Game Review: Century Spice Road - Eastern Wonders

Type: Light Strategy

# of players 2-5

Playtime: 45-60 min

Complexity: 4/5

The sequel to Century: Spice Road takes us to east to the asian spice trading as we move onto Century: Eastern Wonders.

Much like the previous game the actions are fairly simple but it does take things up a notch from Spice Road.  If you are new to the series it isn’t so complicated that you will be lost but it is a much simpler transition if you played Spice Road. For this review I will focus on the main differences between Eastern Wonders and Spice Road.

Eastern wonders takes a little longer to set up as it uses tiles and little pieces like the upgrades and outposts that weren’t in the previous. But once its set up you can dive right in. You determine turn order from the little play mats each player starts with and then in reverse order players select from one of 4 different sets of starting resources and then pick their starting tile. You will then notice that this version isn’t about drafting cards to shape your individual strategy in the game but more that your actions are tied to the tiles layed out in front of you. Personally i find this evens the playing field because everyone has access to the same actions but it is how you traverse the map that will determine your outcome. You have to set up outposts to determine which actions you want to do. Getting their first costs you less in resources as well. Although you get points for laying out most any outpost laying out the right ones can unlock powerful abilities which can give you an upper hand. Allowing you to move further or increase your capacity to store resources. These choices are what make the game interactive. making sure you are one step ahead of your opponents and shaping a strategy that will get you to the end with the most points. One of the criticisms we would hear about Spice road is that the last turn is often not fruitful for most players as they are limited to the actions they can take that will get them points and are just going through the motions. In this one players have some options. placing the right outpost can turn spices that were worth no points into points while potentially unlocking an upgrade worth more points if planned correctly. This is the reason I give Eastern wonders the advantage over Spice Road.

This game is ideal for 2 - 5 players.  Eastern wonders has decreased the amount of luck involved in the game and increased the strategy while not making it too difficult. on the downside the setup time can be a little more effort than you would want.  if you are only going to own one of the two Century games then this is the one I would recommend if you enjoy a more strategy over luck. But if you own both this is a step in the right direction where the game can also be played by joining the two together to create a combined experience called Century: Sand to Sea. This is planned to be expanded upon again with next years Century game giving me something to look forward to.

I highly recommend this game for all levels of player.  From beginners to strategic players leaning is little more towards those who enjoy strategy. with a board the strategy seems a little bit of a shorter learning curve compared to its predecessor.  The game is simple enough to learn that it playing multiple times will be something you will want to do immediately. excellent addition to the century library of games while setting up for the third expansion quite well. I look forward to seeing what they do with the last installment. I would give this game a 5/5. Strategic, entertaining, and easy enough to learn. If you are looking for pure strategy its a definite improvement over spice road.

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