Scythe Strategy and Planning (+Scythe-960)

My thoughts on Scythe strategy. Also expanded to include updates on my foray into randomly generating more Scythe content...
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Part 1: Scythe is a Race

John Martorana
United States
New York
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Index of Blog

* 7-Part Strategy Guide
+ Part 1: Scythe is a Race
+ Part 2: Your First Few Turns
+ Part 3: Your Midgame Production Plan
+ Part 4: OK, Scythe isn't Just a Race
+ Part 5: Encounters and the Factory
+ Part 6: Combat - Why and When
+ Part 7: Combat - How much Power to Spend

* Case Studies
+ Case Study #1: 8-Worker Agricultural Polonia
+ Case Study #2: 8-Worker Agricultural Crimea
+ Case Study #3: Produce no Workers with Engineering Nords
+ Guest Blogger: GFLima's 3-Worker Plan for Engineering Saxony

* Scythe-960
+ A New Project - random Player Mats
+ Scythe-960: The first updates

* Other Thoughts
+ Scythe, Chess, Openings, and Strategy
+ See the Game from Your Opponent's Point of View

Part 1: Scythe is a Race
At first glance, Scythe looks like a 4x game or an engine-building game. While it does have elements of both, at heart Scythe is a game about efficient pathing. As in any race game, you're trying to find the series of moves that gets you the furthest ahead the fastest. And although obtaining 6 stars is technically only the endgame trigger and not sufficient for winning by itself, it does help to think of the game as being largely a race to 6 stars.

Being a race, the first question you should ask is: "How long a race is it?" A typical game of Scythe lasts about 18 to 22 turns. Here's why...

You get a star for completing each set of bottom row actions. Each of these stars takes a minimum of 4 turns. Typically, a winning player may complete earn 3 of these stars, 1 or 2 stars for combat, and 1 or 2 stars or other goals. An Upgrade star does take 2 extra actions, but frequently you'll need at least 2 upgrades (Specifically from Bolster, Produce and/or Move) even if you're not earning your Upgrade Star. Even when playing well, you will have about 4 to 6 "dead" turns where you cannot complete useful bottom row actions, mostly early in the game.

So you're looking at:
12 turns for 3 bottom row Stars
2 turns for Upgrades
4 to 6 "dead" turns.

For a total of 18 to 20 turns assuming at least one player can pull this off. Sometimes encounters will help the the game end a turn or so earlier. And sometimes players will interfere with each other enough that the game goes a few turns more. But roughly 18 to 20 turns should be what you're planning for.

Next up...
Part 2 - Your first few turns
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