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Subject: The Meep reviews... Scythe from Stonemaier Games rss

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Chriss Jackson
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Pocatello
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I have long lost my love (I still like) of Catan with the advent of more recent board games, but I haven't ever felt that something existed that truly dethroned it for what it is. That day has finally come.

Scythe is a resource management game for 1-5 players (7 with the Invaders from Afar expansion) that pits rising European factions against one another in a race to fortune and wealth in an alternate post-WWI Europe. Farmers work the land for resources, mechs roam the country protecting your dominion and a hero adventures far and wide encountering people and places. Combat in this game is minimal, but decisive as victory can net you resources in a pinch and furthermore can twice satisfy 1 of the 6 needed endgame conditions. Actions are denoted on your player board and are simple to comprehend. Furthermore, turns are varied in that the same action may not be played in sequential turns. Scythe also employs one of my favorite player board uses and that is pieces on the board cover additional costs/rewards that are only in affect once that has been moved/removed. This is a small touch that adds tremendous value to the game as board control and engine building occur simultaneously. And while each player board contains the same actions, they are mixed and valued slightly differently for each board lending to many different play styles.

The art for this game is ridiculous. There are hidden details and Easter eggs everywhere. If you can find it, pick up a copy of the large board extension because you are going to want to see everything as large as possible. The world of this game comes alive in the art and I'm so glad they chose to be as minimal with text as possible and let the artwork tell the story, because it truly stands alone.

The components are great. Not the best miniatures in the business, but they do their job well. I love that each faction has unique sculpts for their characters and mechs and additionally unique meeples as well. The player boards are thick and have indentations for the pieces which is a wonderful touch that I wish other games would include more often (I'm looking at you, Terraforming Mars). All the cards feel durable, even without sleeves.

Now, I want to talk about some of the choices that are absolutely genius in this game. Every action feels important and feels like you're moving toward something better. Every player power breaks a rule, so as to reinforce what you can and can't do normally. Every piece added to the board adds abilities that matter. The art on the encounter cards drives the narrative rather than the text. Resources are never owned by a player, only controlled. Upgrading the reward of a top action simultaneously reduces the cost of a bottom action of your choice. Plastic pieces can fight, wooden pieces cannot. Mechs can transport workers. Workers trump structures for control, but plastics trump workers and structures for control. There are 10 endgame conditions and only 6 need to be met to trigger the end. That's 210 different options for ending.

Needless to say, I think Scythe is a great game. I think it may be the best game of 2016. But I don't think that goes quite far enough. I'm hesitant to stand by this claim, but I think Scythe may become my favorite game of all time. There is enough variety that I can't imagine this game burning out any time soon. Every turn is exciting and every choice is meaningful, yet it's easy to teach and get the flow. A game has to be perfect to earn a 10 in my book. Perfection does not happen often, but today it has. I'm giving Scythe a 10/10.
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Jo Bartok
Germany
Zwingenberg
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Interaction leads to Immersion.
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So what about player interaction? Is that 10/10?
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Tristan Hall
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Manchester
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LIFEFORM - LATE PLEDGE NOW!!!
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ionas wrote:
So what about player interaction? Is that 10/10?


I swear at the automa almost constantly during my plays so that's a yes from me.
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Sébastien Schmutz
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ionas wrote:
So what about player interaction? Is that 10/10?


Yes, exactly that. I've done only one play, but I felt some kind of loneliness as I was playing until the last quarter of it. I hope it's gonna change when players are more familiar with strategies. I'd rate it 8/10 for that reason, for now at least.
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Christoph Weber
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Seb283 wrote:
ionas wrote:
So what about player interaction? Is that 10/10?


Yes, exactly that. I've done only one play, but I felt some kind of loneliness as I was playing until the last quarter of it. I hope it's gonna change when players are more familiar with strategies. I'd rate it 8/10 for that reason, for now at least.


I guess it's a matter of personal preference.
There are people that don't rate player interaction that high on their list of priorities.
But if you are someone who does rate it high, I'm afraid Scythe can't be a 10 for you.
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Chriss Jackson
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Seb283 wrote:
ionas wrote:
So what about player interaction? Is that 10/10?


Yes, exactly that. I've done only one play, but I felt some kind of loneliness as I was playing until the last quarter of it. I hope it's gonna change when players are more familiar with strategies. I'd rate it 8/10 for that reason, for now at least.


In my opinion tactics is paramount in Scythe. I agree that the beginning of the game is a bit benign, but paying attention to what your opponents are doing and what actions they have left available to themselves is key to winning. I find myself occupied in a strategy of controlling my opponents resources more often than not, even if not through direct combat. The threat alone can cause your opponents to shift their strategies to less than optimal play which is reward in of itself. I think this is a sweet ameri-euro hybrid that doesn't feel like multiplayer solitaire in the least.
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Robert Stewart
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Last game I played, I managed to ruin one of my opponent's plans fairly early - I was planning to move my character to pick up an additional encounter not far from him. He moved his character toward that encounter, cutting my character off, so I moved a Mech and a couple of workers onto the tile which I then produced resources from at least a couple of times before eventually picking up the encounter with my character. Meanwhile, he spent the next few turns trying to figure out what to do with his character...
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