Alpal put in a request for a game, that being Century: Spice Road. Century has recently come out on Board Game Arena and is a game that eternally lives in my blind spot. There is a lot to Century that makes it unique, and I remember enjoying playing it many times. But when it first came out, there was a promotional version that I wanted – Century Golem Edition.
The two games are virtually identical. The only differences are artwork and trading for gems rather than spices. That’s it. Gameplay is identical between the two versions. So why was I keen on Century Golem over Spice Road? Colour blindness. Spice road has some beautiful artwork and simple cubes represent spices. In early editions especially, the colours were muted and fairly close to each other making it hard to distinguish between.
Century Golem Edition was bright and almost ‘cartoony’, giving a different feel. Instead of painted cubes, the gems were bright plastic and shaded in a way it was easy for me to tell apart. It took a few years, but I finally have a copy of Century Golem for my shelf.
Alpal and I both knew what we were getting into, Rabbit agreed to come along for the ride. I enjoy a lot of games by Emerson Matsuuchi, but almost all his games share a common flaw. While fun, there are a lot of smaller mechanics that need to be learned to make ‘the machine’ work. This means you can’t drop a new player into a game super easily,
This meant Rabbit was behind the 8 ball so to speak most of the first game. It’s not because she can’t understand the mechanics or rules. The problem is the dump of info up front couldn’t be soaked in quick enough.
So what do you do in Century Golem? The idea is pretty simple. You collect Golems, purchased with gems that you trade and upgrade for. How you do this trading is where Century can get complicated to explain quickly. If we get to play it again, I may talk about mechanics in more detail.
What I am looking forward to doing one day is combining all three Century games into a single game. Century Spice Road and two stand-alone expansions can be combined in a variety of ways to make new experiences. As a series, this makes for a unique experience, especially at the time.
But if wish a game like Splendor had a little more ‘to it’, give Century Golem a look. Most people I play with generally really prefer one over the other, and it almost always boils down to complexity.