Fenland Gamers Heavy Board Game Challenge: Scythe Game 1

It’s been an emotional 24 hours or so. The news of the death of the lead singer of Linkin Park stirred up some things. I wish I could talk more openly about it (I have to consider how it impacts stuff in the real world like work, and family), but because of the nature of his death, my experiences over the years, it had more of an impact than I’d have thought. So a night of gaming was something to look forward to and more than a welcome distraction from those demons. 

Last night instead of the regular FEG@WL we had the first of a series of game sessions that were focusing on a gaming challenge that Chris had came up with.

About a month ago (it may be a little longer, but who really cares when exactly it was? It’s not a court of law) Chris came up with the idea of trying to get some of our more complicated, bigger games to the table more often so we could really explore them. You know get a feel for different tactics etc. Something we rarely got to do. Not because we didn’t want to, but with us owning so many games, and new purchases, we just weren’t getting the chance to. So on our Facebook group Chris ran a survey to first get a list of “big” games members had in their collection they wanted to have considered for the proposed 5×10 Heavy Board Game Challenge. That list was then voted on and the top five chosen. 

Chris chose Scythe from that list as the first one to get to the table. A good selection. Mind you I would say that considering it’s my number 1 game.

We were playing with my copy of the game which apart from the “realistic” resources (which I don’t like the look of) I have everything (oh and I don’t have the Secret Cabal promo). Which means with the Invaders from Afar expansion we have a good variety of factions to choose from. But more importantly metal coins. 

I think this was the first time I’d played a five player game. Definitely the first time playing Polania. Chris was playing Rusviet (which I haven’t won playing with, is still my favourite because of its ability and cool tiger). Jonathan was Albion, Edmund played Togawa Shogunate, and first time visitor and friend of Chris, Chris (hence known as new Chris) played Saxony. 

Naturally Chris got to the factory first and camped there with his hero and a mech. It’s hard not to get there first with his faction. I managed to beat him in combat to gain control of the factory to get a factory card. But lost it on Chris’s next turn as he jumped straight back in and won control back. I think we were the only two to actually go to the factory all game.

There was a little miss understanding over the end game scoring tile. I’d miss read it as buildings adjacent to tunnels when it was in fact buildings on tunnels. Which would have changed where I’d built. So we all agreed to change that tile to adjacent. Which was very kind of everyone to agree to that. I wasn’t the only one who had made that mistake. But still. Plus it made very little impact to the end results.

Your faction power breaks one of the games  fundamental rules. On my favourite Rusviet that’s being able to repeat the same action after having just taken it. For Polania it was being able to chose two options from the encounter cards. Something I only did twice, I really should have been making more use of this ability and grabbing more encounter tokens. 

Was I distracted by having 2 desserts (don’t judge me!) while playing? Nope. They were my consolation prizes. That’s the excuse I’m using and sticking with. 

I could see from the board state I wasn’t going to be in the running for top spot. I wasn’t controlling nearly enough territory, nor had I completed enough objectives ( a sad 2).

I’d been creeping up the popularity track, while the others were stuck in the first points area on it, I was close to getting into the third and maximum points when scoring. But I didn’t have the territory control to make maximum use of that fact.

When new Chris triggered the end of the game I was still a good couple of turns from being in a competitive position for scoring. But as the dust settled, and we counted up our coins Edmund emerged victorious by a point. Well done Edmund on beating Chris by the slenderest of margins. I unsurprisingly came last.

A great game. A blast to play even at 5 player. I wouldn’t want to play with more than that. A great evening, with amazing people. I’m looking forward to our next play.

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