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Subject: First game......what am I missing??? rss

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Don Brandt
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Just got a brand spanking new Scythe game last night. Played my first game this evening with two other players. I was the yellow faction, my buddies were white and blue. Set it all up and of course.....beautiful to look at to stay the least! Got into playing the game and kinda felt it was a little "busy" to my mind and eyes, between my boards and the main board. While playing, I didn't get a clear feel of what I needed to do besides progressing the boards I had and using the main board to do that as well. All three of us kinda did our own thing minus me attacking someone one time for a star, he didn't put up any fight and then he just retreated to the water right next to the fight since he had the blue faction. I was the first to 6 stars and had a lot of money before getting paid by the track for stars, territories and resources (had the agriculture mat). I think I got like 71. My buddy says after the game he was underwhelmed. I felt the same (though I wasn't going to bring it up). I really didn't get a sense of strong purpose of what I was doing, but this is the first time I played. I felt a sense of "busyness" and not enough fun, if you know what I mean.

I may give it another go, but I don't think the game is going to change enough for me to enjoy it enough to keep in my collection. I've got promos on preorder still yet to come and was about to get every promo I could find, but I am holding off.

I will probably get this one up on the BGG market soon. I really, really, really was ready for this thing to be as good as Viticulture (though I know its a completely different game, different mechanics, etc) with tons of bling......but it felt more like I was just going through the motions. No disrespect to the game, just not what I hoped for.

Don
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Drake Coker
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Not an unusual first game.

It's kind of a subtle game and not what many people expect from the description. Combat is important, but only in spot cases. Being efficient is important, territory is important... everything matters, but it doesn't feel that way for a few games

You haven't gotten a handle on it until you start caring about what the other players are doing on their turns (IMO). Until that point, it feels a lot like multiplayer solitaire.

For me, the game is worth the investment to get to the interesting part, but it is an investment for sure and not one everyone will want to make.
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Frank Hamrick
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You probably haven't played it enough to appreciate it! This game is awesome, but it takes time to grasp all it can do. Every faction has its own strengths and weaknesses and until you learn how to exploit others' weaknesses and emphasize your strengths, you can't appreciate it. There are many strategies, subtleties, and variables to explore. This is a game that requires study - how to efficiently synch your player board with your faction board for best (most efficient) play. Which 6 stars should you work for? Should you go for the middle or not. Finally, this is a game of opportunity. It is not meant to be a 'conflict' game, but if you can take advantage of a lone-wolf, attack him, and gain a star. Conversely, it is important to keep yourself protected from threats all around.
This is basically a cold-war where you are constantly leery of the threat of of an attack. The tension is great; you're in a race to grab those 6 stars before anyone else, and constant evaluation of every other faction is imperative.
Also - you need to discover how to effectively use the Enlist power, how to best use your workers, etc., etc., etc. AND, the next game will be nothing like this game - different factions, different mix of player boards, etc. SO MUCH to learn, so many ways to play. It's always fresh.
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vince san
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When I first played this game, I was very "meh" about it. As I was cleaning up, I told my friend that I probably won't be playing this game again. As we went out to lunch, I was probably convinced that this was not my type of game and I didn't like it.

Now it's one of my most played games and one of the best ones I own in my collection. My thoughts of the game definitely changed over time, though I can't really say from what. It's really a mix of things that over time changed the way I feel and see this game.

One of the coolest moments for me was when I was playing it quite a bit with my brother as a 2-player game. We stuck with the same faction for a few games but changed out the player board. As we started another game, we decided to change factions and thus changing the starting position. The game immediately felt really different to both me and my brother. We were like, "... what the?". To me, that's one of the best feelings you can get playing a board game. The game doesn't necessarily change that much, but you "feel" like everything has.

I can't say that the same thing will happen to you, or if you will like it after several plays. I would encourage you to try it a few more times though =) Happy gaming!
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Paul Ferguson
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Some people find this game mediocre, while others the best game ever made. My first play also felt busy and without direction. I have since played it 7 times and find it lacks layers, the busy feeling has gone, the lack of direction is still evident, and you end up doing the same thing every game. It is missing a slight bit of complexity to every element that would have made it into a very good game.

If it didn't excite you the first time, maybe try it again or sell it while you can still get a decent amount for it.
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Paul Ferguson
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Frank Hamrick wrote:

Also - you need to discover how to effectively use the Enlist power, how to best use your workers, etc., etc., etc. AND, the next game will be nothing like this game - different factions, different mix of player boards, etc. SO MUCH to learn, so many ways to play. It's always fresh.


