We Were Playing it Wrong: Scythe

Scythe, by Jamey Stegmaier & Alan Stone, 2016, Stonemaier Games, art by Jakub Rozalski, 2-5 Players

Scythe by Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone, has stunning art and miniatures as well as elegantly designed rules. I’ve only played it once, but when I did we got a couple of things wrong. The game features a special deck called the Factory deck. Unlike all of the other decks where you draw one or more cards, players interacting with the Factory deck draw (number of players + 1) cards, picks one, and puts the rest back. Subsequent players interacting with the deck look at one less card than the previous player. I haven’t played enough to know for sure, but I think this is a critical change because the actions printed on the Factory cards can be swingy and narrowly tailored to a particular need—a random draw will produce a random and sometimes useless, sometimes extremely useful result.

Botching the Factory deck was the big error we made but it wasn’t the only one; we also played such that attacking mechs couldn’t carry workers into combat. This isn’t the correct application—Mechs can carry any number of workers along with them, even into enemy territory. If an attacker retreats with workers, the defender doesn’t lose reputation. Finally, it didn’t come up, but I was under the impression that players were guaranteed an equal amount of turns. In fact, the game ends immediately after a player places their last star—even if they haven’t finished their turn. There’s some convoluted rules in the back of the rulebook for how to handle game-end in the middle of turn with some things not technically resolved when the game ends, and we may have accidentally not followed those procedures, and I can see how it would be easily missed given the abrupt nature of Scythe’s endgame.

We Were Playing it Wrong: Scythe