Review – Pie in the Sky (My Little Scythe)

Pie in the Sky is an expansion for My Little Scythe, Hoby and Vienna Chou’s kid-ified implementation of the highly successful Scythe (both published by Stonemaier Games). My Little Scythe sees the players take on the role of various animal kingdoms competing to earn trophies. Using a pair of seeker siblings (represented by some adorable miniatures) the players move around the board, collect apples and gems, complete quests, and get in pie fights. (You can check out our full review of the base game in written or audio formats).

Pie in the Sky adds two new animal kingdoms (the fox and owl). These fill out the empty slots in the molded tray in the base game box, and might excite players (especially kids) if they take a liking to the new seeker sculpts. But this is really a cosmetic addition, and the two new quest cards (each with an illustration of one of the two new animals) are minor.

The main draw of Pie in the Sky is the airship and its accompanying mechanics. Physically, the airship is a new (purple) miniature to fly around the board. Although there is only one airship, it is accessible to and can be used by everyone. Each player gets an upgraded Seek action to make use of the airship. A new custom die is included that is rolled along with the usual Seek dice. The new die dictates how far the airship can move – either 6 spaces, or however many trophies the player has left on their board (this aspect serves as a tiny little catch-up mechanic). The airship is moved after placing out the new resources, and can either pick up a single gem/apple or activate a kingdom-specific ability.

Both the kingdom-specific cargo hold and the ability are contained in a new adjunct player board (I was pleased to see that the illustration on the new board lines up with the illustration on the base game player board whether you put it to the right or to the left). Many of these actions put down ‘gadget’ tokens that can give a later bonus in that space/region, while others give immediate options, like placing a new resource to gain a friendship or attempting a quest. We found that players, especially the kids, tended to prefer the immediate extra option over placing a gadget token. The airship boards also have a slot for an additional trophy – when playing with the expansion you need to get five trophies to trigger the end of the game.  Note that the airship boards are illustrated as kingdom-specific, but can also be dealt out randomly.

With these elements taken together, the airship strengthens a number of aspects of the game that players might have been less enthused about. The Seek action, for example, has no immediate benefit for the player taking it (except gaining friendship), so players in our experience prefer to take other actions when possible – why Seek when I can let you Seek and then just pick up what you put down? Adding the airship lets the player add something proactive onto that Seek action. On the trophy front, we had found the delivery trophies were rarely achieved. The ability to use resources from the airship to complete deliveries makes them a lot more feasible. And needing to get five trophies necessarily pushes players into working a broader range of goals.

I had some concern that adding the airship would provide a relevant increase in the complexity level, but even our 6yo did not have a problem (although I suspect that this contributed to the general non-use of the gadget token airship actions). And it provided more of a mechanical benefit for a younger player who decides that today they just want to roll dice a lot.

Ultimately, Pie in the Sky is an excellent little expansion for My Little Scythe, providing some extra mechanical smoothness and enhanced cuteness levels in exchange for a pretty negligible complexity increase. If you’re a fan of My Little Scythe I would recommend checking it out.

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