Helen hosted the group, with a Chanukah celebration, and invited other friends who played Dixit, Master Mind, Ticket to Ride and Bananagrams, most taught by Jon, who also taught Castles of Burgundy.
Jon 80, Nadine 55, Aaron 50
Jons first play. He complained a lot, but part of his issues relate to being new to the game. Scythe seems designed to play when you are familiar with the game and know all the faction’s mech powers, for example. Aaron and I like the game, despite minor issues. I like that the game is positive, trying different factions, and the choices and planning, even if I feel I’ll always get things done too slowly to win. Jon said there’s too much going on, similar to his complaint about Clans of Caledonia, which I also like.
Jon spent time thinking, which paid off. He was yellow, Aaron red, me blue. We didn’t follow the rules with the bonus cards, we chose based on the actual rewards, which is how Lorenzo plays it. Aaron reached the middle early from his power, and had the extra action card the whole game, but Jon kicked him off at the end.
It was different than the first time I played at Kinneretcon, we all used the neighborly circles, which mainly gave all of us the same bonus. I got all my mechs out, and finished upgrading, but didn’t attack. I was attacked twice and lost spaces due to it. We were all high in military, Jon and I reached the end. I received a lot of extra military that I couldn’t use because I was at the top. I just missed reaching the second level in hearts, I needed one more turn. Jon had over 8 cards, which was one of his missions, he fulfilled the other one; Aaron and I also fulfilled ours.
VISUALS: The print on everything is too small and too light. I could not read anything without my glasses, and I didn’t have my glasses.
VISUALS: Player boards are fine when you need to track your own progress only. They are a terrible idea when you have to track everyone else’s progress because you need to take into account everyone else’s powers before you can take your turn. And see above. They could have made a central board where everyone’s abilities are clearly visible.
VISUALS: For no apparent reason, the sequence of actions is different for each player board (I don’t mind different powers and costs, but why different arrangements?). Makes it even harder to figure out what is going on.
VISUALS: The abilities of the pieces are explained underneath the pieces, so you have to keep lifting up the pieces to see what they do.
PLAY: The encounter events are an RPG mechanic spliced into a strategy game and I thoroughly hate them. Either you randomly pick a result and then find out it was worthless or killed your next several rounds, or you simply memorize all of the encounters which defeats the point. I’m okay with this mechanic in a different game, not in a resource-driven strategy game.
PLAY: The special bonus points at the end for buildings is simply one mechanic too far.
PLAY: I generally don’t like the mechanic where you have to decide whether to end the game immediately, because it is arbitrary for the other players who suddenly don’t get another turn. Sometimes it works okay, if the rest of the game works okay.
PLAY: The end game calculation is simply massive and massive amounts of calculation, something that the rulebook actually acknowledges. It is very poorly designed. The rulesbook’s suggestion is to dock players points if they spend too much time thinking on their turn, which is funny, but they should simply have fixed the mechanics of the game so that that doesn’t happen.
PLAY: I simply don’t like direct confrontation games, and this game has combat. We didn’t engage in much, and perhaps many people don’t, but if you lose a series of combats and territories, you just lost the game and there is little that you can do. On the other hand, that’s why I won, which is that no one kicked me out of my territories.
PLAY: I don’t know if all of the powers are balanced.
RULES: It may be difficult to explain the rules, especially considering the rulebook.
As for what is good, the main mechanics and action selection work okay. The actions are balanced and make sense. I like the missions and the options for getting victory awards. If people don’t gang up on a player (like combat games tend to allow), it may be okay.
Castles of Burgundy
Nadine F 1st, Haim 2nd, Noam last
First play for all, they liked the game, especially Nadine F after she decided that Scythe was too complicated.