Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 36 (26-25)

#26 Century: Spice Road

Century: Spice Road has two kinds of cards: action cards and scoring cards. Players play action cards from their hand to gain cubes. Cubes are currency used to purchase scoring cards for victory points. If you don't have cards left in hand or don't want to play the cards that you have, you can skip your turn to pick up all your cards, placing all previously played cards back into your hand to play again.

Action cards are drafted from a market row that is shared by all players. On your turn you can take the first card in the row, but if you want a card that is further down the row, you must place a cube onto each card in the row that you skip over. If you take a card with cubes on it, you get to take the cubes too.

Action cards either provide cubes or they convert cubes into other cubes. This is important because purchasing scoring cards requires cubes of various different colors and you can only take a scoring card if you can match its cost exactly.

Unlike with deck building games, when you draft an action card from the market row in Century, you add it directly to your hand and can use it immediately. The idea here is to build the best conversion engine you can so that you can have the cubes that you need when you need them.

Century is a pure engine building game. Players draft action cards so that they can play action cards to get cubes to buy scoring cards. Like Splendor, Century is clean and puzzly and its simplicity makes it fun.

#25 Village

At the start of every round in Village, cubes of differing colors are pulled from a bag and seeded on action spaces on the board. The board represents the Village, but also has a section representing all the neighboring villages that a person can travel to in order to visit.

In Village players have a family of workers. At first all your workers have a number 1 on them. These are "first generation." When you place a worker on a space, you also take a cube from that space. Some spaces require you to spend the cubes that you have to take the action. This means that you will plan your turn to collect what you need by taking some actions before others.

You always have to take a cube, even when you may not want to. Why would you not want to take a cube? Black cubes are called plague cubes. When you take these, a little counter on your player board is advanced. Advance this enough and workers of the earliest available generation will pass away and have to go the the graveyard.

That's right, your workers can die. This is especially relevant because you also train your workers to teach them special skills. So, choosing who must die can be difficult. You can make new workers by taking an action to have a couple of workers get married and have a baby. New workers will then have a higher number on them, representing later generations.

This sense of progression in Village is unique to any of the games that Julie and I own, and we really like it. The earliest generations of villagers who pass away go into a special place on the game board called the village chronicle. Workers put to rest here are worth points. Once the chronicle is full however, future generations who pass away are put in unmarked graves in the graveyard (sad.)

Other worker spots in Village includes a church, places to raise cattle or build different goods, (These require the villager to be trained.) and a place to have your worker participate in local government. There's also a market spot where players can sell goods and that area to go traveling to visit other villages that I mentioned earlier.

Doing all of these things will get you points and there's a lot of interesting choices here. Village is a unique experience. You are a family living in a Village over many generations. Make the most of your life here to score the most points and win the game.

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