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Subject: How is this for a non-aggressive, euro-centric table? rss

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Enon Sci
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I've pretty much ignored this game, which was/is quite the feat given its popularity around here for the last 6 months. I passed it by for two chief reasons:

1) I mainly play with two.

2) I'm not into combat centric games (Kemet, etc).

Nothing wrong with blowing up your mates, but these days I prefer economic euros (Le Havre, Puerto Rico) or point salad titles (Trajan, The Castles of Burgundy).

I just read a commentary from the developer claiming this is a pretty decent at two, even with direct conflict off the table (though the threat of it always looms, I imagine). I wanted to to hear other people's opinion on this.

Worth it? I mean, I trust the developer to a degree, but would it feel like a very limited decision space since we'd be consciously avoiding elements of play? Or can mechs / war elements be used for other purposes?

Just curious..
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Paul Wise
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Mechs can carry workers. Also, every mech deployed gives all mechs currently deployed, plus your character, special abilities.
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MICHAEL
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I'd say it's very much a euro with the possibility of occasional combat. I've played 3 times with 4 players each time and have yet to witness a single battle.
 
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Eric Hogue
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If you have a board that matches a three-coin action with bolster (4 of the original 5, IIRC), ratcheting up your power for combat can make for a quick star or two. I've not seen a game dominated by combat, but only two without it entirely.
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Ivan Alaiz
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I really think it is a good fit for you, this game at 2 player is pretty much a solo experience and combat is rare.

Plus you have the flexibility to use the automatic variant to spice things if you want...
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Stephen Miller
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My husband enjoys it at two, as do I, and he dislikes games with much direct confrontation. Wasn't sure if the combat would be too attritional for his tastes when I got it. One thing that may make it worth the gamble is that it plays exceptionally well solo, also, which is what allowed be to give it a shot when I wadn't sure my husband would like it.

80% euro, the threat of conflict is more prominant than actual conflict, and there are typically 1-3 combats in a two player game in my experience. Still, unless you do solo gaming in your situation I'd probably want to play before purchasing.
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Mike V
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Although I rarely play 2-player games, I think we have similar tastes.

This is nowhere near as in-your-face as something like Kemet, but the fact that combat is always an option and consideration means that direct conflict is intrinsically a part of the game. If you dislike that, you have many better options for euros.

Taking conflict out as an option (i.e., all players deciding they're not going to fight) leaves you with a much shallower game. It has some neat mechanics, but once you get past the novelty I didn't find the decisions that interesting or complex. Some people complain that your starting cards dictate your strategy (the game is "on rails"). That might be an exaggeration, but it's likely more true when you remove the unpredictability of inter-player interaction. And the main way for players to interact is to fight or threaten to fight.

I'd only recommend Scythe if you're captivated by the evocative theme. When you take away the theme and the conflict element, I think you're left with a pretty average euro.
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steve w
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You can say you aren't going to fight until you look around your player board wondering how you're going to get that last star...
 
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Alan Castree
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Last game I played combat happened 3 times and each time it was against me. It can suck when other players gang up on you. Still won, though. Guess that's why they were attacking me
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Darcy Dueck
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Many well regarded Euros have far more player-vs-player aggression than Scythe.

Look at the Provost in Caylus, a mechanism central to every turn in the game, that is one of the most aggressive mechanisms in all of board gaming whereby you completely nullify any or all of an opponents already committed workers.

Look at the Intrigue Cards mechanism in El Grande, a mechanism that is central to the game, whereby you pick up the opponents pieces and put them wherever you want completely undoing their past moves.

Look at the conflict mechanism in Tigris and Euphrates, a mechanism that is central to the game, whereby you can remove from the board many or most of an opponents tiles in a single move.

Scythe is an optimizing and racing game where the threat of conflict is present as a limiting factor to growth. Actual conflict may or may not be present in any given game so, its a low-conflict euro compared to others I have mentioned above.
 
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Ad Astra Per Aspera
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Anarchosyn wrote:
I've pretty much ignored this game, which was/is quite the feat given its popularity around here for the last 6 months. I passed it by for two chief reasons:

1) I mainly play with two.

2) I'm not into combat centric games (Kemet, etc).



Firstly, if you watch the popular review videos of this game both of your concerns are generally addressed in each one. Giving you varying points of view from a few respectable reviewers. And the general consensus is that combat is always present and the threat of combat is far more prevalent than any actual combat. Even then, combat isn't a complicated mechanic...combat takes maybe a minute.

All this being said I'll add that I primarily play Scythe as a 2-player game. For this reason I'll give you my perspective.

Combat happens maybe once or twice in most 2 player games. And the game can easily be played without combat. The combat in Scythe is much more prevalent as the player count goes up, Once you get up around 4 players you are more or less forced into combat as sometimes you can't get around other players.

In a 2 player game if you both set up on opposite sides of the map combat might not even happen until it's irrelevant in damage save for the fact that the attacker gets a star if he/she is victorious.

As far as playing the game with only 2 players? We love it. The games can actually be a bit longer if both players settle for trying to "euro" their way to victory. One of the fastest way to get 2 stars (1/3 of the game-ending condition) is combat. If a player sets out to get these stars then the game can be quick.

Some 2 player games will go the entire game without combat or even the threat of combat if both players settle for trying to earn stars from other means.

One thing we do (more often than not these days) is add in the automa player. Making it a 3 player game. The automa isn't just some clunky afterthought AI, it's truly a well crafted AI. It's difficulty as an opponent can be scaled. And best of all, for the euro-only players the automa puts a clock on the game. It ends once the automa gets six stars...which generally will happen long before a euro player gets his six non-combat stars.

