Game Box


Jamey Stegmaier

A board game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor.

1-5 Players

115 minutes

Retail release in September 2016.

Created by lead designer Jamey Stegmaier with the assistance of Morten Monrad Pedersen (solo variant) in the stark but beautiful world of artist Jakub Rozalski, Scythe successfully funded by Stonemaier Games via Kickstarter from October 13-November 5 and will be released in September 2016. You can follow the progress of the game on BGG.

Card sizes (for sleeves; this includes all cards in the Kickstarter versions):

44x67mm: 42 cards
57x87mm: 58 cards
70x110mm: 64 cards


It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory,” which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries.

Scythe (1-5 players, 115 minutes) is a board game set in an alternate-history 1920s period. It is a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor.

In Scythe, each player represents a fallen leader attempting to restore their honor and lead their faction to power in Eastern Europa. Players conquer territory, enlist new recruits, reap resources, gain villagers, build structures, and activate monstrous mechs.

Each player begins the game with different resources (strength, victory points, movement capabilities, and popularity), their choice of several faction-specific abilities, and a hidden goal. Starting positions are specially calibrated to contribute to each faction’s uniqueness and the asymmetrical nature of the game.

Scythe gives players almost complete control over their fate. Other than each player’s individual hidden objective card, the only elements of luck are encounter cards that players will draw as they interact with the citizens of newly explored lands and combat cards that give you a temporary boost in combat. Combat is also driven by choices, not luck or randomness.

Scythe uses a streamlined action-selection mechanism (no rounds or phases) to keep gameplay moving at a brisk pace and reduce downtime between turns. While there is plenty of direct conflict, there is no player elimination, nor can units be killed or destroyed.

Every part of Scythe has an aspect of engine-building to it. Players can upgrade actions to become more efficient, build structures that improve their position on the map, enlist new recruits to enhance character abilities, activate mechs to deter opponents from invading, and expand their borders to reap greater types and quantities of resources. These engine-building aspects create a sense of momentum and progress throughout the game. The order in which players improve their engine adds to the unique feel of each game, even when playing one faction multiple times.

The image below features the Kickstarter versions and pricing of the game. The retail version of Scythe ($80 MSRP) includes all of the items in the “global components” and “faction-specific components” sections.

what's in the box

161 Comments on “Scythe

  1. Area Control tends not to excite me too much, but I look forward to trying it out, the theme sounds awesome ^^. If it has some influence from Agricola mixed in there though, could be awesome =P

    Not sure I like the implication of miniatures crossed with cardboard standups though. I prefer miniatures sure, but I’d rather have all cardboard standups than a mixture ^^.

    1. Chris: The area control in Scythe is basically the more territory you control, the better. I’ve considered the implications of mixing the standees with miniatures…I agree that it could be an odd mix. Most likely each player will have one mech miniature, and everything else (including other mechs) will be cardboard standees.

      1. Still a bit unsure even at that, but if you can find someone good enough to get a really good match of the art style’s it could work. I think the best way to mix could have been if it was something like buildings as miniatures/armies as standups or vice versa ^^.

        But hey, I won’t know till I see it, and I’m sure it’ll look beautiful like the other Stonemaier Games =)

        1. Yeah, the key in this game is that every unit is a specific person (a character with a name, story, etc). So there aren’t any generic armies or anything like that–we’re putting a face on war and farming. :)

      2. It would be great if you could supply files for the 3D printer owners to print their own miniatures to replace the cardboard standees. Or to print more coins, mech miniatures, etc. ;-)

  2. Hey Jamie, you know there’s a good number of 3D printers available now, in residential use and available at makerspaces in various communities… so how about offering a base game plus a trio of options for the game pieces:
    – standard version, with cardboard standup pieces
    – deluxe version, with plastic or die-cast minis for everything
    – 3D print-and-pimp version for the makers, with models and painting suggestions.

    1. Ian: Thanks for your thoughts about 3D printers. I’m certainly open to people printing their own mechs for the game–it’s the molds that make miniatures really expensive, especially for a game like this with over 100 unique characters.

