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Subject: Interesting gaming experience, however, theres something not quite... rss

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Tony Alonzo
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I played the Kickstarter version of this game a couple of weeks ago, and have been thinking about the experience. I was a passenger, and did not read the rulebook. Just for reference, I would say that I am much more of an Ameri-theme gamer, though there are some Euro titles I do enjoy.

The game components and massive size of the board provided definite eye candy. I was really impressed with the quality of components, and ease of setup. I think it took us 10 minutes to organize everything, and then another 10 minutes of basic rules, and we were into turn 1. The game lasted about 75 minutes. It was the first play through for 3 of the 4 players.

As the game advanced, I noticed that the theme was kinda weird. There seems to be a Russian theme "I think." There seemed to be like leader characters that had their own characteristics, but there wasn't any story behind them, so I wasn't quite sure what to make of them. There were industrial resources, and then these machines that kind of felt out of place. Still not sure what to make of the theme.

I think the resource management of how you use resources to upgrade things was really genius, however, I would spend all of my effort and focus over a few turns to upgrade things, and then it seemed like I didn't need that category anymore.

I really liked how combat was NOT the focus of the game, and allowed for conflict, yet it was absolutely secondary, or not necessary at all, to the experience.

Here is where I am getting stuck with the game. It appears as though you have "multiple" paths to victory, however, upon reaching the end of the game and adding up the scores, it became obvious that you really need to dominate in being the first one to accomplish all 6 objectives. I had about 4x the money of everyone else, elevated my standing to the top on two tracks, but only accomplished half of the "objectives." The guy who accomplished all 6 objectives won by a landslide, even though he didn't have any money, nor did he progress much in the other tracks.

Maybe understanding the game after the 1st play will improve the experience, however, the game now feels very linear, and pretty unbalanced in regards to the different starting class abilities. The guy who won basically had the ability to do 2 things on his turn, which seemed to be like he was taking twice the amount of turns as everyone else. I felt the game was totally limiting in regards to the turn based decision making, as I was pretty much playing solo, thinking like 3 or 4 turns ahead. The game play decisions didn't change much based on what your opponents did, so it felt like I spent about 60 seconds planning out the next 4 turns, then I just mechanically implemented those decisions turn after turn.

Maybe it was just the way we played, but there didn't seem to be any meaningful "interaction." There wasn't a way for you to really thwart an opponents special ability. It felt frustrating that I couldn't do everything I wanted to do. Nobody wanted to stop what I was doing, and probably couldn't have if they wanted to. So this was more of a solitary game, where you were restricted from doing what you really want to do (e.g. I want to gather 10 resources, upgrade 2 things, move my guys, accomplish an objective, spend resources to upgrade, etc... all in one turn).

Overall I think it was fun, but it seems as though there are some definite areas which hold the game back for me.

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Benjamin Lindvall
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habanero wrote:
The guy who won basically had the ability to do 2 things on his turn, which seemed to be like he was taking twice the amount of turns as everyone else.



Are you referring to taking a top and bottom row action? Maximizing your ability to do this is the primary economic puzzle you're trying to solve.

Its a very important thing to do. Its just how the game is.
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Lawrence
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habanero wrote:

As the game advanced, I noticed that the theme was kinda weird. There seems to be a Russian theme "I think." There seemed to be like leader characters that had their own characteristics, but there wasn't any story behind them, so I wasn't quite sure what to make of them. There were industrial resources, and then these machines that kind of felt out of place. Still not sure what to make of the theme.


The theme is an alternate Steampunk-ish Europe created by Jakub Rozalski. The art and world were what inspired Scythe, so this is a rate instance of theme before mechanics in a Euro. There's more backstory to the characters in the Art book IIRC.

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The guy who won basically had the ability to do 2 things on his turn, which seemed to be like he was taking twice the amount of turns as everyone else.


Are you sure you have that rule right? If you're talking about the Rusviet (red) faction, they only have the ability to do the same action as the previous turn's action (i.e. they don't have to move their action marker like everyone else). It doesn't give extra actions.

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Here is where I am getting stuck with the game. It appears as though you have "multiple" paths to victory, however, upon reaching the end of the game and adding up the scores, it became obvious that you really need to dominate in being the first one to accomplish all 6 objectives. I had about 4x the money of everyone else, elevated my standing to the top on two tracks, but only accomplished half of the "objectives." The guy who accomplished all 6 objectives won by a landslide, even though he didn't have any money, nor did he progress much in the other tracks.


Not necessarily true. I've won two games with only 3 objectives. Endgame scoring is huge. You can win all 6 objectives, but someone with higher popularity and more board control can wind out on top. Knowing when to end the game to your benefit is a huge strategy.
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Alexandre P.
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habanero wrote:
As the game advanced, I noticed that the theme was kinda weird.


It sounds like you weren't explained anything. Like "you see, I am the Blue, you are the Red, this is my character, this is yours, look at its picture".

Quote:
over a few turns to upgrade things, and then it seemed like I didn't need that category anymore.


You have 6 upgrades, no more and some will be more interesting than others but as for everything, having them all grants you with a star.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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It sounds like your reservations are because the game rewards certain behaviours, and you were doing something else?

