Century: Spice Road – If you like Splendor, you’ll love this!
I learned seven new games at Atlanta Game Fest (AGF). Four of them made it on to my want-to-own list: Century: Spice Road, Great Western Trail, Railroad Revolution and La Granja: No Siesta! I also got to play Jet Set with part of an expansion I own and part of another expansion I don’t. Both provided some new ways to get money that I really liked. So now I have to add Jet Set: Jumbo Jets expansion to my list, too! Oh, boy. Where am I going to put them? Notice that not getting them doesn’t even enter my mind.
Ok, so let me tell you a little about the games I mentioned, starting with the game whose simple game play and gorgeous artwork reminded me of Splendor. It is also the quickest and easiest to teach: Century: Spice Road.
Initial Impression of Century: Spice Road
Wow! The artwork on the cards, the cute little spice bowls, the chunky and colorful spice cubes, the clink of the shiny metal coins, and the gorgeous playmat (which unfortunately is sold separately) had me oo-ing and ah-ing from the get-go. Then Sonia noticed that the page of cardstock in her hand held the entire ruleset! Yep, all the rules fit on a single two-sided 8″ x 10″ page.
In five minutes, I read the rules, gave the others instructions for set up while I continued reading, and finally explained the rules. We were able to start playing in just five minutes – and no one had ever played, read the rules, watched a video or seen it played before we sat down and opened the boxes – the playmat came in its own box. Point 1 in the game’s favor.
Of course, with simple rules, comes streamlined gameplay. On your turn you can do one of four things:
- Take a Merchant card (bottom row) to your hand. The left-most card is free. Otherwise, drop a spice cube on each card up to the one you want. Any cubes on the card you pick up go in your caravan.
- Play a Merchant card from your hand. Merchant cards come in 3 types: Create, Upgrade, and Trade. Create cards let you take one or more spices directly. Upgrade, lets you improve one or more spices a number of steps: Turmeric (yellow) -> Saffron (red) -> Cardamom (green) -> Cinnamon (brown). Trade cards allow you to trade one or more particular spices in your caravan for one or more other specific spices.
- Claim an Order card, paying the specified spices.
- Recover. Take all the cards you’ve played back to your hand.
Your goal: earn the most points by fulfilling Orders. The first card in the Order row starts the game with some gold coins above it, the second with silver coins – the quantity depends on the number of players. When you fulfill an Order card with coins above it, you get to take a coin, too. Gold is worth 3 points, silver 1.
When a player acquires 5 Order cards, the game ends at the end of that round so players have an equal number of turns.
It’s very puzzley trying to convert your spices to just the right types as efficiently as possible. If you like Splendor, you’ll love Century: Spice Road!
Thus far, I think Century: Spice Road has a little more going for it than Splendor. There’s more puzzle to the engine building. It’s beautiful, both physically and in play. Games are short and sweet – typically about 30 minutes. It’s the kind of game you play two or three times in a row.
I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The one I played, Ward (the host of AGF) brought back from Germany. Century: Spice Road is set to release in the U.S. on June 14, 2017.
Century: Spice Road supports 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up and plays in 30 to 45 minutes.
I didn’t wait long to get a copy of Century: Spice Road. Sadly, neither of our distributors carried, but I didn’t let that stop me. I got an account with another distributor who does – that’s how much I was impressed by the game!
Century: Spice Road arrived Wednesday, June 14 right on schedule. So, we’ve got plenty in stock now at Here Be Books & Games! Plus an open copy so we can teach you how to play!
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