I’m a member of the 1 Player Guild, partly because I’m quite often a solo gamer, and partly because I really like their slogan: Together We Game Alone. For people who’ve not been able to crack the very hard nut that is BGG, it’s important to find people with common interests. One way of doing that is through individual game forums, another (and I think better) way is to find a Guild that interests you and become part of that smaller community.
In the 1 Player Guild there is a Geeklist where people keep track of what they are playing that month. The powers that be collect and use this data in often nefarious ways.
I posted that I was playtesting Scythe. It was actually through the 1 Player Guild that I met Morten and David who are designing the AI for Single Player variant. There was a bit of discussion on my geek list entry and one person asked if I might do a session report and another person thought it would be nice. So I decided, yeah okay.
What follows is a 1200 word geeked out Scythe session report in character. So if you’re not in it for the long haul… I understand and I’ll see you next time.
The Fall of the Great Northen Buffalo
I played as Anna & Wojtek and the Republic of Polania against Bjorn and Max of the Nordic Kingdom. The difficulty of the single player Automa was set to difficult or Automaszyna.
I am Anna and this is my bear companion Wojtek. It’s okay, he doesn’t bite unless I ask him to.
I’m here to retell the story of our battle with Bjorn and his great Northern Buffalo. We are from the Republic of Polania and our opponent Bjorn was from the Nordic Kingdoms. I say was because he is dead now. I left him unburied outside of the Factory Gates. He may still be there for all I know.
I have a way with people. Sometimes may be difficult to see in battle, but I knew if I could meet the people I would be able to win them over and turn the tides of this desperate struggle we’ve been locked into. I was given a small force and set off on an expeditionary mission with a few tasks that the Republic would like kept secret for the time being.
We had to be mobile rather quickly. Unfortunately, Polania does not have access to the metals needed in order to deploy our mechs, so I would initially have to trade for the resources to make our mechs operational.
We were able to deploy our first Mech in turn three which unlocked the Polanian ability to travel across lakes and from lake to lake. This ability would be key to capitalizing on our other abilities. After turn 3 I floundered for a couple of rounds. Our ability to produce goods was minimal. I knew victory would have to be found elsewhere. Still I would need to produce some goods. We grew crops and found new workers in the village.
My first encounter came on turn 5. I was able to share some good news from home with some traveler’s and eat a nice steak dinner. This lead to a rise in popularity and, along with the food, would help me Enlist some recruits.
I made a rousing speech in Turn 6 after bolstering the troops. This further increased my popularity. I hoped this early investment in becoming popular with the people would pay off in the long run.
After that I began the slow march towards the Factory as the people of Polania worked tirelessly to get another one of our mechs deployed. Again we had to trade for the metal but by turn 9 we had reached the Factory.
We had made it there before those dogs from the north had a chance to rob us of the greatest knowledge. Inside the Factory walls we gained insight into: how to make our actions more efficient and how to improve upon our technology.
The pressures of our mission were getting to me and even Wojtek seemed anxious. I am ashamed to admit that in a moment of great fear I drove a family from their home to construct a mill in it’s place. I paid them what I could, took what I needed and put them to work in the mill that had replaced their home.
By turn 11 we had deployed our 2nd mech and the knowledge we gained in doing so led us to move even more efficiently. But the enemy was rapidly approaching. It seemed as if they had us hemmed in. I was keen to avoid direct conflict at this point since I knew the dogs had the upper hand.
As we traveled across the country side we came across a small farm, much like the one we had destroyed. In the hope making some small reparations we fixed a fence for the farmer and were rewarded with enough bacon to get us through a harsh winter. Out back of the farm we found an old ruined mech and paid the farmer for what we could salvage.
One night out of nowhere the enemy came rushing into a Polanian village, recently annexed, and attempted to send our villagers packing, but our fierce mech warriors would have none of it and they sent the Nordic mech away thoroughly rebuffed.
Then it was our turn to go on the offensive. While we were out meeting with the people, the enemy from the North had captured the Factory and I was told Bjorn sat astride his fierce Northern Buffalo and bellowed that Polanians were cowardly cubs. He said that winter was coming and it would be best if we went back to our caves to hibernate.
We were soon able to deploy another Mech but now we were forced to choose between recruiting more people to the cause or trying to gather resources and find time to deploy our final mech to the battlefield. I enlisted many new recruits and our detachment was given further funding for being so successful.
But still Bjorn bellowed. And now I could see in my soldiers eyes what they were thinking: perhaps we should go home. The hours was grim. Our people had fought hard but would the Nordic Kingdom had great strength.
It was in the 19th turn after doing my best to rouse the troops that we struck. First we rested control of a couple of regions that were friendly to our cause and we sent the sympathizers back to the Nordic King to tell him that the rightful owners of this land were here to claim it. We wouldn’t attack in the dark of night like cowards, we would fight honorably and with everything we had.
I wanted very much to be the one to put a bullet between the eyes of the Nordic and use his Buffalo to feed our troops but I was waylaid by one final encounter. A discovery that led us to realize the highest heights of power and brought us to the edge of victory. The Nords had taken a great deal of land, rightfully ours. We were stretched thin. Our people were weary.
One final assault could decide our fate and I knew it was our only hope. Our Mechs made a clear path to the Factory doors and I took it.
It was Bjorn who first saw me. He fired a shot from his seat on the great northern buffalo. I cried out for Wojtek to charge and grasped the scruff of his neck as he began lumbering towards them. Bjorn held his rifle bayonet as a lance as did I. Time moved slowly, I saw the Mechs in distance and marveled at how they dwarfed everything around them, and not merely physically.
Then with a rush Wojtek leapt forward as I bounded away and brought my rifle up to aim. In an instant it was done. I can’t recall hearing the shot, but there was a bullet through the Buffalo’s head so I know I’d aimed true. I looked over to see Bjorn being torn apart by Wojtek. It wasn’t exactly as I’d pictured it but it was good.
Still Bjorn and I didn’t decide this conflict. It was the people who decided it.
And now coming out of story mode. In Scythe, there are three tiers of scoring and they are based on your popularity. I was at the very top of the 2nd tier but I just couldn’t get to the top tier. The last card for the Automa (the AI for the single player game) came up and the very last thing that happened before the Automa triggered the game was for me to advance my popularity. My early investment in the popularity track had paid off at the last possible moment and I won the game 63 to 61.
That about wraps it up. That’s my most recent experience with Scythe. Hope to see you next time.