Rise of Fenris Banner 5

Scythe – The Rise of Fenris: Episode Five

The following writing is part of a series detailing the individual episodes of the Scythe expansion The Rise of Fenris.  Please note, there will be SPOILERS.  If you have not played this expansion and want it to be a fresh experience when you do, please stop reading now.  

Scythe is one of my favorite games and because of that, I’ve wanted to do either a write-up or a video on it since I started this website, but what to do?  There is already so much content produced about this game, what would differentiate mine from the others?  To answer this question, I’ve looked to the expansion, The Rise of Fenris.  As this expansion is campaign based, I will be detailing each of my episodic playthroughs and discussing some of the happenings within the game as well as my thoughts on each episode’s contents.  

I’m playing through this whole expansion between myself and two Automa characters, so look for added commentary on how this experience is working.  Please note that, when possible, I am using the Android app, Scythekick, created by Timothy Cherna, to control the Automa characters.  While the Android version does not have support for the Rise of Fenris expansion, it can still help with handling a lot of the movement rules and the multiple Automa decks.  If needed, I am referring to the official rules on Automa movement and combat. 

Rise of Fenris Banner 5

Episode Five: Factory Fortress (April 1923)

“Slowly, persistently, Fenris had spread more discord and more influence, and this had caused great concern throughout Europa as governments grew even more wary…

“The emperor of Saxony and the tsar of the Rusviet Union were both assassinated, and across Europa, misfortune befell nations in ways that were too suspicious to be mere coincidence.

“Many believe that Fenris has established itself at the Factory, and gradually every nation has come to the same daunting conclusion: they must strike at the heart of Fenris…” 1

Setup and Rules

Much like Episode Four, the setup changes for Episode Five seemed to center around the Factory.  The orange Influence Tokens were placed at all tunnels surrounding the Factory, along with the three land territories adjacent to the Factory, creating a veritable wall of tokens that players were going to have to wade through in order to visit the Factory.  Finally, on the Factory itself, the notebook instructed me to place Box C there, unopened and full of mystery.

Scythe the Rise of Fenris Episode 5 A

Rules wise, not much was changed except I did get a hint about why the Influence Tokens had been placed.  If any type of unit landed on a territory containing the token, the player would have to pick it up and movement would immediately cease.  At the end of the game, each Influence Token would be worth -$1, though I did note that the Automa’s would not have to deal with this as the tokens they picked up would not go against their money count in the slightest.  Lastly, if anyone landed on the Fortress, I was to open Box C, turn the page in the campaign notebook for an alternate end-game condition. Even though I lost Episode Four, I enjoyed my time playing as Vesna.  Excited to give it another whirl, I grabbed my six random Vesna tokens out of the bag and laid them out on the table.  They were… less than stellar.  Especially when paired with the slate of Mech Mods I had previously purchased.  I decided on choosing Township, Stealth, Feint, and Reinforce but this time I skipped the perk and saved myself $15.  I made sure all was set correctly on the Mechanical board that I had drawn, started up the ScytheKick app, and got down to brass tacks.


Obviously, the mystery of what was in Box C was intriguing to me but it was also strange to me that the book didn’t mention that the game would end after reaching the Factory.  Instead, it had just made mention of an “alternate” end-game condition.  This made me pause slightly as I stared at the three Factory cards I started with, thanks to Vesna’s Technophile ability.  All three cards required that I spend Combat Cards to activate and this was going to put me at a serious disadvantage if it came to combat.  At the same time, they were really nice cards that if activated early, could get me quite a few resources and swift movement around the board.

For my opening move, I opted to use one of the Factory cards and spent my only Combat Card but in return, I was able to have my Character grab an Objective Card right away, along with getting to move up two steps in Popularity, instantly catching up to the two Automa’s on this track.  Then the Objective Card allowed me to select an option which gave me two more on the Power track and I was that much closer to the two Automa’s there.  I felt good about this since both Crimea and Saxony start with so many Mechs and Workers on the board due to their modification bonuses.

