I played a game of Scythe recently. Was very fun, but do feel that it lack a sense of “mess with your neighbor”, and that once a player is set on a path to victory, there are little way to stop it.
In think of this, want to play around with adding some house rule to the combat, and see what other thinks.
It adds additional option to both engaging in combat, and after winning a territory, to have more ways to attune with the Popularity scale.
As part of the combat, you can issue a challenge to an adjacent opponent instead. Same restriction still apply as if a regular combat (that you need to be able to move a mech or character onto the challenge space), but instead of trying to take over the space where your opponent is on, you are challenging them to attack you at the space you are in. You still need to declare which mech or character you are using to attack/challenge.
The challenged player may choose not to accept the challenge. If that is the case, no movement happen, or territory change hand. However, the challenged player loose 2 Popularity, and the challenging player gain1 Bolster (+1 on Power Track). (The populous tend to take a dim view on regime who can’t defend their nation’s honor)
If the challenged player choose to accept the challenge, then regular combat action occur.
If A) The Challenged player won: They move their character or mech onto the Challenging player’s space, and the challenging player return their character, mech, or worker to home base, unless the challenging player have another mech or character there that prevents it.
Or B) The Challenged player lost: Challenged player move their attacking unit back to home base, but Challenging player stay put, and do not move onto that space. However, the Challenging player gains 1 Popularity and +1 on Power Track instead.
Challenger Bonus: The combat will take place on the Challenger’s space, so apply any mods to the combat. In addition, for any other mech or character you have on the same space, you gain +1 combat power bonus.
Design goal: This adds popularity as a reward, but at cost of loosing the control of a territory. You may also use it to draw out opponent, or weaken them, thus allow your allies to take a better position. (which sets up for a better diplomatic game experience)
After winning over a territory after a regular combat, if there are resources on the land, you may immediately spend them to gain Popularity. They can be traded divided by 2, round up. (1 or 2 Resource = 1 Pop, 3 or 4 = 2 Pop).
Essentially you are bribing the populous by giving back the resource to them.
Design goal: It act as a way to off set the removing of worker, but at cost of resources. But also make reward of winning a combat more robust.
Thanks for reading. Opinions welcome.
I personally feel like the game lacks a lot of layers, not just in the lack of consequence of combat. Little tweaks like this could add a huge amount to the game. I am finding the game after 4 plays to be very linear, and there is next to nothing you can do to stop someone that is on the way to victory. It's a shame that the game wasn't expanded and developed a little more as I have found a few posts on BGG with similar good ideas that would make this game less of a solitaire race to victory.