My review of My Little Scythe

My Little Scythe

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(our home made version of the print and play)

Variant Designed by: Hoby & Vienna Chou

Original Game of Scythe Designed by: Jamey Stegmaier

Original Game of Scythe Published by: Stonemaier Games, Albi, Crowd Games, Delta Vision Publishing, Feuerland Spiele, Fire on Board Jogos, Ghenos Games, Maldito Games, Matagot, Morning, PHALANX, and Playfun Games

Edition: Variant/Playtest

Number of players: listed at 2 -4, we have played games with 4

Time of Play:  listed 30-45 minutes, we had an hour in our first session due to teaching adults and children

Reviewed by: Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions

 

The story so far:

All of the players are whisked away to Hasbro’s My Little Pony and the world of Equestria. You will have control over one to three ponies that will endeavor to find, collect, and transport apples and magic gems to either their personal barn, or the communal barn,  Sweet Apple Acres. Along the way, they will find and complete quests, bake pies, engage in pie fights, and share pies with other ponies to win friends and allies. You will need to judge your movements carefully and think strategically about your strategy. You will need to collect gems, apples, pies and friends to be the first to complete four achievements and declare victory over the other competing ponies!

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(a race to get those apples and gems to the barn)

Our final thoughts on this Variant/Prototype:

As many of you know, I am a husband, and father of two little ones (Arnold 8, and Talia 6) and I always give family games a look because of this. That being said, it does not get more family friendly then this. We all worked on putting this game together, from discussions on what to use in building the print and play, to choosing which ponies would be part of it. In fact, we built the stands in such a way, that we are still able to use our ponies in other games, adventures, and battles!

It is amazing to teach a game such as this to an 8 and 6 year old.  It is also phenomenal that everyone that hasn’t won still truly smiled and had fun because they are playing with My Little Pony in such a way that brings the adult world completely in harmony with the children’s world. Everyone, mom, dad, and kids, all had lots of fun. On top of that, the learning curve didn’t overwhelm everyone.  The printout had 4 pages of rules, and that was it!

This has been in high demand here since it was first played. Will I play it with just adults? Absolutely! Will I play it with my kids? Count on it! This game jumped up fast to number two for Sunday night games with the kids, in a very short period of time! In fact, this one might have set a record for how fast it won everyone over!

If you don’t like My Little Pony in any way shape or form, then you might want to pass, because it is chock full with My Little Pony goodness. People who are looking for a way to bridge simpler games to more complex games will find this as one that will fit that bill. If you are looking for games that can be played in under an hour, you got that right here, and again, we were just shy of an hour, game time and teaching time combined in the first session. I have to give it a 10 out of 10 through Boardgamegeek. Why? I think every single time someone says to me “can we play this?” I will say yes, whether its kids, adults, or both.

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(the Elliotts having a great time)

Mechanics and concepts found in this game:

This is by far a very direct children’s game theme, using that of My Little Pony. You will have resource management with the apples, spells, friendship, gems, and pies. If you love strong themes, then you are in luck because it is all the My Little Pony you can handle. Cartoon and Fantasy connections are readily available, and if you have watched at least one episode, you will be right at home with the characters in the game.

The game allows for varying styles of play and competition.  There are achievements for resource gathering, battling other players and completing quests.  The pie fights are relatively simple with a blind bidding process and the ability to add special spell cards to increase your pie total.  The pony with the most pies in the fight wins, with the attacker winning ties. With the ability to use resources to make more pies and to add spell cards, there is the need for little ones to be able to do some simple math.

Building the print and play allows you to go out and choose/buy/print what characters from the Ponyverse you personally want to use (which we loved). Being a print and play you are free to choose how much you want to invest into it, so we went all out, miniatures from the stores, along with eraser miniatures, all kinds of tokens we had from our stockpiles to make up the apples (apple erasers), magic gems (from table topper decorations-Dollar Tree), Compass Faces and Arrows (Michael’s Craft Store), metal flat washers for the bases to adhere to magnets, glued within milk jug caps in the four colors needed (red, blue, green, and yellow), star beads (Michael’s), colored Chess pieces for action tokens, and generic pawns, for Friendship and Pie level trackers. You truly get out what you put into this print and play! You have dice you need to add, 3 d6’s- blue for Magic Gems being found through the search option.  3 d6’s- red for Apples being found through the search option, and 1 d6-gold for Quests being found through the search option.

You will have a degree of area control, and you choose where to go with two spaces of movement if not carrying anything, or 1 space if you are encumbered. Not one of these is overpowering in any sense, but you need to be aware of all of these playing into a truly wonderful themed experience.

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(Arnold and Talia letting you know it’s good)

What components have to be built/accounted for:

-The main game board (ours as a 24 by 36 inch, covered with clear packing tape, and backed by foam mats)

-Player boards (printed out, covered with clear packing tape, framed with foam mats)

-Quest cards & Magic cards (printed out, cut out, and placed in sleeves)

-Pie Fight Dials (printed out, cut out, taped to cardboard, and used miniature plastic rods to hold them together)

-My Little Pony minis ( these were of the 2 inch variety, from the eraser packs and toy packs, which we got from a local Target store)

-We had the Blue Dice, Red Dice, and Gold Die, in a huge supply o’dice

-We had the action tokens and regular pawns in our huge supply of extra game pieces and pawns

-We had apple erasers, plastic gems, star tokens, and miniature compasses (like you would use for scrapbooking) in our home supply as well

This is a print and play where you could truly invest a little or a lot, depending on how far you wanted to take it. Yes, we wanted to take it pretty far!

