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Create an empire with monstrous mechs and industrious workers in this alternate-history, 115-minute board game for 1-5 competitors.
Create an empire with monstrous mechs and industrious workers in this alternate-history, 115-minute board game for 1-5 competitors.
Create an empire with monstrous mechs and industrious workers in this alternate-history, 115-minute board game for 1-5 competitors.
17,739 backers pledged $1,810,294 to help bring this project to life.

Ask Jakub Anything, Art Book,


Hi! I hope you had an excellent weekend. Scythe had a strong weekend, and we're now just $10k away from the next stretch goal for this encounter card:

Art Book

It's somewhat unusual for Stonemaier to offer an item on Kickstarter that doesn't contribute to gameplay. But no matter how big we make the cards in Scythe, they're never going to show the level of detail, imagination, and craftmanship that Jakub puts into his art. There are over 130 unique, fully conceived illustrations in Scythe.

So we decided to create a 100-page, hardcover, full-color art book for Scythe. It's what gives the Art Connoisseur Edition its name, and it's also available for add-on to any reward level for $23. You can even just pre-order the book on our website if you decide Scythe (the game) isn't for you.

Up to this point, we haven't given many details about the book, mostly because it's last on our priority list of things to create for Scythe. The art already exists--we just have to drop it into the page and add descriptions about the artistic process and the backstory.

But a few of you asked for some sample pages to give you a rough idea of what the book will look like, so Jakub put together the following spreads for you:

 I realized when uploading these images that you can't read the text, so I've also uploaded them to our website here for you to view close up.

Ask Jakub Anything

I mentioned in a previous update how I originally learned about Jakub and his 1920s series. But I haven't talked about what it's like to work with Jakub. I'll keep it short, as today is an opportunity for you to ask Jakub anything here in the comments of Update 7.

I've never met or even talked to Jakub. All of our communication has been over e-mail. But this hasn't impeded the creative process at all, largely because Jakub is an excellent communicator. When he's excited about an idea, he shares it. When something isn't working for him, he tells me. When he has a question, he asks it. When I give him feedback, he doesn't take it personally or play games. And it helps that even though his primary language is Polish, his English is fantastic. It's largely for these reasons that Scythe has worked out the way it has, because without that level of communication, the immersive mix of theme and mechanisms just wouldn't have been possible at this level.

As Jakub might talk about today in the comments, Scythe started out at a series of art loosely based on a war between Poland and Russia in the 1920s. Early on in the process I asked him one of the most pivotal questions of the entire project: "Are you okay with us adding more nations/factions to the game?" Fortunately, Jakub already had some ideas brewing for other factions, so it allowed the game to expand to the 5-faction, 5-player game it is today.

It's been a joy and an honor for me to work with Jakub on Scythe, and I truly appreciate you all giving us the opportunity to publish the fruits of our labor over the last year.

I asked Jakub if I could share some photos of him so you can feel like you're talking directly to him as you post your questions, so I'll post those below. I look forward to seeing what you ask him in the comments today!

You can also read some previous interviews with Jakub here and here (scroll down on the second link for English).

Jakub Rozalski, David Studley, and 105 more people like this update.


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    1. "The Mad Rabbi", King of the Undead on November 1, 2015

      Well, Jakub, I would say that I'm highly impressed with the art for this game that I'm getting the top pledge level for Scythe.
      That will make it a first for me, since my other two games I backed, Lobotomy and The Others: 7 Sins, are also getting art books though the latter will be an app (kind of bummed, but for Titan-Forge, it's less expensive and they can do it in-house). But I'm getting one for The Others, which will be quite interesting to see the different styles between the two.

    2. Sky Splawn
      on October 27, 2015

      @Jakub I like to play music in the background when we play games. Do you have any recommendations for music that you think captures this world you have created?

    3. Piotr Buchali
      on October 27, 2015

      Jakub are you going to visit Pyrkon next year (or any other covention for gorad games fans) ?

    4. Margus Paananen on October 27, 2015

      Hah I knew that asking too many questions over too many posts would get me in trouble/ignored.

