I backed Scythe on Kickstarter in 2015 and the game did not disappoint me when it arrived in 2016. I loved the variable player powers and deciding how to best utilize my four actions while balancing the map control. And PLEASE do not forget about the art, which is some of my favorite board game art of all time.
In late 2016, Scythe’s first expansion, Invaders from Afar, was released. This expansion added two new factions to the mix as well as two new player mats. I was hesitant to add this to my collection because I was not sure if Scythe needed two more factions, but I am glad I did as both factions are unique and added gameplay options that do not exist in the base game.
But then I heard about Scythe: The Wind Gambit. After seeing the cover art, I had flashbacks to Final Fantasy and was looking for Cid and chocobos to be hidden in the cover art. The expansion seemed like a stretch to me and, to be honest, unneeded. I would have preferred more encounter cards and more structure bonus tiles rather than airships.
Through fate and/or chance, I was given the opportunity to review The Wind Gambit. After playing it several times at multiple player counts, did the expansion prove worthy of the Scythe name? Or was it a cash grab of Dwayne Wade proportions?
The expansion contains two separate modules that can be added either individually or together, depending on what changes you want to make to the game. These two modules are:
- Airships – Seven airships are included in the expansion (one for each of the five factions in the base game as well as for the two factions from the expansion) – these vehicles add options for transporting workers/resources as well as impacting other aspects of the game, from encounters to combat.
- Resolution Tiles – Eight resolution tiles are included with the expansion – these tiles alter how the game ends, allowing players to adjust how their game ends beyond the “first to six stars” from the base game.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
This expansion has a significant impact on Scythe as you know it. Let’s start with the airships.
I REALLY liked the variable traits that make the airship unique each time you play. There are 16 tiles included in the expansion – eight passive tiles and eight aggressive tiles During setup, one passive and one aggressive tile are randomly selected. These two tiles are used for EVERY player’s airship.
The passive tile determines two airship characteristics: how far the airship can move (1-3 hexes), as well as influencing other aspects of the game, such as workers on the same hex as the airship produce one additional resource.
Similarly, the aggressive tile determines two more airship characteristics: what it can transport (either three resources or two workers) as well as influencing player interaction, such as requiring players to pay to move through your airship’s hex. There is also a variant to allow EACH player’s airship to have its own passive and aggressive tiles. I personally found some combinations of tiles more beneficial than others, so I prefer where all players use the same two tiles.
I liked being able to get my core faction’s workers out from behind their initial starting locations without Riverwalk. This can speed up the game slightly by allowing for a more aggressive early game territory expansion. I also enjoyed sending my airship into the opponent’s territory to harass them with my siege ability (pay $1 to move out of the hex) or tolls (pay one resource to pass through the hex). Of course, you do have to balance the use of the airship with the rest of your faction units. Every time you move your airship, you are sacrificing one of your moves that a character could use to get to an encounter or a mech could use to start a combat.
The second addition, resolution tiles, also impacts gameplay but in a different way. No longer will six stars guarantee the end game trigger. There are now eight different end game triggers, several of which are of the “either this happens OR the sixth star is placed” variety. One resets all encounters tokens after the last one has been removed. One destroys the factory at the end of the game. One is a Doomsday Clock – 20 turns and the game is done.
I liked that these tiles will tweak your overall strategy of how you approach the game. Doomsday Clock will drive decisions to maximize points since you only have 20 turns. Mission Impossible adds two public objectives to the game, each of which can earn a star. These additional objectives could lead to strategy that would not have been in place if they were not in the game.
I really enjoyed the Wind Gambit expansion. The airships are great and I loved balancing the use of my new airship toy with the rest of my faction. I also appreciated the new options for end game triggers and the slight tweaks they brought to the game. Overall, I found the additional gameplay options in Scythe: The Wind Gambit added by these two modules enhanced a game I already enjoyed without overcomplicating it. I guess I was wrong, Scythe did need another expansion!
• Airships add another option for you to consider during the game
• Variable traits for the Airships add to the replay value
• The Resolution Tiles add variety by giving different end game scenarios
• If the addition of Airships does not excite you, the Resolution Tiles are not enough of a game changer to warrant buying the expansion.