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(here you get to see a lot of the materials used)

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(and another photo of the game in progress and materials used)

Winning conditions for the game:

You want to be the first player to claim four achievements. Play immediately stops when this has happened. Each Achievement is worth one point. Achievements can be earned as follows:

-If you raise your Friendship level to 10

-If you recruit your Third Pony

-If you complete your Second Quest

-If you deliver 4 Apples to either your starting barn or Sweet Apple Acres Barn

-If you deliver 4 Magic Gems to either your starting barn or Sweet Apple Acres Barn

-If you win one Pie Fight (this is the only achievement that can be done twice by the same player)

-If you reach 10 Pies on your Pie tracker.

 

Game Setup:

First: everyone picks their color from red, blue, green, and yellow (take your corresponding Action token, Friendship tracker token, Pie tracker token, 3 color bases, 4 Achievement tokens, a player board) and 1 pony to start with.

Second: everyone places their Friendship tracker tokens on 3, Pie trackers on 3, shuffle all the Magic Cards and deal one to each player. Place the Magic Cards and the Quest Cards (once shuffled) where they belong on the board.  Magic Cards you have are secret knowledge. Make sure you place your starting pony on your starting color barn.

Third: roll all seven of the dice, they will tell you where to place materials. So if one of the red dice says 5, place one Apple on the Apple 5 spot. If one of the blue dice says 3, place one Gem on the Magic Gem 3 space. If the gold Quest die says 6 you place one Quest Compass token on the Quest 6 space. The symbols are easy to see, and you do not add up the dice. Rolling the seven dice means seven tokens go out on the board to start the game. Finally, remember that every pony, even though they look different, are still the same for purposes of this game, so no special individual powers.

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(you can see hexes with resource(s) on them in this picture)

How to play:

You will only be allowed to perform one action each turn. You will never be allowed to repeat the same action from one turn to the next turn, you must always choose something different.

Here are the choices:

Move- Pony or ponies, all that you have, can move 2 spaces if they are not carrying any Apples and/or Magic Gems. If they are carrying, then they can only move one hex.

Search- You choose four dice  (you could say, I want to roll 2 of the Apple dice, 1 Magic Gem die, and 1 Quest die) and you place materials out where the rolls dictate. Thematically you and Gabby the Griffon are helping find materials throughout Equestria. YOU GAIN 1 FRIENDSHIP for doing this.

Make Pies (Baking Pies)-You don’t move any ponies and spend two of the Apples you have collected on the board (a hex where you have a pony and there are enough Apples there) to make two Pies. It must always be remove two Apples and go up two Pies on your Pie tracker.

Make Spell (Conjure Spell)-You don’t move any ponies and spend two of the Magic Gems you have collected on the board (a hex where you have a pony and there are enough Magic Gems there) to draw one Magic Spell card. There are no  Magic Spell Card hand limits in this game.

Make Pony (Craft an Invitation)- You don’t move any ponies and spend two of your Pies from the Pie tracker to recruit a second/third (depending on your situation) Pony to your team. You must meet the Friendship tracker requirements as a prerequisite to perform this action. To recruit your second pony you must have a Friendship of  4 or higher, and for your third and final pony you must have a Friendship of 6 or higher. Going below these levels once you have recruited does not remove your pony. Once they are with you, they stay with you.

Things that can happen from these actions not yet mentioned:

Move into another occupied Pony space, this automatically starts a Pie fight. The losing pony or ponies (yes you can have more than one battle for your side) must go back to their starting barns, leaving behind any resources they have been moving along. You would do this to stop somebody from pulling ahead, or winning the game. You have a Pie Fighting Dial that goes up to 7, and you are allowed to use one Magic Spell card per pony in the battle for your team. Any Pies you throw in the fight are removed from your Pie tracker. You add up all of your numbers against your opponent. Attacker wins in ties. Example, I have Rainbow Dash and my Pie tracker is at 5. I decide to throw 3, (opponent doesn’t get to see until both players reveal at same time) and I added a Magic Spell card of 4 (values range from 2 to 5). So I have a total of 7 Pies (keeping 2 in my Pie tracker reserves). My opponent didn’t have a Magic Spell card and used 6 pies, so I win. They have to move their ponies back to their starting barn, and I get to stay there with all of the resources sitting there.

Move, or stand somewhere where Apples and/or Magic Gems are, then you have the option to say you are carrying them with you, or leaving them. If you carry them, you move them on the board with your pony. If you spend them, you spend them from the hex where one of your ponies is standing.

Move Apples and/or Magic Gems into either your starting barn or the Sweet Apple Acres Barn in the center of the game board. This will complete an achievement (you need four achievements to win). You must deliver 4 Apples at one time, or 4 Magic Gems at one time. Extra of these don’t move in with you, and stay in the last known space before going into the barn. 4 Apples is worth one achievement, and 4 Magic Gems is one achievement, so delivering both sets would put you half way to winning the game.

You may move or be standing somewhere when there is an available Quest Compass token. You, as a free action, can say that you go on the quest. Take the top card from the quest pile, and choose one option (as long as you meet the requirements, if requirements are listed). We describe it as each card has three options. One will be a freebie option, one will be choosing the light side, and one will be choosing the dark side.

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(a shot of the game box with all that My Little Pony goodness)

In conclusion, the whole family had a lot of fun playing the game and are looking forward to playing more often.  There has already been talk of other characters we want to add (Spike the Dragon, in particular).  If you are looking for a great family game that helps bridge the gap from basic children’s games into the realm of games requiring more strategic thinking and competition/battle mechanics, this is the game for you!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review of:

My Little Scythe 

hope you will check out my PaladinElliott Blog at:
https://paladinelliott.blogspot.com/
check out some of my videos at:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC58qYf_vaCaCnu6qvd-WpKw
and check out my Ready To Game Podcast at Soundcloud and/or Itunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ready-to-game-podcast-episode/id1111793358?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
and remember I am always….READY TO GAME!!!
RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)

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