Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is Century Spice Road, a causal deck-building card game for 2-5 players. Let me show you how to play. The game centers around these four spices, each one more valuable than the next: turmeric, saffron, cardamom, and cinnamon (AKA yellow, red, green, and brown). You and your friends play spice traders. Your goal is to collect the spices, and use them to buy these point cards. Two yellow turmeric, and two green cardamom, earn you this 8-point card, while cashing in a yellow, red, green, and three brown spices will earn you this 20-point card. When any player buys a fifth point card, you finish out the round, and then count up the points to see who’s won. A 2- or 3-player game ends after someone buys a sixth point card. Everyone starts with a number of spices depending on turn order. The rules card goes into more detail. Those spices go here, on your caravan card. Your caravan can hold up to ten spices. Next, each player gets a starting hand consisting of these two merchant cards. i’ll show you what they do in a moment. Six more merchant cards are dealt out to the table. On your turn, you have to perform one of these actions: Buy a point card, play a merchant card from your hand, take a merchant card from the table, or rest. To buy a point card, just pay the requisite spices and take the card. To play a merchant card, slap it down on the table. Some merchant cards just straight-up give you spices. This one gives you two turmeric. If your caravan ever gets too… spicy, just discard down to ten spices. At’s-a spicy caravan! Other merchant cards, like this upgrade card, let you convert your spices into more valuable spices. A double upgrade lets you turn this yellow turmeric into a red saffron, and then into a green cardamom. Or red to green to brown, or you can split it up and convert a yellow to a red, and a green to a brown. You don’t even have to use both upgrade powers if you don’t want to, but most of the time, you’ll want to. Most of the merchant cards dealt to the table let you convert various combinations of spices into various other combinations of spices. The symbols on the card are self-explanatory: turn two yellows into one green, turn one brown into three red, and so on. You can perform multiple trades with the same card. So, you can perform this exchange a total of three times to fill your caravan with nine red spices, if you so choose. But cards that let you harvest spices without any conversion only give you the spices listed on them. Here’s how you get one of these merchant cards: the one farthest away from the deck is free. You can take the one next to it, but you have to sow this card with one of your spices. If you want to take the card all the way over here, you have to sow a spice on each card all the way down the row. When you take a merchant card, it goes into your hand. If a merchant card has any spices piled on it, you take those as well. All the other merchant cards slide over, and a new card is dealt from the deck. The last action you can choose to take on your turn is resting. To rest, you just collect all the cards you’ve played in front of you. Much of the strategy in Century: Spice Road is deciding the best time to rest, and reclaim all of your most useful cards. The last elements in the game are these bonus coins. Splash the gold coins above this card, and the silver ones next to it. You’ll need twice as many of each coin as you have players, so in a 4-player game, you’ll use 8 gold coins, and 8 silver coins. If you buy this point card, you take one of the gold coins above it. The rest of the cards slide over, and a new card is dealt from the deck. Now, this card has the gold coins above it. If you buy this card, take the silver coin above it. Once again, the cards slide over, and you deal out a new one. If all of the gold coins get taken, move the pile of silver coins over so that they’re above the farthest card in the row. Once all of the silver coins are gone, that’s it! Nobody gets any more coins. A player triggers the end of the game by buying their fifth point card, or their sixth point card in a 2- or 3-player game. Finish the round so that everyone has had the same number of turns throughout the game. Count up the points from your point cards. Gold coins are worth 3 points apiece. Silver coins are worth 1 point each. Any non-yellow spice in your caravan is worth 1 point. And that’s it! Spice trading made easy… except with a surprising amount of depth, and lightning-fast turns. If you like your games casual, easy to learn, and fast to play, you’ll get a lot of joy out of Century: Spice Road.
Get Your Own Copy of Century: Spice Road
Century: Spice Road overtook Splendor as the game i bring on relatives’ houses during holidays to play with old people who hate board games and all their infernal rules. It’s definitely worth having in your collection. Shop using the link below, and we’ll receive a small commission!