Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Scythe» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First game - first impressions rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Kēvin Zoren
United States
Havre
Montana
flag msg tools
@!#?@!
badge
Ehrmahgahd! Berd gahms!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This isn't quite a review, so I didn't want to post it there. It isn't quite a session report either though, so sorry. This is taken from my blog which you can find a link to from my profile if you're interested. Thanks!


I am a fail blogger.

Four of us played our first game of Jamey Stegmaier's Scythe on Tuesday evening and I didn't take a single picture for this post. My plan as a part of the 10 x 10 challenge is to post an initial impressions discussion for each game after the first game, and then to follow up with a final review after 10 games. For future posts, I'll try to have the presence of mind to snap some photos.

I won't go into the rules themselves, if you're looking for rules, please check the official website, or watch the excellent video from Watch it Played.

As many others have said, the board, the cards, and anything else with art on it is beautiful, elegant, and dripping with theme. The game features a deck of encounter cards, 11 of which are available each game. Some reviewers have bemoaned the lack of narrative text on the cards, but in my opinion, the pictures themselves paint a thousand words, and we were happy sharing the picture and discussing our own versions of what was happening in each. I get the feeling that some of them may earn nicknames in future scenarios. If I had any complaint about the encounter mechanic, it's that there simply aren't enough of them. I suspect the major reason for this is balance; encounters provide a significant boost to the players who jump on them first.

Game play itself flowed quickly with very little downtime other than a few stops for rules clarification and analysis paralysis from some of the players. On their turn, each player chooses an action that is then locked for the next round. This is denoted by placing a pawn on the action that must be moved to a new action on each turn. If you've been doing recruit actions, you can gain benefits from the choices of players sitting on either side of you. The rewards from this seem minor at first, but do add up as the game progresses. We had some major point disparity in the final scoring; thatgirl scored 62 points, she was a machine! I scored 46, Zach scored 40, and Fonz 16. Fonz sat between Zach and I. This meant that while thatgirl was reaping regular benefits from our actions, the rest of us saw little benefit from our recruits. Fonz only ever completed one recruit, one upgrade, and one building action. He spent the majority of the game trying to get up to 16 power, and by the time he put down that star we'd left him in the dust.

We only had four combats throughout the game, but each one resulted in a major change to the board, with the factor changing hands twice, several resources being stolen, and players being chased away from encounter tokens.

What I liked about the game:

1. The art (as above)
2. The components (amazing, though thatgirl thought the food looked like sacks of gold)
3. The Downtime (as in, almost nonexistant)
4. The playtime (2 hours is a solid game)
5. The core mechanics (There's a lot going on here at first blush)

Right now my chief complaints are as follows:

1. The initial turns felt scripted and boring as players begin to formulate initial strategies- it feels like you have to jump on water walking mechs as soon as possible in order to compete unless you play the water walking faction. I suppose this prevents you from walling folks in, and you could always build the cavern early on to get moving...

2. If players avoid conflict, the game will feel like a masturbatory exercise without the messy payoff.

3. The Endgame Scoring - time to get out the T-I 82. I wished there was a score as you go way to play this game that encouraged more competitive interaction and avoided the matholympic finale.


Things I did wrong:

1. Imperfect Engine - I had to waste a couple of turns due to inefficiency
2. Took my time to the factory - Thatgirl went straight for it, and it paid off.
3. Took my time to the encounters - I was the only player to only get one. thatgirl snagged 4 of them.
4. Over bet power - Others played it safe and paid less of a price for it.


Everyone reported enjoying the game, and really looked forward to dipping into it again. We'll see you in nine more games when I write a review far too late to be relevant!



Edit: Typo
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hewlett
msg tools
mbmb
Thanks for the review! It is always interesting to see how other people experienced this game.

"1. The initial turns felt scripted and boring as players begin to formulate initial strategies- it feels like you have to jump on water walking mechs as soon as possible in order to compete unless you play the water walking faction. I suppose this prevents you from walling folks in, and you could always build the cavern early on to get moving..."

Each faction has three ways of getting off their starting island - build a mine, a riverwalk mech or the other faction movement mech (Wayfare for Crimea etc). Different games will need different approaches e.g. Polania has no starting metal so will often use a tunnel instead of a Mech. There are even strategies that first build a speed mech to help move workers around within you own territory as opposed to rushing the main continent. With experience my players tend to take the Riverwalk Mech less as their first choice. It will be interesting to see if this is the case with your group too.

I also would not be discouraged by the disparity in the final scores. Sometimes the last few turns of the game can be worth a lot of points (getting stars, spreading out etc) so missing out on one or two turns (you played slightly less efficiently/timed things wrong) can result in a big points differential that may not be proportional to the quality of the each players decisions. For context, taking the factory space from someone results in a 12-24 point swing in your favour (relative to them) which is huge. Last night, I ended a 2p game 1 turn before my wife ended it (I won by ~50 points). We calculated afterwards that her next turn would have caused a >50 point swing in her favour (3 combat wins & stars (Saxony) + captured territories & factory + objective card star + my loss of territories/factory). So although the score looked bad for her, it was actually a very close game.

