I recently got the chance to have a game of this recently successfully KS-ed 'Scythe'.
|If the art doesn't draw you attention, you can quit reading now|
The setting is quite unusual, and that's appealing itself. It's some kind of weird war in the 1920's Eastern Europe. The factions in fact are the Polania Republic, the Rusviet Union, the Crimean Khanate... You get this, add Mechs and... what could possibly go wrong?
|My pal will play the Crimean Khanate (yellow), I'll play the Nordic Kingdom (blue)|
So, what's this all about? You will have to conquer (and retain!) several territories in order to get control of their natural resources, which will allow you to build stuff, improve your forces, etc.
You will move your workers and your special character along the board; if you are successful, you may deploy more workers or even military units, i.e., mechs.
Depending on your actions, you will increase factors like your Power (military power), your Popularity or, well, your money! These things are important as you will have to meet some requirements to complete missions or to fulfil some objectives (e.g., complete all your possible upgrades, deploy all 4 mechs, build all 4 buildings, have 18 popularity...). When any of the players fulfils six objectives, the game ends and the player with the greatest fortune wins the war, having obtained the most profitable situation from the new peace settings.
Let's have a look at the reference cards. Be aware they look complex on a first view, but once you get the baiscs it's no big deal at all. You will have a faction mat with the specifics of your unique skills. Besides, you'll have a player mat, randomly assigned, in which your production requirements are explained. This system avoids repetition, as a single faction can receive different player mats in different games, making each game different even if you play the same guys.
|This will need some explanation...|
In the upper pic you can see what I mean. The upper mat is about the Nordic Kingdom. You can see my Mechs ready to be deployed and my special stuff. Below, the player mat, different every game. This settles which actions will I be able to perform each turn and the related costs for upgrading/building/whatever. The more you upgrade, the cheaper will other stuff become.
You can see the player mat is divided into four sections, each one depicting stuff up and below. Those are the actions you can perform. Each turn you will have to pick any of those sections (always a different section than your previous turn) and then you can choose to perform any of the actions allowed there (the upper, the lower, both, none). Those actions can involve moving (up to X units), paying money for upgrading, paying resources for getting a mech or a building...
Workers can collect resources depending on the territory (wood, oil, metal... even more workers on villages). Mechs can combat and characters can combat and perform special actions.
Best way to explain is playing. Let's go.
|Crimean workers collect food and recruit another worker|
|Nordic workers collect oil and wood|
|Way too far from each other|
When you have enough resources, you can produce a mech. Not only the mech is a miltary unit that can conquer territories (disbanding enemy workers given the case), but it also unlocks special features. So you may want to think which mech you deploy first, as each one provides different stuff for the cause.
At the beginning of the game you get two mission cards. Victory points are achieved by accomplishing one of them. You keep them secret until you meet the requirements. So you have to take the proper decisions during your turns in order to fulfil the specific goals. In my case I chose to go for this one:
|Crimeans deploy their first mech|
|Few turns later the Nordics do so|
|Become a despised warmonger. Sweet|
|1 out of 6 goals. To victory!|
|Hmm. This might get interesting|
|Most definitely interesting|
|Mech combat! Yaaay!|
|Nordics: 2 points from the card, 5 from the dial. Total of 7. Crimeans: 5 card points, 4 dial points. Total of 9|
|We're even... for now!|
|Nordics try to cut Crimeans their way|
|Third mech is produced...|
|Crimean character advances while Nordics produce the fourth mech|
|Second star for the blue team!|
|Bad pic, but you may see a lot of yellow workers in the back|
|So another star for the Crimeans, having a full operative worker force|
|However, Nordics trade their resources and get the last upgrade. This is escalating quickly|
|In addition to that, Nordics get 16 Power points, another star for them|
|Enough! Crimeans force the battle to stop the Nordic rising|
|This time I took no risks and put everything I got on the combat|
|Another star for winning a combat. Woah, this all happened in just a fistful of turns|
|The Nordic character raids the enemy position and steals food|
|The Nordic mech takes the initiative and attacks the Crimean tank|
|Blue victory, sixt star positioned, the game ends!|