On turn three, I even got my first Mech out, which is slightly quicker than normal but Crimea was already starting to swarm the board as soon as it activated it’s Riverwalk ability.  A round or two later, the app is telling me to already move Zebra’s Character model onto the Factory, and just like that, I’m getting to unveil what is in Box C.  Granted, my faction wasn’t the one opening the box, but there was no promise that what was inside was going to be a force for good or evil, so I was just excited to see what came of the mystery.

Inside the box stood a giant orange Mech named The Annihilator, and it immediately entered combat with poor Zebra, who pitifully put up no struggle against it.  Please note, if the Automa was the first to open the box, they have no choice but to automatically lose so let’s not feel too bad for our hawk carrying friend just yet.

Scythe the Rise of Fenris Episode 5 B

The gist of The Annihilator is that each round, both die would be rolled, with the lowest die representing it’s power for that round.  This Mech was stationary, never leaving the Factory, but if anyone dared go against it, they would have to battle against the summation of it’s Power value as well as the values on the Combat Cards.  This means, that at it’s lowest amount of Power, The Annihilator would at least wager nine Power, but you would have to get extremely lucky to roll such a low number and draw four 2 value Combat Cards.  The new condition to end the game was either by placing the sixth Star on the Triumph Track (as usual) or by defeating The Annihilator.

The next few turns, I attempt to build up my forces, grabbing my first Start for eight Workers and another Star for four Mechs.  My rationale was that I wasn’t ever going to fight the gigantic Mech, but maybe I could get away with placing six Stars on the Triumph Track quickly.  The other thing that took place when the box was opened, was that the Popularity of both Automas fell from it’s normal place at space ten, all the way to space two.  Once the Automas’ Star Tracker reached the fourth row (which I believe is round 12), their Population marker would move back up to space ten.  So, if I could generate the six Stars quick enough, I’d be able to catch them at a much lower Popularity level than myself.

Scythe the Rise of Fenris Episode 5 C

While this plan was grand in my head, I immediately stalled out after my second Star and just couldn’t figure out the best route to getting more.  Both of my Quest Cards stunk, I currently had no way of generating Wood and I was still staying holed up right around my headquarters so Combat didn’t seem all that possible.  My Upgrades were coming along nicely but it felt much too slow especially since at this point, Crimea had gotten three Stars placed and Saxony had a whopping four!

As I finally grabbed my third Star for the Upgrades Triumph, I realized I needed to start spreading out quickly so that I could at least get points for controlling territories.  Both Automas had taken turns attaching The Annihilator but they continued to lose, sending their poor Character and Mech models back to their Player Boards.  Just as I thought Saxony was finally going to grab his last Star, the Automa card that was drawn was one of them that didn’t allow his Star Tracker to move.  This was great news as I was given one more chance and was able to finagle my way into the third tier of the Population Track.

Unfortunately for all of us, Crimea got another chance to go up against The Annihilator and this time tied with 13 Power.  Because attackers win, Crimea had defeated the gigantic monstrosity, scored her sixth Star, and ended the game.    

Conclusion & Rewards

For the second game in a row, I lost to my artificial opponents.  Saxony only beat me by one point (65 to 64) but Crimea destroyed both of us with a whopping 90 points.  Crimea also gets the opportunity to play the next game as the newly unearthed Fenris Faction, housed in a black and orange box.  We will explore what is inside in Episode Six, so that’s exciting.

Scythe the Rise of Fenris Episode 5 D

I enjoyed the way this episode introduced a stationary enemy that was attempting to fight against all opponents.  I do think that my choices for mods this round were not conducive to the goal at hand but at the same time, I like that the episodes can still throw curveballs and that I’m not just mowing down every challenge left and right.  Onwards to (hopefully) discovering what these Fenris guys want and who exactly is their leader, causing all this mayhem throughout Europa.

1The Rise of Fenris campaign notebook created by Jamey Stegmaier and based on the characters and world created by Jakub Rozalski

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *