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Scythe Strategy: The Rusviet Union

Well, it’s been a long journey, but we have finally got there. Writing about the Rusviet Union means we have now covered looking at the strategy of all the factions in the base game of Scythe. From the Nordic Kingdoms to the Crimean Khanate, we’ve covered them all. Well done us.

Today we cover the final faction, the Rusviet Union, and their heroes, Olga and Changa. So, without further ado, let’s look at the Scythe Rusviet strategy.

What’s the story of the Rusviet Union?

The Rusviet Union have quite an interesting backstory in the world of Scythe as it is one of the most human stories in the game. Olga was born into aristocracy before her family fell from grace. Raised humbly, Olga fell in love with a young mech commander called Viktor. He gifted her Changa, a cub he had come across whilst on patrol. They talked of marriage and became betrothed.

Viktor went to war, and he never returned. Olga took it upon herself to join the Rusviet military intelligence in search of Viktor, her one true love, with the whole might of the Rusviet Union behind her.

A Breakdown of the Rusviet Union in the game –

The Rusviet Union are the red faction in Scythe, starting off on the far right-hand side of the board. They have the starting ability:

You may choose the same section on your player mat as your previous turn(s).

Scythe Strategy - Rusviet Union

My images for the Rusviet Union were taken in two different gaming locations with very different lighting.

Now, that is a pretty strong ability, one that has generated a fair amount of controversy online, and it seems fairly overpowered when we first look at it. That being said, it is actually really well balanced.

What is more, they have two pretty good mech abilities that make them true forces to contend with. As well as the standard Riverwalk and Speed abilities, they also have Township and People’s Army. These are:

  • Township – Move between any village you control and the Factory.
  • People’s Army – In combat where you have at least one worker you may play +1 combat card.

Once again, those are two powerful abilities, with huge potential. With that those now firmly in our mind’s eye, let’s look at how best to use them to help win the game.

The Rusviet Union Strategy

There is a common conception within the game of Scythe, that the Rusviet Union are, more or less, impossible to beat. This is a complete fallacy, they can be beaten and we have played games where they are; however, they can be incredibly tricksy due to the minority of limitations placed against them. There is nothing, more or less, that they cannot do and do quickly.

The Township ability, due to where the Rusviets start off, means that the Rusviet player can, in theory, get a mech, a worker, and Olga into the Factory by turn four of the game. Realistically, we are looking at turn five or six assuming everything goes to plan, and even then the only real threat is the Nordic Kingdoms who can also get there turn four (in theory) as well. This means they can sit happily with a Factory card before any other players get to them. It’s incredibly powerful.

That being said, that is if they neglect the rest of the game to begin withand treat it in the way I believe they are meant to treat the game – as a hard and fast hammer, striking quickly at the heart of the map. This probably won’t, however, win them the game. Scythe is, after all, at its heart, a territory control game.


The Rusviets in a 5 person game using the big board.

So, the question becomes – how do you use the Rusviet Union abilities to formulate a Scythe Strategy in which they can dominate the board? Yes, the Factory is nice, but it is not the be all and end all.

Well, for that you need to dedicate Olga, a mech, and a worker to the Factory. This will be a drain in resources, but there is a solid strategy in getting to the Factory first and holding it due to how powerful it is with the territory control aspect of the game. The goal for the rest of the units, however, is to spread out behind the Factory.

One of the strongest tricks with the Rusviet Union is to spread out in a triangle, funnelling into the Factory using a mixture of workers and mechs, and this is where the real difficulty comes in that is often ignored when talking about the Rusviets. Rather than it being an easy ride for them, they make themselves a target right from the very start of the game, and this can be deadly. There are a few factions that immediately present themselves as threats, including the Nordic Kingdom and Crimean Khanate (although the Nords are probably the stronger threat of the two) with the Saxony Empire likely to come looking for war towards the middle of the game.

This means, like how it is a race to the Factory, it is also a race to complete the game before anyone can take it off you.