The enlist power doesn't make the game any different. You can play the game efficiently and not bother with enlisting a single recruit. The only reason you would enlist all 4 is if you have the board that gives you 3 or 4 coins for doing so.

The mix of player boards doesn't add much to the game at all, it is a linear game. One game you build mechs, as it gives you more coins than structures and vise versa. Your boards tell you what to do, rather than you making your own strategy. The game holds your hand to much.
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David Taranto
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It sounds like you played the engine-building part of Scythe but didn't really pay much attention to the racing part. This is really common for a first game, and if the next time around everyone comes at it with the mindset of winning the game and not learning the game, I suspect it might play differently. The time pressure of Scythe is a pretty important motivator, and the game-ender doesn't ALWAYS win, but usually does, from my (30+ games) experience, due to the extra stars and territories they likely have.
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I agree the game is not that great. It's an engine builder but I had my hopes for that it would be something else.
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Steve O'Grady
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I played this for my one and only time at Atlanta Game Fest a few weeks ago. I felt there was enough to bring me back, and was deep enough to agonize over what to do next....go this route, or do these two things first, then go that route and capitalize on my production? Move out quickly or build up first? Get more resources or grab territories before they are all taken? So many choices to ponder. Excellent engine builder, excellent game. And upgrades...watch what your opponent is doing as it could benefit you. Loved it. I played with one guy who played before, and two others like me that were playing it for the first time.

It was different. Not a wargame. Definitely a race to have the most when one person crosses that finish line. I came in third. Not even close, but close to 2nd. The experienced player came in last. Just really enjoyed my one time out with it. I will definitely play it more at future Cons. I don't play with a local group as I am in rural Alabama. My wife is my game partner, and Scythe is not her style. Oh well. Thank God for the Cons.
 
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JT Schiavo
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I recently won my second game of Scythe. I had the engine-building down, played my board to the best strengths I could, and held a pretty solid lead.

Looking back, I realize that I should have lost the game, if only the other players had been paying attention. There were at least two or three turns where my only metal producing space was completely undefended, on a tunnel space, and my board was the one that rewarded coins for deploying mechs. If anyone had taken the initiative to scare off my workers and steal my metal, I was probably done for.

The game feels very busy at first, trying to make the actions work together, trying to make the most of special abilities and mech abilities, trying to figure out how to get the resources you need. But as that part of the game becomes second nature, you can start looking for opportunities to make the game exciting. The factory rush, the perfect moment to attack, stealing that encounter right before someone else gets there, placing three stars in one turn to suddenly burst into the lead or even end the game.
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Alessio Massuoli
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this game has flaws like every game (To cite the last three #1 positions lately, Puerto Rico grows boring midgame, twilight struggle has plays that are better than others, thus becoming 'scripted' after a few plays, pandemic legacy s1 is good only if the group makes it good).

but, like all the other games I cited, it is funny when played properly, and let's say 'being the target audience' (it is not a 'universal' game, but if to be one you have to be monopoly or risk, that's a good thing).

1. if you don't like euro games (you don't need to be a fan, you need to like how euro plays), you won't appreciate the feeling of building something. In my opinion, the main strength of the game is building something that plays out against/better than all others. If you don't like this, you can't possibly enjoy it.
2. it has a learning curve. that is never a good thing, because having simple rules is the main goal of every tactical/strategic game (using the terms loosely). however, this means that you might not grasp everything at first. if this is not how you roll, you probably won't get the most out of the game. there are at least three subgames in this game, you have to master them to shine.
3. you should play either solo or with a group of motivated players. this game is fun enough played solo (being kdm aficionado, I have seen better, but this is a really good system and it is worthy by itself), and it is great when played with 4-5 people who meet conditions #2 and #1. sadly, this game has the vulnerability of being destroyed by demotivated players, so if you don't want to meet this criterion, you may be in for an unwilling disappointment.

this game is a full 8 to me, that will likely become a 7 in a year or two.

In other words, take it easy: it is likable to the point of being great.

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corum irsei
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In my first game of Scythe I was too busy making sure I played correctly and plan my next one or two turns to pay much attention to what the other players were doing.

Just as in Race for the Galaxy, it takes a couple of games to just learn the basics. Only after you have a firm grasp of the game do you realize how important it is to observe the other players' actions and try to anticipate what they'll do in their next turn(s).

I'm not yet sure about Scythe's 'longevity', though. It's possible that it lacks a certain hidden depth to make it to the table regularly after a couple of years. But until then you'll have gotten plenty of good gameplay out of it, so it's definitely worth it's money (especially since it also features great solo play!).
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birchbeer
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This has been pretty much the same response in my group. While I have played only once (I had the 'meh' response) others had reluctantly played it again since I wanted to play it. They think the game is okay, but nothing special.
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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I can pretty much echo much of what's been said. I had the same trouble with the early games; there's so many moving pieces and choices you kind of flounder and don't know which way to jump.

