Game Review: Scythe

Scythe is a game that was funded by Kickstarter back in 2015.

I came upon the game while studying Jamie Stegmaier’s blog on crowdfunding and reading his book.  We finally picked up the game from a FLGS and had a blast, especially me, since I have won every game so far!

Game Review: Scythe

It's a good sign when the game box has some weight to it!

The box is large and heavy, with beautiful artwork.  The art continues on the board and encounter cards.

There are some cardboard pieces, but the stock is heavy.

There are lots of wooden counters and meeples, which raise the quality (and weight) of the game.  

The mechs look really cool and lots of people are online showing their custom paint jobs for Scythe mechs.

Full table setup of Scythe.

Scythe has a one page for quick set up and learning the basic turns; we didn’t read that until after the first game.

Scythe is an asymmetrical, engine-building, tactical combat game.  Because of the number of combinations of factions, characters, and mech abilities, no two games will feel the same.  The game is for 1-5 players and the box advertises 115 minute games.

To be honest, our first game took 5 hours!

However, that included taking everything out, popping out the cardboard pieces, setting up the game, reading the instructions and trying to figure it out.

If I were to explain the game to someone else, I could get them playing in less than five minutes.  You could also watch a YouTube video to learn, and there are quick reference guides that cover most of what you need to know.  By the third game, we were moving a lot quicker, and planning our moves entirely during the other person’s turn.  

This game is rated highly on BoardGameGeek, and is a great game to play, especially for people looking for games with less luck involved!  The asymmetry built into the game means that each combination has its strengths and weaknesses, and it is a challenge to win under different conditions and tactics.  In fact, some combinations are pre-banned, since playtesting showed that they had too much of an advantage.

Jon deploying a mech.

How do you play and win Scythe?

The goal of the game, like many games, is to have the most victory points in the end!  These points come from triumphs (or milestones), territory controlled, cash on hand, and excess resources.  There are multipliers for each based on your popularity.  These combinations mean there are many ways to win, even if someone else triggers the end game.

The game itself is really a territorial exploration game, where conflict is not guaranteed, but probable.  Unlike many combat-centric games, there are many instances of Scythe where few or no battles take place.  There are negative consequences to starting a conflict, so you have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before starting a fight.  

The upgrade system game mechanic allows each person to personalize their strategy by prioritizing what they will achieve first.  Maybe they want to get more movement, or more combat power, or be able to produce more resources.  Each method can result in success!

Not only does this game have great replayability, but the tactics really change depending on what combination of faction and characters you have, as well as how many people are playing.

Scythe and Kickstarter and Crowdfunding Lessons!

When Cally and I founded Wizard Tag and started to develop our wand, we soon realized that even after spending considerable sums on product development and manufacturing prototypes, we would need a lot of money to go into production!  We settled on crowdfunding and decided we would run a Kickstarter campaign.  We bought some books about crowdfunding and started doing research to make sure we were preparing for success.

One of the books was A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide, by Jamie Stegmaier.  He is the creator of Scythe and one of the owners of Stegmaier Games.  I started reading his blogs as soon as I finished the book.  He wrote over 500 blogs specifically about Kickstarter and running successful campaigns.  He also has blog entries and YouTube videos about his life, his cats and board game mechanics.  

I was most interested in the Kickstarter information, which has some great nuggets of wisdom.  Somewhere in the middle of reading all of those blogs, I found myself in a game store that was having a 30th anniversary event, so I bought a pile of games, including Scythe.  I had been interested in the game for a long time, but it was Jamie’s attitude in his blogs of serving the customer, providing the best art, customer service, and on and on, that led me to support him.  I was happy that the purchase was also for a great game!

Even though most of Jamie’s experience and topics of his blogs are about tabletop games, we can derive a lot of good tips for Kickstarter campaigns in general.  If you are interested in crowdfunding, I urge you to go to his website (Kickstarter – Stonemaier Games) and check out the blog.

If you’re interested in our crowdfunding campaign, go to our website, subscribe to our newsletter, and we will let you know before the campaign starts so you can get your hands on one of the first Wizard Tag Wands!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you played Scythe yet?
  2. If so, did you have a memorable combination?
  3. Have you played any other Stonemaier Games?
  4. If so, what was your favorite?

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6 thoughts on “Game Review: Scythe”

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