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Subject: Starting a group with 6 players with a view to progressing to Fenris rss

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MC Crispy
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I have a weekly group of 6 players with whom I'm interested in playing a Legacy game that isn't Charterstone. Playing as any player count other than 6 is not an option

I have a copy of Scythe: Invaders from Afar and the map extension and a huge table to play on. I have played the game and one other person in the group has played a few times. So my questions is: what can I do to make sure that our first few games go as well as they can? Specifically, in a new player/6 player game:

1) are there any combinations of Faction Mat and Player Mat that should be avoided

2) are there any Factions or Player Mats that should be avoided completely (at least in early games)

3) are there any objectives or other cards that it would be worth avoiding

I'm trying to make the game run as smoothly as possible with the fewest added complications and with as level a playing field as possible (e.g. no combos that have hyper obvious strategies that will allow a runaway victory in a group that avoids an "aggressively interactive" game)
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Sam Gray
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Re: Starting a goup with 6 players with a view to progressing to Fenris
It's worth noting that Fenris is a replayable campaign, rather than legacy, but you've made a great choice of game - have fun!

1. Rusviet/Industrial and Crimea/Patriotic combinations have been officially banned. Redraw if any of these combinations come up.

2. Nope, all good

3. Personally, I find objective card 8 (Roll up your Sleeves with the Common Man) a little tough, and objective card 13 (Foundations of the Empire) a little easy, but I still include them in all my games.
Some Fenris scenarios require some objective cards to be removed from the deck anyway.
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Bryan Becker
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Re: Starting a goup with 6 players with a view to progressing to Fenris
I'd play a game or 2 before you get into the campaign. Since the effects of each game in the campaign can effect future games it is better to make sure everyone has a firm understanding of the rules and some of the strategies before getting into a long term campaign. If you were all coming in as total newbies it would be fair, but even a few games experience can make a big difference. For example despite me telling new player at the start of the game that they should consider the game about to end when they see someone has 4 stars in play, pretty much every time they get caught unaware.

Even if you know the game well, after you play a game with the whole group re-read the rules cover to cover. Don't skip anything. It is amazing how many little details people miss. After playing there is more context and I can all but guarantee there are rules you missed, or mis-interpreted. Some of these little rules can make a big difference in the campaign.

Saxony has a bit of a disadvantage (we found) in that there is a star tracker that you use through all of the games that effects the final scoring, used to determine the ultimate winner of the campaign. By rule if Saxony complete more than 2 combats stars or more than 1 objective card they do not get any star for those additional stars on the tracker. Since this is Saxony's primary faction bonus we house ruled that those stars are 'wild' and can be used in any slot. This turned out to not be at all overpowered.

There is a late game scenario (No spoiler here) which in the rules tells you to draw 3 combat cards to use as a randomizer. You'll know it when you get to it. Many people found this too easy. Jamey has suggested players should draw 4 cards instead. I wish I had known this before we played that scenario.

As to your questions

1. as stated above Rus/Ind and Crim/Pat have both been banned from official play. But this is due to an exploit in which those combos can end the game early all but ensuring victory for that player. It is a very specific move order. With new players if they aren't looking up guides the odds of them figuring out the exploit is unlikely.

2. Nope.

3. Nope. You may have personal preferences of course. And some objectives are clearly more difficult than others. But that is part of the game. Knowing when to ignore your objectives is part of the strategy.
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John Martorana
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Re: Starting a goup with 6 players with a view to progressing to Fenris
I would definitely also suggest playing 1 to 3 games of the Base game + Invaders before jumping into Fenris. We made major rules mistakes our first game of Scythe and I personally was still making minor rules mistakes at least into my 2nd or 3rd game that had to be corrected.


xbeaker wrote:

Saxony has a bit of a disadvantage (we found) in that there is a star tracker that you use through all of the games that effects the final scoring, used to determine the ultimate winner of the campaign. By rule if Saxony complete more than 2 combats stars or more than 1 objective card they do not get any star for those additional stars on the tracker. Since this is Saxony's primary faction bonus we house ruled that those stars are 'wild' and can be used in any slot. This turned out to not be at all overpowered.
I will add that the there are also some scenarios of the Fenris Campaign that modify the abilities of certain Factions. Saxony's Faction ability gets modified in at least the second Scenario (we're only 4 scenarios into the game), and in a manner that the Saxony Player really didn't feel satisfying. (Also, I think he wasn't really thrilled that extra Combat Stars were somewhat "wasted" as stated above). So he switched to Togawa.