Lastly, try the combat. It's not what you think. it's hardly the central focus of the game. It can be if you let it, but generally not.

In short, we love it as a 2 player game. Watch the video reviews as your questions and concerns are more eloquently addressed there with visual examples of what you're dealing with.

I actually like combat games and this game is a LOT of great things, but I think most will agree this is not a combat-centric game in any stretch of the imagination. To dismay for some.
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My wife and I play two-person Schthe regularly and it's good! There's lots of space and we've played several games with zero combat and most games have a few nominal combats just for the stars that don't really disrupt the other's engine. Those games are basically pure Euro.

BUT, if one of you is generally passive, but willing to get aggressive at strategic opportunities and the other is non-confrontational, the player willing to fight will win, a lot.

Also, some factions are more combat centric than others. Under certain circumstances, focusing on engine building will be suboptimal. You can fix this by, for example, not playing Black (saxony). Most white/red games we play are basically pure Euro.
 
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Enon Sci
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Maddest Hatter wrote:

Firstly, if you watch the popular review videos of this game both of your concerns are generally addressed in each one.


Yeah, but sitting through a 30+ minute video for the offhanded chance they'll address my concern pales to asking a direct question on a forum.

If Rahdo had reviewed it I'd concur, but the low player count combined with my non-aggression predilection makes this forum a superior choice.

All that said I thank you for the invaluable commentary. Definitely some quality perspectives shared.
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Ad Astra Per Aspera
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Anarchosyn wrote:
Maddest Hatter wrote:

Firstly, if you watch the popular review videos of this game both of your concerns are generally addressed in each one.


Yeah, but sitting through a 30+ minute video for the offhanded chance they'll address my concern pales to asking a direct question on a forum.

If Rahdo had reviewed it I'd concur, but the low player count combined with my non-aggression predilection makes this forum a superior choice.

All that said I thank you for the invaluable commentary. Definitely some quality perspectives shared.


If yoi want to kmow answers its zometimes worth the extra effort to watch those videos anyway. If I was on the edge of an $80.00+ purchase that I wasn't sure about I'd likely invest some of my own time (I always do) into those videos before throwing down real money. In fact with Scythe, jist like you, I was late to tje party. I spent a few hours watchimg videos and reading posts before buying. But i suppose ylu could buy it with less research if you got were hally enough with the answers in tbis thread.

Eitjer way, you are fine. Hou can sell ot for a good price if you hated it.
 
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Enon Sci
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Maddest Hatter wrote:

If yoi want to kmow answers its zometimes worth the extra effort to watch those videos anyway. If I was on the edge of an $80.00+ purchase that I wasn't sure about I'd likely invest some of my own time (I always do) into those videos before throwing down real money.


Again, that's madness. I'll only spend time watching a video when I'm reasonably sure the game is worth my interest. At this point the game is well below my "give a shit" threshold, so parsing text is much easier than hunting for the same information through an inherently time intensive medium.

Even then, only one well known reviewer elevates my concerns to a high enough level to offer reasonable assurance they'll be addressed, and Rahdo avoided touching this one (unfortunately). The upshot is I can't be certain a single video will suffice.

I'm a "rather read it," kind of guy, especially with news (geopolitical, game, otherwise). Videos, for me, are useful to see components and get a feel for play, especially with regards to Rahdo styled reviewers.

No offense, your commentary is reasonable in the right context. I'm just not there yet.
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Ryan Lopez DeVinaspre
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It sounds like this would be a pretty good choice. I have played it 30 times (about 20 solo), if that matters to you. I agree with those who said it will lose a layer of depth if you remove combat entirely, but in a normal 2& player game it's totally possible to have 0-2 battles, even between players who like confrontation. The fact is, combat isn't always worth it in this game. And if you eventually play with someone who likes combat, just keep lots of workers nearby and the popularity loss they would face might discourage them.

As others noted, it also has a great solo mode (by way of a deck of cards that runs a kind of a.i.). I would add a few notes to that.
1. The solo deck can be added to a multiplayer game, meaning you could play a3 player game with only 2 people. Or get another solo deck and do a 2-on-2 co-op against two Automas.
2. The Automa's play style absolutely varies from game to game, but it is always fairly aggressive. I say this to caution you. You will NOT be avoiding combat against, but it is quite fun to play.
3. The Automa rules are smooth and quick, once you've learned them, but they can be tricky to grasp initially. But, as I said, it's a lot of fun. I still haven't played a a multiplayer game with the Automa, but I really want to.

Once again, Automa aside, I think this is a good fit for you, based on your stated tendencies. It is as interactive as the players make it.

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Thomas Müller
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Anarchosyn wrote:
I've pretty much ignored this game, which was/is quite the feat given its popularity around here for the last 6 months. I passed it by for two chief reasons:

1) I mainly play with two.

2) I'm not into combat centric games (Kemet, etc).


I think you should not buy this game. Many reviews claim that the game feeld "scripted" and "on rails". In my opinion this claim is only true in pacifist game groups that prefer building up their empire in a euro-game-style. The number of choices in those game types is rather slow, so it might feel scripted eventually.

However, if you have enough players in your group that enjoy adapting an aggressive style of play if the opportunity arises the rails will be destroyed and the scripts burned.

Combat is not an important mechanism in Scythe, but the threat of combat is. So if you and your opponent end up in a pacifist euro like groupthink the game will lack a very important mechanics.
 
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Brandon Zappala
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I agree with the last poster (sort of).

I don't think you should buy this game for 2 reasons:
#1) Although this game is "fine" with 2 players, it is much better with
3, better yet with 4, and better yet with 5.
#2) Combat is way more important in a 2 player scythe game than it is in a scythe game with increased player counts.
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