Scythe is now available at The Wandering Dragon!
It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory,” which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries.
Scythe is a 4x board game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europa who are attempting to earn their fortune and claim their faction’s stake in the land around the mysterious Factory. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.
Each player begins the game with different resources (power, coins, combat acumen, and popularity), a different starting location, and a hidden goal. Starting positions are specially calibrated to contribute to each faction’s uniqueness and the asymmetrical nature of the game (each faction always starts in the same place).
Scythe gives players almost complete control over their fate. Other than each player’s individual hidden objective card, the only elements of luck or variability are “encounter” cards that players will draw as they interact with the citizens of newly explored lands. Each encounter card provides the player with several options, allowing them to mitigate the luck of the draw through their selection. Combat is also driven by choices, not luck or randomness.
Scythe uses a streamlined action-selection mechanism (no rounds or phases) to keep gameplay moving at a brisk pace and reduce downtime between turns. While there is plenty of direct conflict for players who seek it, there is no player elimination.
Every part of Scythe has an aspect of engine-building to it. Players can upgrade actions to become more efficient, build structures that improve their position on the map, enlist new recruits to enhance character abilities, activate mechs to deter opponents from invading, and expand their borders to reap greater types and quantities of resources. These engine-building aspects create a sense of momentum and progress throughout the game. The order in which players improve their engine adds to the unique feel of each game, even when playing one faction multiple times.
Gunter von Duisburg with Nacht & Tag (Saxony Empire): Gunter grew up in a wealthy, aristocratic family known for the dire wolves they bred and sold across the country. As a young boy he traveled with his father across Africa, where he developed excellent hunting skills and an interest in archeology.With a strong love of his country, Gunter enlisted in the Saxon army. He spent the first few years of service training soldiers to work with dire wolves, where he formed a kinship with two particular wolves: Nacht and Tag (Night and Day).When the war began, Gunter and his wolves led elite mech squads across the forests and mountains of Saxony and Europe. His name was both feared and respected, and his jacket grew heavy with medals of honor.After the war, the Saxon emperor sought an audience with Gunter, Nacht, and Tag. He asked them to go on a special mission to the east, where he saw an opportunity to expand to the unclaimed lands surrounding the Factory. Gunter was never one to turn down an adventure, so off he went to the east.***Zehra & Kar (Crimean Khanate): Princess Zehra was the firstborn daughter of the Khan of the Crimean Tatars. Despite her royal upbringing and against the will of her father, Zehra preferred to practice bow shooting and horseback riding rather than meekly drink tea with dignitaries. She found that she was able to see things before they happened, a skill that greatly aided her archery skills, especially for moving targets.When Zehra turned 16, her father gave her a great steppe eagle for her birthday. Much to Zehra’s surprise, she found that she could see through the eagle’s eyes, and she had the sense that the eagle could see through hers. Zehra named her Kar.Zehra traveled the land with Kar, representing her family’s interests and serving the people. Tales of her bravery were spread far and wide by Crimean caravans and traders.Steeped in the tradition and culture of their people, Zehra’s father was reluctant to adapt the new mech technologies developed by the Factory. However, he realized that the world was changing whether or not he liked it, and he didn’t want his country to fall too far behind. So he asked Zehra and Kar to go on an expedition to the north for the purpose of learning modern technology and ensuring peace for their people.***
Bjorn & Mox (Nordic Kingdom): Bjorn, the descendant of a renowned Viking family, grew up in a small village in the north of the Nordic Kingdom. For centuries his tribe had bred and raised the massive musk ox seen on many farms across the arctic. From an early age, Bjorn found that he was able to tame and communicate with the huge animals.
When he was 15, Bjorn was caught in a terrible snowstorm while trying to find a young musk ox that had wandered away from the herd. He found the musk ox, but there was no hope of making their way back to the village. Much to Bjorn’s surprised, the musk ox seemed to understand the dire situation, as it created a protective barrier to keep Bjorn safe from the blizzard. After surviving the ordeal, Bjorn took the creature as his mount and named him Mox.
As an adult, Bjorn had a yearning to see the world beyond his tiny village, so he and Mox embarked on a series of adventures across the land. They served as ambassadors to other tribes, went on war missions, and sought to find new oil reserves.
Stories of their courage and heroism eventually reached the king, who asked Bjorn and Mox to participate in a special mission to venture into the south. They seek to add new villages and farms to their kingdom by diplomacy or by force, as well as to explore the Factory to give them a technological advantage in future wars.
Olga Romanova & Changa (Rusviet Union): Olga comes from an old aristocratic family that lost their money and position a long time ago. So she was raised on humble means and in harsh climates, surrounded by simple people and nature. From childhood Olga was taught to have great respect for the Siberian tigers that prowled the Rusviet tundra.
At 15, Olga was already turning into a beautiful woman of strong ambition and intelligence. She caught the eye of Viktor, the young commander of a squadron of mechs traveling through her village on the way to war, and they began to correspond via letter.
Viktor surprised her by showing up on Olga’s 16th birthday to present her with a Siberian tiger cub named Changa he had discovered on patrol. The three of them spent the next week together, and they talked of marrying.
Unfortunately, the great war began, and Viktor was called away to service. They continued to write, but one day Olga received word that Viktor had gone missing in enemy territory. She vowed to find him, so she joined the Rusviet military intelligence service with Changa at her side. With her intelligence and ambition, she quickly climbed the ranks, and she finally got the chance to search the western lands for her beloved Viktor with the full strength of the Rusviet military at her back.