So, if hard-pressed to give a Faction to avoid in the Campaign, it might be Saxony. But in any event, the good news is that the game is pretty flexible. If a player doesn't like their Faction, just let them change. There's official rules for when and how you can change Factions, but there's really no reason to stop someone from switching earlier if it'll make the game more fun for them. There's "official" rules for if someone misses a session in the instructions, but those rules are basically just common sense. Pretty much just "Give them about what they'd have earned if they were there." It's pretty laid back in that regard.
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Dan Michalowski
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Re: Starting a goup with 6 players with a view to progressing to Fenris
Manhattan Jack wrote:
I will add that the there are also some scenarios of the Fenris Campaign that modify the abilities of certain Factions. Saxony's Faction ability gets modified in at least the second Scenario (we're only 4 scenarios into the game), and in a manner that the Saxony Player really didn't feel satisfying. (Also, I think he wasn't really thrilled that extra Combat Stars were somewhat "wasted" as stated above). So he switched to Togawa.
One of the biggest let downs for the campaign to me was that Saxony didn't really get the kind of modification to its faction ability that it really needed. Which is why I made this:

 


It's a little more powerful than the base ability, but makes Saxony much more satisfying to play.

However, having played an entire campaign as Togawa, I would say that Togawa is absolutely the faction to avoid. They are too slow to participate in most of the episode goals. You end up having to either choose between getting a good score and getting special objectives. This is also a bit of a letdown to me that no changes were made to remedy this for the campaign.

EDIT: One more thing, if you have a player that is more experience at the game, Togawa would be a good challenge for them. The reason I picked Togawa (we did sort of a draft thing) was for the challenge of it.
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MC Crispy
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Can I just stop everyone right here!

Apologies for my lack of precision in expressing my need. Let's do a reset!

1) I'm after advice "to make sure that our first few games [of Scythe+Afar] go as well as they can. Specifically, in a new player/6 player game"

2) I'm not after advice on Fenris - we're learning Scythe with a view to progressing to Fenris (per the OP subject)

3) I really don't want any spoilers for Fenris, thanks

Good and on-topic info for the Rusviet/Industrial and Crimea/Patriotic combinations, thanks for that. Valuable info on Objectives too - again my thanks.

If there's anything non-Fenris that folk with experience (particularly of the 6P game) can add, let's hear it!
 
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Dan Michalowski
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mccrispy wrote:
Can I just stop everyone right here!

Apologies for my lack of precision in expressing my need. Let's do a reset!

1) I'm after advice "to make sure that our first few games [of Scythe+Afar] go as well as they can. Specifically, in a new player/6 player game"

2) I'm not after advice on Fenris - we're learning Scythe with a view to progressing to Fenris (per the OP subject)

3) I really don't want any spoilers for Fenris, thanks

Good and on-topic info for the Rusviet/Industrial and Crimea/Patriotic combinations, thanks for that. Valuable info on Objectives too - again my thanks.

If there's anything non-Fenris that folk with experience (particularly of the 6P game) can add, let's hear it!
Oops! Sorry, got ahead of myself. whistle

Some general tips about player mats:
- Engineering Polania and Engineering Albion are rather tough combos to handle for new players. I would just try to avoid those if you could.
- Militant is by far the most tricky board to play. My advice would be to just leave it out in the first game or two. It's especially tricky for Polania as well. In general, the factions/mats added in Invaders from Afar are a little more tricky.

Objective Cards:
- I agree with the poster above that 'Roll up your sleeve with the common man' is a good one to just leave out as well. It's definitely the most unusual of all the objectives.
- I like to divide the Objective card deck into two piles when playing with new players: Easy/Intermediate and Difficult. Every player draws from whatever pile they want. The difficulty of the objectives varies quite a bit based on context, but in general, I put all of these numbers in the 'Difficult' deck: 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27

Also, Albion and Nordic can tend to get squished into their home bases a bit in 6 player games. Giving them an extra combat card at the start helps them out a bit.
 