      @Jakub Jussi-Pekka said he was merely being sarcastic over on the general comments side, but I genuinely was not. It would be cool, and different. Also as we discussed on the other side an older leader would also be really cool. He was thinking about 40 something while I was imagining a fifty to sixty year old so that the details could be more visible even in miniature form.
      Umm and sorry if I let my enthusiasm get the better of me and asked too many questions.

    5. Jakub Rozalski on October 27, 2015

      @reduan el baghdadi yes I do, there is a many things and information in that book which I could use, but certainly not in the world 1920+ perhaps in a new project ... more coming soon :)
      @innovan always when I work, I study many historical materials and photography or used references, I try to keep feeling that this world is real and even if alternate, it is based on the real period and events, so equipment, clothing and weapons from this period are very important to me, this is not a historical project, so I can afford to make some modifications and create some new gear or weapon, but yeah I attach great importance to such details.
      Tsar Tank it is one of my favorite machine of all time, I wrote about this before, it was my main inspiration for the Crimean mech @Bryan currently I don't have much time for other projects... I still need a sleep sometimes :D, but basically I try paint more on canvas :) I do some concept art for games & movies, etc. I have a lot of proposals, but for sure I don't want work for some big AAA company, this time when I worked for others is behind me (hopefully), now I work for myself and I decide about what I'm doing... oh yes, I love hiking, diving... besides being an artist, I'm a husband for my beautiful wife, she is also a artist, a classic dancer and she is a Tatar :) @Jussi-Pekka haha you really want female sumo body type leader? :P @Cliff Roberts 1. for sure, Jamey and Scythe game had big influence on my work and on 1920+ world
      2. nope :) I think they are cheap enough, also you have to remember that I get only a small percent from this price which you can see in shop, fortunately I sell thousands of copy :)
      3. yes 'Scythe' is still not for sale :) but if you are interested in 'before the storm', you can buy it here (however it is expensive, because it is a exclusive, limited edition for art collectors ) @Ulrich Ilg @psyco363 yeah I know... it is not easy to buy my prints from not-US, however you can try here: or here: @Bob Poniatowski I'm very happy to hear that :) in my work, when I paint digital, I use Photoshop CC and Wacom Intuos Pro tablet :) keep going mate, cheers! @Eric Mulvihill no, I don't think so, but I have a plan to prepare a short tutorial and guide on how to paint Scythe miniatures, so this could be helpful :) @rudy prico aaah, now I get it! :) yes these are High Tatrs mountains (my favorite) and Morskie Oko lake, many times I was in Slovakia, mostly in the area of Poprad, very often I visit Tatrs mountains, and from Slovakia side they are even more beautiful :) @Nakano yes you will be able to find few illustration/ concept arts from this expansion in the art book.

    6. Nakano
      on October 27, 2015

      Have you @Jakub considered adding any early prototype sketches of expansions to the artbook? Sketches for Japan/Celtic faction would be interesting if those exists before the book goes to print.

    7. rudy priecinsky
      on October 27, 2015

      I was asking about black and white photo where you stand in front of a lake with beautiful mountain scenery. These are High Tatras mountains ? If yes, what lake ? (for I'm from Slovakia and we "share" these mountains with Poland) :-)

      Thanx and good luck with your work

    8. Eric Mulvihill on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub: I'm wondering whether your art book will be the best reference for "accurately" painting the characters and mechs. Will there be good foreground shots of each faction included? If not, can you suggest whether we'd find such a resource? I'm so excited to pimp out my personal copy by painting the minis.

    9. Bob Poniatowski on October 26, 2015

      Jakub, your work is inspiring. I've dusted off my drawing stuff and dug the Wacom out of the drawer to start practicing again. It's really fantastic work. I'm very happy to hear the book will include more detail about your process. Can you share what digital tools you prefer to use (hardware & software)? I've seen some of your deconstructed paintings on artstation, that type of insight into how you create is very useful and encouraging. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on the game!