After a few games you get over the learning the mechanisms hurdle and can focus on strategies. At that point the game clicks. At least that was my experience.

It's an engine builder. It's a race. Plus there is the constant threat of (and sometimes actual) combat. Lots of parts fused together. Not everyone is going to like that, and it's fine; but, IMHO it's worth the investment to get over that initial hurdle to really get into the game.
 
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Dylan Bradshaw
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I agree with you. I appreciate the fact that you are acknowledging honestly mediocre this game is. It is easy to be blinded by the hype in this case. I hope you find a game that better suits your lifestyle :-)
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Eery Petrol
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Scythe is less confrontational when played with less players. From your post it sounds like you were playing with 2. If confrontational interaction is something you would like to turn up, try playing with more people. Alternatively, look in this forum for the thread that gives the game a co-op mode against two automas. It doubles the amount of active factions in a two player game.
 
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Alessio Massuoli
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never said mediocre, though.
I like it a lot. I am only aware it has limits, and I'm trying to help my fellow player to make an informed decision about whether to buy it or not.
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A J
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+1 to what others have said. First game feels very solitarish and busy. When you become more familiar and start paying attention to what other people are doing, it becomes much more strategic and tense. It's still not my favorite game, but drastically improved after multiple plays.

Not saying you'll have the same experience. But I do recommend a couple more plays before you pass your verdict.
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Gareth Roberts
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I think its an easy game to pick up in terms of rules but actually quite complex in terms of you need to have a very good understand of the interactions between all those rules to play it well, this makes then new player experience kind of meh.

I think it becomes a lot stronger over time.

The solitaire vs combat question is interesting.

I think combat absolutely necessary to win the game when it is played at higher levels seeing as you can get 2/3 of your stars from fighting and potentially 2 stars in 1 turn from just picking the movement phase (and maybe a third star from finishing a combat/territory control objective). So combat really speeds up the game end process.

-additionally if you play the game like solitaire and you realise that you are not going to win then you need to use the combat mechanic to turn the tables (not flip the table though ) by taking apart your opponents engine.

Finally in my view you should be looking to pre-preemptively hurt your opponents engine by pushing their workers back home even when there is no decided leader. this can set them back like 2/3 turns and costs you only 1 of your movement and a little popularity(+some combat cards/power if they are turtling and it becomes a fight/or just not very much if you second guess them and commit low power because they assume they will lose so don't spend much.).

This game is an engine builder, but its one where you can directly break the opponents engine, not just compete with it.

EDIT-

You can only play Scythe like Solitaire if
- you are confident that you are in the lead points wise,
- you know can close the game out in a solitaire style before anyone catches up to you. (i bet it would have been faster to fight for stars though)
-You know that none of your opponents will attack you taking away your engine and territory and swinging points in their favor

If any of those 3 is not true you have to fight. -if you you do not and lose then it is your own fault for not taking advantage of mechanics that would allow you to come back.
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Pas L
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itmo wrote:
Some people find this game mediocre, while others the best game ever made. My first play also felt busy and without direction. I have since played it 7 times and find it lacks layers, the busy feeling has gone, the lack of direction is still evident, and you end up doing the same thing every game. It is missing a slight bit of complexity to every element that would have made it into a very good game.

If it didn't excite you the first time, maybe try it again or sell it while you can still get a decent amount for it.


I'm with Paul. I think the game is ok, certainly not bad, but for me it's also quite linear and boring. Yes, there is player interactivity that can change this, but that's true for any multiplayer game - this still tends to the less interactive side, and the basic mechanics are fairly linear.
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Frank Hamrick
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lamaros wrote:
itmo wrote:
Some people find this game mediocre, while others the best game ever made. My first play also felt busy and without direction. I have since played it 7 times and find it lacks layers, the busy feeling has gone, the lack of direction is still evident, and you end up doing the same thing every game. It is missing a slight bit of complexity to every element that would have made it into a very good game.

If it didn't excite you the first time, maybe try it again or sell it while you can still get a decent amount for it.


I'm with Paul. I think the game is ok, certainly not bad, but for me it's also quite linear and boring. Yes, there is player interactivity that can change this, but that's true for any multiplayer game - this still tends to the less interactive side, and the basic mechanics are fairly linear.


If this is linear and boring, then give me linear and boring in all my games (like Advanced Civ, Terra Mystica, Terraforming Mars - among my favorites - along with Scythe, Attika, and Kingdom Builder)!
 
