Exclusive: Scythe Interview

We had a chance to talk to creators Jamey Stegmaier and Monrad Pedersen about all things Scythe. Check it out!

Decapitated Dan: Thanks for taking time to talk with me about all things Scythe. First of all lets talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?

Jamey Stegmaier: I’m Jamey Stegmaier, the designer and owner of Stonemaier Games.

DD: Let’s talk Scythe. What is this game all about?

JS: Scythe is an engine-building game for 1-5 players set in an alternate-history of 1920s eastern Europe.
DD: Where did this idea come from?

JS: The artist and worldbuilder, Jakub Rozalski, had started to build his 1920+ world when I discovered the art online. It instantly captured my imagination, so I reached out to Jakub to see if I could design a game in that world.

What kind of game is it?

JS: It’s primarily an engine-building game with a 4x feel to it. Overall, it’s designed to be a game that makes players feel rewarded by everything they do--it’s the opposite of a punishing game. :) 

DD: Since this is We Roll Solo, what kind of Solitaire play does the game offer?

Monrad Pedersen: Monrad Pedersen here taking the solo questions, since I’m “the solo guy” in Stonemaier Gamers” :-)

The approach to solo gaming, we’ve taken so far, at Stonemaier games, is that we want the solo gamer gets as much of the multiplayer experience as we can provide.

We do this by adding artificial players to the game. We call them Automas. The Automas mimic the core interactions you’d have with other players and only that, so that running the Automas are as easy as possible for the human player to run, while still retaining the soul of the game.

In Scythe you play against 1 Automa, but we have made an additional ruleset available, so that you can play with any combination of human and Automa players.

DD: So tell me about Scythe: Invaders from Afar, what does it add to the original game?

JS: Invaders from Afar adds 2 new factions that can be played at any player count, as well as components that allow Scythe to be played with up to 7 players.

DD: Is Scythe: Invaders from Afar a stand alone game or do you need the core to play?

JS: It’s an expansion--it requires the core game to play it.

DD: Can Scythe: Invaders from Afar be played solo?

You can play either of the factions or with either of the player mats in Invaders from Afar in a solo Scythe game.

We extended the Automa system, so that both the human and the Automa can play as the new factions added by this expansion.

DD: So tell me about Scythe: The Wind Gambit, what does it add to the original game?

JS: The Wind Gambit adds a new type of unit, airships, as well as a variety of new ways to trigger the end of the game.

DD: Is Scythe: The Wind Gambit Expansion a stand alone game or do you need the core to play?

JS: It’s an expansion--it requires the core game to play it.

DD: Can Scythe: The Wind Gambit Expansion be played solo?

JS: Similarly to Invaders, yes.

MP: For this one we also extended the Automa system to be compatible with the new features. There is one of the “aggressive” airship abilities that are not supported, since we felt that the rules for including it would be a bit more complicated than we liked.

DD: How did you find yourself getting into making games?

JS: I’ve been designing games for fun since I was a kid, and I started pursuing it as more of a hobby through my first published game, Viticulture.

DD: What kind of board games do you prefer to play?

JS: I gravitate more towards Euro games, but I’m open to playing a wide variety of games.

DD: What is your favorite solo board game?

MP: That would be Dawn of the Zeds. It’s the most cinematic game I’ve ever played. It feels like being part of a zombie movie and at the same time it offers tension and interesting decisions.

DD: So let’s recap. Why should the readers go check out Scythe and it’s two expansions?

JS: I’d recommend starting with Scythe if you like engine-building games, and if you have fun, you might want to eventually enhance the experience by adding one or both of the expansions.

DD: Thanks so much for your time! 

JS: Thank you!

Dan Royer Dan Royer Author