Scythe Strategy and Planning (+Scythe-960)

My thoughts on Scythe strategy. Also expanded to include updates on my foray into randomly generating more Scythe content...
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Part 2: Your First Few Turns

John Martorana
United States
New York
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(Part 1 Here)

As you can see from Part 1, you generally have very little room for "dead" turns with no bottom row actions. You can get away with a few more dead Move actions if you think you're likely to pull off 6 total stars with only 2 bottom row Stars. (For example, by hitting Max Power, Winning 2 Combats, and completing an Objective Card.) But even then, bottom row actions confer significant bonuses, so you don't want to miss many of them.

Therefore, you want to quickly develop into a production cycle that uses your actions efficiently. The first step is getting enough workers.

You start with 2 workers. Depending on your board and Faction, you're going to want 3, 5, or 8 workers. Those are the sweet spots where having any more workers will make each produce action cost more. 5 workers is the most common, though 3 can be doable if you're going for an early game with lots of upgrades. The drawbacks to rushing out 8 workers tend to exceed the benefits, but it's not an unreasonable way to go. (More on choosing the number of workers later.)

You usually want to place your additional workers very early in the game. Each Produce action you take before you reach your ultimate number of workers is that many fewer resources over the course of the game. So you need a really good reason to do this. One example: rushing out a Mill in the first few turns can allow you to Produce more resources while growing your worker population. Each turn you Produce before placing your Mill is just as inefficient as turns Producing before placing your workers. And one of them has to be placed before the other in any event. Another reason you might delay workers is to satisfy a particular Objective Card.

You also want to produce your workers all in one go. Get a worker on the village, Produce to your optimal number of workers, and then get off the village. Remember that you only have room for a few dead turns where you take no bottom row action. Too many turns repositioning workers will result in both dead turns and more Produce actions at fewer workers.

An important corollary to this is that you need to have an efficient plan for moving the workers off of the village. If you're going to 5 workers, you're going to have 4 of them on the Village and there's really only a couple ways to get them all off of there. First, you want to see if you can plan to Deploy a Mech on the Village before you move anyone off. If you can't, you want to plan to have enough resources to perform whatever bottom row action is below Move for at least one of the actions you take to get the Workers off of the Village. Both of these are aided by the positioning of your other worker. Having your other worker on either Steel (to Deploy the Mech) or whatever resource is used by your Move action is usually part of the set up. By taking the actions Produce-Trade-Produce while on the Village, you can usually set yourself up to Move workers off the village fairly efficiently.

(Note that the expansion "Militant" Player Mat annoyingly has Deploy under Move. You may want to have enough Steel to Deploy a Mech before you first move on to your Village with this Player Mat.)

While you're moving your workers, you're ideally going to want to move your Character out to the Encounter in your faction's home territory. Encounters are very valuable early on in the game, but their value does drop as the game goes on. Frequently, an encounter can roughly substitute for a top and/or bottom row action, effectively negating an otherwise dead turn. So it can be worth it to be slightly inefficient in order to move your Character out quickly. Often, you'll move your Character out when you first move your worker on to your Village and then again when moving the workers off of the Village.

Here's and Example from a recent game. I had the Nords, who start with workers on Wood and Oil. I also had the Agricultural Player mat:
External image

My first 3 actions were:
1. Produce (Wood + Oil)
2. Trade (Wood + Wood)
3. Produce (Wood + Oil); Build a Mill on Oil.
Here, I'm deciding to delay workers a few turns. But as I mentioned, you need to either produce workers or your Mill first anyway. I choose the Mill first because I'm also producing oil which will allow me to take bottom row actions when I Move.

The next few turns:
4. Move to Village and Steel; Upgrade Move --> Deploy
5. Produce (Steel + Oil + Worker)
6. Trade (Steel + Steel); Deploy Mech(Speed) on Village
7. Produce (Steel + Oil + Worker + Worker)

Here, I'm using the Produce-Trade-Produce pattern I mentioned. Because I went for the Mill first, I was fortunate enough to be able to both place a Mech on Village and have enough Oil to Upgrade when I move off of the Village. I chose the Speed Mech mainly because I hadn't moved my Character yet and wanted to grab the Encounter.

Overall, only half of my first 8 turns are dead turns. But that's still 4 turns total. I need to quickly get myself to a place where I'm no longer wasting turns.

In Part 3, more on planning how to use those Workers...
(Part 3 Here)
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