    10. psyco363
      on October 26, 2015

      Jakup i Really love your art and I want buy some pictures. Also Europe (Switzerland) or meet you in Poland :-)

    11. Ulrich Ilg on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub: What would be the best way to buy art prints of your work here in europe? All the shops I found are US-based, and shipping pretty much kills that option (there was free shipping offered a few days back, but not for framed or canvas prints...)

    12. Cliff Roberts on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub: #1 - Did Jamey's Scythe game help write the story to your 1920's series of art, or did your art write his game story? (Or was it a joint story-telling?)

      @Jakub: #2 - Have you considered a "Scythe backer" discount on any of your art prints? :)

      @Jakub: #3 - Two of my favorite pieces, "Scythe" and "Before the Storm" aren't listed as available for purchase on the Society6 site. Are there plans to make those available in the future? (I'm looking down the road at Game Room decor and would LOVE to have some sweet Scythe art up on the wall.)

    13. Bryan on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub: Beyond Scythe art work, what projects are you pursuing? Is this area your primary vocation? From Jamey's pictures, you spend time outdoors... What are Other hobbies/things you enjoy. Who are you beyond the artist.

      Thanks for being willing to participate in this event. I am excited to see the completed project.

    14. Margus Paananen on October 26, 2015

      @ Jussi-Pekka I think you completely misunderstood me. I specifically tried to ask that as the lolita/tiny girl character design is so overused in mech pilot/general when it comes to Japan and as such something else would be awesome. So I actually would be incredibly impressed and pleased by a female character with a sumowrestler like physique.

      Especially if what Jamey hinted at being the Japan factions animal being a deer holds true. The contrast would be cool and visually pleasing, as well as being something out of the usual fare.

    15. Jakub Rozalski on October 26, 2015

      thank you very much for all the questions and the kind words, I will try to answer all before I go to sleep :) now I have to go back to work, cheers!

    16. Jussi-Pekka Jokinen
      on October 26, 2015

      Jacub, please don't listen to Margus and add a sumo body type leader. ;)

    17. innovan
      on October 26, 2015

      Jakub: Do you try to portray exact historical firearms in your paintings from the 1920s, or are you more improvising?

      Did you see the Tsar Tank before you came up with the Crimean mech, or was that just coincidence?

      Thank you also for not falling into the steampunk cliche of "add a dirigible into it". Air war is boring.

    18. the redOne on October 26, 2015

      @ Jakub: have you ever read Political Ponerology by Andrzej Łobaczewski ... as he was a Polish researcher among others that worked for the Russians during the second WW... all of his fellow comrades in research were executed but he managed to get away and survive. The aforementioned book was the result of the 'forbidden' research and shouldn't have seen daylight, but it did. I'm sure that the info contained in this work could be used to further trigger your creativity for the sake of art immersiveness...
      Ps: hope the artbook will help me when painting the minis.

    19. Melissa Martinez
      on October 26, 2015

      Wow, wow, wow...the art is amazing! I just ordered an art print for my game room. Thanks for the beautiful work! It's one of several reasons why I'm backing and excited to be a part of Scythe!

    20. Margus Paananen on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub (Sorry for the question bombardment)

      I understand this may step a bit on your toes but if you are willing to share and have started to plan towards that, what kind of styling have you considered in regards to the Japanese faction? I take this chance to express my humble wish that it not include Lolita style/teen leader figure that is all too common when it comes to mech art. Personal opinion of mine only of course, but it would be refreshing to see other body types than petite/tiny when it comes to female characters, especially when it comes to the portrayal of Japanese women.

    21. Philip Espi
      on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub : On the left side of the second preview page, we can see a farmer driving a log carrying Mech.
      Can civilians still buy those Mechs ?
      Are there other factories still building them ?
      or have they all been converted to building military Mechs by now ?
      Unless there was only one Factory, the one in the center of the boardgame ... ;-)

    22. Margus Paananen on October 26, 2015


      If the sphinx is indeed yours does it have clothes for when it gets chilly, or does it spend that time lurking deep beneath blankets etc.?

    23. Margus Paananen on October 26, 2015


      Like I said no worries about the name, I get that a lot.

