States
Maspeth
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review, and certainly respect your point of view. For me, it quickly rocketed to my top spot, and its going to be awhile before I can get a chance to play something to knock this one out of my #1.

The rulebook is top notch, about the only thing I disagree with here entirely. Even if I didnt watch Rodney's how-to video, I still would have gotten most of the gameplay from it.

The componenets and theme are certainly driving this one. Gameplay is great as well. I dont think I'll get tired of this one anytime soon, especially because we play so many games that this one rotates around only every so often.

Jamey is the best in the business, from how to run a Kickstarter, to how to answer fans on the forums, guy is the epitome of our generation. If only everyone else was only half as good as he is ! thumbsup
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aris Ktistakis
Greece
KOROPI, ATHENS
flag msg tools
All that I need is this moment
mbmbmbmbmb
Xhawk wrote:

Jamey is the best in the business, from how to run a Kickstarter, to how to answer fans on the forums, guy is the epitome of our generation. If only everyone else was only half as good as he is ! thumbsup


Its people like him (or dare to say only him), who can make other famous publishers look very small and amateur when it comes to KS crowdfunding....

-Excellent communication
-Excellent product quality
-Excellent on delivery estimation (even a month ahead!!!)
-Excellent customer service

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Florian Stock
Germany
flag msg tools
mb
boulou wrote:
The thread you quote is actually not a good example... The ruling point itself is not ambiguous at all, but the confusion is raised by the wording on the player mat.


I am not a native English speaker, but that thread was started by one. The post actually cites also the rules text, besides the play mat, and the poster lists exactly both possible interpretations (and our gaming group stumbled across exactly that ambiguity). The play mat is only problematic that it "intensifies" the problem, as the graphic hints to the wrong of the two alternatives (here an small circular arrow from mountain to mountain could have helped).

There are also other things, the first ones that come to my mind are
- The term "player mat". Almost everybody whom I explained the game understands "player mat" as either a) the faction mat or b) the faction and the player mat.
- The examples: Through the colorful/messy board it can sometimes be really hard to spot units/structures/tokens on it. On the real table this is not so bad, but in the rule book, some things in the picture are hard to note (e.g. page 19 - where is the mill?). Better would have been, in my eyes, just a sketch/schematic drawing.
- No index


In general I found the rules "good", just not "perfect" or "best rules ever written". But as every other reviewer insisted on the later I opted for a "flop".
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil Campeau
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt under Bruno Fernandes.
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
flolo wrote:
So when you get used to the 5 races * 5 player mats ( =25 combinations), the replay value sinks.


Ah man, I hate when the a game only has 25 starting configurations. shake

You know, chess only has one standard starting setup, and some people have been known to play it quite a bit.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Didier Renard
France
Saint-Louis
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
flolo wrote:
boulou wrote:
The thread you quote is actually not a good example... The ruling point itself is not ambiguous at all, but the confusion is raised by the wording on the player mat.


I am not a native English speaker, but that thread was started by one. The post actually cites also the rules text, besides the play mat, and the poster lists exactly both possible interpretations (and our gaming group stumbled across exactly that ambiguity). The play mat is only problematic that it "intensifies" the problem, as the graphic hints to the wrong of the two alternatives (here an small circular arrow from mountain to mountain could have helped).

There are also other things, the first ones that come to my mind are
- The term "player mat". Almost everybody whom I explained the game understands "player mat" as either a) the faction mat or b) the faction and the player mat.
- The examples: Through the colorful/messy board it can sometimes be really hard to spot units/structures/tokens on it. On the real table this is not so bad, but in the rule book, some things in the picture are hard to note (e.g. page 19 - where is the mill?). Better would have been, in my eyes, just a sketch/schematic drawing.
- No index


In general I found the rules "good", just not "perfect" or "best rules ever written". But as every other reviewer insisted on the later I opted for a "flop".


Thanks for providing more details about the issues you have with the rulebook, this helps understand where you are coming from.
I am just puzzled by your last statement. You found the rules good but it seems you rate it "flop" simply in reaction to other reviewers. This is *your* review, so why don't you give *your* rating ? It just doesn't make quite sense to me when someone tells me it is "good" and then rates it "flop"!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sceadeau D'Tela
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
So I don't know anything about the game -- but if there are 5 mats for each starting configuring, you have much more than 25 combinations. You have 5! (120) different starts.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sebastian Zarzycki
Poland
Poznan
Wielkopolskie
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Umm... no.

