So it’s Tuesday, one day before this has to go out. Talk about cutting it fine.
And I think that there is something else I missed out in LAST WEEK’S POST that is key to why Scythe would be the perfect mega game conversion.
First a quick Summary of Scythe, its a game revolving around the period of alternate 1920s where large mechs are piloted across the country. You play both the Mechs and the workers on the ground trying to balance aggressive actions and actions that improve supplies.
You have 4 action spaces with two actions on each, one you can practically do at any time and one that requires resources. As such you find yourself setting up chain reactions choosing moves in a specific order in order to be most effective. To end the game, you must complete 6 objectives which vary from completing upgrades to winning battles.
There is no definitive strategy and focusing on one particular goal can actually be detrimental as it means you are neglecting turns and playing sub-optimally.
The key thing about Scythe is that it lacks one key element that actually makes it the perfect Mega Game crossover material… Edge Cases. I could stop here but I need to explain how Counter Play connects to this.
Firstly, an edge case is where the rules result in something rare but would need the equivalent of a pHd to solve yourself. It’s a situation that is normal discovered in play-testing (or worse by players ranting on social media) that brought the game to a halt.
So why are edge cases hard to find in Scythe? Well strip the game down to it’s core mechanics and all Scythe is is a Worker Placement and Trading game; move workers, get resources, use resources. Even combat isn’t combat; it’s effectively a blind auction to force the combat units back to home base and to “buy” that space, even evicting workers is a action with cost. This is easily shown in the boards; Green is gain, Red is lose and if something is covered up it doesn’t trigger.
The bonuses each faction gets are kept simple as well, reducing the chance of edge cases further.
So what does this simplicity mean for Counter Play?… well it makes it easier to find. I could stop here again.
Let’s use an example;
Workers are automatically defeated against mechs but a Mech defeating a worker costs Favour.
Favour is used at the end of the game to decide the final rewards for key results so it’s actually vital. Workers are weak and worthless in combat but that favour penalty changes the game. Do you put workers down as a deterrent, three workers in a single space means three Favour lost if they want to control it. Even more sneaky, they can leave a worker with a Mech meaning if they want to put the Victory Star down on one of the two combat spaces, they have to win the fight then lose 1 Favour.
Lets use another example:
You may treat Tunnels as if they are adjacent to each other.
This is more symmetrical than counter play normally is but lets keep it simple. It’s not just you who can use those tunnels, EVERYONE can. And this means that it becomes one of both your biggest strengths and weaknesses. Yes you can block them but you are only limited to 4 Mechs, 8 Workers and your hero so blocking one Tunnel entrance takes 1 unit out of action for the whole game.
Not a three parter… anyway, when I looked at Scythe originally and saw everything I was ready to scream. However when you strip it down, it is actually one of the simplest games I have ever seen for the components in the box. There’s just one problem converting this into a Megagame and this is what I need to discuss next time.
PART 3 is now available.