My Little Scythe Review

My Little Scythe
Area Control, Set Collection, Action Selection
Stonemaier Games
2017
Hoby Chou, Vienna Chou
Noah Adelman, Katie Khau
1-6
Scythe, Wonderfully Adorable Games, Apples

My Little Scythe is so much more than a 'kid's version' of the fantastic Scythe.  What we have here is a new gateway game, perfectly suited to introducing young or inexperienced players into the deeper world of strategy games, while still being entertaining enough to keep veteran players well entertained.

Oh gosh, this one’s a treat!  Gather ’round everyone – today we review My Little Scythe from Stonemaier Games!

Jess: Wait, did you say ‘My Little Scythe‘?  As in an adorable version of the tremendously amazing worker placement strategy game Scythe? Possibly themed around cute animal friends all looking to harvest apples and gather magical gems?  Perhaps a game that will serve both as a fantastic family game but also as a gateway game to much more complex and delightful game concepts?

Andrew: You got all that from ‘My Little Scythe‘?  Man, you’re good.  Also, yes!

The vast Kingdom of Pomme stretches out before you, set up for 4 players

Gameosity received a review copy of My Little Scythe.  We were not otherwise compensated.


A while ago, waaay back in our 4th podcast, we gushed quite a bit about Scythe.  That game was and remains one of our favorites, for a lot of reasons (I won’t reiterate all the things we love, but if you’d fancy a listen, here’s a link to that episode).  Clearly, we weren’t the only ones who really enjoyed Scythe – from the father/daughter creative team of Hoby Chou and Vienna Chou we now get My Little Scythe – which started as a fan-tribute print-and-play and was so good Stonemaier Games picked it up and published it.

Jess: I’m going to just call it here – My Little Scythe is fantastic.  From the components to the gameplay to the overall presentation, and heck, even the in-box storage solution, everything about My Little Scythe is polished to a mirror shine but also incredibly inviting for players of all ages!

Andrew: Yeah, I hate to spoil our thoughts on a review so early, but this one is just a winner.  But let’s go over what’s good and what’s great about it.

Even the storage solution shows forethought and consideration

 

In My Little Scythe, players are all seeking to prove themselves worthy of ascending to the throne of the Kingdom of Pomme.  They will do this by venturing across the 7 animal kingdoms, seeking to be the first to earn 4 trophies and be declared the winners.  Trophies are earned via a series of achievements:

  • Reaching 8 Friendship on the Friendship track
  • Acquiring 2 Power Ups
  • Holding 3 Spell cards
  • Resolving 2 quests
  • Delivering 4 apples to the royal castle
  • Delivering 4 gems to the royal castle
  • Winning a pie fight
  • Reaching 8 on the Pie track
Some of the Personality cards, which secretly change the Trophy achievement for the player holding them

Players will spend their turns traversing across the colorful board, gathering up resources and working towards achieving the conditions necessary to earn these trophies.  Player action selection is handled by moving your action token on your player board, and all the rules are clearly laid out and easy to follow once you’re in the rhythm of the game.

The player board, where you will select your actions. Note the dashed outline for where Power Up tiles will replace these basic actions.

Like everything else in My Little Scythe, conflict resolution (pie fights) are both delightfully simple and yet strategically significant.  When a player attacks another by moving into their seeker onto an occupied space, a pie fight breaks out.  The players involved each commit to how many pies from their reserves they will weaponize, and can use spells to add pies to that result.

Pie supply. Su-pies.

The player who tosses the most pies wins (and if they haven’t already won a pie fight, they get one of those trophies everyone is after), but no matter the outcome, the attacking player loses a Friendship, because I mean, you did just walk up to someone and throw pies at them.

The Pie Fight resolution dial, with a magic card socketed in

Jess: I love that there’s strategy behind such a simple conflict mechanic.  Sure, you might want to win a fight – it clears your rivals off your space, and your first win earns you a trophy.  But losing friendship can keep you from winning, and the pies and magic spell cards you spend could also be turned into trophies.  There’s just enough strategic depth to make these decisions interesting, but never so much that it bogs down or gets un-fun.

