Scythe - The Rise of Fenris: Episode Six banner.

Scythe – The Rise of Fenris: Episode Six

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 Six banner.

Episode Six: Annihilation (July 1923)

“It looked as though it may be too late; Fenris had amassed far more power and influence than anyone feared possible…

“And then things took a turn for the worse, when the leader of Fenris revealed himself: Grigori Rasputin…

“Those already strained alliances have been shattered.  Rasputin’s appearance – and his control of the terrifying Annihilator – renew old fears and paranoia about another Great War, fracturing the continent once again…”

Fenris Faction

As I did in the write-up for Episode 4 (when Vesna was revealed), I want to quickly look at what makes the Fenris faction special.  Please note that I did not control this faction as I had previously lost in Episode 5.  For this reason, I didn’t see the majority of the Mech Abilities in action because the Automa only used a portion of the available abilities but I will still give you a few pieces of information from the rule booklet to help round out the wider picture of this faction.

Opening the Fenris box wasn’t quite as exciting as opening the Vesna box because a few of these pieces, players have already seen throughout earlier episodes.  I will say, seeing four Annihilators out on the board at any one time definitely made Fenris feel like an overpowered juggernaut that needed an alliance of nations to defeat it.  The character model is just OK, as Rasputin doesn’t seem near as creepy (and maybe even a little too campy) compared to his excellent portrait on his Faction Mat.

The Fenris Agents, with their leader Rasputin, are ready to bring annihilation to Europa.
The Fenris Agents, with their leader Rasputin, are ready to bring annihilation to Europa.

The Fenris Faction Ability is called Influence and players get to bust out one of the first components they ever used in this expansion – the orange Influence Tokens.  As the Rasputin character model moves around the board, he leaves a trail of Influence Tokens as well as spreading multiple tokens around the map based on what terrain he is currently occupying.  These tokens are worth -$1 a piece at the end of the game, and the map can quickly fill with them, leaving opponents little to no choice but to pick them up.

Most of the Fenris Mech Abilities give them the ability to move in extraordinary ways.  Leap lets them literally leap over a hexagon and Fanatical lets them teleport to non-adjacent hexagons as long as they contain an Influence Token.  The other two abilities are geared towards being overly aggressive on the map.  Horrify rewards your opponent with extra Influence Tokens for each combat and non-combat piece that Fenris forces to retreat while Death Ray amps up the number of Combat Cards that can be played.

With the Automa controlling Fenris, the faction seemed a little substandard since the Automa really didn’t utilize the awesome movement functions but it did spread plenty of Influence Tokens around, to the detriment of myself and to the Saxony nation.

Setup and Rules

Since the Fenris Faction had just been activated, Episode Six returned to the nuts-and-bolts of Scythe, allowing me and my opponents to play a straight forward game with no caveats. As I was still Vesna, I picked out a few of my Mech Abilities I had drawn, this time opting for Submerge, Tactics, and Reinforce. These three, along with the printed ability for Speed would hopefully get me moving around the board quickly and help with some extra firepower if I had to resort to combat. I also chose not to spend any money on perks, instead saving that money to buy some more Infrastructure Modifications at the end of this round. Even though you only get to use each Infrastructure Mod once during a game, they can be very powerful, typically letting you deploy a Mech, or build a building, for free and instantly.

My player mat was ready, the Automas had been granted all of their individual bonuses, and the board was set. Time to see how powerful Fenris really was.


Right away on my first turn, I used my Assembly Line mod, allowing me to put out a free Mech.  This unlocked the Submerge ability so that I could ditch my starting area and head to the Factory.  One of my Objective Cards was to have a single Factory card and zero upgrades, so I figured the earlier I could get there, the better and this would be an easy Star on the Triumph Track.  On my way to getting there, I unlocked another Mech, granting me Speed and the ability to move an extra hexagon with my character or Mechs.  The downside here was that Rasputin was already moving about the board, dropping the dangerous Influence Tokens as he went.

The Influence was spreading.
The Influence was spreading.

Even though I had to pick up a token on the way, I did make it to the Factory first, and scored the first Star on the Triumph Track for that aforementioned Objective.  Saxony was right on my heels though, grabbing his first Star on the next turn.  Fenris had, unluckily for them, drawn a few Automa cards that didn’t progress their token on the Start Chart, so they weren’t quite as far along as Saxony, but would be arriving on the Triumph Track soon enough.

With two Mechs already out, I zeroed in on getting all four out, which I soon did and was the first player to get a second start on the Triumph Track.  By this point, both Automas had moved into the second phase of their Automa decks, meaning combat was bound to start.  Thankfully, Fenris attacked Saxony first, scoring their first combat Star on the Triumph Track.  Almost immediately on the next turn, Fenris again attacked Saxony, gaining a second Star for combat.  Saxony was taking a beating in the combat zone but was also picking up Influence Tokens left and right.  This was one part of this round I didn’t care for as I saw no provision in the instructions for the Automa to attempt to avoid moving onto spots with Influence Tokens.  At this point, Saxony had already racked up four Influence Tokens.

With Fenris being as aggressive as they were, I decided to get in on the combat action.  Kicking Saxony while they were down, I took out one of their Mechs around the Factory, gaining my third Star and then followed that up quickly with my fourth and fifth Stars for gaining all my Workers and all my Recruits.  Working on my Enlistments early was a great idea, as it provided a lot of bonuses and even allowed me to score my sixth and final Star by reaching 18 points on the Popularity Track.

The Triumph Track was busy this episode.
The Triumph Track was busy this episode.

Conclusion & Rewards

With scoring all six Triumphs as well as being in the top-tier of the Popularity Track, I felt pretty safe in a win while tallying up our points.  I scored 74 while Fenris scored 63 and Saxony, bringing up the rear, was only awarded 54 points.  There were no real episode rewards for this one, outside of the normal purchasing of modifications.  That was a little disappointing but seeing as the game just unlocked a new faction, I could understand there not being another large game changing reward.  Hopefully, there will be something cool unlocked after Episode Seven, changing things up dramatically for Episode Eight.

Unlike my criticism of Episode 4, I enjoyed how the designers had this episode play out as a normal round to see how the new faction played.  Unfortunately, the Automa wasn’t really made to show off the full gamut of Fenris’ abilities.  I think this episode would have gone down much better with a live player as Fenris, though I think without a third Automa, it might have gotten annoying being the lone punching bag for them.  Maybe two live players (one being Fenris) and a single Automa would be the sweet spot for this episode.

Episode 6 D

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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