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Scythe Board Game Review

There are a few really popular board games available on the market, and it feels unfair that Stonemaier Games has a few of these. Two incredibly popular and in high demand games are Wingspan  and Scythe. We reviewed Wingspan and all the expansions a while ago , but despite all the Stonemaier Games reviews on the website, we have never looked at the game Scythe.


I’ve played Scythe many times before, but never had my own copy. Now that a review copy has landed and I’ve gotten back into the game, what do I think about it years later? Let’s dive in!

While Scythe is a very old game from Stonemaier Games, you can preorder the latest game in the Scythe universe, Expeditions. Check it out now and reserve your copy!

How to Play

There are some things I just won’t do, and one of them is attempt to explain a lengthy game in text on a website. I do recommend, however, that you check out this fantastic from fellow Canadian, Rodney Smith, who goes over all the rules of Scythe in detail. Although I will explain a few key objectives while letting you know what I think, there will NOT be a rule-by-rule breakdown of the game.

In Scythe, players will compete with each other in a 1920s alternative universe of Eastern Europa (loosely based on Europe). Here, humans and mechs live together attempting to conqueror their little area of the world. In the game, players will use leaders, mechs, and workers to expand across the map, collecting resources, and working to fulfil six goals. The first person to fulfil six goals is the winner.

Worth the Effort

Out of the box, Scythe is actually a pretty daunting game. There is a lot going on in the box, and each player colour baggies comes with tons of pieces that need to be placed in specific spots on the player boards. Thankfully, little indentations in the cardboard will let you know where specific items should go, so getting setup isn’t too difficult.


But there is a lot going on, or at least so it seems. However, when you fully comprehend the rules of Scythe, you realize your actions are actually fairly limited in a good way. For most of the game, players are limited to taking one of 4 actions, each with a unique ability. One action allows you to move or gain coins, another to place workers, and yet another to build buildings. You will scatter across the map collecting resources, building things, placing mechs, and battling with your Neighbors for control.

How to win? Focus is Key!

All of this is in an effort to place your six star tokens on the victory board in one of many different spots. Stars can be placed for winning your first and second battle with another player, can be placed by reaching certain milestone points on the Power and Popularity tracks, can be placed for finishing a mission, building your buildings, getting all your workers out, and more.

So many games tie victory to one specific set of actions or goals, but Scythe gives you choice. I think that is what makes this such a unique game. While each faction is a bit different in how they operate (adding some flexibility to the game already), the ability to finish 6 of ten possible goals allows each player to tackle the game how they see fit.

For example, combat can be a big part of the game. It’s worth up to 2 stars, after all. However, it also can take a lot of work to get the battle cards you need and find an opponent you can best in competition. It’s a lot of work to get those two stars. Since there are 10 options, you can completely ignore combat if you want, and instead focus on other mechanisms.

Scythe is all about building your engine and maximizing it. You need to diversify enough to make sure you can complete 6 goals, but not stretch yourself too thin. If you aim to have the option of completing all 10 possible goals, you likely aren’t going to do well. What you need to do is come up with a strategy early and focus on it.

Do we Recommend?

Whether you are excited about the upcoming, stand-alone game in the Scythe universe or not, taking a trip or two through East Europa with Scythe is well worth it. This game comes at a bit of a premium compared to other games you might be inclined to buy, but there is a ton of content here, and all of it is very, very good. With future expansions that will extend your gameplay, Scythe can be your go-to game for a long time, or at least until Expedition comes out!


Article By

blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel