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Scythe (SCY) WBC 2017 Report
Updated March 20, 2018 Icon Key
86 Players Steve LeWinter 2017 Status 2018 Status History/Laurels
2017 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Strong Performance In Initial WBC

Scythe’s initial year was met with great success as players competed for control of the Factory. There were a large number of repeat players across the two heats, but only 1 repeat winner. People were clearly interested in the new hotness as the demo was well attended. Three players coming straight from the demo managed to win their first heat.

The scoring in Scythe makes data crunching interesting. The average game win was decided by a 16 point difference between 1st and 2nd place, dropping to a 13 point difference in the semifinal and final games. The closest games saw first and second being decided by 4 points. Of those four games, two of them crowned winners that won as a result of the differential in points due to bidding. Those were the only two games of the tournament where bidding points differentiated between the winner of the game and a game without scoring. While the story of the game appeared to be large point differentials, there were several stories of players being able to win if they had been able to end it on their own instead, suggesting that a final territory grab is highly impactful.

Pick order was clearly a big factor in winning games. A whopping 39% of first pickers were able to win their games. Second pickers won 26% of games, followed by 10% for third pickers, 19% for fourth pickers, and 7% of last pickers. You may want to avoid late picks to increase your odds of winning in the future, but the eventual tournament winner won the final with a last pick choice. The highest bid of the tournament was 10, in a semifinal, which resulted in victory but the average winning bid was only 4. I would also take this data with a grain of salt as I suspect that experienced players had a stronger feeling for what kinds of faction combinations they wanted to play.

The clear favorite faction of the tournament was Crimea, getting picked first in 65% of the games. Crimea’s flexibility in using cards as resources in addition to being a faction that quickly can jump to 5 workers means that the Crimean economic machine was hard to compete with. Crimea won more games than any other faction with 46% of the game wins. Rusviet was a clear second favorite in picks, appropriately, as they came away with 26% of the wins. The other factions were spread out roughly equally in picks with Polania and Saxony sporting 13% win rates. The poor Nords only won two games in the entire tournament for a pitiful 6% win rate.

The player mats were much more equally spread out in viability. Mechanical took the top spot with 31% of wins while the other mats hovered around a 20% win rate. The lowest were the agricultural and engineering mats at 17%, which both do not pay dividends for mech building. There did not seem to be a strong trend of preference for player mats based on pick order.

That being said, certain faction-mat combinations were strongest for those nations. While Crimea did well with everything, the patriotic and industrial mats seemed to be particularly strong in conjunction with the yellow menace. The Nordic mechanical combination could possibly be the best and the Nordic industrial mat was played an impressive 10 times in the tournament, although, winning only once. Polania had the most success with the agricultural mat, but the sample size of that pairing was quite small. The Rusviets, who are not allowed to be combined with industrial, were notably strongest with the mechanical mat, touting a win rate nearly as high as the best Crimean combinations. Saxony did the best with the industrial board. If you look at the resources printed on the game board and these player mats, you may be unsurprised to see that the win rates reflect some obviously strong combinations, something to pay attention to in the future!

The winner of the tournament managed to do so by getting into the third tier of popularity. Only 15 players did this across the tournament and 6 of them managed to win by doing so. The majority of players were in the second tier of popularity. Only four of the 53 players with the lowest tier of popularity managed to win their games. From a brief glance over the data, those were players who managed to quickly rush stars and territories to end the game.

At WBC, 56% of winners were the game enders. It is worth noting that 11% of players who did not end the game were able to win their games, while 58% of players who ended the game did win. We had little difficulty ending games within the allotted time frame and I do not feel that I will need to formalize any kind of delay of game rules as players moved at a respectable clip in all stages of the tournament.

Visiting the factory is one of the most exciting aspects of Scythe but it seems to have little to no impact on victory as win rates were equal for those with a 5th action space and those without. I suspect this data is largely skewed by Crimea’s dominance in the tournament and relative lack of need for increased mobility since they can use wayfaring to increase territory control very quickly. This is similarly true of finding encounters. In fact, the more encounters a player had, the less likely they were to win the game! In acquiring encounters, make sure that you are doing something else effective with your turn to maximize your efficiency.

The 5-player final began with a game of duck-duck-goose as the finalists weighed the value of each of the factions. The deliberation put into the bidding was extensive and the bids for the final were 10, 5, 2, 2, and 0 for Crimean Engineers, Rusviet Agriculturalists, Saxony Patriots, Nordic Industrialists, and Polanian Mechanics. The early game was a passive buildup of economies, where the Nords, Rusviets, and Crimeans rushed 5 workers while the Saxons and Polanians focused more on trading.

The Rusviets stormed the factory to claim an early objective card, but every other player was content to build up on their home islands for quite some time. Power levels and mech build-up were dramatic in this standoff. The speed mech was one of the earliest builds for almost every faction. At the mid-game it was clear that most players were focused on maximizing their own boards and fearful of venturing out towards the factory. Despite the standoff, almost every player had all 4 of their mechs in play.

Nordic Industries pulled ahead in stars while the Polanians used a combination of the building recruit, the monument, and encounters to push their popularity up to the third tier. A combat was won with 0 power expended as both players engaged were at 13 power and unwilling to spend any to win! The game was reaching a critical mass where it seemed that someone would have a big turn and place several stars at once. The Nords attacked the Polanians to end the game, and the Polanians simply conceded the fight stating, I will never be as strong as I am right now. It turns out they had been correct. The Polanians took in an impressive 44 coins at the end game to come away with the win, triumphing over the Nordic coin and star advantage, the Rusviet territory and factory bonuses, the Crimean economic engine, and the imposing Saxon forces. First through last was only differentiated by 11 points. Congratulations to Steve LeWinter on winning WBC’s first Scythe tournament!

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: NA
Nick Henning Rich Meyer Pierre-Luc Ramier Jeff Meyer Peter Villion
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
One of the new games at WBC this year What do I do next?
Carolyn Caton deciding the next move
for the big red machine
Scythe Finalists including GM Nick Henning
GM  Nick Henning [1st Year]  NA
 nickofthehennings@gmail.com  NA