  3. This looks really interesting, love the idea of the Mechs in the 1920s.. it makes me think of War of the Worlds! Looking forward to seeing this develop :)

  4. Wow, this just caught my eye. Really cool looking, fantastic art, interesting looking game. I reckon you’ve given this lots of thought, given your experience with KS, but this looks like (for better or for worse) a game that could be made or broken based on the components (i.e., minis: number, diversity, scale, etc!) It sounds like you’re initially considering cardboard standees. This game would rock (or certainly draw lots of attention) with little Risk 2210-sized mechas and troops. It sounds like there’s lots of customization going on, so 3-4 unique figures might not quite fit the bill, but I’d recommend looking into alternative ways to distinguish each figure (clips to attach a cardboard token, cardboard rings to put around the bases, tokens to put next to armies/figures) and if the KS is successful (and with art like this, I’m not sure how it could NOT be successful!!) consider adding new figures to the boxed set.

    Very excited to see where this goes, I’ll be keeping an eye on this page, and good luck!

  5. […] In Stonemaier Games November Update, they announced a new title coming from Jamey and Alan titled Scythe. Based on the amazing illustrations of Polish artist Jakub Rozalski, the game will transport players back to an alternate history of the 1920’s, one full of “farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and valor” in what the designer has deemed to be Agricola meets Kemet. Here is the game as described by Stonemaier Games ‘ website: […]

  6. It is a bit cramazing that you are doing this. I discovered Jakub’s art a few months back and my jaw dropped. It is truly amazing. It is so neat that you not only found it as well, but decided to use it as the setting for a game. I need to get you on the horn soon and talk about how this all went down.

  7. Have you ever considered using plastic standee’s instead of cardboard? There was a recent KS with some nice looking plastic standees, custom art front and back. Plastic seems like it would be much more durable over time, much cheaper than mini’s, and easier to store as well!

  8. I feel like I barely know anything about this game, but the concept, and the artwork are making me wish this were on Kickstarter already. I can’t wait to back this game!

  9. I can honestly say I’m stoked about this game. I have helped introduce euphoria to many friends at our meetup group “Williamsburg board game enthusiasts”. It’s one of our groups go to games now. With the goodwill from that game several of us are really looking forward to trying this one out too.

  10. Jamey, both teaser images (this and the one with the Germans) look absolutely gorgeous – what’s not to love about steam powered mechs and war wolves? :)

    Also, I love games with a solid back story and asymmetric factions – and I’m really excited to see how the team communication mechanism will pan out as it sounds like something really unique.

    Good luck with the project, I’m sure this will be a huge hit!

  11. Any idea how soon we can expect to see this on kickstarter? Just backed two cities a few days ago and can’t wait to back this one.

    1. The Euro elements are medium-weight, and the warfare elements are light. As for the actual weight of the game in the box, I have no idea. Somewhere between 1 and 50 pounds? :)

      1. Our meetup group would love to play test too when it’s ready. We have about 150 members here in Williamsburg va for our board game group.

  12. Hi Jamey!

    I´m a spanish amateur game´s designer, i have two projects in this moment, Mythological and Avalon: Quest for the Grail (you can see more information in

    I´m very excited about your project: Scythe. The artwork is awesome and the mechanism sounds very very interesting!!

    I’ve signed up for your system of Stonemaier ambassador, if there is a possibility to translate into Spanish, test the game or take an overview of Scyther. I will enjoy with it!!

    I follow all the news they come out of this game here and in bgg

    Greats to all!!

  13. Hi Jamey,
    Every time I see a new piece of artwork for Scythe on facebook from Jakub Rozalski I get a great big grin on my face. Jakub is clearly the perfect choice to illustrate this world (I feel like the term ‘Illumination’ should be used instead here, like the illuminations in medieval books, Jakub is illuminating an amazing concept).
    I’m so excited about the world you’re building for this game. Can I ask, where did you get inspiration? It’s so different, and so interesting!

