Solo Spotlight: Scythe
This week we gaze upon the engine-building modern classic set in an alternate history 1920's period - Scythe. It rests just outside the Top 10 overall games on Board Game Geek and is perched there for a reason. Exceptional in a group, this is also a keeper for solo players. We'll spend the majority of our time on solo play as there have been numerous conversations on the game, gameplay videos and articles for multiplayer.
Just as it is extremely popular overall, Scythe is also a mainstay on solo board gamer Top 20 and Top 10 lists. That's because this game was designed with solo players up front, not as an afterthought. Using an Automa (a term for an automated opponent) the Automa uses the character, mechs, and workers of the chosen faction - as well as trackers and tokens. A deck of cards controls the Automa's action, and after a certain point in the game the Automa is made stronger and more aggressive. There is actually an individual rule book for the Automa, but don't be intimidated as after a few turns - and especially after a few games, everything smooths out. The Automa for Scythe is not a pushover, won't turtle, is rarely predictable, and causes you to adapt and react; much like you would against a live opponent. Additionally, there are multiple difficulty levels so as you increase your skill level you can ratchet up the Automa as well. Finally, as this is not a 'beat your high score' it adds win conditions to the pool, again increasing replayability, strategy and variety. Really, the only real drawbacks that we noted are setup and tear down times where, if with a group of players, discussions and needling generally occur. Personally I use that setup and tear down time to get my mind 'into game shape', but to each their own. We can say that this game is worth the hype and should be at least played by every solo player so they can at least know where this game might sit on their own personal Top 20 list.
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