Century spice road sounds a bit like aftershave from the 70s. It's basically splendor+ but with enough differences to warrant having both games in your collection. Unless you hate Splendor of course.
The rules are surprisingly simple. In fact when I read them fully I had already watched a video on how to play because I didn't believe they were that easy. One double sided (sight busy looking) rule card.
The theme is neither here nor there. There's camels and they transport bags of yokes. It's an economy game where you shift around cubes of four different colours each more expensive to acquire.
The playing field is split between scoring cards and economy building cards. Six scoring cards are laid out across the top randomly drawn from the stack on the right. Seven economy building cards under it randomly drawn from the stack on the right. (A playmat would be good)
Each turn players can take one of three actions
Take an economy card, play an economy card or buy a scoring card. Actually there's four you can rest and take back all the cards you previously played.
It's that simple. All the actions you can do are written iconically on the cards. The actions are things like take two yellow (the lowest value cubes) upgrade one colour, swap two reds for one brown and so on. You start the game with two basic action cards in your hand. Gain two yellow (lowest value cube) and upgrade two cubes to a higher value cube (or upgrade one two steps). Better economy cards can be purchased by either picking the leftmost one or putting cubes on each card you skip over from the left before the one you pick. This is a clever mechanic. It means less popular cards start to get goods piled up on them that a buying player takes when they pick the card.
The game is fast. One action per player whips around pretty quick. A limit of five cubes means players are usually only concentrating on buying one scoring card and it's quite possible to derive what they're up to and try and cut them off.
The scoring cards range in value from around 7 to 19 (or so) with a bonus of a gold coin (3 points) and silver (one point) if the cards are first and second in line. First player to get five score cards ends the game (after the round is complete). Count your points and highest wins.
It's an interesting game. You have to think ahead. Careful cube management and watching when players have spent theirs and now you have a march on them is key. Rushing to end the game, slowing it down, card counting, going for high value score cards to keep up with other players is all in there. It's a deeper game than it looks. Certainly more so than splendor and it works well with more than two players. Up to five in fact.
The game is beautifully produced. It's a match for splendor in quality. Actually more so. There's some lovely metal coins in there which top it off nicely. It's pricey but it's a quality game. I really like it. I'd pick it over splendor but the new expansion for Splendor could up it's game a notch or two.
A few copies will be floating around at Knavecon. I recommend a try
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