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Game review: Scythe (2016)

Players: 1–5

Playing time: 90–115 min rating: 8.3

Designer: Jamey Stegmaier

Artist: Jakub Rozalski

Publisher: Stonemaier Games

Type: Strategy

Category: Economic, fighting, science fiction, territory building

Mechanisms: Area control, grid movement, variable player powers

Theme: Alternate history

It’s time for another board game review: Scythe by Stonemaier Games.

Retro is the new cool. Who wouldn’t like the glamour of roaring twenties? But don’t get confused; Scythe is more about the war in Europa as an alternative moment in history after World War One. Peace has not been reached. Next to this great alternative historical context, Scyhte spices up the military power of each faction of Europa by adding the fictive Nikola Tesla’s technological advancement: the MECHs!* Hell yeah, mechs in 1920’s! Such a great context!

There are five factions available in the base game that you can choose to play with:

Rusviet Union – Olga and Changa, her tiger

Crimean Khanate – Zehra and Kar, her eagle

Republic of Polania – Anna and Wojtek, her bear

Saxony Empire – Gunter and Nacht & Tag, his wolves

Nordic Kingdoms – Bjorn and Mox, his ox

Each faction is represented by colored meeples** on the board. There are different territories to produce the necessary resources: metal, wood, oil and food. The land is separated by rivers and lakes. Some factions can walk on lakes. The tunnels function as teleport spaces. Among these different territories, The Factory is the place to end the game as it is the most prestigious spot in this industrial land.

You can choose a play mat from one of the following bases: of patriotic, agriculture, engineering, mechanical and industrial. On these play mats, there are four actions: produce, move, bolster and trade. You can pick one of these actions per turn.

You may have guessed it right, Rusviet Union is my favorite faction to play with. I think I enjoy exploring new territories with my character the most because the exploration cards always give a surprising award.

And my final word is that the expansion of Scythe: The Rise of the Fenris (2018) is just great, full stop.

* For non-gamers, a mech is a large, pilotable robot, mainly found in science fiction stories.

** A meeple is the shortening of “my people”, usually a wooden figure that has the chosen character's color in the game.


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