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Scythe – The Rise of Fenris: Episode Four

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. 

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Episode Four: Fenris (September 1922)

“Shortly after Vesna’s rescue from the Factory, the countryside reports of ‘strange soldiers with glowing eyes’ began to once again spread throughout the land.  These frightening, empty-eyed hell agents were said to call themselves ‘Fenris,” and in light of Vesna’s report, these stories were taken much more seriously than before… 

“Fenris seems to strike randomly, and as far as anyone can tell, no nation has remained untouched by their violence and chaos.  They appear, seemingly from nowhere to strike at patrols of soldiers, or to pillage a farm or market, then seem to vanish…” 

“With Vesna’s dynamic technological resources and growing influence, she has begun to establish herself as a sort of ‘world’s police,’ standing in the way of any one nation accumulating too much power.  But, though she remains popular, more than a few national leaders grow uneasy at her alarmingly rapid rise to power, and they all now watch her with growing wariness…” 1

Vesna Faction 

Before jumping into the meat of this episode, I wanted to take a minute to give some details on the new Vesna Faction that I have taken over as in my campaign.  All of the pieces for the Faction come packed into it’s own box, emblazoned with the icon of Voltan, Vesna’s dog/wolf/strange creature with glowing eyes.  Her Faction color is a really nice teal that certainly pops against the drab color palette of the base Factions.

Vesna stands out in two key areas.  The first is that her board is only printed with two Character/Mech abilities, leaving the other two spaces blank.  The Vesna punchboard came with 18 teal-rimmed tokens that are similar in nature to the Mech Mods we discussed in a previous episode.  Each game that is played with Vesna, the player will randomly draw six of these tiles and then choose which ones they want to play the round with.  This is an excellent way that a player can vary their playstyle depending on which tiles are selected.

The second key area is in her Faction Ability, called Technophile.  After the necessary Factory Cards are placed on the board, an additional three Factory Cards are placed face up, near Vesna’s board for her to use.  In addition to these cards, Vesna can still collect the standard single card from the Factory during a round.  The catch here is that once a player utilizes any of these Factory cards once, it is returned to the box and is not used again.  This is a neat mechanism giving Vesna a wider array of Factory Abilities to use, but needing to make decisions on when to use them as they are only usable once.

So, that’s the Vesna Faction.  Now, let’s see how she plays… 

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Vesna has entered the chat.

Setup and Rules

On the surface, the setup for Episode 4 wasn’t much different from a typical game.  The spiral notebook informed me to open another new box containing eight orange Fenris meeples, fully silhouetted with tiny assault rifles.  A single Fenris agent was placed on each of the Tunnel locations and then two were placed on the Factory.  The rules stated that the game could end once all eight Fenris agents were subdued.  To do this, a Character or Mech had to move onto the Fenris agent’s location, and then flip the top Combat Card.  The player then had to pay the number shown on the card using a combination of Power, Coins, and/or Popularity.  Once paid, the Fenris agent would be moved to the player mat for use at the end of the game.

The Automas had slightly different rules when it came to subduing an agent.  First, they didn’t even have to be on the actual location, they just needed to be in the neighborhood.  Second, as long as the Combat Card that was drawn was not of the value 5, the Automa automatically subdued the agent.  From reading this, I figured I was going to have to get to the agents quickly in order to subdue more than Crimea or Saxony.

For this reason, I made sure to choose the Vesna Mech Ability called Underpass, that would allow me to travel from Mountain locations to Tunnels, where the Fenris agents were stationed.  I spent the $15 needed to enable a perk, which this time was the extra two Combat Cards.  This decision was inspired by the three extra Factory Cards I had, all requiring me to spend Combat Cards to trigger. 

My player mat was set, the Automas had been granted all of their individual bonuses, and the board was set.  Time to put Vesna’s abilities into action.

