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Subject: Is Scythe for me? rss

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Michael Farkas
Canada
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I was delighted to see that Scythe got game of the year on BGG. I felt proud owning a copy without knowing it was that good. I like to tell people I have a copy of the number one game from 2016 on BGG. The only thing I can't do is bring myself to play it.

When I got my copy back in October (I was luckily at my local game store moments after they got a shipment of 4 units) I hesitated to open it. I watched many many videos on the game play and it didn't intrigue me. I had debated to return it unopened but I was falling for the praise everyone gave it. My wife convinced me to open it and play it. So, I played it and midway through, after I had done all of my upgrades, built all my buildings, deployed all of my mechs, etc., I still had more to do because after all of that I didn't have 6 stars. I felt my moves start to become worthless. I didn't need to produce anymore or build anymore or deploy anymore. I couldn't seem to grasp the game's depth everyone was speaking of. It might just be me, I may be too dismissive but I haven't played it myself since that first night 4 months ago. I've seen it played at game nights but I've passed on joining in. My excitement to play again peaked while my engine was starting to rev up but than it stalled for me once I had got it fully running. This was during my first play and that was it.

My main gripe with the game is the characters don't have any abilities. Sure each faction had their ability but it didn't apply solely to the character. The character itself felt no more special than the mechs. Another point I didn't enjoy, which I already mentioned, was what happens after you've deployed everything and built everything and upgraded everything... Well, what do you do now? Building, deploying and upgrading had no more meaning. And that to me was the cool part... building my engine.

Am I missing something or is this game going completely over my head and I can't see what others have seen.
 
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Sam Hillier
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frkm0005 wrote:
after I had done all of my upgrades, built all my buildings, deployed all of my mechs, etc., I still had more to do because after all of that I didn't have 6 stars. I felt my moves start to become worthless. I didn't need to produce anymore or build anymore or deploy anymore. I couldn't seem to grasp the game's depth everyone was speaking of.


This is very similar to my experiences with Scythe (5 games before selling it). You end up doing a lot of things, and some were doing things for the sake of doing things (e.g. building a useless building, just to get a star).

But that's me. I don't enjoy efficiency/optimization races. I don't enjoy finding the best way, or the fastest way, to carry out a static task. For me, Scythe didn't pose any interesting problems.

I put it in a similar category as Russian Railroads or La Granja, which I also disliked as games where you had a singular plan and had to carry it out in the most efficient way. I don't like this kind of optimization.
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Klaus Kristiansen
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Interesting. One reviewer, I forget who, said that he had never played a game of Scythe. He had played half a game several times, but every time one of the other players had placed his sixth star just as the game was really starting.
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Iain
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Klaus O K wrote:
Interesting. One reviewer, I forget who, said that he had never played a game of Scythe. He had played half a game several times, but every time one of the other players had placed his sixth star just as the game was really starting.


I think this might be the issue you are suffering from. I've only played a few games solo and even against the easiest Automa, you don't really have time to do everything - like with most engine building / Euro games, it really comes alive when you have that "just one more round" feeling.

If you have time to do everything and more, it can be a bit of a flat experience at the end. Maybe a couple more plays, or one against the automa, may change your mind?
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Dave Moser
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Obviously, there's no point in arguing with someone's opinion, but as someone who enjoys the game, I'm really wondering if you've got all the rules correct. In my experience it's rather difficult to get all buildings, upgrades, and mechs deployed before the end of the game. Surely if you've reached that point you must also have managed to win a combat or two (what are you doing with those mechs, anyway?) and/or completed an objective. If you're not doing any fighting, maybe you're saving up combat points and are close to hitting the combat track star?

