Taking inspiration from Scythe, designer Vienna Chou, with guidance from her father Hoby Chou, wanted to create a game that was more approachable for her mother and friends to play. Inspired by Vienna’s favorite cartoon, My Little Pony, the daughter/father duo were able to develop My Little Scythe, a family-friendly game for 1-6 players.
My Little Scythe is played over a series of turns until one player triggers the game end. Each player controls two Seekers from one of seven different factions, all represented by a different species of animal. The goal of the game is to earn four of the eight available trophies as your kingdom seeks to win the Harvest Festival!
On a player’s turn, he or she chooses one of the available actions on his or her player mat, which must be different from the action selected on the previous turn. The major categories of actions are Move, Seek, and Make. Move allows you to move both of your seekers independently, and they may bring apples or gems with them as they do so.
The Seek action is how more apples, gems, and quest tokens get placed on the board. When Seeking, you roll the dice, and the color that is rolled on each die determines in which region the corresponding apple, gem, or quest token is placed. Finally, the Make action allows you to bake pies, conjure a spell, or buy a power-up for your Move or Make actions, using resources controlled by your Seekers (meaning that your Seekers are on spaces with apples and/or gems).
To win the game, a player must earn four of the available eight trophies. Each player starts with a personality card that makes one of the trophies easier to acquire, giving a bit of asymmetry. Two of the trophies involve delivering either four gems or four apples to the castle in the center of the board, bringing them there using the Move action. There are also trophies requiring the player to have eight pies, three spells, or two power-ups, which are typically gained using the Make action.
Another trophy requires eight friendship, which is usually gained by using the Seek action and placing the new apples or gems on a space with another player’s Seeker.
Completing two of the quest tokens that are placed on the board with the Seek action also nets the player a trophy. Finally, there is a trophy for winning a pie fight, which is what happens when a Seeker moves onto a space containing another player’s Seeker.
When a player ends his or her turn with four trophies, the tournament goes into its Grand Finale. Each other player without four trophies gets one final turn. On that turn, the player can earn as many trophies as they can qualify for (trophies are typically limited to one per turn).
Then, ties between players with four trophies are broken by friendship, and then the number of apples and gems controlled. My Little Scythe is a friendly game, so ties are not uncommon!
A theme can be everything when it comes to the enjoyability of a game. While a fan of Stonemaier games in general, I had a difficult time getting into Scythe; the mechs, grittiness, and direct conflict didn’t aren’t the types of games I typically go for. When the opportunity presented to have a similar experience with a different theme, I was on board.
Before you even open the box, the theme radiates from the box. Cute, colorful, fun. The board, minis and other components, while keeping the high-quality Stonemaier Games is known for, rounds out this theme, like a ray of sunshine in a box. This is a pretty stark contrast to the original Scythe; this change was an A+ for me, this is a lighter Scythe, but a good lighter. To me, this theme is much more approachable, but maybe a turn off to gamers that want a more mature, grittier gameplay experience. What’s exciting about My Little Scythe is that we don’t lose the familiarity of playing other Stonemaier Games, or even Scythe itself. Despite the change in theme, this game still has that Scythe essence, which earns Vienna and Hoby a tip of the hat.
We were able to play My Little Scythe with two players, and overall the experience went really well. We didn’t have the opportunity to have any pie fights, and there wasn’t a lot of interaction between the two of us; it makes me wonder if there is the potential that more players would equal more interaction. It seemed we were able to get all of the resources we wanted, and the only tense moment was the race to the end. I didn’t have a problem with the lack of fighting, but it did make me feel as though I was missing out on a big part of the gameplay. However, I know there are plenty of adults and children alike who would rather skip this element, so fewer players may be the way to go if you want to avoid some heartbreak. One other thing to note is that with two players, the game did seem to go kind of quickly. This may be because we were both familiar with the gameplay and more seasoned gamers, so games with newer or younger players may run a bit longer.
There are a lot of positive changes with the changes from Scythe to My Little Scythe, but one issue I’ve found for both of these games is the table footprint. The board and set up for My Little Scythe take up a lot of space, we had most of our dining room table filled up to play. This is quite a difference from a lot of children and family-based games I’ve played in the past, meaning the game can be quite the endeavor to dive into. This does, however, bridge the gap between both games; My Little Scythe feels complete because it is a vast, full game, making it feel “grown-up,” which could appeal to older children as well.
I was excited about My Little Scythe and still am! I can’t wait to see where expansions and more content take this game in the future.
I must confess that I’m not the biggest fan of Scythe. I know that it’s a very popular and well-regarded game, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t strongly appeal to me. That said, I’m willing to give any game a try, so I ended up playing My Little Scythe.
As we’ve come to expect from Stonemaier Games, the components in My Little Scythe are top-notch. Everything is big and bright, as befits a family-friendly game. The minis are nice and chunky and well-detailed, and even though we likely won’t ever paint ours, I appreciate the included painting guide for ideas of what the painted minis could look like (and the potential bonus of mini-painting as a family activity!).
But of course, games aren’t all about component quality, and fortunately, in this case, the gameplay is solid as well! It is complex enough to have meaningful decisions on your turns while still being easily accessible for children or non-gamer family members. All of the actions are fairly straightforward and easy to understand, and you will need to do a mix of Moving, Seeking, and Making in order to earn your four trophies! Speaking of which, the trophy mechanic and victory condition is my favorite part of this game. I like that you need to earn four of the possible eight trophies, leading to many different strategies being viable paths toward victory.
Your personality will give you a head start on one of the trophies, but for the others, you need to decide if you want to stockpile pies and spells, try to deliver apples or gems to the castle, or even be aggressive and try to win a pie fight against another player! I also like that the asymmetry in the game is tied only to the personality cards and not to the factions at all, so if you like to play a specific color or animal, you aren’t necessarily tied down to a particular strategy.
There is definitely a lot to like here!
On the flip side, however, this game might not be suitable for everyone. For a group of hardcore gamers or heavy strategy game fans, it may be a bit too light and family-weight. In addition, the theme may put off some more serious folks who would otherwise be drawn to its parent game of Scythe. Theme and artwork don’t particularly bother me (I’d try any game regardless of those factors), but I know that it is a concern for some folks.
Another aspect that may be a turnoff for more competitive players is that there are a lot of opportunities for ties at the game’s end. This is great for families with younger children, where it might help prevent some hurt feelings, but this might not be the game for the type of person who wants to triumph over all of the other players. On the topic of other players, while we only experienced playing the game with two people, it seems like it might be more fun with more players. The board size stays the same, so with more players, there would be more competing for quests and resources (and more opportunities to gain friendship by supplying apples or gems to other players). It was certainly fun enough at two, but I would like to get the opportunity to try it out with four or more players. I think that still speaks to its strength as a family game, though, that it is more fun to get everyone to participate. I just don’t know that I’d recommend it as primarily a two-person experience.
Overall, My Little Scythe is a light and fun family-friendly game.
I don’t know that it would necessarily be my first choice for game night, or especially for just the two of us at home, but I did enjoy playing it. I know that we’re probably not the target audience, but if you’re looking for something for the whole family to enjoy, you might like My Little Scythe!