Scythe Rise of Fenris Banner 2 Episode 2

Scythe – The Rise of Fenris: Episode Two

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 Rise of Fenris Banner 2 Episode 2
“National growth brought with it comfort, and with comfort, people had become restless…

“And so, skirmishes led to battles, and now war seems imminent once again…

“Many nations dread the possibility of a new war so soon after the last, but others push and prod and the threat they pose soon erase those fears…”1

Episode Two: War (October 1921)

Setup and Rules

If you read my take on Episode One, you’ll know that I was a little disappointed in the changes that Fenris brought on the first outing.  Reading through the setup directions for Episode Two brought some relief though as all changes were pushing the game in a direction of out-and-out combat, thus the name of this episode.

The biggest setup change comes in the form of a new Triumph Track.  Included within Fenris is a double-sided Triumph Track tile that you can use to overlay the printed track on the gameboard.  One side is labeled Peace, and would have been used if the peaceniks won the vote at the end of Episode One, but we’ll be playing with the War side for this outing.  Typically, the Triumph Track has two spaces for combat wins but this new track has four spaces available for combat.  In order to make room, as the Triumph Track has the same number of spaces overall, the triumphs for Six Upgrades and Build Four Structures now share a spot.  Additionally, the space for getting Eight Workers has been replaced with collecting Eight Combat Cards and the space for reaching the top of the Popularity Track has been removed completely.

Next, there is an optional setup step, referred to as Rivals.  In this step, each player is allowed to declare a “rival” by placing one ore more Stars on the opponents’ bases.  In order to retrieve these Stars, and use them on the four combat spaces on the Triumph Track, a player must win a combat against the declared rival.  By doing so, the player gets both the Star (if there are any left) as well as a bonus $5.

Lastly, each player (not Automa) is allowed to get one extra worker per territory, build one structure per territory for free, take three upgrades on their player mat, and start with an additional four popularity.  I really enjoyed how all of these enhancements allow you to get your engine moving quickly so that all characters can focus on raining down firepower amongst their enemies.

For the Automas’ extra pieces, the player draws two Automa cards per Automa and gives them each any resources that are listed in that specific portion of the card.  Saxony made out like a bandit, getting to deploy three Mechs and getting even more Combat Cards.  It’s neighbor, Crimea, didn’t make out as well, only getting to deploy one Mech but did see a huge boost in the Power Track, almost ensuring it’s victory at any early combat.  Seeing this, I chose to spend $15 to engage one of the Perks listed on my Campaign Log.  I took the +3 Power, attempting to even out the early discrepancies found between my opponents and I on the Power Track.


Quick note here, I accidentally changed the difficulty on the Scythekick app to the easiest mode when I started this episode.  It made quite a bit of difference as there are whole turns that the Automas’ cards will instruct it to skip.  I was already a few rounds when I noticed it and hey, I have a full-time job, three kids, and it’s the holidays…. I did NOT have the time to re-do this so I kept chugging along.

Unlike the first episode, I changed my strategy slightly to producing Food as quickly as possible, and spending it to Enlist Recruits.  When playing the first episode, I forgot all the times that the Automa cards enable you to take the Enlist Bonuses and missed out on a whole lot of these the first time around.  I was not going to make that mistake in Episode Two.  Plus, being able to start out with two free structures, eliminated my need to build the Mine so I could get off my little island and start producing Metal for the Mechs.

Scythe Rise of Fenris Episode 2 A
Setting up my Windmill early to help the production of the food while my workers moved out early to find the much-needed Metal.

Also, unlike the first episode, I was the first to reach the Factory (which was probably more because of the Automas playing on the easiest difficulty instead of me being some grand strategist.)  Out of the three available cards, I drew Factory Card Four which allowed me to pay a Combat Card to get three gold.  Honestly, not a very good card, especially in a scenario where combat was going to be a central tenant but the other two choices weren’t all that great either.  The real advantage was going to be the bottom row action where you can move one Mech or Character an extra space, anyways.

The first Star I grabbed on the Triumph Track was building the four structures triumph.  This was an easy get since I started with two free structures and built the Windmill early on.  Around this time, the enemies had made it across their river boundaries and were heading towards the Factory.  My leader, Anna, and a Mech met a Saxony rival on a territory just south of the Factory and engaged in the first combat.  With my two fighting units, I was able to use two Combat Cards and easily dispatched the Saxony combatants.

Scythe the Rise of Fenris Episode 2 B

At this point, battles started raging all around the Factory area.  For this episode, the Automa rules were altered slightly, turning almost every Encounter/Factory Action into an Attack Move vs. Combat Unit.  With Scythekick not recognizing the Fenris expansion, it could not handle these moves natively, so I had to pull out the rulebook and refer to the official Automa move sequences to help ensure that their moves were accurate.  All Factions were able to capitalize on the Rivals portion of this episode, scoring the extra Stars and gaining the bonus $5, when applicable.

Conclusion & Rewards

Regardless, it was not enough to defeat my Republic of Polania, as I came out on top with 104 points.  Saxony ended with 62 and Crimea came in last again, with only 60.  Again, this was probably vastly impacted by the Automa difficulty as they had a multitude of turns where they didn’t do anything.  This gave me a vast advantage of being able to spread out my workers and Mechs to score a lot more territories than they could cover.

For the Episode Rewards, I have now unlocked something called Mech Mods.  These mods are represented by cardboard tiles with additional Mech/Character abilities branded on them.  I was able to get one for free and then I spent $25 on one more.  These chosen tiles will stay with me for the rest of the campaign and at the beginning of each future episode, I can choose to lay them over one of the four printed Mech/Character abilities.  You are able to use them in any combination and as many as you want but once you’ve picked them for an episode, you have to use the ones chosen until the end of the episode.  The two mods I grabbed were:

  • Reinforce: Before combat, you may move your combat units from adjacent territories to the combatting territory.
  • Regroup: You may retreat to adjacent territories you control.

But don’t think that you’re getting off easy, with all your new shiny Mech Mods while the Automas are forced to continue using their old rust buckets.  While the Automas don’t exactly get the same Mech Mods, they do get to remove some randomly from the game and then a chart printed in the book shows what additional resources they will get at the beginning of all future episodes.  In my case, Saxony will start with one Mech, one Worker, one Gold, and +2 on the Power Track.  Crimea will get one Mech, one worker, and +1 on the Power Track going forward.

I definitely enjoyed the focus on combat in this episode.  Thematically, I liked how to wage war during the game, you really had to place a high level of importance on deploying your Mechs quickly and then you are rewarded at the end of the game with these really cool Mech Mods.  Now the only problem is going to be picking which of my mods to replace which of my standard actions in every game!

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 *