Work back from the end:

1. The winner has the most points
2. You get the most points by Popularity level, controlling zones and stars (10 stars, not 6 btw)
3. You get the most popularity and stars by being the most efficent at the resource/action engine
4. You are most efficient by utilising both top and bottom actions as many turns as possible, and by ordering these so that you don't upgrade things you no longer need, etc

Now, go back up that list in reverse order, and that's essentially how you play the game. Your winner was doing all the things you are supposed to, to do well, whilst you were doing much less efficient things, and were surprised when you didn't do as well.

#4 is basically the game. The whole game. If you don't want to do this, then you don't want to play Scythe - everything else is just what goes on, and what gets in your way whilst you are trying to do this. After half a dozen turns of 'inefficient' actions you should be taking top and bottom actions together most turns.
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Jamie Walker
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mavericklancer wrote:

Quote:
Here is where I am getting stuck with the game. It appears as though you have "multiple" paths to victory, however, upon reaching the end of the game and adding up the scores, it became obvious that you really need to dominate in being the first one to accomplish all 6 objectives. I had about 4x the money of everyone else, elevated my standing to the top on two tracks, but only accomplished half of the "objectives." The guy who accomplished all 6 objectives won by a landslide, even though he didn't have any money, nor did he progress much in the other tracks.


Not necessarily true. I've won two games with only 3 objectives. Endgame scoring is huge. You can win all 6 objectives, but someone with higher popularity and more board control can wind out on top. Knowing when to end the game to your benefit is a huge strategy.


Seconding this.

My second game ever played of this I was Saxony (black) and trying to be competitive I ended the game and placed 1 or 2 extra stars but lost in the end because I hadn't covered enough territories. I had 3 mechs powering across the landscape together and had massive combat card advantage but yellow was just everywhere and in a higher popularity bracket. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Saxony seems mostly about winning fast via multiple stars in combat before other people get enough of a foothold. seems like you have to end fast because you lose a lot of popularity as a warmonger.

The third game I played I was Polania (white) and I managed to end at the perfect time via a combat which I won to claim a 5th territory around the same lake allowing me to place 2 stars at the same time. Yellow was one star behind and did very well being spread across numerous territories, although me having the factory certainly helped. Any later in the game and I'd have missed out on two stars and yellow would have reached the highest popularity grade and smashed everyone.
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Jonathan Challis
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I agree the first to 6 stars doesn't always win (ergo they misread things and shouldn't have got their 6th star at that point), but they are at least close to winning.

The balance of stars and Pouplarity and area control are amongst the many charms of the game.
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Jeff T
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habanero wrote:
Here is where I am getting stuck with the game. It appears as though you have "multiple" paths to victory, however, upon reaching the end of the game and adding up the scores, it became obvious that you really need to dominate in being the first one to accomplish all 6 objectives. I had about 4x the money of everyone else, elevated my standing to the top on two tracks, but only accomplished half of the "objectives." The guy who accomplished all 6 objectives won by a landslide, even though he didn't have any money, nor did he progress much in the other tracks.


I you had a large point (coin) lead when the game initially ended, were near the top of the popularity track, and you were only 3 stars behind the guy who ended the game, then those 3 stars are probably not why you lost. If I remember correctly 3 stars are worth 15 points at the top of the track. That's noticeable, but it's not enough to win by a landslide when you had to overcome a significant point disadvantage already. More than likely the wining player also controlled a significant number of hexes. That's where the bulk of end game points actually come from. If he controlled the factory space, that counts as 3 hexes all on it's own.
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David Goldfarb
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Kelanen wrote:
(10 stars, not 6 btw)

Are you sure you're not thinking of Euphoria here?
 
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Jeffrey Speer
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Confirmed, it is 6.
 
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Jeffrey Speer
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JumboCactaur wrote:
[q="habanero"]The guy who won basically had the ability to do 2 things on his turn, which seemed to be like he was taking twice the amount of turns as everyone else.



This sounds to me like someone did something wrong.
 
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Eric Hogue
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Kaworu17 wrote:
Confirmed, it is 6.


There are 10 slots in which to put stars, though.
 
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Jack Reda
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I really didn't like this game very much, and a good portion of that was the theme. I didn't get the 1920s in future-retro eastern Europe/Russia with mechs and people who can't seem to cross a river on their own. Just kind of too weird for me.

I did like the general mechanics, but confess it was all pretty overwhelming for the first game.
 
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Steve
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habanero wrote:
I think the resource management of how you use resources to upgrade things was really genius...

I've always liked that mechanism (it's not new). It's why the game reminded me of Hansa Teutonica at first. That didn't last after Scythe proved a very low-interaction game whereas in HT you're all in each other's way turn one.
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Paul Ferguson
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For the most part, Scythe is a very linear and solo experience. This is a common issue with euro games and with area control games in general. These types of games only give one avenue to have interaction, usually via combat or via an action that can steal an opponents resources.

I have felt from my first play, that more interaction should have been key in the design of this game, as the theme really falls apart with the disconnection of game play and the game world. Your actions and choices in my opinion, should have allowed for more interaction via the encounter cards to allow for more "direct" interaction. If you choose to do the least popular choice on the encounter cards, for example steal a locals mech and lose 2 pop, then the pop you lose, should go to both your neighbors. Word spreads that you are a mean faction and the neighboring factions get sympathy from the locals for being less ruthless, this would give the game a bit more flavor and give players a more difficult choice when taking the more beneficial choices.
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Jonathan Challis
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Kaworu17 wrote:
Confirmed, it is 6.


there are 10 ways to get stars (which is what the OP seemed to be talking about).

The first person to place a 6th star ends the game.
 
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