Board Games, Reviews, Shaymurai Reviews

Scythe – A Review in 2022

Scythe – back in 2016, wow. 6 years ago, time flies.

Anyway. Back in 2016 Scythe took the boardgaming world by storm. Winning awards on awards, being a solo gamers dream with another implementation of their Automa that had only been seen in Viticulture.

So how does it hold up now? In a post-covid 19 world where almost every game has a solo mode, and boardgaming has surged into a golden era, games like scythe can be found in bookstores, giving access to people that beforehand thought monopoly and catan were the only board games.

It’s one gorgeous game.

The Misconceptions

Let’s get this one out of the way, Scythe is not a war game.

The combat is not the focus in Scythe.

The threat of combat is more real than the actual combat, you can easily go through a game of Scythe with one or two combats. If you decide to be an unjust warmonger, just like in the real world, your popularity will fall. And that will vastly impact your end game score.

It’s even in the name. “Scythe” noun a tool used for cutting crops. And that is what this game is, an alt-history 1920 game about resources – sure, there’s skirting conflicts, engine building and map control. But primarily this is a game of resource management, and this it does very well.

The Core Gameplay

Each turn you will be performing up to two actions. Actions are combined for each faction board by a top action and a bottom action, this slightly asymmetrical gameplay is something that still sets Scythe apart. While everyone has the same actions available, they’re available at different costs and combinations.

The top action is normally realively cheap and will be used to either gain resources, move or trade resources. The bottom action will usually be used to spend actions, either upgrading other actions, building buildings, or creating Mechs.

Once you max out one of your actions (or certain resource tracks) you will gain a star, gain 6 stars and you will trigger the end of the game (and stars score you alot of points, while it doesn’t guarantee you the win, it definitely helps)

All of this creates quite a unique medley, your not pedal to the metal creating one engine in a point salad style game, but rather you are creating a medley of different engines, you can’t just focus on one aspect and expect to win, you need to excel in numerous areas.

The Components

It’s hard not to fall in love with Scythe, the components are gorgeous, this is par for the course with a SM game. But even by 2022’s standards, this game looks, and feels premium. The dual layers boards, the resources, even the currency tokens are unique. It really all helps pull you into the theme, you can quite easily get the feeling you are in this Alt-History timeline, even before the Mech miniatures start roaming the board.

The Automa

The automa is often described as complicated, however after a few games it’s logic becomes second nature. If you’d rather though the ScytheKick app will hold your hand and make it very easy to operate, even multiple automa (automi?) – the trade off is you need to enter your moves into the app.

The Automa can back you into a corner quickly

The automa itself is relatively aggressive, now, I don’t mean combat focused. But it knows what this game is. While you might be able to “threaten” off a human opponent by your combat cards and Mech prescence, the automa knows this isn’t a wargame, it sprawls across the map claiming territory, almost daring you to become a warmonger, knowing that doing so will likely cost you the game.

Personally, solo gaming has come a long way since 2016. I still enjoy a solo game of Scythe, however given the choice I’d take a human opponent over the automa.

It’s not that the automa is particularly bad – it just isn’t as human like as more modern automa, or as novel as other automa that we’ve seen the Automa Factory produce in the years since such as in Tapestry (also by Stomemaier).


The years have gone by, and while they’ve been cruel to the world in general, I feel they’ve been good to Scythe. It scratches an itch that I haven’t felt has been scratched again, it feels epic, despite playing in 1-2 hours. It feels immersive. It’s gorgeous. None of that has changed. The only way it’s showing any age would be it’s automa, which is still perfectly serviceable.

I still highly recommend Scythe to have it’s place in a gamers collection, and well deserving in its ranking on the BGG top 100 still. If you were PURELY a solo player, it would maybe drop priority a little bit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s