But let's assume that you're playing correctly. If you're really getting to the late game and feel like you're coasting along looking for something interesting to do, then I suspect you need to try playing against some stronger opponents. Scythe isn't a civ-builder; it's a race. No offense intended to whomever you played against in the past, but an experienced opponent won't give you enough turns to build a big engine, much less run it to the point of boredom.
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Joe Rakstad
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Daybreak wrote:
frkm0005 wrote:
after I had done all of my upgrades, built all my buildings, deployed all of my mechs, etc., I still had more to do because after all of that I didn't have 6 stars. I felt my moves start to become worthless. I didn't need to produce anymore or build anymore or deploy anymore. I couldn't seem to grasp the game's depth everyone was speaking of.


This is very similar to my experiences with Scythe (5 games before selling it). You end up doing a lot of things, and some were doing things for the sake of doing things (e.g. building a useless building, just to get a star).

But that's me. I don't enjoy efficiency/optimization races. I don't enjoy finding the best way, or the fastest way, to carry out a static task. For me, Scythe didn't pose any interesting problems.

I put it in a similar category as Russian Railroads or La Granja, which I also disliked as games where you had a singular plan and had to carry it out in the most efficient way. I don't like this kind of optimization.


What's funny is that I love Russian Railroads and La Granja specifically because they challenge you to be efficient and optimal. I guess that's why I like Scythe so much.

It really is dependent on what kind of game you like to play. If you like the efficient/optimization type games, this game will be fun. If you want combat and conflict, this game is not going to scratch that itch as much as you'd expect.

Also, echoing Dave, check the rules. You say that the character doesn't have any special abilities, but they're the only ones that can have encounters and get factory cards.

Have you only played solo, or have you played with others? That can affect how you play as well.

It may be that the game isn't for you. And that's fine. Don't feel bad about it. Luckily, you can probably get your money back by selling it.

Remember folks, it's okay to like games that other's don't and vice versa :-) (The more you know...)
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Randal Divinski
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I guess this post was a rhetorical question, as the writer explains why the game is not for him. Just because many, many players feel differently (hence Scythe's ranking and awards) doesn't mean every person in the world has to like it. Solution seems simple: put the game up for sale on the BBG Bazaar. There are lots of players who have played the game and enjoyed it and are looking for a copy. This seems a rather obvious solution to the writer's "dilemma".
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Brent Gerig
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frkm0005 wrote:
My main gripe with the game is the characters don't have any abilities. Sure each faction had their ability but it didn't apply solely to the character. The character itself felt no more special than the mechs.

The characters *are* different than the mechs. Only the characters can have encounters, and only the characters can get a card at the factory. Those two abilities can be incredibly important, so efficiency with your character is critical.

I've never had a single game where I got all upgrades, mechs, buildings, and recruits. Usually it's just way too expensive and inefficient to do that, and for very little benefit. You need to play to the strengths of your player mat, which are generally the bottom row actions that get you 3 coins and 2 coins. Since coins are points, you want to try to center your engine around those top/bottom action combinations. Even once you've gotten the star for your 3-coin bottom row action, you can still take that action for the coins/points. In my (still limited) experience, you want to get 2-3 stars from your player mat, and the rest from some combination of an objective, combat, and maxing out power or popularity.
 
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Michael Farkas
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flaquito wrote:
The characters *are* different than the mechs. Only the characters can have encounters, and only the characters can get a card at the factory. Those two abilities can be incredibly important, so efficiency with your character is critical.


I guess what I meant to say was the characters felt like they had no special abilities from other characters. What do the animals do? My character couldn't do anything another character couldn't. Sure the faction had it's abilities but that character on the board was the same as the other characters on the board except it looked different. I'm not hating on the game, I think it needs more unique mechanisms for each character. But, than again I'm not an expert in game design so take what I say with a grain of salt.
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Lawrence
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frkm0005 wrote:
My main gripe with the game is the characters don't have any abilities. Sure each faction had their ability but it didn't apply solely to the character. The character itself felt no more special than the mechs. Another point I didn't enjoy, which I already mentioned, was what happens after you've deployed everything and built everything and upgraded everything... Well, what do you do now? Building, deploying and upgrading had no more meaning. And that to me was the cool part... building my engine.

Am I missing something or is this game going completely over my head and I can't see what others have seen.


