Scythe: Rise of Fenris Review
Whenever you review an expansion, it’s always hard to balance explaining the base game, plus all the new content.
Thankfully, we’ve reviewed Scythe in the past so you can head on over there and check our our opinion. The other tough thing about reviewing expansions is that for many games lately, these expansions have been campaign based, meant to be played over numerous rounds.
Within each round, new content gets unlocked that players aren’t expecting. I think you can see the problem. How do I review Rise of Fenris, a campaign based expansion, while providing a good overview and NOT spoiling any of the content. It’s hard, but I will try.
Rise of Fenris is a competitive campaign based expansion for Scythe, and works with the game regardless of which other expansions you might own. Even on its own, Rise of Fenris can be played with just the base version of Scythe, so the cost to enter barrier is pretty low. Let’s take a quick look at the publisher stated overview for the game:
“Empires have risen and fallen in the aftermath of the great war, and Europa stands on the precipice of a new era. The economy is robust, morale is high, and defenses are strong. There are reports from the countryside of strange soldiers with glowing eyes, but they seem distant and harmless. Scythe: The Rise of Fenris, the conclusion to the Scythe expansion trilogy, enables two different options for any player Count (1-5 if you have scythe; 1-7 players if you have invaders from afar): campaign (8 games): the story of scythe continues and concludes with an Episode campaign. While the campaign includes surprises, unlocks, and persistent elegant-ments, it is fully resettable and replaceable. Modular (11 modules): instead of—or after—the campaign, the new modules in the rise of fenris can be used in various combinations to cater to player prefer-enhances these modules are compatible with all scythe expansions, and they include a fully cooperative module.”
As you can see, there is a lot going on, and all of the claims made by Stonemaier are inherently true, as they always are. These campaigns aren’t a one-and-done experience, so if you have numerous gaming groups, you can reset the experience and go again.
The unlockables for each scenario might not be surprising on your second play through, but the content of the game and the way each scenario plays out is still good and exciting. Like in Scythe, there are multiple different strategic ways to win the game, and that theme continues with this campaign experience. So yes, each game of Scythe: Rise of Fenris can be different and unique.
The overall story did not draw me in like other campaign driven games, but the campaign itself does fit into the world created around Scythe. The way the games unfolded made sense, and I felt that each scenario became a backdrop for another game of Scythe, albeit a game of Scythe that is different than what I’ve experienced in the past.
I’ve said multiple times that Scythe provides many paths to victory, so for a while, each game does feel unique and different. But the elements of the game remain the same. With Rise of Fenris, those elements get altered and changed, creating a truly unique game experience, not just one you create by using an alternative game strategy.
And that is likely why I recommend Rise of Fenris so much. If you LOVE Scythe – and many of us do! – then this takes your core game, and manipulates it multiple times. One game will have you focusing on battles, while another might focus more on board position.
You’ll have to keep on your toes game-to-game, and really challenge your creative and strategic thinking. If you’ve settled into a good strategy for base Scythe, you will need to become flexible. Each game of Rise of Fenris is going to introduce something new and different, and you need to be prepared for that. This really is the expansion for Scythe experts.
What I also love about Rise of Fenris is that you can take the best elements of any given scenario and use them in the base game outside of the campaign. Love how scenario 6 played out in the campaign and want to play it solo?
You can move those elements and components and just play a single game of Scythe, albeit influenced by scenario 6. While the campaign does a tell a story start-to-finish, each game within that campaign can be a solo feeling experience if you want it to be.
This also allows you to swap out players – taking a campaign for a spin and committing 7 or 8 game nights to one game can be a lot. With my own game group, it’s taken us over a year and a half to complete a 12 game campaign of Charterstone .
One week 4 people can make it, but one can’t. Another week everyone can make it, but not till 9:30 PM so Charterstone is off the table that night. With Rise of Fenris, it’s not hard to hand the reigns of a specific player to someone else for a night or two. The original player probably won’t feel they’ve missed anything, and the group can continue moving through the campaign at a good pace.
Overall, Rise of Fenris is just more Scythe, but I say that in the best way possible. If you own the base game and have a group of friends who love playing it, this is an easy recommendation. The content here is well worth the price of entry!