Recommend
39 
 Thumb up
 Hide
14 Posts

Scythe» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Review of Scythe rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Vincent Darlage
United States
Columbus
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Scythe is one of the most artistically interesting games I've ever seen. It's a game of farming and war. I am reviewing my Kickstarted ART CONNOISSEUR SCYTHE. I also bought the wooden resources just because I wanted everything. I have, at the time of this writing, played the game only 10 times, but I have played at every possible player count (1 through 5).



Presentation
The game is beautiful. Just opening the package to see the cover right there in front of me was gorgeous. The box was surprisingly heavy (my version came with the hardcover 100-page book of full-color Scythe art). Opening the box revealed rules and token sheets, followed by layers and layers and layers of components. The cards had evocative backs, and the miniatures, once I took out the black foam insert to protect it from shipping damage were stunning. I shouldn't have been surprised that the realistic metal ingots were so heavy (I have Stonemaeier Games' Treasure Chest and the realistic tokens for Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia) but I was, and the discovery delighted me.

The board is huge - and the expanded board is just more huge. The art on the board is beautiful, filled with surprises like Santa Claus, a hobbit-hole, and a Loch Ness Monster. At the bottom of the box was the afore-mentioned book of art and I am so glad I went in for the top-tier box with the book. Being able to see all that art up close was exquisite.



The Good Stuff
The game is amazing to play. This is the first game I've ever owned that every single person I played with loved, win or lose (my group size is eight people). (Viticulture came close, with one of my group being a bit on the fence about it). This game was a rousing success. Three of my players in particularly are desperately hoping to get a copy at Gen Con, wishing they had backed the Kickstarter.

The turns are amazingly fast. In the first few turns all players can do are top row actions (due to lack of resources), but even after the game is going and people are taking both top- and bottom-row actions the turns are quick. It felt as though after I made my turn, I start looking at my options and by the time I decide what do on my next turn, it is my turn again.

Although it looks amazingly complex, it was fairly easy to teach, and my players picked up on it quick. The game has basically three acts: the first act is set-up, where you get your production engine going, usually with limited options (top-row actions only most of the time); the second act sees movement and some expansion, with lots of Mech placements and the threat of combat; and the third act is one of furious action, with lots of expansion, lots of attempts to hit goals, and a drive to push one's Popularity up (popularity determines the value of the scored items). I saw a lot more willingness to spend Popularity for gain early in the game, and a complete unwillingness to do so by the third act.

The race toward the factory was exciting, and we often clashed in the factory or in its neighborhood to get factory cards and to hold the factory by the time the game ended. Clashes also occurred over resources. There were times it was easier and cheaper to take someone's stockpile than to move pieces about to produce what you needed. The game made the threat of combat more important than actual combat, and when combat happened, it felt like it was happening for real-world reasons (to acquire scarce resources). No one was attacking if there was no chance for real gain. The attack mechanism really made combat appear threatening, because you never knew what cards an opponent might hold or how much combat strength they'd be willing to spend. There was a lot of bribery and bargaining to simply agree to lose going on at my tables.

The game ends when six stars in one color are placed. Although it takes a few turns to get this going, by the final act of the game stars were flying up quickly. The personal goals players have (they have two, and can resolve one - except for one faction) all seem impossible or difficult to achieve, but by game end, most players have resolved one. A path always seems to open up. It's amazing.

The game scales well. I've played it solo, with two players, with three players, with four players, and with all five players. It felt like the same game with each grouping. It doesn't bog down with more than four players like a lot of games seem to do (I really hate 5-6 player Catan, for example). Even with two players the tunnel system makes the game board, despite its size, seem quite small.

The game has a lot of replayability. The factions and the player mats are separate and different. Playing the Nordic Kingdoms with the Agricultural player mat is a different experience than playing the Nordic Kingdoms with the Patriotic mat. I also love the individual powers of the factions - I've played each of them twice now, and they are all useful in their way.

The Automa system used in solo play rocks! I love that there are four different difficulty levels. The symbols take a bit to get used to, and movement by the Automa is, at first, complicated, but, wow, it creates an amazing solo experience.

