Author: Cameron Art
My Little Scythe
Player Count: 1 - 6 Players
Playing Time: 45 - 60 Minutes
Designer: Hoby & Vienna Chou
Artist: Noah Adelman, Katie Khau
Publisher: Stonemaier Games
Year Published: 2017
"Young Seeker, your time has come. Gather your little scythe and discover your destiny!"
In My Little Scythe, 1 - 6 players (or up to 4 with 2 copies) will embark on an epic adventure to become the next ruler of the great animal kingdom of Pomme. To prove you are worthy of such an important title, you must complete quests, gain friendship, engage in friendly pie fights and deliver gems and apples to Castle Everfree faster than your opponents.
A lightweight strategy game, My Little Scythe is the simpler, family-friendly younger brother of Stonemaier Games' 2016 smash hit Scythe. To those familiar with the original game, the mechanisms in My Little Scythe should feel very familiar, but with a much simpler ruleset that lends the game a nice level accesibility that even younger players can get into without sacrificing to much of what made the original game so popular in the first place. Race to be the first to collect any 4 trophies from 8 available categories in order to be crowned the new leader of Pomme!
My Little Scythe is a family-friendly strategy game consisting of a large game board, a wide variety of animal miniatures, player mats, pie fight dials, several decks of cards and a variety of resource tokens. Setup is fairly quick and simple: Each player selects a set of animal seekers that they wish to play with along with their corresponding player mat and token. Each of the decks of cards are shuffled and placed in their proper spots on the board with the resources and pie fight dials placed anywhere off to the side. A convenient starting tile (rotated at random) will indicate where to place some initial resources on the game board and you're ready to begin!
Player turns are also simple: Simply pick up your action pawn and move it to a new spot on your player board, taking the corresponding action. You may either Move, Seek or Make:
Seeking is how new resources and quests are discovered in the kingdom. You'll simple roll the 4 dice shown on the action and place resources in the corresponding colored areas of the board. If they're placed on an empty space, they're open for any player to go collect. Or, you can place them on other players spaces to gain friendship.
When moving, you may move both of your 2 animal seekers up to 2 spaces, unless they are carrying or pick up any resources, in which case they may only move 1 space. Moving is how players traverse the board to collect resources, make deliveries, complete quests and engage in pie fights. Pie fights are one of the biggest bits of conflict in this game in which 2 players face-off in a battle to control a space on the board. Each will secretly select how many pies they wish to use from their supply and then may add spell cards they've acquired to deal extra damage. After simultaneously revealing their final damage amounts, both players lose the pies the used. To the victor goes the spoils of all the resources on the contested territory, while the loser is sent back to their home camp.
Making allows players can use their resources to make pies and learn spells (to help in pie fights and quests) and upgrade their current action spaces, giving them their own unique and powerful new abilities.
Every turn is precisely that simple. Pick up your action pawn, move it to a new space and perform the corresponding action; move, seek or make. All of this, of course, must be done with the final goal in mind: Be the first to place 4 trophies.
There are 8 different ways to place a trophy (a player can complete each category once):
- Reach 8 Friendship on the Friendship track
- Acquire 2 Power Ups
- Have 3 Spell Cards
- Complete 2 Quests
- Make a Delivery of 4 Gems to Castle Everfree
- Make a Delivery of 4 Apples to Castle Everfree
- Win a Pie Fight
- Reach 8 Pies on the Pie Track
Final Thoughts - Is This Game for You?
There's a lot to love about this game but, as with all games, it won't be perfect for everyone.. Here are a few of my favorite aspects that should help you decide if My Little Scythe is the right game for you. You'll like this game....
- If you appreciate games with simple yet clever mechanisms that provide players with plenty of room for mixing up their strategy
- If you'e looking for a family-friendly game that has enough depth to keep the adults interested with clear and concise rules so you can include the kids at game night
- If you're looking for a game with a robust solo mode (while not discussed in this article, I have played the game's included solo mode several times and have thoroughly enjoyed it!)
- If you're already fan of Scythe, but have trouble getting it to the table due to it's heavy gameplay and comparatively long playing time.
- If you want to support new and young game designers. My Little Scythe was originally a fan-designed, print-and-play game that Stonemaier Games loved so much they decided to step in and help develop and publish it. It was designed by Hoby Chou with his daughter Vienna who, at the time of helping design it, was only 6 years old!
At the end of the day, the bottom line is this: My Little Scythe does a marvelous job at toeing the line between depth and accessibility. For fans of area control, pick-up and deliver and some friendly competition in the form of pie fights, My Little Scythe is able to hold it's own at both family game nights and adult game nights.
Bonus: Pie in the Sky Expansion
My Little Scythe: Pie In The Sky
Player Count: 1 - 6 Players
Playing Time: 45 Minutes
Designer: Hoby & Vienna Chou
Artist: Katie Khau
Publisher: Stonemaier Games
Year Published: 2020
"Pie in the Sky begins on the eve of the 3000th Harvest Tournament, where stories are retold of Pomme’s ancient animals venturing into distant lands to establish their own kingdoms. To accomplish this, Pomme’s founders worked together to build the legendary Airship Kai, imbuing it with the best knowledge from all nine animal species. Sharing the ship’s powers and speed, each kingdom established its foundations. But one year, the airship and its Fox and Owl passengers journeyed into the far frontiers and were never seen or heard from again … until now..."
- Description from the Publisher
Pie in the Sky is the first published expansion for My Little Scythe, being released by Stonemaier Games earlier this year. The expansion maintains almost all of the game's base gameplay while introducing a new twist to the Seek action that introduces new ways to gain even more resources along with a new set of variable player powers to even further spice up player strategies.
The primary changes and new mechanisms that this expansion provides all come from one key new piece in the game: The Legendary Airship Pomme.
When the Fox and Owl kingdoms returned with this airship that was long thought lost, the animals of Pomme soon discovered that the unique airship still responded to each of their different factions. In the game, the airship piece is not controlled by any single player, but can instead be utilized by each of the factions on their turns to improve their ability to seek resources.
When seeking, players will now additionally roll the new airship die and then they may move the airship piece a number of spaces equal to the number that they rolled. Then, they can either collect the resources on that new space for themselves or activate their faction's unique airship ability.
There are A LOT of these new unique abilities, allowing you to place gadgets on the board that change the way the game is played, steal resources from other player's, resolve quests in new ways and so much more. These new airship abilities also allow people to store resources in a cargo hold, making them safe from theft by other players.
Here are a few of my favorite aspects that should help you decide if the Pie in the Sky expansion is the right game for you. You'll like this expansion....
- If you already enjoy My Little Scythe. If you're already a big fan of the base game, this expansion is a no-brainer for me.
- If you enjoy game's with player variability and unique player powers
- If you felt like you agreed with any of the above reasons for why you might like the base game. If My Little Scythe feels like a game you might enjoy, the expansion will also not dissapoint.
All in all, this expansion may be a fairly small one, but the simple additions are still very impactful! It provides player's with some straightforward yet major new gameplay changes, allowing players to pursue even more various strategies with their own unique player powers.
If you are interested in learning more about My Little Scythe or the Pie in the Sky expansion, you can check out the game's official pages by clicking here.
Disclaimer: Free copies of My Little Scythe and the Pie in The Sky expansion were provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest preview. All opinions written above are entirely my own.