      Your answer makes perfect sense, I imagine most if not quite everyone starts with similar process. I guess my questions have been a bit prodding, considering your very careful answers. I'm asking you to consider something that rarely even enters any kind of consideration for most people. This is something that can be a bit passive aggressive and sorry if that was any ones impression.

      Been trying to see whether I can generate replies and discussion on the subject. Mainly because I've had many discussions with my SO about how games and some literature genres have extremely widespread commonalities that really give her an itch regarding the effects of the power of patriarchy. What especially spurred my current questions and thinking was that I could not honestly deny her statements about the overwhelming presence of masculine themes and approaches which give her a very cold feel towards many things that I find cool, but must admit are perhaps problematical in some ways. I could go on about that but I think it might be a bit pointless here. Nonetheless I am interested in the subject and any commentary I can rouse.

      Again not trying to wave a red flag under any ones nose here. Just exploring the culture I'm immersed in from an outsiders viewpoint, which is a bit strange for me. Also a general apology for going all out gender/social studies mode. I haven’t even really made my own mind about the subject other than merely hoping that I could find more boardgames, preferably well designed and awesome to play ones, where someone has considered these ideas. It’s too bad I am not too confident in my creative or designing abilities to do more than make comments that seem to get designers on their toes. :)

    24. Missing avatar

      Yooden on October 26, 2015

      @Eric: I love games, I love the brain teasing, the atmosphere, the clever tricks, and all the other aspects of good games. I hugely admire the creativity to create a game, I'm just not sure that I would call it art, in the same way as a painting or a piece of music.

      BTW: I'm not talking about the graphical elements of games. Like we can see in the example of Scythe, of course that part is art!

    25. Jussi-Pekka Jokinen
      on October 26, 2015

      Aa, a sphinx cat! I missed that, eh, furry-less fellow. :)

    26. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator
      on October 26, 2015

      @Margus: Sorry about misspelling your name! My eyes must be getting old. :)

      That's an interesting question about theme in games and the "polarizing comfort zone." It's hard to answer, though, because when I design a game, it's not like I pick one of those comfort zones and find a theme within it. Rather, I try to use a theme that I find really interesting and fun. Do those themes sometimes end up in one of those comfort zones? Sure. So far I've designed or published games about winemaking, building a dystopia, designing cities, and exploring/conquering an alternate-history world. Each of those themes appealed to me based on how much they excited me and how much I thought they would excite other people. Does that make sense?

    27. Margus Paananen on October 26, 2015

      Curse these poor eyes of mine I formally retract any and all comments about leather pants. Apologies about that, still looks like it would get cold though :D

    28. dave2015 on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub your art is very good. Cant wait to have scythe in my hands and look at it up close.

    29. Jakub Rozalski on October 26, 2015

      @Jussi-Pekka thanks :) My first steps as an artist was on canvas and paper, long time before discovering computer graphic, what I hope you can see in my work. I really like both techniques. I work mostly digitally on tablet, because it saves a lot of time that I can spend with my loved ones. But every now and then, I miss to canvas and paint and I go back to the traditional paintings. Yes, the 'japanese' faction will have a female character :) cheers!

    30. Margus Paananen on October 26, 2015

      Another one here mainly to thank Jakub and Jamey for this project, the art just seems to bring everything to life and what I've gathered of the mechanisms they seem to do justice to the art. I've slowly grown in awareness about the importance of aesthetic qualities in games and their power to draw people in and make them focus and commit to the game better and give them incentives to actually immerse themselves into it, so this project is perfectly timed to get my attention.

      For Jakub I hope this has been a positive experience for you. I know fanboying can get annoying at times, and I hope that that has not been overwhelming, but your style has something that has not been seen enough in boardgames in my opinion. I hope that this project can draw more attention to art in boardgames, more prettiness is always good, especially when it meets well executed rules.

      I am surely not the only one who thinks that further co-operation between you two would not be amiss, or at least that Jakub would not leave this as the only boardgame he will illustrate for.

