Scythe the Rise of Fenris banner episode three

Scythe – The Rise of Fenris: Episode Three

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 banner episode three

Episode Three: A Plea from Vesna (March 1922) 

“I am Vesna, daughter of Nikola Tesla.  I write to you requesting your help.  Please understand that this is a measure of last resort… 

“Since closing the Factory, my father and I have been living in the secure inner hold, working on a new technology which Father hopes will be his salvation… 

“I ask for your help, not to protect myself, but my father.  If I can escape this place, he can end his work on these horrific machines…” 1

Setup and Rules

Going into Episode Three, all thoughts were on the newly discovered Mech Mods.  I decided to go with both Reinforce and the Regroup mod for this match, as it looked like I was going to have to hit the Factory a lot, and if I ever lost, I didn’t want to have to move my Character or Mechs all the way back to my base.  So, why exactly did I think I’d have to fight for the Factory more so than in a normal game?

The setup instructions explained where to find a hidden Factory card in the expansion box, and this Factory card was unlike any others.  This special card only had the painted visage of Vesna on it, the daughter of Nikola Tesla.  In earlier episode text, she had only ever been hinted at, but we now had a name and a face to go along with the text outlined in this episode’s introduction.  Along with the new Vesna card, I had to add four more Factory cards to the pile, bringing the total up to nine Factory cards.  A quick dump of the expansion’s Influence Tokens into a pile and I was done with the altered setup for this episode.

In order to handle all the extra Factory cards, the rules for this episode were also slightly altered.  Once a Character reached the Factory spot, the player (or Automa) was instructed to grab a single Influence Token and add it to any they had already collected.  At this point, the player counted up the number of Influence Tokens they held, and they could then draw that many Factory cards.  If the Vesna card was within the drawn cards, they selected it and held it till the end.  If Vesna was not one of the drawn cards, the player or Automa was instructed to take a Factory card as normal (unless they already had gotten one, then they would just put the cards back in the stack.)  Basically, this mechanism gave players an incentive to visit the Factory more than once, to increase the number of cards to draw, effectively increasing their chances to draw the Vesna card. Obviously, I didn’t know what the reward for the Vesna card would be, but it seemed worth the trouble to hunker down at the Factory and find it first.  I would not be able to stay on the Factory space with my Character to gain another Influence Token, but I could move off and then back on using a +1 Speed Mech ability.

I drew the Industrial player mat for this round and decided to forego paying an extra $15 for any perks, hoping my Mech Mods could handle what I needed of them.  It was time to find Vesna… 


As in previous episodes, the act of getting Anna out of her base can be a little challenging, as there is no Metal readily available to build Mechs.  Instead, I started farming Wood to construct the Mine to use to get across the river.  I ended up getting across the river on the same turn that my opponents, Crimea and Saxony, both did but they had amassed many more forces by this time.  Crimea had two Mechs and five Workers, while Saxony was strolling out with two Mechs and six Workers. Poor Polania still only had two workers and zero Mechs, but that wasn’t going to stop me from getting to the Factory and start searching for the elusive Vesna card.

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Not a lot of Polania troops on the board…

While my workers hit the mountain for the Metal and I was finally able to raise a Mech, Saxony and Crimea started clashing in combat.  Saxony is the winner of the first combat and then quickly scores another Star from his Star Tracker.  Crimea is right behind with her first Star from her Star Tracker so now both Crimea and Saxony are on the board, but still no Polania.

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Zehra prepares to take on a Saxony Mech while leader Gunter looks on.

So, what was I doing while my two opponents were busy racking up Stars?  Well, my friends, I had sneakily gotten to the Factory with my Character and a single Mech and was busy using turns to just move off of the Factory and back on, in order to search the deck for the Vesna card.  Three times this happened and each time, I came up empty.  Saxony even grabbed it’s third Star while I was doing this.  I was starting to re-think my strategy but I just had a really good feeling about being the first Faction to grab the special card.  Finally, after having four Influence Tokens, meaning I was going to get to draw four of the eight (down from nine since I had already collected my normal Factory card to use), I found the Vesna card.  But at what cost did this come?  I had ZERO Stars on the board at this point, and Crimea just got her third Star on her next turn!

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The elusive Vesna appears.

Now if you’ve played Scythe before, you’re aware you can’t just take the same action over and over again.  I bring this up because I was only able to move on and off the Factory on every other turn, so thankfully I was using those other turns to build up some forces.  After finding Vesna, I was able to score two Stars on a single turn by having all eight Workers and launching my fourth Mech.  I had also been raising my Popularity Tracker so even if I didn’t score as many Stars as my opponents, each Star I did score was going to be more valuable.  When I did the move action, I was able to move two units, one being my Character at the Factory, but I had been moving a Mech around and dropping Workers off at different zones as well, hopefully spreading my empire enough to make up for my lack of objectives being met.

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It’s like on The Office when Michael, Dwight, and Andy are pointing finger guns at each other.

Conclusion & Rewards

The Saxony Empire ended up grabbing it’s sixth Star on turn 21 and the game was over.  All three scores were ultra-close.  Both Crimea and myself ended with 75 and Saxony came up third with 72.  According to the tie breaker, I ended up winning as I had an extra Structure.

As rewards, I was able to pick two Setup Bonuses, so from here on out, I will start with one extra Power and one extra Popularity.  I also had enough funds to buy two more Mech Mods, where I grabbed Feint and Stealth.  Lastly, and most importantly, I’m going to be switching to the new Vesna Faction in Episode 4.  She comes with her own box of goodies, but you’ll have to wait till the Episode 4 write-up for those details.  I also got to choose a different starting base, so I will be moving across the map to the Rusviet starting area.

I rolled a die to see if Crimea or Saxony got to change Factions, but neither did so I will continue to play against these same two opponents for the time being.  I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, as it really shifted the focus of the game to something other than the normal objective of just scoring Stars.  And obviously, the reward of a brand-new Faction to play is extremely exciting.  Stay tuned for Episode 4 so you can see what Vesna has in store for her enemies!

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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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