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Century: Spice Road» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Initial impressions of someone who finally caved to the hype rss

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JC
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tl;dr: I like it

After months of seeing it on shelves, watching people play it, and comparing reviews, I finally gave in to the cult of the new and got it. My wife and I played it right at the store after we picked up my order.

I thought I would share my initial impressions because, after having heard and read SO MANY polar-opposite opinions on this game, there are some insights I have picked up that may or may not be helpful for those still on the fence about this:

• PERFECT "DATE" GAME
What I call games for my wife and I, on nights when the kids FINALLY go to bed, we want to spend some quality time together, want a bite of depth to chew on, but not burn our brains out or be too competitive. Short, fast, simple, alot of strategic options, variable, charming. (As an aside, other "date" games we love include San Juan, Artifacts Inc, Eight Minute Empire: Legends, and Tiny Epic Galaxies. They're portable, so we also sometimes bring them on our actual dates out.)

• SEEMS TO BE GENERALLY NOOBS+GAMERS FRIENDLY
Even though I'm a bigger gamer and read up on this game alot, the score difference was only 4 points. And 3 of those points were only because my wife moved my targeted score card to the gold spot, even if she knew I would get it. So though more experienced gamers will be able to take better advantage of possible opportunities, it seems balanced enough to not let lighter gamers fall too far behind. In other words, everybody gets to accomplish multiple things.

• ON ALL THE UNDERSTANDABLE-BUT-NOT-ENTIRELY-NECESSARY COMPARISONS WITH SPLENDOR
I'll instantly grab Splendor as a gateway game for total non-gamers (more so than even Ticket to Ride). I'll play this with my wife, next-step gamers, and as a gateway game for people interested in and leaning toward boardgames. 2 very different functions = 2 spots on my shelf.

• WIFE'S COMMENTS
My wife made a point to mention during the game that she loves the art, and later that evening that she really enjoyed the game.

• "UNINNOVATIVE SOULLESS EURO"?
I understand why other users find this a bland or uninnovative "soulless" eurogame, but it perfectly fits a specific need for me. And I personally appreciate the refined nature of the mechanics, despite its high variability of options. The above-average components are also a bonus. And I have to admit that the modularity with future deeper yet also refined games has me excited.

• VERSUS THE GOLEM EDITION
Agonized between this and the Golem edition for a bit. The more lively art, gems, and more conveniently stored containers were so attractive, but the modularity and elegance of Spice road won out in the end (which is why my wife's appreciation of this one's art is significant to me).

• WHAT I (INITIALLY) DIDN'T LIKE
Edit: Initially, I didn't like how the cups didn't have a cover and so presumed you have to ziplock each cube color separately, til I discovered that the insert actually lifts the cups so that they're sealed by the box itself and the cubes don't fall out of the cups if handled normally. Neat!
Also (not so big a deal), the rough texture of the card backs (was it just me?) BEGS to be sleeved and the instruction board (which I love) also begs to be laminated.

• POSSIBLE LONG-TERM CONCERN
Another concern (but not really a gripe) is how long this game will keep me interested. Modularity aside, I hope the stark cube-conversion puzzle doesn't become an automated formula for me, that the variance of both the objectives and options, combined with the craftiness of my opponent/s, will give each session a unique problem for me and keep it fresh. It is actually in this regard that I appreciate the more "generic" euro theme of this edition. With the more whimsical yet specific theme of the Golem edition, I feel that we could eventually get tired of the setting, making the puzzle aspect less inviting on any given night. If I just want a 15-minute puzzle with slight competition with my wife, I can visit a romanticized middle-east, rather than cartoony rock-giants.

• UPDATE: WITH MAX 5 PLAYERS
It, was, a, blast. Set-up and tear-down were a snap, most of my group is AP-prone yet it didn't feel like a usual 5-player experience that took forever, and everyone was constantly engaged. The quiet player who plays conservatively was happy to silently build his engine and snatch cards when people weren't expecting. And inversely, our aggressive "how-can-I-break-the-game-or-mess-up-everyone's-plans" player realized that there's much benefit to watching your opponents, but can't spend too much effort there or you'll fall behind and lose (he won). My wife was just happy to beat my score. I got the lowest score, again. And yet to me it was a very happy experience.

Overall, I'm incredibly happy with my purchase.

I hope this helps someone out there. Thanks for reading! : )
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Kim Williams
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Re: Initial impressions of someone who finally caved into the hype (tl;dr: I like it)
We store our game horizontally and have never had any cube issues, no need for baggies - I presume you're storing it vertically?
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Jeremy Gray
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Re: Initial impressions of someone who finally caved into the hype (tl;dr: I like it)
I can appreciate the concerns of long-term replayability. For me, though, I have over 60 games under my belt and still really enjoy getting this to the table. Over half of those games have been 2-player against the same opponent and it remains fresh (for me). Everyone is different, certainly, but the mere change in the order of the two decks of cards seems to do enough to keep it fresh for me.

Nice review!
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JC
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entwife wrote:
I presume you're storing it vertically?

Our game shelf is getting pretty packed so I'm trying out different configurations. Fortunately, it seems that the cubes don't really fall out of the cups even when standing as the insert actually lifts the cups to be sealed by the box lid itself : )
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JC
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gragian wrote:
the mere change in the order of the two decks of cards seems to do enough to keep it fresh for me. Nice review!

Thank you! Wow, 60+ games! That certainly is a testament to its replayability. Looking forward to many more games.
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Eric Gergotz
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Just want to throw my 2 cents in like above, but the cubes stay in the bowls just fine when putting them back in the box. It's practically flush with the top of the box. The Golem edition needed the cover because the bowls were not the same height all around.
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Martin Larouche
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I too much prefer the Spice Road edition to the Golem one.

Generic trading themes usually survive a lot longer on the long term than fantasy ones.

Generic farming/trading themed games are still talked about years later.
Fantasy games are usually stopped being in the hotness the day they are released.

#slightexageration
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JC
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Sychosymatic wrote:
It's practically flush with the top of the box.

Yeah, I only discovered that later on, it's pretty cool.
 
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nik holliday
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My wife really likes this game; I`m not so keen probably because I`ve been playing euros for 30 years now and it`s all so familiar.
I like it, but don`t love it.
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Martin Larouche
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nikh158 wrote:
My wife really likes this game; I`m not so keen probably because I`ve been playing euros for 30 years now and it`s all so familiar.
I like it, but don`t love it.


And that's ok...

I personally went through a curve in my "gaming" history.

Started with simple games like Stratego and Talisman in the 80s.
Then i went full-on with Battletech and every single supplement made for it (which makes heavy euros look like kids games).
Went on to Twilight Imperium 3 when it was released.
... then i found out that the more complex the game, the more flaws i could find in them. Then i also found out this simple truth:
"Complexity does not equal depth".

So i started on much simpler games, and exploring their depth more. What i found there made me turn back on many rules-heavy games.

Games like Century are much, MUCH deeper than they look like. There's a level of play in it that is definitely not apparent at first.
In fact, the same thing is happening with Century than with my Battletech of yore: people are starting to stop wanting to play the game with me, because i win all the time. It's less fun for them since they feel they have no chance of winning before the game even starts.

Century: light game? Light on rules maybe... not in gameplay. This is probably why the gsme has been such a success.
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Chris Ober
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I store all my games vertically. I've gotten a bunch of big rubber bands like they use to keep bags on trash barrels. It has helped tremendously for this and other games as the top no longer separates, and components stay where they are supposed to.
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