Andrew: Absolutely!  And much like the game that inspired it, My Little Scythe’s multiple potential paths to trophies means that players are free to adapt their strategy on the fly – You’re never forced, for example, to engage in pie fighting if that’s not something you want to do in order to win.

The Friendship track is another brilliant little way that My Little Scythe’s theme, tone, and mechanics work in tremendously successful harmony.  When players take the Seek action, they will use the dice to add gems and apples to the board.  However, if the active player decides to place resources on spaces held by their opponents, the active player immediately gains Friendship.  And while it can be dangerous to give other players such ready access to resources, having a high Friendship will get you one trophy closer to victory – and having too-low a Friendship makes it literally impossible to earn trophies – at least until you raise your Friendship back above 2.

Jess: Throughout our plays of My Little Scythe, two things truly impressed me.  The first was how very Scythe it all was.  From the action selection mechanisms to the way resources are moved and managed, My Little Scythe is a clear tribute to the game that inspired it.  But the other thing that made a real impression on me is how very accessible My Little Scythe is.  My one big criticism of Scythe is that it’s, well, intimidating!  Lots of people who would love it probably shy away a bit when they see what they think is a heavy game (and it’s not a light game, to be fair).  But from the theme to the rules, My Little Scythe comes off as cute and fun, and while you’re busy having a good time engaging it, it’s sneakily preparing you for much more complex games.  I love that!

Andrew: Huge yes to all of that.  But another big plus for me was the way My Little Scythe brings the core experience down to a very manageable playtime.  I adore Scythe, but sometimes we’ve got 35-40 minutes, and it’s there that My Little Scythe truly shines.  To pack real strategy and decision-making into such an accessible package whose theme keeps it light and engaging is a true accomplishment.

Quests add simple strategic decision points

Jess: Absolutely!  And it’s everywhere – you can upgrade your action board.  You can be strategic about your gem and apple placement, deciding whether you’re in greater need of friendship or resources.  You can even undertake quests, which introduce simple but strategically significant choices to the game!  There’s so much here!

Andrew: But never too much.  It’s really delightfully balanced and I honestly just keep wanting to play it.

Now, with its adorable animals and apples and all, you might be tempted to think of My Little Scythe as a kid’s game.  And to that, we say simply that it’s a game we are 100% certain kids will be able to play and enjoy.  But that doesn’t mean it’s to be dismissed for heavier, headier cardboard.  Instead, My Little Scythe should be thought of as a game whose accessibility makes it an ideal gateway deeper into the world of strategic gaming, while never once being too simple to keep us entertained.  It is competitive to be sure and for younger gamers it would undoubtedly be helpful to have an adult shepherd them through the first game or two, but without question My Little Scythe is more than ‘just’ a kid’s game.  It’s a wonderfully fun game that the whole family will enjoy.

Your copy probably won’t come with this deluxe Meeple…

So, in case it wasn’t abundantly clear by now, we highly recommend My Little ScytheScythe has a permanent place in our collection, but My Little Scythe will not feel the slightest bit out of place sitting right next to the game that inspired it.  The shared DNA is abundantly clear in the best possible way, but My Little Scythe  has emerged as a game we will play with different groups and in different circumstances than Scythe, and it will be enjoyed time and again.


Other games like My Little Scythe

For obvious reasons, we also think Scythe, the game that inspired My Little Scythe, is worth checking out.  Its theme and artwork are truly unique, and its mechanics are a bit deeper than its younger sibling.  For those who love the whole animals/fantasy theme but are still looking for a game you can sink your teeth into, we also highly recommend Root by Leder Games.  Finally, if you just want another game about apples, consider the uniquely themed (and beautifully illustrated Wicked Apples by Almost a Game.

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