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My Little Scythe Board Game Review

W Updated April 09, 2020
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1414 0
My Little Scythe Board Game Review

Game Information

Players
1 - 6
There Will Be Games

That has always been the thing with Scythe, if you were to look down a list of games that you had to play before you die, or at least experience before you went to bed, then it's fair to say that it's definitely going to appear somewhere on 'that list'. It's almost legendary in its acclaim, it's definitely well known for carrying out one of the biggest tricks in tabletop with regards to presentation of theme over actual gameplay. For every review I've read of Scythe calling it one of the best games in existence, there is another matching one talking about how it's more about resource management than mechanical behemoth type battles, which some find brilliant and others frustrating.

That has always been the thing with Scythe, if you were to look down a list of games that you had to play before you die, or at least experience before you went to bed, then it's fair to say that it's definitely going to appear somewhere on 'that list'. It's almost legendary in its acclaim, it's definitely well known for carrying out one of the biggest tricks in tabletop with regards to presentation of theme over actual gameplay. For every review I've read of Scythe calling it one of the best games in existence, there is another matching one talking about how it's more about resource management than mechanical behemoth type battles, which some find brilliant and others frustrating.

My Little Scythe 01

Either way you look at it, Scythe is one of those games that requires a decent amount of time set aside to play it and savour it, to drink in everything that Stonemaier wants you to experience. For many that means it can end up being a special occasion game, something that you pre-plan to play instead of a birthday surprise that just lands on the table to fanfares and balloons.

My Little Scythe 02

 Which takes us on to Hoby Chou, who clearly decided that he wanted Scythe to be like a birthday surprise, except for children. He also cleverly decided to enlist the help of his daughter Vienna, who clearly made all the difficult and important decisions. My Little Scythe could be seen as a watered down child friendly version of Scythe, but that would be like editing a movie to take out all bad bits to make it watchable for the average eight year old. The result would be something that lacks the intention and the heart. My Little Scythe lacks neither and in fact has enough heart to maybe lend some to it's bigger sibling.

On the face of it, the aim of the game is exactly the same, in that you are looking to be the first to earn a certain number of trophies in order to trigger the end of the game but here you decide ultimately who will rule over the kingdom of Pomme for that year.

My Little Scythe 03

In practice it follows the mechanics of Scythe in that you have one action you can carry out on your turn, which can either be a move, seek or a make action. Seek allows you to add resources to some of the various areas of the board depending on the roll of a dice while the Make action allows you to create pies, spell cards and even upgrades to your Move and Make actions. If you happen to move into a space with another player, then you enter into the combat phase. Well, its actually more of a flan based fracas, a tart based tacklefest, a pastry punch up. A pie fight as you will. In this case you total up the number of pies you wish to commit to the battle and then just like the original, the person with a larger crust capability will win the match. The person who was the attacker automatically loses a friendship point, while the loser is returned to their base to flan another day, which might have ramifications down the line when it comes to winning trophies

Otherwise you are doing you best to try to deliver four apples or jewels to Castle Everfree in the middle of the board, or have eight pies at your disposal, or complete quests, in order to reach the magical four trophies and trigger the last round. You aren't really going out of your way to win the trophies and you rarely end up in the situation where you don't have some kind of action at your disposal that isn't going to take you one step closer towards earning one. In that way, My Little Scythe is forgiving to the youngest of players, as it's pretty easy to catch up by just playing the game and not worrying too much about a strategy. Interaction is encouraged, as placing items in the spaces of your opponents will gain you easy friendship points, and even losing pie fights sets you back at base camp, but has you starting with a nice bonus to set you on your way.