    1. I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed watching the art unfold, Gino! :) All of the inspiration came from me discovering Jakub’s art last summer. I saw it and wanted to make a game in that world. :)

  14. hi jamey-

    just saw the printout gamebord in your video and wonder if the colour saturation is intentionally that strong and weather the counter/ info boxes on the board stay that grayisch and will keep that somewhat bold, simple exel looking style?
    thanks for answering

    1. Sascha: Everything you’re looking at is a prototype with placeholder art and temporary graphic design–it shouldn’t be confused in any way with the look of the final game.

  15. I love the look of this game! Very excited for the Kickstarter. Have you thought about having a modular board, so that the layout could be changed with each play?

    1. The board isn’t modular because the art could not be seamless with a modular board, and a lot of the assymetry of the factions is built into their position on the board and their home terrain. There are plenty of other aspects of the game that create variability (25 different pairings of faction and player mats, objectives, encounters, Factory cards, etc.)

  16. Jamey-
    I’m really bummed I missed you guys at Gen Con. I *knew* there was something else I wanted to check out over the weekend, but with everything else, I missed it.
    I’ve been following this project since I came across Jakub’s artwork, and really like the game idea and setting. Will be keeping an eye out for the KS.

    One side question. Do you have any plans for incorporating Scythe’s setting into an RPG? Being more of an RPGer myself, I;d have serious interest in something along those lines.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Jamey. I saw your posting after the Con and was kicking myself for missing it.

        I’ll have to look into the other and maybe contact Jakub to see his plans.


  17. Are there going to be other 2 factions, because if you look at the board you can see a boar and “fish”? symbol alongside the other 5 nations symbols :)?

  18. Do you think it would be worthwhile to highlight when you expect to launch the product on Kickstarter on this page? I’ve been following along in the blog posts and from 3rd party reviewers and that was the #1 piece of information I was looking for when I clicked the Scythe link.

  19. Good morning! What is the status of this game? I don’t see it on Kickstarter and I can’t find any details on the status online. Was the project funded? Can I purchase a copy? Do you have some gameplay videos?

  20. Hi Jamey, Scythe looks great and I can’t wait for the KS to start. I am a big fan of both SG and Jakub’s work and would hate to pass on this hence my question: Is Scythe language dependant? I am Polish and a lot of my friends have difficulties with English language. I was wondering if the amount of text is minimized and most of the game depends on symbols, as this would allow me to make my own translated player aid cards.

    1. Maciej: We tried to make Scythe as language independent as possible. The final version is 90% language independent, and we plan on having crib sheets in a variety of languages available for download for the two main instances where written descriptions are necessary. Thanks!

  21. So, totally falling for this setting. I’ve always been a fan of dieselpunk (before it had a name), WWI/1930’s America, and mechs. Any chance for the possibility of a systemless setting guide for us RPG fans in the future? :D

    1. Thanks Ryan! The answer is: maybe? We do want to continually add to the backstory of the game (you can learn more about the characters and mechs on this website), and perhaps at some point we’ll add a setting guide. If you have any good examples we should keep in mind, please let me know.

  22. Reading your book Jamey and checking this out. I’ve seen this artwork several places and love it! Interested in the game just on the artwork alone.
    Nice! & thanks for the information.

  23. Hi Jamie, just been directed your way and the game looks truly great, by someone on The Others – 7 Sins Board, just after it ended (Thanks Blaz). Need more convincing, but I will certainly be there for the campaign launch, and that’s what a campaign is all about! Game play video will be very much welcomed if you have one.

    I hope you have followed the progress of Gloom Haven and its creator (after sending out a survey to its backers) to actually go down the non-KS exclusive route, with an actual good discount from retail and sensibly priced. If this is what you are planning, I think you will easily win me over. The game was backed by people who loved the game, wanted to actually help it come to life, and could afford it, and I salute that!

    Many thanks Arakin, see you in a few days now!

  24. hi mr. stegmaier,

    i just came back home from spiel/essen and wanted to say that many components and the game itself look really snazzy; the figurines even nicer than i expected.I talked to a couple of people and also to two presenters. I heard that the board is supposed to be kind of final art. Watching pictures of the board and seeing them in real live my impression is: the board is really dark, the colors very saturated (especially the blue is super intense), contrasting the art approach of the cards to quite a degree.

    just walked by the trickerion game booth a few minutes later, saw the
    gameboard and thought: this color palette approach would be so fantastic for scythe as well. nostalgic, subtle but crisp and full on thematic.

    just wanted to share.

    good luck with the launch.
    greetings karsten.