Regarding the things you did wrong:
"1. Imperfect Engine - I had to waste a couple of turns due to inefficiency
2. Took my time to the factory - Thatgirl went straight for it, and it paid off.
3. Took my time to the encounters - I was the only player to only get one. thatgirl snagged 4 of them.
4. Over bet power - Others played it safe and paid less of a price for it.
"

1. This will come with experience. Take 2 mins at the beginning to plan 4/5 moves that fit with your strategy - you will never regret this.

2. The Factory is a fickle beast. Sometimes it is great, other times it is ... less so. The double move will always help, but the other bonuses are more limited. If you natural play gets you to the factory, great! But beware sacrificing resource engine/action efficiency in your drive to get there. Also, letting you opponent sit on the factory then winning the game with a combat star by kicking them off at the end is a great way to end the game and swing the points strongly your way. First to the factory is very rarely the last still on it.

3. Same as with the factory, encounters are great, but not at the expense of other actions. Most benefits will be in the range of 2 coins (+ move action) for 3 resources or get a couple of coins and a popularity. A produce/trade action will often yield more resource or of the kind you want. This becomes an opportunity cost decision. Don't take move actions just for the encounter, instead take move actions when your economy requires it and naturally work encounters into that.

4. This is the hardest one! Once you get to 16 power (enlist on upgrades!) you have no reason to keep it so fight like crazy! Go for players who have not got to 16 yet (but are trying to) as they will have the most to lose by spending theirs (they give up the chance at a star they have been working towards). Also remember that losing is o.k. at times. You get the combat card and if you have the right mech upgrades/mines you can be back in the centre in a turn or two for a rematch - at a loss of no power.

And have fun!
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
corum irsei
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
albino_penguin wrote:
Last night, I ended a 2p game 1 turn before my wife ended it (I won by ~50 points). We calculated afterwards that her next turn would have caused a >50 point swing in her favour (3 combat wins & stars (Saxony) + captured territories & factory + objective card star + my loss of territories/factory). So although the score looked bad for her, it was actually a very close game.
I think this needs to be stressed. Since the game is basically a race and players don't necessarily know when it will end, final scores aren't really that meaningful.

You can also see that in the threads looking for the highest/lowest scores: which is more indicative of a player having played well? Imho, that's impossible to say. You cannot really rate the 'quality' of a victory in Scythe.

It also seems that many players try to finish the game with one 'big' turn, putting down two or even three stars in order to surprise the other players and spread out as much as possible. So, it's no wonder if there's a big difference in the final scores between first and second place.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Pooley
United Kingdom
Cheshire
flag msg tools
Only played the game once but the way to play it is a bit like chess; you have to plan at least 4 or 5 actions ahead which is no bad thing especially as those 4 or 5 moves may only get you one building/mech/upgrade but I like that about the game and unlike chess for alot of the game your moves will not be scuppered by other players and if they are just have a back up plan.

The first 5 moves or more of a chess game can be totally prescribed by the opening gambit someone plays and the opponent reacts to until they try a new move at some point. Scythe isn;t as prescriptive as that but your first moves should get you off your island and into a position to move around freely from where you can build your strategy - and as has been said each faction will have one good way to get off their island effectively.

As we hadn't read the scoring rules about the popularity rank and points we just played to get objectives and that really helped first game as we didn't get caught up in keeping popularity high like one really has to.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Gordon
United States
Carrollton
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
albino_penguin wrote:
Also remember that losing is o.k. at times. You get the combat card and if you have the right mech upgrades/mines you can be back in the centre in a turn or two for a rematch - at a loss of no power.

One quick note here - As I understand it, you only get a combat card when you lose if you spent at least one power on the fight. And you lose power you spend even if you lose the fight. So I'm not sure what you mean by "at a loss of no power" while also getting a combat card.

Just checking in case maybe a rule was missed here, or maybe I'm the one who is playing a rule wrong. ninja
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kēvin Zoren
United States
Havre
Montana
flag msg tools
@!#?@!
badge
Ehrmahgahd! Berd gahms!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks guys, everyone at the table really reported loving the game. We discussed how quickly it moves, how pretty it is, and each player had an idea for what they'd try next time. We got so excited that we reset the board and it's waiting in the game room ready to go for us the next time we gather. I appreciate your insights about the scoring, thoughts on losing combats, and the suggestions as to how to approach the game. We'll be taking another go at it soon!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hewlett
msg tools
mbmb
Turgid wrote:
albino_penguin wrote:
Also remember that losing is o.k. at times. You get the combat card and if you have the right mech upgrades/mines you can be back in the centre in a turn or two for a rematch - at a loss of no power.

One quick note here - As I understand it, you only get a combat card when you lose if you spent at least one power on the fight. And you lose power you spend even if you lose the fight. So I'm not sure what you mean by "at a loss of no power" while also getting a combat card.

Just checking in case maybe a rule was missed here, or maybe I'm the one who is playing a rule wrong. ninja


No, you are right. I usually play a strength 2 combat card - no power spent and you have a shot at getting an even better card.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Schutte
United States
Columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
It's a race game in my opinion. Usually the person to get 6 stars will win, it's their turn and they've gotten to spread out the most recently (assuming a move action to end it). Much like any race game the other players don't get to finish the race, they are remembered at that one snap shot in the back even if they were about to sprint and beat all but the winner. Personally there is a winner and then everyone else, Manhattan Project has the same feel I may only have 12 points but if was about to complete a 30 point bomb next turn I make look last, but given another turn would have been 2nd over all instead of 4th.
1 
 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.