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Pas L
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Frank Hamrick wrote:
lamaros wrote:
itmo wrote:
Some people find this game mediocre, while others the best game ever made. My first play also felt busy and without direction. I have since played it 7 times and find it lacks layers, the busy feeling has gone, the lack of direction is still evident, and you end up doing the same thing every game. It is missing a slight bit of complexity to every element that would have made it into a very good game.

If it didn't excite you the first time, maybe try it again or sell it while you can still get a decent amount for it.


I'm with Paul. I think the game is ok, certainly not bad, but for me it's also quite linear and boring. Yes, there is player interactivity that can change this, but that's true for any multiplayer game - this still tends to the less interactive side, and the basic mechanics are fairly linear.


If this is linear and boring, then give me linear and boring in all my games (like Advanced Civ, Terra Mystica, Terraforming Mars - among my favorites - along with Scythe, Attika, and Kingdom Builder)!


I believe a bit linear and boring is exactly the thing those who don't enjoy Terra Mystica often say.

That doesn't mean you have to enjoy it any less, just different people enjoy different things.
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Jesse
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itmo wrote:
Some people find this game mediocre, while others the best game ever made. My first play also felt busy and without direction. I have since played it 7 times and find it lacks layers, the busy feeling has gone, the lack of direction is still evident, and you end up doing the same thing every game. It is missing a slight bit of complexity to every element that would have made it into a very good game.

If it didn't excite you the first time, maybe try it again or sell it while you can still get a decent amount for it.


This pretty much nails my impression.

It falls away from the general formula of really good Euros: relatively easy to learn, a relative explosion of depth. Whereas good Euros exponentially bloom in depth with more plays, the growth here is fairly linear and then plateaus after a mere few plays. There's no bloom. The game doesn't get deeper or more complex the more you play. It's very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get game. The game falls just short of finding enough depth and complexity in every mechanism to make it a very good, classic Euro. I can't quite put my finger on it.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. But it does mean that if you don't like it or don't think it's deep enough after a play or two, your impression isn't going to change.
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itmo wrote:
Frank Hamrick wrote:

Also - you need to discover how to effectively use the Enlist power, how to best use your workers, etc., etc., etc. AND, the next game will be nothing like this game - different factions, different mix of player boards, etc. SO MUCH to learn, so many ways to play. It's always fresh.


The enlist power doesn't make the game any different. You can play the game efficiently and not bother with enlisting a single recruit. The only reason you would enlist all 4 is if you have the board that gives you 3 or 4 coins for doing so.

The mix of player boards doesn't add much to the game at all, it is a linear game. One game you build mechs, as it gives you more coins than structures and vise versa. Your boards tell you what to do, rather than you making your own strategy. The game holds your hand to much.


That being the case, how does that truly affect strategy, if all players pursued the efficient path of their board and faction combo, while trying to thwart the efficient path indicated by their rivals faction/board combos?
 
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Paul Ferguson
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Race Bannon wrote:
itmo wrote:
Frank Hamrick wrote:

Also - you need to discover how to effectively use the Enlist power, how to best use your workers, etc., etc., etc. AND, the next game will be nothing like this game - different factions, different mix of player boards, etc. SO MUCH to learn, so many ways to play. It's always fresh.


The enlist power doesn't make the game any different. You can play the game efficiently and not bother with enlisting a single recruit. The only reason you would enlist all 4 is if you have the board that gives you 3 or 4 coins for doing so.

The mix of player boards doesn't add much to the game at all, it is a linear game. One game you build mechs, as it gives you more coins than structures and vise versa. Your boards tell you what to do, rather than you making your own strategy. The game holds your hand to much.


That being the case, how does that truly affect strategy, if all players pursued the efficient path of their board and faction combo, while trying to thwart the efficient path indicated by their rivals faction/board combos?


It impacts your strategy in a negative way, if you decide to steer away from what scores you the most on your action board, then that is an inefficient use of your actions. You can by all means use your actions to affect another player, but to what end? It won't win you the game, it will just annoy another player while making it easy for someone else.

I have had games where I had my first Mech out by the time the other 4 players had all their Mech's out. If I had pursued the rush to get my Mech's out just to counter everyone else, I would have lost the game, as it was the most inefficient use of my actions. In that game I went enlist earlier, as I had access to food and it gained me the most coins.

Other games, I have not bothered to get a single recruit, as the actions to gain the food was inefficient, compared to the other actions available, in that game every other player had all 4 recruits out, and it didn't affect me at all.

I am by no means a great strategic gamer, but after 7 plays with 14 different people, I have won every game by doing what was the most efficient action, round after round. I look at my boards strength, I look at what resources are easily available and work from there.
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