After a particularly shit week at work I had been immensely looking forward to my whfb game when I then received an apologetic mail from my Friday night opponent who was ill. Annoyingly, although he emailed early in the day, I only picked it up late afternoon so was unable to book in another fantasy (or even 40k tryout) game so late.
On the club FB page (yep I stooped that low to find a game!!), I was invited to join a group playing something called Scythe. Not having played many board games which weren’t more MB brand style (monopoly etc) with the odd sprinkling of GW (bloodbowl and Heroquest) and after reading a number of reviews of interesting board games on the blog Start Your Meeples, I accepted the invite.
It can be played with between 1-7 people and is a hex based board. The aim of the game is to achieve 6 stars for completing different tasks (these vary from deploying all 8 of your workers, to your 4 mechs, to maxing your popularity or winning a battle). In total there are something like 10 different tasks and depending on your faction, some are easier to complete. There are 7 different factions to choose from (we randomly picked) and each have different strengths (Such as to fighting or resource management). Once someone has achieved 6 tasks then the game ends and you get money based on resource remaining, number of stars gained etc. The player with the most money wins.
After getting your faction, we were then dealt a random action board. They are in essence the same, in so far as you use them to mark which of the four actions you will choose to do each turn (and you generally can’t do the same action two turns in a row). However the difference in them is basically down to the resources required to complete actions or bonus rewards (I’m guessing this helps for replay ability). The choices are:
- Move or get money
- Produce Resources
- Trade (to gain resources/popularity)
- Bolster power level or attack cards
For each action there is a secondary option you can also do if certain requirements are met. This could be using resources to deploy buildings or to buy mechs (to name two). So you really want to try and manage your options so you can do both tasks under the one action (easier said than done).
To expand on the secondary mech deployment option, it cost me 3 oil resources to deploy one mech (the resource number could be reduced via a secondary upgrade option under the trade section). Each mech allows different bonuses to unlock, such as crossing rivers or extra movement (it varies between factions) and allows you to transport multiple workers. Finally deploying 4 mechs is one of the tasks that gives you a star.
Gameplay is really fast with only two basic options for players each turn but there is a real depth to the gameplay and tactics given all the options available (most of which I haven’t even covered) with many of them linking together to maximise efficiencies. I will say that after 5 or 6 turns (and help) I had picked up the basics and by the end of the game (coming 5th out of the 6 of us) I know next time, I’ll be more competitive.
More importantly I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game, met a few members of the club I hadn’t played before and it has opened my eyes to the potential joys of non traditional board games. I would definitely play this again, especially given the change of pace vs my normal fare, which is perhaps the best accolade I could give it. (Though I’ll caveat that by saying due to limited play time and love of miniatures, I’d choose to play whfb over this every time).
4 thoughts on “Scythe (board game) – first impressions”
Scythe is a great game! Given the amount of free time I have these days, combined with kids, I end up spending more time playing boardgames than other games. It’s cool that you liked the game and met some new players. You might be able to draft some of them to miniatures games as well. It goes both ways! 🙂
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I know the issue with time constraints and is one of the reasons I don’t normally play board games, as the club is the only time I get to play so have to pick and choose.
Half the players at the board were gents I’d played before either at kings of War or Warhammer, the others tend to play historic such as adlg or bolt action, not something I’ve had the time to try yet. That’s one of the reasons why the board games are so good as they bring all the players together (and with a pool of 70+ members it’s good way to meet ‘the other side’.
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Wow, 70+ people?! That’s quite the group!
Not all regulars it has to be said but there’s normally a good 30-40 players in attendance covering a wide spectrum of games. It’s the South East London Wargamers (SELWG) club. It’s been running since the 70’s and due to the location it’s able to cover a large chunk of Londons population. Probably why membership is quite high.
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