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Scythe: A Faction Breakdown & Strategy Guide

Tips and tricks for all the starting Scythe factions!



Scythe is one of those games that are meant to be enjoyed like a fine wine; you want to take your time and savor every moment of it. If you’ve never heard of it, Stonemaier Games epic known as Scythe is an incredibly rich game with lots of mechanics and moving parts that help to keep gameplay fresh and dynamic even after many playthroughs. This is a game that combines resource gathering, territory expansion….and mechs. It’s a really fun game to play either for a night or over a weekend (leaving the board set up in a safe place of course).

There are so many things to consider when playing Scythe that it can be hard to know where to start. As such, I’ve decided to give a breakdown of each starting faction which will help new players decide which faction suits them best.

Crimean Khanate

The majority of players refer to Crimea as the yellow token faction with a rearing stallion logo. Zehra is their Heroine, and Kar is her falcon. A self-sufficient faction, their strategies develop rapidly, making them nearly unstoppable. The “Coercion” faction ability allows the player to use a Combat Card instead of a single resource per turn. When they can enlist to get those bonuses, this ability gives them an advantage early on.

Additionally, Crimea is home to unique mechs like Wayfare and Scout. With a single Move action, the Wayfare Mech can move to abandoned faction bases or Crimea. Scout Mechs are generally considered one of the most powerful mech abilities in the game, if not the most powerful. Before the player enters combat with another player, he or she can steal a Combat Card from them. 


  • Enlist as soon as possible to receive the Combat Cards reward from the Enlist action. This will greatly benefit the early game and their ability to coerce.
  • Make use of mech abilities as much as possible. While Wayfare helps to spread units across the playing field, Scout is crucial prior to combat.

Nordic Kingdoms

They appear as blue tokens with a logo that appears to be Thor’s Hammer. Nordics are presumed descendants of Vikings. They are led by their Hero Bjorn, who is accompanied by his massive ox, Mox. The faction is known for engaging in early game battles while building strong economies. During Move actions, both worker units and their faction’s ability “Swim” can cross rivers unassisted. The Nordics can take early territories outside their base, whereas other factions rely on mechs.

In addition to that, Nordic has the unique mechs Seaworthy and Artillery. They can move onto and away from Lake hexas using the Seaworthy Mech ability. Besides allowing Nordic to retreat after lost combats, it also allows them to retreat to Lake hexagons. The Artillery Mech allows them to reduce an opponent’s Power by 2 by paying 1 Power before a battle.


  • Use their Forest starting hex as an advantage. With their Build action, Nordic is one of the few factions that can craft solid strategies.
  • The workers can move to either of the two villages flanking Nordic’s starting hex. If Albion and Rusviet are in the game, be careful.
  • Decide early whether to disrupt or avoid them.Take advantage of mech abilities as much as possible. In the early game, artillery is very important.
  • Additionally, Seaworthy grants Nordic fast access to the Factory and prevents it from having to retreat all the way back to base if it loses a combat.

Republic of Polania

Polania is represented by a white token with an almost medieval-looking bear logo. Their leader is Heroine Anna, along with her bear Wojtek. As a mobile and strong faction, they often use guerrilla tactics to catch opponents off guard. They have the ability to pick two options from their Encounter Cards when they use their faction’s “Meander” ability. Other factions have only one choice. Thus, Polania relies heavily on moving about Encounter tokens and thrives on the benefits they provide.

Also unique to Polania are her mech abilities; Camaraderie and Submerge. With the Camaraderie Mech, Polania can chase workers off hexes from combat without losing Popularity. Furthermore, Submerge lets them move onto Lake hexes and transition from Lake to Lake (similar to Tunnels) on Move actions.


  • Early in the game, take advantage of the Meander faction ability. A huge advantage can be gained by getting to the first encounter in 3 – 4 turns.
  • Maximize the use of mechs. Through camaraderie, Polania gains Popularity and avoids losing it during combat. The more important factor is that Submerge is one of the strongest mechanics in the game. In addition, it increases mobility and allows you to reach the hardest parts of the map.

Rusviet Union

The Rusviet faction is regarded as the most powerful one. The red tokens with a big star logo are their symbol. Olga, their heroine, is leading the group along with her tiger Changa. The faction ability “Relentless” allows them to repeat the same turn action in parallel rounds. Since Rusviet has this ability, she can prioritize actions and complete them quickly. As a result, they can move across the board faster than other factions.

Rusviet also has the mechs Township and People’s Army. Township Mechs are able to transport to and from their villages and factories. Furthermore, People’s Army allows them to use an additional Combat Card while a worker is on a hex during combat.


  • You can get things done much faster using Relentless than your opponents. This alone offers advantages in all action rows.
  • Make use of mech abilities. Using the Township Mech, the factory is always within reach, as well as any combat between opposing factions. People’s Army, on the other hand, is extremely powerful, allowing workers to be more valuable than territory holders.

Saxony Empire

The black tokens with the wolf logo represent Saxony. Gunter and his dire wolves, Nacht and Tag, are their leaders. Scythe’s bullies are well known for their dirty tactics. As a faction, they don’t seem to have any qualms about getting their hands dirty. Saxony has an ability called “Dominate” which allows them to get no limits on how many Stars they can gain from objectives or combats. Saxony tends to favor moving around looking for fights and completing objectives as a result.

Furthermore, Saxony has the unique mech abilities of Disarm and Underpass. When a Disarm Mech is used on a Tunnel hex, opponents lose 2 Power before combat. Furthermore, the Underpass gives them free access to move between any Mountains they control as well as between Mountains and Tunnels.


  • Don’t be afraid to fight! In combat, Saxony can gain all their victory Stars, so why not make the most of it?
  • You should seriously consider completing both Objective cards. If combined with combat, Saxony will have an easy game.
  • Take advantage of mech abilities as much as possible. As lords of the mountains and tunnels, Saxony’s mechs provide them with excellent mobility. 


That’s a quick rundown of what to expect from the main factions found in this most awesome and epic of board games. Hopefully, you’ll be able to narrow down who you’ll want to play as based on your own preferred playstyle. I myself am a Saxon guy who wants to fight all the time. Not in real life though, just in the game. Ok, until next time….bye!

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