    1. Karsten: A lot of the art that saw was final, but it’s just a prototype in terms of the print job (along with the temporary tokens, 3D printed miniatures, etc). The final print job coming from a real manufacturer instead of a small printer will be not only much crisper, but also much bigger.

      1. mr stegmaier
        i was just talking about the saturation and a sepia-esque
        color frame, the rest will be fine, i assume.

        i also know that the print is already set,but just wanted to share the deep love with you concerning the super poor factory guys in little china printing this stuff and all the other boardgames— i expect a fantastic product nonetheless- thanks for helping out to continously establish exploitation in the peripheries of our maddening society.
        good luck with the product.


  25. Karsten: “thanks for helping out to continously establish exploitation” Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your English, but it sounds a little bit like you’re saying that we exploit people, which is a pretty terrible thing to say to someone. I work with Panda because they treat their employees with human dignity, which is something I highly value. They pay a fair wage to their employees.

  26. oh jah? what is the net income per hour then? if you discuss the dignity and quality of factory worker earnings and the assumingly present “abundance” of social & medical security/ support.

    for shizzle they pay super money to the employees, that is exactly the reason why every producer these days prints his/ her stuff over in china- because china is knowinlgy a
    palour of work and wage ethics- it is not cheap to produce stuff there- it just gives every sweet board game an international flavour. thats it.

    nobody knows- everybody is no sheep – nobody benefits from economical exploits.

    hhm hhm…

    1. Karsten, I’d be interested to know what device you’re using to post these comments online, where it was made and under what conditions…

      1. gino-

        the point is i dont make money out of using my computer.
        anyways i bought it used and it is 8 years old, produced in the uk.

        1. It’s not ‘Whataboutism’ because I’m not attempting to discredit his claims, just questioning whether or not hypocrisy is present.

          1. Why would you questioning his level of hypocrisy here and now, if not to discredit his claims? Sorry, that appears to be implausible to me.

  27. I think about supporting the Kickstarter campaign. Not a big deal for Stonemeier Games I’m sure, but my first Kickstarter ever, so let me add a few words here.

    I generally dislike the idea of games on Kickstarter. Most of the reasons are endemic to Kickstarter, and very well known. A few others are specific to games:
    – The feeling of a game is very personal, and very hard to describe. For example, I generally like light wargames, but I played Britannia (BGG 359) once and I detest it with all my heart.
    – There are so many opportunities to play games before you buy them that I don’t see the point in buying a game blind.
    – There seems to be an artificial scarcity which I dislike.
    – There also seems to be a tendency to make new editions at a brisk pace, and I feel cheated every time this happens.
    – Lastly, I want to support local game stores.

    Now with Scythe, I think it is reasonable to expect a similar performance as with Viticulture, if not better, and here is what I liked in particular with Viticulture:
    – A very pretty game. You can’t always be sure from pictures, esp. for the coins.
    – A cheap update pack from 1.0 to 2.0. Actually, that should have been free, since apparently something was wrong with the first edition. I understand the economics however, and this solution is acceptable.
    – A stunning game. Contrary to what I wrote above, I never played Viticulture before buying it, just following the general description and the enthusiastic reviews. I bought it anyway when I saw it in my local game store, for fear of missing it entirely. It is as good or better as the reviews promised, and frankly I wouldn’t feel cheated if Scythe was half as good.

    One thing is troubling me: If I buy whatever is offered now, will I miss (or be forced to buy twice, which amounts to the same thing) the Scythe Collector’s Edition?

    1. “If I buy whatever is offered now, will I miss (or be forced to buy twice, which amounts to the same thing) the Scythe Collector’s Edition?”

      We’ll pretty much only make enough of the Collector’s Edition to satisfy backer demand, but we will make extra copies of elements of the CE (like the realistic resources and extended board) for people to buy separately later. There will be no redundancy.