      @Jamey thank you for your answer in the comments, the answer highlighted your process quite well. If you do not mind I'd like to hear your opinion about how boardgames with themes in general seem to very often stay quite tightly within what I somewhat polarizingly called the comfort zone of games. These being war/combat/sports focused ones and civ/economy/logistics/pastoral building games. I realize this does cover a lot, but one could argue that these are fields that could be debatably called masculine, thus the comfort zone of boardgames. There are fortunately exceptions, and I only wish that there would be more of these exceptions, nothing more and I certainly would not expect games like Scythe to be one of them. The last statement is perhaps unnecessary, but I figure extraneous clarity will hopefully avoid undue side-tracks in conversation. This is something of a side-tracked question I admit :) but I hope none here mind too much, these issues have just been on my mind recently as I’ve tried to reach out boardgamewise towards women who are not so enthused with traditional subjects of many boardgames.

      @Jakub thank you once again for having not only great looking art but also for making the female characters look quite realistic. I do think that the skin-tight leather pants might be a bit chilly for one of them, considering the weather in many of the paintings, but that is still really rather tame and still within bounds of reason. Mostly your art is rather awesomely sensible. As a question do you have a personal opinion on the all too often problematic and somewhat one-sided representation of women in art?

      To the community in general thanks for not flaming someone who goes and asks gender studies inspired questions in online format, this has been refreshing. :)

      PS. Jamey, it is Margus not Magnus. Don’t worry too much, you’re not the first even in online written form communication. :)

    31. Jussi-Pekka Jokinen
      on October 26, 2015

      Jakub, conserning the upcoming expansion: have you chosen which of the factions will have a female character?

      Also, really love the art. It's nice to see someone using traditional methods in painting these days. :)

    32. D. Eric Ortega on October 26, 2015

      Yooden: Sorry I was away from my desk. My website lapsed. I'm in the process of reactivating today.
      My main point was that they can be viewed when done correctly as works pf art themselves even ignoring the other enjoyment they provide and that the feeling created when just looking at Viticulture was one of calmness and peaceful contentedness. I enjoy playing that game just to build what I can regardless of wining or losing.

    33. Chris Laudermilk on October 26, 2015

      More of comments & kudos than questions for me.

      I ran across mention of Scythe just last week, and since it's a Stonemaier game I knew from reputation I needed to take a look. The synergy between Jakub and Jamey is immediately obvious, this game seems to just build upon the two creative talents. I have to say that even my crummy PnP rendition, the game is visually stunning.

      I've always been fascinated by the type of art that Jakub is doing & his work just strikes a chord with me. So much so that my wife and I decided to go full-boat with the Art Connoisseur edition. The more that is being revealed, the more I'm convinced that was the right decision, expense be damned!

      OK, one question: How much back story is there behind the art? It seems there is a lot there. It feels like a fully-developed world with several complete main personalities already in place. That said, I'll add my voice to the chorus asking for books based on Jakub's world--it seems like they could be very good & the timing is right for the genre that would fall into.

    34. Missing avatar

      Yooden on October 26, 2015

      @Jamey: You website seems to be fine, I was referring to Eric's blog.

      Interesting definition of art you have there. That would certainly include some things I wouldn't normally consider to be art, eg. many scientific works. That automatically leads to my position that any kind of creative expression is valuable, whether we end up calling it "art" or not.

      Frankly the idea that games are art is just new to me, I don't necessarily disagree. I'm very much into games, and at the same time I'm fascinated by the question what art is, so I wonder why that question never came to my mind before. Thank you for that!

      Somewhere I heard the the statement that anything functional can't be art. Under that definition, only very bad games would count as art!

    35. Missing avatar

      Ken G on October 26, 2015

      Hey Jakub, I just wanted to pop in and say that your artwork is amazing. I remember seeing some of it on an art blog before hearing anything about Scythe and being kind of blown away. I look forward to whatever you do next with this world and any others you may be working on. Congrats to you and Jamey on a successful Kickstarter!

    36. Jakub Rozalski on October 26, 2015

      @rheiser lol :D it's just a bad lighting, there is no reason for concern... and thanks, I appreciate it!