Scythe is a Eurogame. If you're looking for cool special abilities and more character immersion, you may be looking for something closer to a dungeon crawler.

The engine building in Scythe isn't as straightforward as something like Roll for the Galaxy. Rather, it's designed to force you to change and adapt as the game progresses. It needs to be optimized. You can't win just by sitting back and spamming the same two actions. You need to think ahead to ensure you're able to produce enough resources one turn to make sure you're able to take full of advantage of the bottom row of the action you're planning to take next turn, and so on. Our games are usually so fast and so tight that there's always something urgent that needs to be done the next turn. My last game ended on a giant turn that ended in 4 stars being placed by a single turn.

If it feels like you're stalling out with nothing left to do, you might need to take a deeper look into how you're structuring and planning your turns. If that's not something you enjoy, the game isn't for you.

 
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Michael Farkas
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randiv wrote:
I guess this post was a rhetorical question, as the writer explains why the game is not for him. Just because many, many players feel differently (hence Scythe's ranking and awards) doesn't mean every person in the world has to like it. Solution seems simple: put the game up for sale on the BBG Bazaar. There are lots of players who have played the game and enjoyed it and are looking for a copy. This seems a rather obvious solution to the writer's "dilemma".


I looked into the BGG marketplace but I couldn't see an option to just meet face to face in my city (I like to avoid shipping and arranging payments and just meet face to face for cash when I sell stuff). I posted on here seeing if someone was interested in my copy but the post got taken down. I had a feeling it would and I was okay with that.

The question was rhetorical and I was hoping someone might point out what I was missing. I can see what others are saying and I don't think this game is for me.
 
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Brent Gerig
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frkm0005 wrote:
The question was rhetorical and I was hoping someone might point out what I was missing. I can see what others are saying and I don't think this game is for me.


That is a perfectly fine conclusion. Maybe if your local game store is out of copies and not expecting to get any soon, they could give your name to other customers who are looking for a copy?
 
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Peter Strait
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For Scythe, optimal play is ending the game before your competitors really get their sides up and running, necessitating that you get yours up and running first. It's not a race to get six stars so much as a race to be in position to place your sixth star, so that you can end the game at an optimal moment for you (and detrimental to everyone else).
 
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Joseph Cochran
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dmoser22 wrote:
Obviously, there's no point in arguing with someone's opinion, but as someone who enjoys the game, I'm really wondering if you've got all the rules correct. In my experience it's rather difficult to get all buildings, upgrades, and mechs deployed before the end of the game. Surely if you've reached that point you must also have managed to win a combat or two (what are you doing with those mechs, anyway?) and/or completed an objective. If you're not doing any fighting, maybe you're saving up combat points and are close to hitting the combat track star?

But let's assume that you're playing correctly. If you're really getting to the late game and feel like you're coasting along looking for something interesting to do, then I suspect you need to try playing against some stronger opponents. Scythe isn't a civ-builder; it's a race. No offense intended to whomever you played against in the past, but an experienced opponent won't give you enough turns to build a big engine, much less run it to the point of boredom.


This echoes my reaction to the OP. I don't ever get to the point in the game where I've completed all of my bottom-row stars. The game is usually over before then because someone has gotten to six stars. While those are only four of the six stars required, along the way people getting objectives or topping the tracks happen, and a quick end-the-game combat for a star or two will happen sometimes without enough warning.

If I had the same experience as the OP I'd get bored with the game, too. But I've never had that: it's always a nail biter to see if I'll finish my stars first once a couple of us are nearing the end game trigger. I'd definitely echo the suggestion of finding some stronger opponents, because IME the game is always a tense finish.
 
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Grant Linneberg
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frkm0005 wrote:


I looked into the BGG marketplace but I couldn't see an option to just meet face to face in my city (I like to avoid shipping and arranging payments and just meet face to face for cash when I sell stuff). I posted on here seeing if someone was interested in my copy but the post got taken down. I had a feeling it would and I was okay with that.


What city are you in?

 
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