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Scythe: What Gamers Are Saying

There are many types of democracy. Jacksonian. Westminster. Liberal. And now Zatu. To exercise it like a well-toned pair of thighs, we asked gamers on the web for their opinions on Scythe, arguably this year’s most successful and sought-after title.

Here’s what they had to say, divvied by tone of response:

The Positive

Codeshark says:

Scythe is a masterpiece. It combines beautiful artwork and great mechanics. I enjoy the tense anticipation of combat that is missing from a lot of Euros. It strikes that perfect balance between a dice chucking luck fest and a low conflict Euro. Combat is possible, but potentially expensive.

nucleomancer says:

Despite its intimidating appearance, Scythe is VERY easy to learn. After your first game you will have a firm grasp of the things you can do, and you are ready to try different strategies for your next game.

It allows for a great deal of flexibility in achieving victory. Combat is certainly not a requirement for that.

The game is well balanced and victory usually hinges on a difference of less than 10 points (about 10% of the winner’s final score.)

automator3000 says:

It’s a smooth, accessible game. I do like that it rewards a balanced style of play – it’d be difficult to have a win by focusing on a single goal and chasing that to the end. You need some popularity, you need some territory. You need to at least present the threat of military strength. But of course you can’t do everything – so you need, but not too much, and focus, but not too much.

Visually it’s the greatest game (especially with the upgraded resource bits and coins). Gorgeous art on the cards, nice minis, beautiful map that is also clear in presentation.

It’s light. Compared to its looks, it’s light. With all the various decks of cards and minis and map hexes, you can forgive folks for expecting a deep deep game. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just as neutral as saying “this thai food is not very spicy.”

The Negative

Zugare says:

I’ll be a dissenter and say it’s not great. I don’t find the decisions in the game very interesting. It plays longer than it feels satisfying. There are a lot of neat mechanics that end up feeling like you aren’t doing anything exciting. The star system means everyone kind of does the same thing every game. The combat is pretty rare and boring.

beatspores is on board:

I agree. I really, really, wanted to love Scythe but it felt absolutely dead to me. I love upgrades in games and while the top-bottom upgrade mechanism is kind of cool and novel, to me at least, the action doesn’t change the game at all really.

In my opinion, Scythe lacks any kind of satisfaction found in other games from say making a really powerful move yourself or correctly anticipating an opponent's move. People were saying that there is a kind of Cold War suspense in the looming possibility of war breaking out, which I very much looked forward to. In reality there is little to nothing to carefully consider ahead of or during the fights.

The experience of playing Scythe has neither colour nor contrast.

dispatch134711 has brought some nails for this coffin:

I’ll agree that in my limited experience it is very difficult to know what people want to do, especially in a 5 player game.  

And the relatively neutral

dispatch134711 (again) says:

The factions require different strategies and therefore a few games are required before this is truly possible. I’m only three games in, in my second game I was confused but ultimately relatively successful with Germany but I struggled badly knowing what to do with the Nords in my third game. The clearest path to even starting the game is pretty opaque sometimes.

So there you have it: beautiful artwork, masterpiece, mild thai cuisine, absolutely dead. A comprehensive overview of Scythe.