After the big ending to Episode 3 where the Saxony player transformed into the Vesna Faction, we were intrigued as to what Episode 4 had in store for us. Inquiring minds what to know! So my intrepid readers, read on and find out!
Episode 4: Fenris begins with a narrative that the “strange soldiers with glowing eyes” had returned to Europa. And sure enough, the setup instructions say to Open Box B and place one new “Fenris Agent” on each tunnel and two agents on the Factory.
— Box B and the “Fenris Agents”. Note: these are the upgraded meeples available thru Stonemaier Games/Meeplesource
The Special Rules included the way to “combat” these Fenris Agents. In short, a player that encounters these agents must draw a combat card for each agent, total the combat strength on those cards, and then discard any combination of power, coins, and popularity equal to that amount to defeat the agents.
Another special rule was that the game could end normally (i.e. when a player places their sixth star) but it also would end immediately when the 8th and final Fenris Agent was defeated.
For the first time so far, the Wind Gambit was an allowed component of an Episode, so we decided to include the Airships.
— setting up the board with the Airships deployed!
And of course, Neal would now give up playing Saxony and have to play the Vesna Faction. This faction’s special power is to draw 3 random Factory Cards at the start of the game. The Vesna player can use each card once, discarding it after using it. Vesna also has a random draw of unique Mech Mods that can be used to customize the Vesna board every game.
— the Vesna components. Love the color!
The Vesna player ended up deploying a combination of previously purchased Mech Mods and random Mech Mods: Underpass, People’s Army, Comraderie, and Speed.
After passing out factions and random player boards, we had the following turn order:
Bob – Clan Albion
Stew – Rusviet
Lee – Crimean (switched at end of last episode from Togawa Shogunate)
Neal – Vesna
We shuffled and randomly chose the following Airship cards:
Aggressive: Bombard (use resources to reduce opponent’s power)
Passive: Boost (+1 Speed from home base or hex with the Airship)
With Boost, all players sprinted out toward encounters and the Tunnel spaces. It promised to be a mad rush to get to the Fenris Agents. We didn’t know what benefit would be procured by defeating them, but with Boost we were going to find out quickly.
On Turn 3 Vesna completed the first Objective, Machine over Muscle by having 1 Mech, a Factory Card, and less than 3 workers. That was a very lucky card draw indeed since Vesna starts with Factory cards.
But on Turn 4 Rusviet matched it by completing Stockpile for the Winter by having 9+ resources and 1 of each type.
Then we started quickly dropping the Fenris Agents! First Vesna got 1, then Crimea got 1, then Rusviet got 1 too!
Crimea got too close to the Vesna Airship which used Bombard to decimate the Crimean Power which allowed a Vesna Mech to rout a Crimean Mech. Vesna now had 2 stars.
The combination of Boost and the alternate ending caused the game to accelerate rapidly. Rusviet used its ability to move turn after turn to nab its 2nd Fenris Agent. Clan Albion then got 1. Rusviet moved again and got a 3rd. Crimea managed to build its 4th Mech and get a star.
But soon thereafter Rusviet decided to end the game by descending on the Factory and capturing the final 2 Fenris Agents which ended the game immediately.
— the end of the game with Rusviet units at the Factory
Because the game length was unusually short, no player had more than 2 stars. Clan Albion, Crimea, and Vesna were at the second stage of popularity while Rusviet was at the bottom stage. Crimea occupied the most territory and Clan Albion had a stash of coins and resources. Because Rusviet had moved so many times and fought so many Fenris Agents, it had no coins and few territories. After counting, Crimea won quite handily:
Clan Albion 29
But there was a pay off to Rusviet! After final scoring, each player gained a Setup Bonus for each subdued Fenris Agent rounded up. So while every other faction got 1 bonus, Rusviet got 3!
Also, after Episode 4 the Infrastructure Mods became available to campaigns that in Episode 2 were at war (if your campaign was at peace in Episode 2, you now have access to the Mech Mods).
This was a very fun game! The absolute speed of the Airship Boost ability combined with the special objective of subduing Fenris Agents turned the game into a mad dash! Most games of Scythe can be a bit plodding…but this Episode was completely different. It was a very pleasant break from the usual.