Scythe - The Rise of Fenris: Episode Seven banner.

Scythe – The Rise of Fenris: Episode Seven

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. 

Scythe - The Rise of Fenris: Episode Seven banner.

Episode Seven: The Search for Tesla (October 1923)

“Fenris was no longer working behind the scenes, pulling the strings of political fate.  With Rasputin’s public appearance as the head of Fenris, they launched an open play for power…

“Up through the summer, Fenris seemed an unstoppable juggernaut, gaining momentum like a tidal wave before crashing over their foes.  Then, they started to lose battles, and their massive Annihilators, though still overpowering, were no longer the unstoppable forces they had once been…

“Chief strategists across the continent speculated on what could have happened, but it was Vesna who proposed the most logical, and the most hopeful, speculation.  ‘My father has escaped, or he is dead…’”

Setup and Rules

The setup and rule changes for Episode Seven are heavily predicated on which of the new Triumph Tracks were not used in Episode Two.  I had previously used the War Triumph Track so for this game, it was time to try out the Peace Triumph Track.  As the name suggests, there would be no Stars awarded for any combat in this episode.  Instead, players could score for two Objective Cards this round, as well as being awarded Stars for gaining three Encounter Tokens or gaining a Factory Card.

Along with the Peace track, the rulebook instructed me to use the Alliance Mod.  I think this was my biggest problem with this episode as the Alliance modification really didn’t lend itself to Automa play.  The basis of the Alliance rules were to allow players to create alliances between each other, allowing them to share Faction Abilities, but also penalizing them (by costing coins) to start combat with an allied Faction.  With this also impacting how the Automa moved in the episode, I could not find an easy way to make it work while still using the ScytheKick app so I chose to basically ignore the Alliance Tokens altogether.

Lastly, I was instructed to place out the Encounter Tokens as usual with the additional 12th token being placed on the Factory space.  An end-of-game condition was added where as soon as one of the players picked up five Encounter Tokens, thus “finding Tesla,” the game would be over.  The possibility of the game ending without five Encounter Tokens being picked up by a single player was also an option as the normal placing of the sixth Star on the Triumph Track would also end the game.

Scythe - The Rise of Fenris: Episode Seven board game.


After playing six episodes of Fenris and playing a multitude of the base game against an Automa, I know how easy it is for them to move around the board and pick up Encounter Tokens.  For this reason, I decided that I needed to unlock the Submerge Mod as quickly as possible to get Vesna out of her starting area and onto the main board.  This would also couple up well with one of my Objective Cards where I needed to end a turn, controlling at leave five locations around a single Lake location.  On my first turn, I discarded my Assembly Line infrastructure tile and deployed the Mech that would unlock the Submerge ability.

Not only was I having to race against the Automa picking up five Encounter Tokens, but each of them got to start further on their Star Tracks, skipping the first two levels, meaning they were that much closer to placing a Star on the Triumph Track.  Right off the bat, I felt that this was probably going to be a short episode with me on the losing side.

Through the first few turns, my assumptions seemed to be proving out correct as both Fenris and Saxony grabbed three Encounter Tokens a piece, each being rewarded with a Star.  I, on the other hand, was working on getting a second Mech deployed so that I could more easily surround the nearest Lake as well as unlocking the Speed ability.  One of my infrastructure tiles was going to help me double Production for one turn and being that I had a Village in my starting area, I figured that I could easily get all my Workers on the board fairly easily.  I decided to keep my Mechs close, so that once I had all my workers, they could carry them through the Lake, setting up shop at the locations around it.

There's a lot happening on this one location.
There’s a lot happening on this one location.

While I was building up my forces, Fenris and Saxony started the first combat of the match.  Even though Fenris attacked Saxony, they ended up losing and having their Annihilator sent back to their player mat.  Luckily for them though, combat wins are not awarded in this episode so Saxony didn’t gain a Star from this.  What they did gain a Star from is that they were the first to get to and control the Factory.  At the same time, I finally was able to put my plan into action and scored a Star for meeting my Objective and an extra Star for getting all eight Workers on the board.

When Saxony grabbed their fourth Encounter Token, we arrived at a stalemate.  Both myself and Fenris had three Encounter Tokens each, so there were only two left on the board, one of them being very far south.  At this point, I thought I might still be able to move Vesna in a manner to get both tokens so I set my sights on the closest one (slightly north of my starting area) and moved out.

Saxony was the first player to get their fourth star but I was able to get my fourth one, for building all my Structures, quickly thereafter along with grabbing the 11th Encounter Token.  This left one on the board, but it was far south, and there were a lot of enemies between myself and it.  Thankfully I had chosen Stealth as one of my Mech Mods before the game started so I was able to move through these locations without starting combat.  The biggest problem now as having enough turns to get down there as I had already used up all my Factory cards which would allow me to move my character up to three spaces on one turn.

The lone token awaits.
The lone token awaits.

As I traveled south, both Saxony and myself were able to get our fifth Star.  I was starting to have serious reservations that I would be able to get the last Encounter Token before Saxony placed their sixth Star.  To hedge my bets, on one of my turns I produced two bars of Metal, so that I could deploy my last Mech and grab a Star if it looked like I was going to be beat by Saxony. Saxony and Fenris went to war one last time over the Factory place but at this point it was mathematically impossible for me to make it to the last Encounter Token before Saxony reached their last Star on their Star Track.  My last turn was used to turn in my Metal and deploy my last Mech, securing the sixth Star and the end of the game, but at what cost?  The lone Encounter Token was left on the table and nobody was able to grab the required five.


Conclusion & Rewards

The first thing the rulebook instructed me to do was to not open Box E until the start of the last episode.  It also said that I would be playing 8b (instead of 8a) and that this episode was going to be called “Mad Tesla.”  That did not sound good.

Cue the 'What's in the box?' quote from the movie Se7en.
Cue the ‘What’s in the box?’ quote from the movie Se7en.

On the positive side, after counting up all the points, I ended up winning the game with 115 coins.  Fenris surprisingly, as I don’t even remember them doing much, came in second with 91 and Saxony again brought up the rear with 80.  Going into the last episode, I had filled in four columns and two rows on my Triumph Tracker which was going to add $150 to my final score.  I used my available money to buy the Recruitment Office infrastructure mod.  I really enjoyed playing through this episode, even with the Alliances mod not working as it might with real players.  It was fun to “search” for Tesla by racing around the board, picking up the Encounter Tokens.  I just wish I had gotten the required amount to open the box!  Oh, well.  One more episode to go!

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

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