My Little Scythe: Have Yourself an Adorable Family Game Night
Have you ever thought to yourself that there weren’t enough board games about amassing friendship points and having pie battles? Well your adorable dreams have come true because My Little Scythe is real, and making friends and fighting with pies are both actual ways to win. Read on if for some reason that isn’t enough to sell you on this game, because this game gets even more fantastic the more you hear about it.
Perhaps the very coolest thing about My Little Scythe is that it began as a fan project by a father/daughter team - Hoby and Vienna Chou. They loved the board game Scythe, but they wanted to make something more accessible for kids like Vienna. They offered their creation as a print and play game, it caught the attention of publisher Stonemaier Games, and their dream became a reality. Vienna was just 6 years old at the time - the same age as our son.
I think that one of the secrets of My Little Scythe’s greatness is that behind the cute exterior lies an extremely well-balanced and incredibly interesting strategy game. The problem for fans of cuteness is that games that unabashedly pursue an adorable aesthetic are often catering to a very young crowd. And they are usually very low on the difficulty scale. But My Little Scythe is so fun and challenging it would be a welcome addition to an adult game night as well.
Typically we play a lot of cooperative board games with the kids in our house, and very few of the competitive games we own involve any kind of player confrontation at all. So I have to say - I really love that the confrontations in this game are actually pie battles. Since our kids are 6 and 3 now, I just think it’s so cool that their first introduction to “attacking” other players in board games is through a pie fight. Not everything has to be trying to kill each other. It’s an adorable concept, and it’s a big part of the strong family-friendly vibe.
My Little Scythe is set in the Kingdom of Pomme during the great Harvest Tournament, and right in the middle of the board is Castle Everfree. Each player controls two animal miniatures that are going to move around the map on their quest to earn 4 trophies. The winning faction will be the new rulers of the kingdom, so there’s a lot on the line.
There are 8 possible trophies to earn and you only need 4 to win the Harvest Tournament, so there is a very good amount amount of variability and strategizing in this game. I really love that this isn’t a linear game with clear paths. You have to plan, and be open to your plans changing. It’s very hard to predict what trophies people are going to go for, and I still have no idea what strategy is best - a good sign of longevity in my opinion.
As you’re moving your cute animal characters around the board you’re going to be collecting apples and gems along the way. You can deliver these to Castle Everfree, or you could also bake some apple pies or purchase spells to help you in pie fights with your opponents. You can also purchase upgrades that may help you along the way. And, by the way, every single one of those choices is a way to earn a trophy.
But my absolute favorite way to earn a trophy is to amass friendship points. When you roll the dice and add more apples and gems to the board - you have the option of placing them right on top of your opponents. You get a friendship point for being such a good buddy and helping your enemies. And if you earn 8 friendship points you get a trophy. Of course they can use those items to beat you, but don’t worry. The tiebreaker in this game is friendship points! And once you’ve earned the friendship trophy, feel free to turn into a backstabbing pie flinger and steal all that stuff back.
Before you start the game, everyone is dealt a secret personality card. This card makes it easier for you to earn one of the 8 trophies. For example, maybe you only need to turn in 3 apples instead of 4 to Castle Everfree. If you’re wondering if your kids need to be able to read to play this game, this personality card is the only secret bit of reading that players are supposed to do. You could also very easily just make everyone’s personality public knowledge, but clever little ones should also be able to memorize the pictures on each card after flipping through them a few times with their parents.
This secret strategy of the personality cards is now the source of a fond memory for me. Last time we played My Little Scythe our son chose to roll the dice on his turn to add more apples and gems. He chose to place down 2 apples and 1 gem on our characters to earn 3 friendship points. He moved his friendship counter up counting aloud “5, 6, 7… and that earns me a trophy because THAT’S MY SECRET PERSONALITY!” He was really excited to see his plan materialize - and I felt so happy for him.
I really love playing strategy games with the family. But it can also be a delicate balance playing with a 6-year-old in competitive games like this. It’s true that growing as a thinker and a planner is very beneficial and it can be so rewarding - just like the story of my son’s triumphant plan. But at the same time strategy games can easily turn into a source of frustration for little ones - particularly when they’re constantly playing against people who are 30 years older than they are.
That’s when it’s time to step back and reinforce the concept that the goal of playing games is to have fun. And the great thing about My Little Scythe is that the aesthetic makes it very difficult not to have fun. This is a feel-good game. It makes us happy to play. You simply must get your hands on these miniatures to understand what I mean. The whole game is so detailed and vibrant - it feels like a hit cartoon or graphic novel waiting to happen. They even named every single animal character in the game. I desperately want to see this Harvest Tournament make its way to another medium.
The box says 8+ for the age recommendation, but our 6-year-old doesn’t have any issues at all. Rounds we’ve played so far have ranged from 20 minutes to 45 minutes in length, but turns are actually very quick and attention span has never been an issue. It certainly helps that the entire setup is so stinking cute. Engagement is definitely a non-issue here - it’s an absolute blast.
I’m in awe of the creation of Hoby and Vienna Chou. I very much love the fact that this game was created by a father and his 6-year-old. What an amazing accomplishment - and an amazing bonding experience. I’m left inspired to hopefully build something great like this with my own kids one day.
Have you played My Little Scythe yet? What do you think about having a pie battle with your family? Or are you more of a friendship points kind of person? Let us know in the comments!