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Scythe: Encounters Expansion Review

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

WBG Score: 8

Player Count: 1-7

You’ll like this if you like: Scythe

Published by: Stonemaier Games

Designed by: Jamey Stegmaier

This is a free review copy. See our review policy here.

Scythe is one of the most popular games ever made. It looks great. Plays great. And offers a lot of replayability. One part of the game that is very popular are the Encounter cards. During set up, Encounter tokens are placed onto various hexes on the main board. When you reach them with your leader, you can take them off the board, draw the top encounter card, and make a choice from three interesting options. In the main game, there are 32 encounter cards. They look gorgeous, and offer a sense of adventure, exploration, and player choice. They are a perfect addition to the game. The only thing anyone could say about them is you want more. This small expansion fixes that and offers 32 new cards to add to the game. Let's get them to the table and see what they add.

Set Up

To add these cards to the game, simple shuffle them into the deck of existing encounter cards during set up. Then place them in to the usual space on the board. Done.

How To Play

When you would normally draw an Encounter card, continue to do so as you usually would. Simple! They work with all other combination of Scythe expansions.

That was easy!

Is It Fun?

It is worth noting that these cards were made by Jamey Stegmaier, the designer of Scythe, with fans! Jamey asked fans to submit ideas. He then turned these into these 32 new cards. What a great idea. However, fans are fans, and designers are designers for a reason. Some of these cards do feel a little unbalanced, but they sure do bring the fun!

The art all comes from other parts of the game, but has not been seen on cards before. It all feels very much in keeping to the world built in this game, if not technically offering anything specifically new. But it looks great. As does everything in the Scythe universe.

There seems to be a little more humour in these cards than the base game. Take the betting on a game of lawn tennis above. It seems like some of the fans of Scythe wanted to have a bit of fun and imagine what it was like for all people in this world.

There are some very interesting options too, such as being able to gain other faction abilities for the rest of the game such as in card 56 above. Or in card 52 where you can take resources from other players.

Some cards are perhaps too overpowered, but then they wont always work for you. One card allows you to pay nine power to gain a combat star. If you get this early in the game it may be hard to use, but you can use combat cards. It feels like too high of a reward, despite the cost.

I like how some of the cards have hidden benefits. Such as one card which tells you not to read out loud the text, because if you choose this option, at the end of the game, you will gain $3 for each farm you control. There are only four cards like this, so if someone claims an encounter card and doesn't read out loud what they are choosing, you will have a good idea of what they are doing once you have learnt these new card.

Saying that, it will take three to five games to do that if you mix them up with the original deck. Depending on how many players you have and how people play. As I was excited to get through them all quicker, I played the first two games just with these cards. It's up to you how you want to integrate them into your deck.

I think it was a wonderful thing that Jamey invited fans to be a part of the game in this way. I wish more designers did this for more games. It would have been nice to have each contributors name on the card, but in the absence of that, just knowing you had a contribution to the world of Scythe must be a wonderful thing. This mini expansion was perhaps a little overpriced at the start but you can now get it for around £13 if you look around. For any fan of Scythe I would say it is a must have.

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