Another positive is that there is a diagram on the side of the bottom lid showing how to put together the components so everything fits - and everything does fit, even with the art-book inside, and the extra wooden components I ordered. I like to have organizers in my boxes (I've given Broken Token a lot of money), but this one doesn't really need one - it's organized well and everything fits without a lot of jostling. The game also comes with plenty of baggies (although I substituted smaller bags in some cases).



The Bad Stuff
This game has been a uniformly positive experience for me. I don't have anything I dislike about the game play at all. My only negative is that the long side of the box doesn't say "Scythe" so it looks a little weird on my shelf (see picture - that's it underneath Euphoria. My shelves aren't deep enough to store it so the short side, which says "Scythe," is forward). I did like that the short sides offered a choice of which direction the printing went, but I wish that had included the long sides of the box.



The Ugly Stuff
This is the section I reserve for comments that are neither good nor bad. The only thing I can say to watch out for is that the Automa movement for solo games is difficult to master at first. I really had it wrong on my first solo game, but I think I dove into it too fast. My second game was much more correct, and now it doesn't seem difficult at all.

This game lived up to its hype. As I mentioned, it has been a uniformly positive experience. This positive experience extends all the way back to the Kickstarter campaign. It's one of the only games that managed to keep the enthusiasm on a high level from start until even now. Frequent updates, pictures, and communication kept enthusiasm high. The game even delivered early. Scythe has been a unique experience for me from the start and game play is as well.

Conclusion
My brother commented that Scythe is the jewel of his collection. I echo that sentiment - this is the jewel of my collection. Scythe is everything I had hoped for and more. Game play integrated theme, art, and mechanics well. I am so happy with this purchase. If you like Euro-style games with beautiful art, great mechanics, and complex strategies, I wholeheartedly recommend this game.
54 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Studley
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Who fell asleep in the rain? Did you fall asleep in the rain? Yes you did. Oh yes you did.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very glad to hear you are enjoying our Automa. Indeed, the movement system takes a bit of time to get down. Glad you found it worth the effort. Thanks for your comments and thanks for playing!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Edwards
United States
Havertown
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
One solution for the box is to never put the game on the shelf! I haven't yet, it's still on the table.

:-D
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vincent Darlage
United States
Columbus
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
weasel47 wrote:
One solution for the box is to never put the game on the shelf! I haven't yet, it's still on the table.

:-D


LOL, that's a great solution, except for one thing...

17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh McDowell
United States
West Lafayette
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Three of my players in particularly are desperately hoping to get a copy at Gen Con, wishing they had backed the Kickstarter.


Just so they know. Stonemaier doesn't have a booth to sell games, but Jamey did partner with Cephalofair Games and is selling Scythe through them at Gen Con. Look for Cephalofair's booth and pick up your copies there (and maybe a copy of Forge War).

Also, great review!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Trevor Soule
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Nice review, always glad to see someone enjoying their purchase.

I've been reading reviews for Scythe on here for a couple weeks now, and I'm now waiting for the general release to see what the wider world makes of the game. A lot of these early reviews mention the Kickstarter process, which leads me to believe that they're the hardcore fans that will of course give the game glowing reviews. I'm interested in seeing the flip side of the coin, how people who pickup the game after a bit of research feel about the gameplay. Looking forward to it!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vincent Darlage
United States
Columbus
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, I backed it solely based on the artwork and the descriptions of play in the Kickstarter campaign - the fact that it supported solo play sold me in the end. I hadn't heard of Stonemaier games before. In the comments of the Scythe campaign, I read a lot about a game called Viticulture, and when I noticed the game on the shelf of a buddy I asked to play it. I enjoyed it (and bought my own copy). Then I bought Tuscany. Loved it, too. Thought it made a great game even better. Anyway, the point is, I wasn't a fan before the Kickstarter - I'd never even heard of the company, nor played any of their games.

However, if I didn't honestly like Scythe, I would have said so. I would even think, after all of the excitement build-up, it would be easier for the game to disappoint than to match or exceed the expectation. My expectation was pretty darn high - I was worried my expectation was TOO high. It actually exceeded my expectation.