      1. Oh, so the Collector’s Edition is part of this KS? I was under the impression that Viticulture’s CE was part of Tuscany!?

        1. We’re on a Scythe thread here, so I’m talking about Scythe. :) In fact, your question specifically references the “Scythe Collector’s Edition.” The Viticulture CE is a separate thing, not at all related to Scythe.

          1. Absolutely this is about Scythe, sorry if my question was posed confusingly. Since Viticulture’s CE was part of Tuscany, I was expecting Scythe’s CE to be part of its extension’s KS.

            Glad to be wrong, that simplifies things!

    1. Oh, no. Shapeways is just for prototypes. The final mechs (as you can see in renders on the project page) are made from moulds. They’re much more durable and feature the details much better than 3D printing.

  28. Hallo Mr. Stegmaier,

    congrats to this very successful launch of Scythe.

    Since it is talked about on kickstarter a couple hours ago (10.14.2015) and i make up my mind to pledge i wanted to ask you a few questions directly. You stated on your homepage that you will only launch a project that is 100% complete. I appreciate this attitude very much.

    But mechs / color of coins (the 2 blue coins are somewhat out of order imho) are not final as you said yesterday. Concerning the game board the artist confirmed on kickstarter today (10.14.2015) that design and graphics are not final either. When can we expect a final version of the board (the mechs) and a picture we can actually zoom in, to make up our minds?

    And please also clarify this faq section on kickstarter for us backers. I assume a lot of people are not getting what is meant by the following statement:

    >”the funding amounts for each of them will be determined each morning when they are announced. That way your pledge has an impact on one specific stretch goal and every subsequent goal.”<

    This means you will announce a pledge amount for the daily goal (which is most likely already achieved the days before) and simultaneously show/ describe the update in the morning every morning? I find it rather confusing, maybe i just don't get it.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer.
    Best wishes.

    D. Flockenhaus

    1. Thanks for your questions! I should clarify a few things: The colors of the miniatures are actually final. It’s just the coins that aren’t final. You can zoom in on the mechs as they are, and the board that you can see in the Playtester PnP can be zoomed in as well. It’s almost exactly how the final board will look.

      The stretch goal system is explained in Update #1.

  29. Hi,

    First thank you for your answer in the art section, and your reactivity.
    Don’t know if it is the right place to talk about that, but something came imediately to my mind once I started to look at Scythe : ok this will be a great game, so what is next ? –> Scythe Legacy !
    For me it started with Space alert and it’s optional ongoing campaign and characters evolutions, then was followed up by Risk Legacy, now Pandemy Legacy, one day with Sea fall. I found this very idea to be glorious, deeply strenghtening the involvment of players into their game, helping build memories of what you did with it, maxing comitment into the game…
    Looking at Scythe, it seems to me this game is just a perfect frame to make a Scythe 2 legacy ! Board and faction mat could be easily modified by stickers, rules added or modified basing on what happened in prior games…
    So, have you considered to make a legacy V2 version of Scythe (if of course your project is a success, but I don’t have any doubt about that :-) ) ?

    1. Gabriel: Thanks for sharing your ideas! Yes, we’ve been talking about the possibility of a Scythe Legacy expansion. Another backer had some ideas like this too, so I think they’re going to start a BGG thread to discuss it. :)

  30. Hey Jamey.
    I’m about to kick your project. Looks great, sounds very great.
    Though I’m wondering if you have a 6th faction\player in mind. Usually that’s the number we play together ;)
    Else I’ll just have it for the rarer times where we are 5 ;-)

    1. Thanks for supporting Scythe! The eventual expansion will include 6th and 7th factions, but the game will technically only support 5 people due to the added downtime, length of game, and overcrowded board that would result from adding more than 5 players.

  31. Hi Jamey.
    Interesting idea and great art. I think it will be an excellent game. Good luck with it!
    Also I have a question – what are your plans about translation the game into other languages? First of all I’m interested in Russian language.