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The Fenris Agents materialized from nowhere…


As stated earlier, I definitely wanted to trigger my Mech’s ability Underpass so that I could sweep through the Tunnel locations, subduing Fenris agents as I went.  Of course, to do this, I needed a Mech.  With relocating bases to the Rusviet base, I did start out with a Mountain location so that I could start mining Metal immediately.  By the time I got this first Mech up and running, Crimea had already moved out of her base and had subdued her first Fenris agent.  Seeing how fast the first agent had been grabbed, I needed a plan to get some Stars on the board before the end of the game, that might be coming a lot faster than in a standard play.

On the Patriotic playmat, the Upper Row Action of Movement is paired with the Bottom Row Action of Upgrading.  I decided since I’d probably be moving from Tunnel to Tunnel a lot in this game, that I would shoot for winning the Triumph of having all six upgrades.  This would also allow me to build my Mechs faster and possibly speed up my Enlistments, if I chose to go that route.

In the next few turns, as I built up some coins, popularity, and power so that I could subdue an agent, Crimea was the first to move to the Factory and subdued both agents there.  All of a sudden, she had three agents though I was able to grab my first on the next turn.  Like that, four agents had been subdued and the game was possibly already half-way over.

On the Saxony side of things, the Empire kept drawing cards to place Workers and to Move Workers so while they weren’t getting any agents, they were sweeping that side of map, eating up a lot of the vacant locations.  I decided it was time to use up one of my Factory cards, and by doing so, I was able to grab my second Fenris agent.  It was then that the match hit a flurry of activity.

In a matter of turns, Saxony met Crimea in combat for the first time and scored their first Star, and then rapidly gets their first Fenris agent and then another Star on subsequent turns.  During this I spread out some Workers and got my third agent.  Crimea hammered back, killing off one of my Workers and taking over it’s location, all while scoring 16 Power and getting a Star for that Triumph.  I needed something to turn the tide as I was not making much headway in the Triumph department.

Using a Factory Card, I was able to raise my Popularity to the 2nd tier, to match my opponents.  At this point I also entered my first combat, invading a Saxony region and scoring a win.  There was only one Fenris agent left and I knew if I went for it now, I’d end the game with more agents (though I still didn’t know the reward) but I was going to lose the match badly which was going to severely impact the amount of money I put in my coffers back home.

I finally finished all six of my Upgrades, so I was able to get a 4th Star, though Crimea was awarded her 5th at around the same time.  What was I to do?  I had one less Star than Crimea and I didn’t have many on the horizon and we were tied for number of Fenris agents subdued.  I decided to pull the plug, subdue the last agent and call it a game.

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Conclusion & Rewards

Yes, I had ended the game with a total of four Fenris agents, but my final score was a paltry 53.  Crimea won three Fenris agents and scored 65.  Saxony, who had barely even gone for any agents, and made a minor dent in the Triumph Track ended up scoring a total of 71 for the win because of the sheer number of territories they owned and the amount of money they racked up.

Disappointed by my loss but excited to see what treasures awaited me for collecting the most Fenris agents, I read on… and the disappointment train just kept on rolling.  I would get X amount of Setup Bonuses for every two Fenris agents I collected, rounded up.  That’s it?!  I walked away with a +2 Popularity gain for all my hard work?  On the other hand, I was able to now unlock the other types of Mods in the expansion, Infrastructure Mods.  These are mods you can choose at the beginning of a match, and they have a one-time use per game.  I ended up grabbing the tiles for Construction and Cavalry, excited to put them into use on the next episode.

This episode gave me mixed feelings.  On the positive side, I loved trying out the Vesna Faction.  On the negative side, I wished it would have been in a match that was more standard instead of one with the added Fenris agents.  On another positive side, all mods are now unlocked moving forward but negatively, the reward for the Fenris agents was a huge letdown.  Oh well, I’m still happy with the campaign at the half-way mark and looking forward to what is in store in the latter half.

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

1 thought on “Scythe – The Rise of Fenris: Episode Four

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