They did do a great job with the Kickstarter and that should be acknowledged. As a comparison, I am a HUGE Robert E. Howard fan, including an admiration for his most famous character, Conan. The Conan game is the first game I ever backed on Kickstarter (which has not yet delivered). However, the delays, the introduction of similar games, lack of communication and so on have diminished my enthusiasm to the point that I don't even care if it ever comes in or not. For me to lose enthusiasm for a Robert E. Howard project... When I backed it, I had absolutely no miniatures games. Now Zombicide: Black Plague has come and delivered, and Blood Rage has come and gone and now having Conan seems more of the same. Scythe remains unique in my collection - Stonemaier Games didn't let any grass grow under their feet - didn't let anyone come in after his Kickstarter and deliver before he could deliver on the same type game... and we had constant updates on progress. He kept the excitement up - and successfully delivered on it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vincent Darlage
United States
Columbus
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mcscowl wrote:
Just so they know. Stonemaier doesn't have a booth to sell games, but Jamey did partner with Cephalofair Games and is selling Scythe through them at Gen Con. Look for Cephalofair's booth and pick up your copies there (and maybe a copy of Forge War).

Also, great review!


My brother has Forge War, but I haven't had a chance to play it yet. Hope to play it soon, though!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Darlage
United States
Columbus
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
These pretzels are making me thirsty
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
VincentDarlage wrote:
mcscowl wrote:
Just so they know. Stonemaier doesn't have a booth to sell games, but Jamey did partner with Cephalofair Games and is selling Scythe through them at Gen Con. Look for Cephalofair's booth and pick up your copies there (and maybe a copy of Forge War).

Also, great review!


My brother has Forge War, but I haven't had a chance to play it yet. Hope to play it soon, though!
I'm ready.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I had a somewhat similar experience as Vincent. I had not really heard of Stonemaier before the Scythe campaign, and only heard about it in some thread or other about midway through the campaign timeframe. The art and steampunk-like concept drew me in. Then I saw Jamey had a set of PnP files available; I threw together a set and played a couple of games. THEN I pledged, based on the gameplay; after gushing about it to my wife, she took a look and instructed me to go all-in (yes, my wife is awesome). If the game itself didn't measure up to the awesome artwork, I would have been slightly disappointed and moved on; instead I'm a huge fan of the game and the company. This has really become a benchmark game across the board for me.

I worried about the hype train that attached to this game. I got frustrated with it a bit as my son grokked the strategy more quickly and proceeded to wipe the floor with me several times in a row. I deliberately put the PnP away for the last couple of months so as to not burn out before final delivery. Then the final product arrived--early--and it met all my high expectations. I expect general retail response will be positive.

Oh, and like Vincent I read so much about this other Stonemaier game Viticulture in the KS comments that I went looking into it...and purchased it. That is now a fixture in the collection and one or our group's favorites.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mad Halfling
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice to see a good cat-quotient in your pics =8)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vincent Darlage
United States
Columbus
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mad-Halfling wrote:
Nice to see a good cat-quotient in your pics =8)


Voodoo likes to pull stuff out of the box. When I play solo, the first color she pulls out is the color I play. The pic is a bit dark, but I did manage one shot where she was digging stuff out of the box. She picked the color yellow for me in that game.



She also enjoys Viticulture.



And so does the black one (Carlos)

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete R.
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
flag msg tools
The grace of Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review Vincent. I'm glad it all worked out so well. The combination of Kickstarter (which I don't like) along with a whacky theme (farming & war) plus all the hype kept me on the sideline waiting to see if it would be delivered and be a good game. In a world of numerous Kickstarter fails this looks like one of the rare, rare gems of stellar components & art, great gameplay across numerous player counts and delivered on time. Pretty cool when it all comes together. I'm still not sure it's a theme I like but I do want to see it in person.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Stanton
United States
Paoli
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review.

I initially pledged for Scythe on Kickstarter, then backed out as I wasn't sure if it would live up to the hype.

Post-Kickstarter, I've purchased and played a 4-player game of the Collector's Edition (map extension, 'realistic' resource bits (the metal pieces are heavy). I also ordered and received an Art Connoisseur Collector's Edition after seeing the artwork, and I've backordered a retail edition (just in case).

No game is perfect of course, but everyone wanted to play again.
2 
 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.