Game setup: My son and I (the veterans), my sister and a family friend (the rookies). We pick factions--the rookies wanted to go that way and the vets went along with it, that also allowed us to pick a faction near where we had already seated ourselves. We randomly draw player mats. The setup looks like this:
Me as Nordic Kingdom on mat #1, Industrial. Goody, I go first.
My son as Rusviet Union on mat #2, Engineering. OK, he gets the strong, simple strategy.
My sister as Crimean Khanate on mat #3, Patriotic. Wait! This was random, right?
The friend as Saxony on mat #5, Agriculture. What a funny coincidence.
I picked last, and had either the Nords or Polanians to choose from. I went Nords to place myself next to the shark...I mean my son, and keep him in check with the newer players. This was a fateful choice.
So, Bjorn looks at his resources. Hmm, looks like upgrading and mechs are going to be a strong route to take. Good. He orders his workers to get the local mine up and running ASAP. He then goes and finds some brokers to purchase a bit of extra ore and oil to kick-start (yes, I went there) his mech production. Very soon, a new massive mech is gliding into the northern lake, much to the consternation of Olga observing the proceedings from across the river. "How did those dirty vikings get that built so fast?" she thinks to herself. She then goes off to harangue her workers to meet their new quotas. In the meantime Gunter is trying to get his faction's forces organized while Zehra is plotting how to make best use of the war leavings she finds in this new land.
Bjorn then directs efforts to the oil fields and his workers quickly make a technical breakthrough in oil extraction, accelerating other technical endeavors. Soon the oil is flowing and newer, faster versions of Nordic mechs are on the drawing board. Bjorn receives reports from the early mech units sent scouting that the factory is deserted and there are some very interesting items left behind he needs to come look at.
Seeing Olga heading in that general direction, Bjorn calls Mox and they quickly head across the lake to the factory. (At this point we had our character side-by-side 2 hexes away from the factory. I had both the seaworthy and speed mechs deployed already, my son only had riverwalk. I helpfully pointed out I had already won the race. ). Soon Bjorn arrives and is amazed at the discarded technology Tesla left behind; he quickly grabs a large file of technical drawings, loads some equipment on the mech and directs it to guard the rest as he heads back home to make improvements on their processes. (In other words, I grabbed the trade a combat card for an upgrade and a power. Upgrade star here I come!)
Disheartened, Olga heads off to oversee her workers' progress. The Rusviets take a long time to venture across the river and seem somehow demoralized and lacking focus. They start mining heavily, and eventually start up a lumber mill across the river--and dangerously close to the frontier with the Nordic-controlled territory.
Meanwhile, Zehra has been building up the Crimean industry and has found ways to operate their mechs in abandoned, forgotten railway tunnels. She sends a mech on a scouting mission and soon receives word that they have found an exit near the Nordic lands and there is some interesting activity nearby. She makes haste to follow the mech's path and investigate. When she emerges, she finds that the Nords have taken notice of their activity near their border and Bjorn and Mox are present. The vikings have taken notice of the activity near the woods as well. The race is on! Soon Zehra is hear to say "Holy smokes! Did that musk ox just leave a rooster tail?!" and Bjorn and Mox make user of their improved speed to arrive at the woods first. (I again make use of my speed combined with seaworthy and rush across the lake to swipe an encounter I deduce my sister was aiming for. I ignored the closer one as it was protected by a river and my mech, so was safe from her. I was fortunate in that I had already moved the character to that area when she sprung the wayfare I hadn't noticed she deployed on me).
All this time Gunter was slowly getting his faction in order. He hired a large workforce and began improving the Saxon industrial ability. Oddly, he choose to wait on building any mechs, seeing that the other factions were busy harassing each other. (He was wrapping his head around the basic game mechanisms and trying to figure out a strategy. Fortunately with the Agriculture mat it wasn't to difficult a direction, though he didn't push the recruits too much.)
Soon Bjorn deployed more mechs and was informed the Nordic supply structure was now at maximum capacity. He was content as there was enough combat capability to keep those Rusviets in check. He sent reinforcements for the unit guarding the factory, who oddly have been reporting all quiet. He also deployed one to the home peninsula with orders to watch for opportunities. Soon he received word that the Rusviets had just processed a large batch of lumber and there were no combat units visible. Taking the opportunity, Bjorn ordered a raid--what else could any self-respecting viking do? Soon after, Bjorn got reports that the workers fled and the lumber was secure. Bjorn quickly ordered a monument to the greatness of the Nordic Kingdom be erected nearby. There were some reports of grumblings among the local populace, but nothing to be too concerned about.
Unfortunately soon after the monument was completed, the battered raiders returned home. Apparently Olga took exception to the raid and sent her own mechs to reclaim the lumber mill. In response, Bjorn pored over the cache of documents recovered from the factory and found plans for mobile artillery. Heh, Olga won't like that very much!
Zehra and Gunter read reports of renewed hostilities between the Nords and Rusviets with some alarm. Gunter banked on distance to keep the Saxons out of this fight, but began to deploy their own mechanized units as insurance. Zehra increased her efforts to enlist the backing of the local populace, with much success.
Bjorn sent one more raiding party to the contested lumber mill, this time to blunt the Rusviet designs on claiming the frontier territory between their factions. It was a rout and even though there was much grumbling about the incessant viking raids in that region, Gunter was hailed as a great leader in the Nordic-controlled lands.
Gunter then instituted a policy of building up the Nordic infrastructure to better train their troops, and enlisted the aid of many experts who had come to his notice. He also opened a new route into the newly-discovered underground railway system, though the Nords were never able to locate all the paths the Crimeans had apparently found.
Soon thereafter the borders stabilized and each leader had to report their progress back to their capitals (i.e., my sister managed to complete an objective and placed her 6th star).
Over the course of the game I felt that it was fairly tight and was not completely sure of who was going to win. I suspected it was either myself or my sister. Our friend was playing his first game, and was somewhat floundering with strategy--understandably as we all did that--and even with my advice he was definitely not making optimal plays. My son seemed to start out ok, but then inexplicably turtled up and concentrated more on resource production and banking cash; he may not have been completely mentally into it and with my getting to the factory first, then the successful nerfing attacks just kind of capitulated. My sister and I both made tier 3 on the popularity while the others were in tier 2. The final score was Nordic Kingdom 106, Crimean Khanate 99, Rusviet Union 80, and Saxony Empire 71. Except for our little border war, there was no combat though there was much posturing and threatening between myself and my sister, and some between her and my son. We calculated out that I won because of everyone allowing me to simply camp on the factory all game with no challenge.
Overall we had a great time and some of the story developed over the course of the game, especially the Mox-leaving-a-roostertail bit. My sister was highly annoyed that I correctly deduced what encounter she was after and yanked out from under her. The factory card was a nice, synergistic addition to my options, and allowed me to get to that encounter.
great Session report!
Makes me want to play again (friday hopefully )
I have never yet played Scythe... but I had to click on that title!