My Little Scythe was gifted to us for review by Stonemaier Games. We wanted to play this game in particular to see what it would be like for two gamers who have not played Scythe. We also noticed the artwork seemed very geared towards kids (it is 8+) and since we are older (late 20s and early 30s) we wanted to see how this game played for adults. We had A LOT of fun even though we were not the target audience!
You choose from a set of animals to play and your goal is to earn 4 trophies to win the game. There are a few different types of goals to earning a trophy (collect 3 spell cards, 2 power up cards, win a pie fight, etc.) that each count as a trophy. The goals are small and manageable but still provide enough of a challenge to make for an exciting game. There are also personality cards that are given to a player at the beginning of the game. These cards make it easier for a player to earn a specific trophy and they help contribute to the theme of the game and add a new element of nuance to each playthrough.
On your turn, you either move, seek, or make. Moving is pretty straightforward, you take each of your pawns and can move each of them 1-2 spaces. If you are on any spaces with any apples or magic gems (the game’s resources) they are yours to keep. A small downside to having resources is that if you choose to take them with you, you limit your movement to one space for the pawn that is carrying them. One of the exciting things about the game is that you have the ability to teleport from portal space to portal space or to Castle Ever free(where resources must be taken to get certain trophies). You can use this to your advantage to complete trophies. Keep in mind that you can only earn one trophy per turn.
Seeking means you roll a set of dice that allow you to place diamonds, apples, and quests across the map. It is the way you find more resources for the game (they don’t just appear randomly, you must “find” them first). Depending on what you roll, you will place resources according to their color on a specific section of the map. You must place the resource on the region your die tells you (the forest, the desert, mountains, etc.) but you can choose the space in which it goes. If you happen to be on that region you can give the resource to yourself or if you want to help out a different player you can place it on an opponent’s space. This will give them a resource and will you give you +1 friendship getting you closer to a trophy! This can put them closer to their goal, however, so you have to gauge how helpful you really want to be.
To make things is maybe the most varied action set. You can sacrifice resources to bake pies (more on pies later), conjure spells, (more on spells later) or to power up. Power ups are an upgrade to your “move” or “make.” You draw three tiles and then pick your favorite to permanently replace your basic “move” or “make.” Suddenly you’re allowed to move between portals without it counting as a space or you can move your resources without a penalty (i.e. You can move 2 spaces while carrying resources instead of only 1 space). Maybe you decide to upgrade your “make” and now you can bake 3 pies for the cost of 2 pies! You can suddenly find yourself at a great advantage by getting a power up.
Speaking of pies and spell cards… Pies and spell cards go hand in hand. Should you ever find yourself wanting to take your opponents resources you can go to their space and get into a pie fight. Pie fights are the games battle system allowing you to get a little more aggressive with gameplay. The attacking opponent must first decrease their friendship by 1 (since it is not nice to start a pie fight) and then both player will secretly select a number of pies that they are willing to use in the fight. If they have any spell cards they can be used to add that number to their pie total. Once both players have selected their number of pies and any spell card they wanted they reveal the number at the same time. The victory goes to whoever used the most pies (ties go to the attacker). Whoever wins a pie fight also gets a trophy for winning a pie fight so it can get tricky to balance the number of pies you want to use and how many you want to accumulate.
Quest tokens will also be placed on the map and when you end a turn on them you can choose a quest card. Quest cards have a short story on them and three choices. For the most part, the choices are either: 1. Pay a resource to get a resource. 2. Take a resource with a small penalty (e.g. Steal pies from a player but lose friendship). 3. Ignore the quest and get a single small resource. Completing 2 quests will net you a trophy but ignoring the quest does not count as completing a quest.
Once a player earns 4 trophies the end game begins, any players that have not gone this round get one more turn and only during this final turns are players allowed to earn more than 1 trophy at a time. This final turn becomes a fun scramble of “how much can I do to make this count???”
My Little Scythe was a great experience for a game we were expecting to be much simpler given the age range. The rules are simple but allow for a lot of strategy and while we did not have the opportunity to play with our 6 year old nephew, it can be played with a much younger audience without much effort. (You may have to help younger children read their quests or power up cards). This is a game that we will be playing often and simple enough to not need much of a refresher on rules whenever we put it on the table.
Language Barrier Playability: Good. This game is predominantly symbols, icons, and numbers but the quest cards and power up tokens may need to be translated. Even so, this would not be very time consuming or interrupt gameplay much.
Replayability: Excellent. This game is easy to set up, a medium length and has a lot of variety with power up cards, quest cards and personality cards that each playthrough will feel different from previous games.
Artwork: Adorable! The theme is carried well throughout the quest cards, resources and miniatures. The artwork is adorable and very much geared towards children. This is by no means a bad thing. The artwork is whimsical, charming and looks great on your shelf.
Quality: Fantastic. The miniatures are very well made and have a lot of detail given their simple artwork style. The cards, tiles, and resources are very well made and sturdy. Dropping gems or apples will by no means damage them.
Strategy: Simple yet complex. This sounds like an oxymoron but the game is simple enough that a child can play but complex enough for an adult to still enjoy. This is a hard feat to accomplish for games that are geared towards children and My Little Scythe does this well!
Instruction Manual: Great. The game is outlined clearly and consisely. The rules are explained very well and there is also a great little guide on the animal kingdoms! Even better, there is a color guide for painting your miniatures if you choose to paint them!
Organization: Great. The game comes in a Game Trayz container which are always excellent. One small downside is that the apple tokens do not seem to fit comfortably in the box without some effort. This was not a big deterrent but it does take a little time to get things to settle down enough to close the box.