One Way to Play: How To End The Game Before Anyone Else Has A Chance

The trick to ending the game comes two-fold. The first is that you need to know what it is you can do easily and what it is that you will struggle to do. There are a few places the Rusviet Union has access to that will be relatively uncontested to begin with. The first is the Village, Metal, and Oil by the Rusviet Union base. This means that, right off the bat, it is possible to get upgrades and deploy mechs – as well as get more workers. The only thing you may struggle with is the food and wood, and thus with enlisting/building may be tricky.

Wood you can easily get once the Factory has been taken, leaving only food. This will need to wait for the second mech. The first mech you get needs to be the Township mech, with the second being the Riverwalk. This will then allow for you to take the food from the space above the Rusviet home.

Okay, so immediately building four mechs is a must, like it is for most races, as this will not only allow for you to move but will also allow for you to protect yourself from the Crimean Khanate and the Nordic Kingdom. This will gain one star.

Secondly, build your buildings. This should be more than possible, especially with the ability to perform the same action more than once in a row. Try to adhere to the secondary objective of the game with the building scoring, so if you gain more for building in a line, then build in a line (as an example). Try to build them close to the Rusviet Union HQ as that way you won’t need to waste additional mechs protecting them. This will be the second star.

Complete stars as quickly and as efficiently as possible by focusing on gathering the resources you need, and then tick them off the list. Fill in the top board as quickly as possible.

It may be that the Rusviet Union are the only Scythe faction who can focus on the objectives one at a time, and by the time your opponents realise this you will be halfway to victory. That is the plan at least.

Of course, when they do find out they may behave one of two ways. They may, and this is the better option, decide to focus on their own defensive game. This will possibly happen in games where the Saxony Empire are not in play. The second option is far more deadly.

Rusviet Scythe Strategy

Bolstering up in a two player game.

How To Stop Other Players Walking All Over You

As you start to become a dominant force in the game, especially around the three or four mech mark, you could notice other players beginning to get more aggressive. Well, as the Rusviet Union the odds are, especially racing to win the game, that you won’t be abundant in power. The Bolster action will probably be one of the last things on your mind. Instead, learn how to bolster your own way.

Yes, with workers.

This sounds horribly barbaric; however, the ability of the People’s Army mech is incredibly powerful; not only as a beast in its own right (being able to add +1 combat card to any combat in which a worker is involved) but also as a piece of meta.

You see, having the People’s Army should put players off attacking you, and this should be the case for two reasons. Firstly, make it known that you get an extra combat card in combat where you have a worker.

Secondly, and feel free to remind the other players of this, they lose popularity if they attack workers. It doesn’t matter if those workers can attack them back or not. They still lose popularity.

One Way of Many Solutions

So, this article has just been a brief look at one option for how I would play the Rusviet Union. There are loads of different ways, but I genuinely believe that speed is the best way to go with this faction, and completing the objectives as quickly as possible.

REMEMBER: Having what can be perceived as an amazing ability does not automatically mean the game is won.

Playing the Rusviet Union can be a huge challenge within the game as it means you make a target of yourself from the very start. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent of that and you’ll do fine.

Wow, so there we have it. We have now finished a series of looking at various strategies of the different factions in Scythe. Please let me know what you think of the series in the comment section below. Alternatively, I will link to the others at the bottom of this article if you liked these strategy speculation type articles.

Ace stuff guys – on to the expansions!

You can read the other articles here:
The Nordic Kingdoms
The Polania Republic
The Crimean Khanate
The Saxony Empire


  1. Interesting game. Seems like these sorts of games have come a long ways from those rainy days in the 1970’s when someone would occasionally suggest breaking out Risk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really is amazing. It’s currently ranked something like #8 of all time in BGG ☺️ as for new players – the first game could take a little longer, and there are a fair amount of rules to learn, but we’ve generally found new players get to grips with it fairly quickly. They also tend to really enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’ve seen 🙂 apparently it doesn’t have a huge amount to do with Scythe, as it’s a FPS I believe, but it is set in the same world. Do you know when they are looking for it to be released?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It looks like full release is q4 2019 but with alpha and beta access. It looks to be an RTS and has shades of company of heroes to it. I hadn’t looked into closely before. Shame it wasn’t closer to the board game

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s just inspired by the art I think. What’s interesting is that Jamey Stegmaier, the designer of Scythe, is quoted on the Kickstarter page.


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