  32. Any chance that the hardcover Art Book will be available separately in the future? I supported at the Collector’s Edition level, but would love to eventually purchase this book! Jakub Rozalski’s work is really incredible…!

  33. Hey Jamey,

    just got your email for voting about the coin coulor. Why don’t you leave an option open like: leave it as it is. In my opinion the best choice, which I would like to vote for. +1

    It’s just a bit strange. I shall decide (what’s cool), but the best option (in MY mind, not others) you see on the table is not available…

    1. Bronco: This comment isn’t on the right thread at all–people won’t understand this out of context. We’re talking about Scythe update #16 regarding coin colors.

      The option you chose isn’t an option because the colors are far too close. People would reach into a pile of coins and think they had selected a $10 coin when they actually picked up a $5 coin, or vice versa. That’s not good design.

      1. Jamey, thanks for the quick answer. Sorry for posting it at the wrong place. I know you want to make sure someone can’t choose the wrong one. But isn’t that what coins make somehow real? The 50 Euro Cent and the 20 Euro Cent are also quite similar, but little different (as the 5 and 10 $ Coins). It’s just so… multicolored… which makes it game coins again.

  34. I am in China, I recently got Viticultre Essential Ed. and Loved it, Me and my GF have recently introduced ourselves into the BoardGames world… …we went to a Gaming Conference last month in Shanghai and met many new friends one of which introduced us to Viticulture and other games…While reading about Viticulture in your website I found about this new Game Scythe and I love the sound of it the Steampunk feeling and atmosphere is great…Looking forward to have this game into my new born Gameboard Collection. Best wishes

  35. Just discovering your kickstarter scythe project and really excited about it ! By chance I find a retailer with kickstarter collector’s edition and the art book available for France. Have to wait until august now. So impatient to play !!! :D. Thank you for this great game :)

  36. The pre-order will close on an ongoing basis as we run out of pre-order copies of each of the different items. I think we’ll start to run out of some of the items in late Feburary based on the current pace.

  37. I see some sites advertising a preorder for the collectors edition but description is vague. Are these the same collectors edition that was on kickstarter so if we preorder these the content will be the same?

  38. I’m trying to preorder the retail game and promo cards on the trycelery page, but it stays stuck on the shipping info and even though the URL changes to “/payment?” the page itself stays on the shipping address. Are there still copies available?

  39. I consider preordering the game and the realistic ressources, but I would like to ask if the preorder ist also EU friendly like the backing at kickstarter. Will there be toll fees or something like that if ordering to Germany?

  40. Is there any discount for Canadian followers? The exchange rate make me jumped. 1 CAD = 0,707 USD according to Paypal. Rounding it, I’m now around 165$ CAD. That hurts.

    I’m pretty sure there is none. So I will sleep on it one more day.

  41. Fairly, new to board games, just finished playing Hansa Tectonically, wanted something with mechs and met halfway,people recommended scythe, I hope it arrives I’m Hong Kong early.

  42. Hey, Jamie.

    I am a Chinese player, you will consider China to provide this game?

    I saw this game on my forum, I was fascinated, I think my friend should also like it!

    1. lubang: We would like to make a Chinese version of Scythe–that would be great! For now, we will soon sell the game from China (there are Chinese retailers getting copies in a few weeks), and we offer Chinese rules online.

      1. That’s funny! I live in Europe, more precisely in Germany. Here we actually call it Europa, not Europe. :-D

    1. Karell: We were only selling the Collector’s Edition during the Kickstarter campaign, so you can’t buy it now. If we have extra copies at our fulfillment center in Asia after sending all backer rewards, we will sell the extras at a higher price than on Kickstarter. Shipping to the Philippines will be about $20.

  43. Hey, I missed the Kickstart for this and just found a story about it. I was wondering if you would be offering the art connoisseur edition in the future. I would love to get on a list if you have one or better yet just buy one now! The game looks great and I hope produc to on is going well.

    1. Peter: Thanks for your question. We stopped accepting pre-orders for the KS editions of the game the minute the Kickstarter ended, but if we have leftover copies after reward fulfillment is complete, we’ll announce them via our e-newsletter. You can subscribe to that to the right below this comment.

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