Scythe for Kids
My Little Scythe started as a fan project for the larger Stonemaier Games Scythe. You can see the Board Game Geek page where Scythe was given a My Little Pony makeover, here. Obviously, that IP was taken, but the game design eventually made it into an actual Stonemaier project.
I was a bit hesitant to bring it home, but after several games of the much weightier Too Many Bones Undertow (a tactical battle game) with my daughter, I thought that my five-year-old could handle a game targeted at eight years and older. To be sure, she doesn’t have the reading skills, but with a little help from Dear Old Dad, she should be able to make it, I reasoned.
Little did I know that my wife and I would also enjoy the game, head-to-head.
Modes of Play
My Little Scythe supports 1-6 players, plays in about 45 minutes, and is rated ages 8+.
My wife and I selected two different factions, placed the starting resources, and we were off: competing for trophies in the Kingdom of Pomme. The goal of the game is to have the most trophies, which are gained by acquiring and using various resources. Another way to play is against an automated (via card draws that dictate its behavior) opponent known as the Automontie.
Either way, part of the game is pick-up-and-deliver, where you and your critter pawns (known as “Seekers”) get and transport resources to the castle for trophies. Delivering four apples or four gems to the castle will respectively get you a trophy each. There are teleporters to expedite the otherwise slow movement of your characters.
Other ways to use resources abound, for such a straightforward game. You can:
- Upgrade your movement and make actions
- Make pies
- Complete quests
- Buy spell cards (which can give you extra pies for pie fights)
Each of these actions is available on a player board, and can be selected for your turn. The catch? An action you take on one turn is unavailable on the next.
Scouting and Friendship
In addition to using resources, players can roll dice to scout for resources, which appear in different color-coded regions of the board, depending on the color of the apple, gemstone, or quest rolled on a die face. When placing these resources in those regions, players can gain friendship for giving the resources to a member of an opposing team by placing them on their space. Why would you do this? Friendship.
Friendship is another lever you can pull to gain a trophy. If you do enough things (quests or giving resources to others) to bump up the friendship track, you will get a trophy. If you get in too many fights, your friendship level may drop to a point where you can’t get trophies, until you raise it again.
The first person to get four trophies wins! In the case of a tie, there are two tie breakers: friendship and resources. If those are also tied, it is a joint victory!
To summarize how to earn trophies, here’s a handy list of different paths to that magic number four:
- Upgrading both the ‘move’ and ‘make’ actions
- Winning a pie fight (by spending the pies you have baked and/or spells you bought to beat your opponent’s number and take their stuff!)
- Delivering four gems to the castle
- Delivering four apples to the castle
- Getting eight friendship
- Getting eight pies
- Completing two quests (by moving to a space with a quest on it, and meeting the resource requirements on the card)
- Purchasing three spells
At the beginning of the game, players are dealt a card that gives them a slight advantage to completing one of these tasks, which encourages trying all the paths to victory at some point.
My Little Scythe is simple enough for kids, but not mind-numbing for adults to play alongside them. I have quite enjoyed the experience and the theme really appeals to my five-year-old. The automountie opponent seems quite formidable, so it is nice to have a robust opponent that allows my daughter and I to collaborate by controlling one side vs. the AI in the box.
Competitive play is also enjoyable, and might work if your kid is willing to occasionally suffer the sting of defeat (mine is not, really).
There is really something for everyone in this box, whether you are a grown-up looking to bring kids into the hobby or simply enjoy the occasional lighter fare on your game table.