It's 5 mats for everyone. You get one mat. You can get one of 5 faction mats and one of 5 action mats. 25 is still correct.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten Monrad Pedersen
Denmark
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
rattkin wrote:
Umm... no.

It's 5 mats for everyone. You get one mat. You can get one of 5 faction mats and one of 5 action mats. 25 is still correct.


That depends on how you look at it. The player and faction mat combo of your opponents also have a big impact on how the game plays out and what your own strategy should be.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christoph Weber
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmb
rattkin wrote:
Umm... no.

It's 5 mats for everyone. You get one mat. You can get one of 5 faction mats and one of 5 action mats. 25 is still correct.


Like Morten said, that doesn't take into account your opponents. Now, if you'd assert that Scythe is ultimately a solitaire experience where interaction is almost non-existent, going with 25 would be okay. But that wouldn't take into account a big portion of gameplay options (although there might be games where everybody is just trying to optimize their "machine", with more experienced players that shouldn't happen).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sebastian Zarzycki
Poland
Poznan
Wielkopolskie
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok, fair enough.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
corum irsei
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
philcampeau wrote:
You know, chess only has one standard starting setup, and some people have been known to play it quite a bit.
How I hate that comparison! Chess is typically played by players who have never been exposed to the variety that is offered by modern board games. I definitely know plenty of people who still consider 'Sorry!' the epitome of board game design...

Having said that, of course it isn't necessary for a game to have a variable setup to be replayable. But it helps.

I'd also like to point out that 25 is just the number of different configurations for a single player. The number of possible starting configurations for a given game with 2-5 players is much higher. For some reason it's also always ignored that Scythe has randomized events, factory cards, and a scoring tile. While these factors may not turn the game completely on its head, it still adds some variety.

Finally, regarding the review: I guess, it's a bit limiting if something is either 'top' or 'flop'. That's the equivalent of being able to rate a game on BGG only '1' or '10'. The truth typically lies somewhere in between these extremes.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Florian Stock
Germany
flag msg tools
mb
Agree, the 25 is of course not the total number of all possible starting combinations, was just how many different "races" (faction+action) are available for a given player. Of course, like in TM, what combinations your opponents play, and the random impacts (structure bonus & factory cards/scoring & bonus cards) also inflict your strategy. But as the seating/order is fixed, the actual number is drastically smaller than in TM (for 5 players: Scythe 5!²= 14400 vs TM 14!/9!=240240).

To my binary "Top"/"Flop"-rating: As mentioned there are already so much review concentrating on the basics, so just consider this a "Delta"-review. These points just the ones, that, in my opinion, that differ from many other reviews. They are maybe not important (even for me their impact is maybe only a small fraction of the final rating), but in my eyes, it is for others much more informative, when I do not try to repeat what was said hundreds of times, but instead focus on some other aspects (or on aspects that I see different).

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Brettschneider
Germany
Mainz
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting review, if only a little hard to read. If you find the time, it might help to clean up some translation errors and sentences/expressions (worth => worse, formulation => phrasing, pest => plague [but that expression doesn't exist in English, anyway; use "to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea" instead]...).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
alan beaumont
United Kingdom
LONDON
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Flip Flop
Imagine wrote:
pest => plague [but that expression doesn't exist in English, anyway; use "to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea" instead]...).
Or you could have "Between a rock and a hard place" "Up a creek without a paddle*" "On the horns of a dilemma" "Stuffed either way" "Hobson's choice" etc.

Yes I do help teach English.



*This one is adaptable. My favourite version is from the TV series RED DWARF: "It leaves us galloping up diarrhea drive without a saddle!"
zombie

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randal Divinski
United States
Natick
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the review.
I would also disagree on your assessment of the rulebook. In my opinion, the rules are very well constructed and written. There is much evidence that:
1) the rules were thoroughly PLAYTESTED,
2) the rulebook was well edited and proofread,and
3) examples and play aids were included to help new players get started quickly.

I have spent half my time on BGG complaining about the half-baked rule book for Fury of Dracula (3rd edition). I would point to the Scythe rulebook as an example of what I would have liked to see instead.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Florian Stock
Germany
flag msg tools
mb
Imagine wrote:
If you find the time, it might help to clean up some translation errors and sentences/expressions (worth => worse, formulation => phrasing, pest => plague [but that expression doesn't exist in English, anyway; use "to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea" instead]...).


Thanks for the tips. My english is not the best, esp. not when annoyed/angry (due to the fact that my first text was gone). I try to fix as much as I can.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.