My Little Scythe isn't about the winning, because that's merely the result of playing for long enough over a period of time. The emphasis here is on family getting together and enjoying themselves. It's a showboat of a game. A huge paddle-steamer of lights and noise and colours that shine out from the table. It's a real table hogger in terms of space and player boards, almost taking up as much room as it's older sibling and for some it might mean a bit of a squeeze when you have larger player counts. Just like Scythe, the production values here are stunning. I can't emphasis this enough. This is a kids game where Stonemaier could have dialed things back and still had a looker on the table. The apples and diamonds are solid acrylic tokens, with thick quest tokens and markers for friendships and pies. The real stars are the miniatures, that add a wonderful level of personality to each of the factions that you play as. They're solid and have a real presence on the table. Marchen Atelier has excelled themselves in the sculpts, while the artwork from Katie Khau is cutesy and bright and complete the wonderful presentation of My Little Scythe. In terms of value for money, considering everything that comes with the game and the replayability, its very good value for the $50 price tag from Stonemaier Games.

Surprisingly, My Little Scythe isn't a three hour long endeavour. In fact, you only really see a huge increase in the time when you ramp up the number of players around the table. A decent game will last anywhere between forty minutes to an hour, and with more players you'll still be finished well within the time before little minds start to wander and wonder and tap out. At that point when you do decide to put things away, then all the components go back into their allotted places on the specially designed trays, and the minis into their slots and cards in their bays, all ready to be easily brought out for the next time you fancy a little trip out in Pomme.

There's very few times a publisher will have a chance to make a change to a much loved IP and take it off into an entirely new direction. Stonemaier made the right decision in taking Hoby and Vienna's game ideas and making them a tangible product. My Little Scythe sheds much of the grandness and pomp and circumstance of it's bigger sibling and replaces it with an innocence and fun that still doesn't shrink away from trying to be as bold as possible. It balances being overly complicated for younger players while still being fun for adults who want to win a pie fight, and for that alone, it's definitely worthwhile considering adding it to your collection.


Editor reviews

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Rating 
 
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1 reviews
Richard Simpson  (He/Him)
Associate Podcaster & Writer

Richard has been running the We're Not Wizards podcast since 2016, and in that time has spoken to most of the well known names in the industry. They also write self indulgent review pieces and make bad videos for YouTube.

You can check out their podcasts by visiting We're Not Wizards  or vist the We're Not Wizards Blog for their written work.

Richard Simpson
Associate Podcaster & Writer

Articles by Richard Simpson

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Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #309089 09 Apr 2020 11:28
It’s simply a better, more refined, and focused design than Scythe. It does almost the exact same things but trades a lot of complication disguised as false depth for leaner play and much less dead air, so to speak. I liked Scythe, I played all of it, but MLS pretty much killed it for me. I’ll likely never play Scythe again, but I’ve played MLS probably three times as much and still love it.
DarthJoJo's Avatar
DarthJoJo replied the topic: #309096 09 Apr 2020 12:41

Michael Barnes wrote: It’s simply a better, more refined, and focused design than Scythe. It does almost the exact same things but trades a lot of complication disguised as false depth for leaner play and much less dead air, so to speak.

That’s the problem for me. I have never played Scythe, but after my one play of My Little, I have no interest in seeking it out. Do anything and you get points. Then do something different and get some more points. It looks like you have all these options, but everyone ends up with the same strategy of doing everything because they have to. It’s a nice presentation and I appreciate the attempt to drill down past the faff to the bones of the game, but it turns out there’s nothing of interest there.
We-reNotWizards's Avatar
We-reNotWizards replied the topic: #309129 10 Apr 2020 06:51
I think the main difference with MLS is it is able to shed the ambiguity that surrounded Scythes identity as whether it was a combat game or resource game. MLS is able to go in with a definite outwards identity from the start
HiveGod's Avatar
HiveGod replied the topic: #309178 11 Apr 2020 21:21
It hit me as an indoctrination tool for parents who play these sorts of games and want to get their kids used to narrative-free mechanical gaming—it felt nothing at all like a game made for children, let alone one that children would choose to play by themselves.

(Opinion based on a single play with an eight-year-old girl. She has not asked to play it again.)
BillyBobThwarton's Avatar
BillyBobThwarton replied the topic: #309179 12 Apr 2020 01:19
I wish my eight year old daughter took after yours, but mine regularly requests MLS. The heft of the box, the art, and the quality of the components hit great notes, but the gameplay falls flat for me. Each time we've played seems to have the same inevitable conclusion of hitting four trophies right around the same time, making the experience more like an exercise for me.