Scythe is a game by Stonemaier Games, designed by renowned auteur Jamey Stegmaier. Set in an alternate reality 1920’s Europe, the game focuses on expanding your faction’s dominance across territory whilst harvesting resources, creating upgrades and battling your enemies. Whilst not exclusively a game about conflict, Scythe rewards players for conducting many different types of engine-building, leading to a great variety in play styles.
Each of the five factions in the box has different special abilities and these are paired each game with a different economic player board. During the turn, each player chooses one of four unique actions from the player board, which also gives a secondary bonus action. These actions move the faction workers, launch mechs and leader across the board, adding buildings and even upgrade their own options by manipulating the player board. The game is surprisingly swift, even at higher play counts due to the pairing down of actions per turn.
As players complete goals, such as bringing all four of their mechs onto the board, they begin to collect stars. After a faction has laid down their sixth star, this triggers the end game. The winner of the game is the faction with the most coins.
Scythe also contains a fully realised single-player module, where the player competes against an ‘Automa’ A.I. In a single-player game, a deck of cards controls the A.I. player faction and offers a compelling experience as an alternative to the multiplayer game.
Visually, Scythe looks stunning on the table. From the sweeping lands on the board to the faction leaders design, all the artwork is dramatically evocative. The leaders and mechs are all unique sculpts for each faction. Workers and materials are made up of wooden markers.
Whilst this is a complete game, Scythe is upgradable with expansions that increase the player count, add more game modules, event cards and most recently a legacy campaign mechanic.
Player count: 1-5
Time: 115 minutes
Age rating: 14+