    37. Jakub Rozalski on October 26, 2015

      @Philip Espi it is Polania Republic mech :) and this is a flagship/mech with a general on the board, observe the battle and giving orders, not fighting on the front line @Yooden I don't think so, I would like to develop this universe in my own way @Fab hard to say, but certainly the '1920 - aftertoon tea' it is one of my favorites, I also really like 'before the storm' and 'into the wild' :) @Tavish McFini thanks!

    38. rheiser on October 26, 2015

      Jakub, I apologize if this has already been answered. Regarding the three pictures of you: in the first two you appear to be a healthy, well rounded your man. In the third you kind of look like a naked cat. Is it just the lighting, or have you been ill? Is there an address where we can send "Get Well" cards?

      P.S. Your artwork was a major influence on my backing Scythe.

    39. Philip Espi
      on October 26, 2015

      Or was it a saxon Mech ?

    40. Philip Espi
      on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub : On the right side of the first sample page, we can see a Rusviet Mech with a guy in uniform perched on top of it, looking at us.
      Is he the pilot ?
      Because I was under the impression that the pilot was inside the Mech.
      Unless he stepped out to take a breath of fresh air while the troopers were resting ;-)

    41. Missing avatar

      Yooden on October 26, 2015

      @Jakub: Great artwork!

      Do you consider Scythe to be canon, ie. do you plan (or consider it to be acceptable) to deviate from its art/story in any future work?

    42. Fab
      on October 26, 2015

      Jakub what is your preferred art in Scythe? My preferred art is "1920 - Aftertoon tea" sort of "tea, tennis and mech in the park", war in the background and everyday life in front of us, the joy of life with soft pastels and hardness and wildness of war mixed up in mech's steel, sun and smoke....for me that image sums up the entire art of your work....What do you think about it?

    43. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator
      on October 26, 2015

      @Yooden: Interesting. My website is live. A little slow today, but live. I think I consider any form of creative expression to be art, so games definitely fit into that definition.

    44. Jakub Rozalski on October 26, 2015

      @phredgreen thank you very much :) oh for sure 'Scythe' it is not my last word in the context of the 1920+ world. This game it is a great achievement, huge success, one of my dreams come true, and I'm very proud of it, but I know the world of Scythe has a huge potential, I will definitely develop it, hopefully to other platforms, perhaps the movie, computer game... if not, I'll continue telling the stories from this world through my paintings, coz as I said before, there is everything what I love the most.

    45. Missing avatar

      Yooden on October 26, 2015

      @D. Eric Ortega

      > I wrote a blog entry about games as art using Viticulture and
      > Tuscany as the primary example

      Interesting! The only thing I can see in your blog is a weird iframe to godaddy, so I have to ask here: How are games art, and how are they not?

    46. Philip Espi
      on October 26, 2015

      I was waiting for the sample pages to make up my mind and, good lord, what a gorgeous book this is going to be !
      I'm gonna pledge to the Art Connoisseur level, for sure.
      And what an incredible setting Jakub's World would be for an Apocalypse World RPG hack. I wish I had the time to do it myself, but I don't. Hopefully, someone in the PbtA community will take up the challenge.

    47. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator
      on October 26, 2015

      @Christopher: If you zoom in a little bit on the images on the website, I think the text is visible. Sorry if it's still not!

    48. Sam Alderman on October 26, 2015

      Hey Jakub, I'm happy to have this opportunity to thank you for the amazing visual art you have created. I've been a fan for a few years, so to see your work getting this level of attention is exciting. I'm also thrilled that you're working with a team who have made your 1920 series the central focus, rather than mere table dressing, of their project.

      If put in your shoes I'd see Scythe as the culmination of your 1920 series, do you feel the same or do you believe there's more of this story to tell? Are there other stories you're looking to tell?

      Thank you again for creating, the world is a better place with brilliant art.

    49. Jakub Rozalski on October 26, 2015

      @AJ haha yeah this may sound crazy, but it is true... we just have really good contact with Jamey, and we understand each other very well... also, I think, we are both this kind of people, who prefer talk with each other in real life than via Skype... especially for the first time :)