It is a time of turmoil in Europe in the 1920s. The ashes of the first great war still darken the snow. Known simply as "The Factory," the capitalist city-state that has fueled the war with heavily armored mechs has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several neighboring countries.
Scythe is an engine building game set in an alternate history of the 1920s. It's a time of farming and war, broken hearts and rusted gears, innovation and bravery. In Scythe, each player represents a character from one of five factions of Eastern Europe trying to make their fortune and claim their faction's share of the land surrounding the mysterious factory. Players conquer territories, recruit new recruits, harvest resources, gain villagers, build structures and activate monstrous mechs.
Each player begins the game with different resources (power, coins, combat skill, and popularity), a different starting location, and a hidden goal. The starting positions are specially calibrated to add to the uniqueness of each faction and the asymmetrical nature of the game (every faction always starts in the same place).
Scythe gives players almost complete control of their destiny. Aside from each player's individual hidden objective card, the only elements of luck or variability are "encounter cards" that players draw when interacting with the citizens of newly explored lands. Each encounter card offers the player several options to mitigate the luck of the draw through their choices. Combat is also determined by choices, not luck or coincidence.
Scythe uses a streamlined action selection mechanism (no turns or phases) to keep gameplay at a brisk pace and reduce downtime between turns. While there is plenty of direct conflict for players looking for it, there is no such thing as player elimination.
Every part of Scythe has an aspect of engine building. Players can upgrade actions to become more efficient, build structures that improve their position on the map, recruit new recruits to improve their characters' abilities, activate mechs to prevent enemies from invading, and expand their borders to do more Types and amounts of resources to harvest. These engine building aspects create a sense of dynamism and progression throughout the game. The order in which players upgrade their engine adds to the unique feel of each game, even if a faction is played multiple times.