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Bryan Becker
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MrDer wrote:
Also, Albion and Nordic can tend to get squished into their home bases a bit in 6 player games. Giving them an extra combat card at the start helps them out a bit.
I haven't found this to be the case at all. I play Nordic all the time. We draw random, but I am a weird statistical anomaly, I pull Nordic like 75% of the time. Their ability to swim their workers means they are usually the first out of their starting area. And while Albion and Togawa have the slowest mechs in that they never get the +1 speed boost, the fact that they are not constrained by rivers means they also are frequently first to break onto the main continent. The Invaders factions are more challenging I think, but they are balanced well. They just require a slightly different mindset than the base 5 faction. Proper use of their faction tokens is key.
 
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Bryan Becker
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mccrispy wrote:
Can I just stop everyone right here!

Apologies for my lack of precision in expressing my need. Let's do a reset!

1) I'm after advice "to make sure that our first few games [of Scythe+Afar] go as well as they can. Specifically, in a new player/6 player game"

2) I'm not after advice on Fenris - we're learning Scythe with a view to progressing to Fenris (per the OP subject)

3) I really don't want any spoilers for Fenris, thanks

Good and on-topic info for the Rusviet/Industrial and Crimea/Patriotic combinations, thanks for that. Valuable info on Objectives too - again my thanks.

If there's anything non-Fenris that folk with experience (particularly of the 6P game) can add, let's hear it!
Do a search for frequently misunderstood rules. There are a handful that even if you read the rules, you might mess up. The mill in particular trips up a lot of people (myself included.)

There is a Facebook Scythe group. If you are on Facebook, join it. If you have any questions mid game, ask them in that group. The response time is amazing, usually a few minutes at most. And frequently it will be Jamey himself answering.

Beyond that like I said before. Read the rules, play then read the rules fully again as soon as possible. Scythe is an amazing game with complex strategy. But the rules themselves, once you know them, are actually quite simple.

As for 6 players, the only thing you really need concern yourself with is to remember to give Polania and Crimea their modifier tokens used in 6 and 7 player games.

I think you'll do great, no matter the player count.
 
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Steven St. John
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xbeaker wrote:

Do a search for frequently misunderstood rules. There are a handful that even if you read the rules, you might mess up. The mill in particular trips up a lot of people (myself included.)

There is a Facebook Scythe group. If you are on Facebook, join it. If you have any questions mid game, ask them in that group. The response time is amazing, usually a few minutes at most. And frequently it will be Jamey himself answering.

Beyond that like I said before. Read the rules, play then read the rules fully again as soon as possible. Scythe is an amazing game with complex strategy. But the rules themselves, once you know them, are actually quite simple.

As for 6 players, the only thing you really need concern yourself with is to remember to give Polania and Crimea their modifier tokens used in 6 and 7 player games.

I think you'll do great, no matter the player count.
I second the advice about joining the Facebook group. Very fast response times.

Also I second checking out the rules forum here. And, since I try not to miss a chance to plug my own video series, check out You've Been Playing That Wrong.
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Nikolai
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mccrispy wrote:
1) are there any combinations of Faction Mat and Player Mat that should be avoided
Smobolob already mentioned the officially banned faction mat/player mat combinations (Rusviet+Industrial and Crimea+Patriotic) which are too strong. Here is still the link where to find that rule:
https://stonemaiergames.com/games/scythe/faq-scythe/ (under "Errata and Recommended Variants")

mccrispy wrote:
2) are there any Factions or Player Mats that should be avoided completely (at least in early games)
I believe nobody yet mentioned the official advice on this from the rulebook:

Invaders from Afar rulebook, p. 3 wrote:
If this is a player’s first time playing Scythe, we highly recommend they randomly select one of the original factions, not Albion or Togawa.
I think this is sound advice, the two expansion factions are more difficult to play for beginners.

mccrispy wrote:
3) are there any objectives or other cards that it would be worth avoiding
I would recommend not to use the encounter cards from Scythe: Encounters (at least) in the first few games.
 
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