Time for another first impressions article! On this occasion, we are looking at Century: Golem Edition. Both Tim and Jaydee had the opportunity to play this one, so it’ll be a joint article.
Tim: I knew that Century: Golem Edition was a reskin of Century: Spice Road, but I hadn’t played that yet. I’d heard from various people that it was a better version of Splendor (and I really like Splendor!), so I was eager to give it a try.
Jaydee: When Century: Golem Edition arrived at our shop, I could only fall in love with the artwork and packaging. I’d only heard of Spice Road from some of our customers before. I’m still a little new when I comes to board games.
What Do You Do?
Tim: In Century: Golem Edition, each player takes it in turns to perform one action. Actions include playing a card from hand, purchasing a card from the lineup which is added to their hand (and can be used throughout the rest of the game), acquire one of the golems by spending the appropriate crystals (golems function as victory points), or rest (and return all played cards back to your hand).
While you do start with a couple of cards that you can use to acquire crystals or upgrade crystals that you have, you are encouraged to gain cards that allow you to acquire more crystals or convert ones that you have. This is where the engine-building aspect of the game comes into play. By gaining certain cards, you can more efficiently generate certain types of crystal, and since players take it in turns to perform a single action, efficiency is important.
Acquiring golems is how you score victory points (some bonus points are given if you buy the incentivised golems at the start of the lineup), and once a player has acquired five golems, that round is finished and the game is over. Victory points are then totalled, and the player with the most points wins (in our playthrough, the player that ended the game was not actually the player that won the game).
What Did We Like About It?
Tim: An obvious first thing to talk about is how nice the game looks. The artwork is eye-catching (particularly on the golems) and the crystals are distinctive and aesthetically-pleasing tokens.
The box comes with a good insert, neatly storing all of the components. Each of the different crystals have their own tray not only for storage but for ease of use during a game.
The gameplay itself was a lot of fun, as I like the engine-building mechanic. As I said earlier, I really like Splendor, and I enjoyed this even more. I really like the mechanic of having cards in hand that you can play, but you can only use them once without having to use another precious action to recover them all. Buying these cards from a lineup, but having to incentivise the earlier ones in the row to get to the later ones, adds more depth to the decision making.
It’s definitely an easy game to teach to new players, as Jaydee and one other at the table hadn’t played this or Splendor before, so were unfamiliar with the core mechanics, but they got to grips with it pretty quickly.
Sometimes, games can have unclear end game conditions, or they make it difficult to work out which player is currently winning. Some people don’t find this a problem, but personally it annoys me. In Century: Golem Edition, it’s abundantly clear how well each player is doing (and how close the game is to ending), which allows you to make appropriate decisions.
Jaydee: Coming from playing mainly PC games (some of my favourites are the Torchlight games), this game appealed to me straight away when I saw it! The artwork is very much on the same vein as the previous mentioned games, and also Lightseekers (my second favourite TCG). The storage is very well designed for easy access and transport.
Having never played any of this games previous incarnations I was very open-minded to simply enjoying a pretty game (I do like shiny things!). The tokens to this game are absolutely perfect! Pretty crystals!
The game’s engine and mechanics are absolutely perfect in my opinion, simple and effective and as we played (four players) the game flowed fast and it was simply a pleasure to play.
The golems are all awesome (the sheepdog and children’s playground ones are my absolute favs!).
What Didn’t We Like About It?
Tim: It’s also a criticism of Splendor, but there is not a lot of player interaction in Century: Golem Edition. Obviously, you can acquire cards that the other players may want (particularly as you can clearly see which crystals everyone has), but that’s as far as it goes. This isn’t really a big negative, as not every game has to be a player versus player brawl (in fact, some of my favourite games are co-operative; Arkham Horror LCG, I’m looking at you).
It didn’t happen with our playthrough, but I can definitely see the potential for analysis paralysis here (everyone knows someone that suffers from A.P.).
Jaydee: I had no problems with this game apart from the ability to see how other players are getting on, and therefore knowing exactly what you need to do in order to hinder them. This can be a fun mechanic the first couple of times, but in my opinion I think the ability to hide your intentions (perhaps with a nice screen to cover each players playzone) would make it a lot more fun in the long run.
Tim: I really enjoyed this game! I would go out and purchase it straight away, but Jaydee was keener to buy it than I am (whoops, spoiler!), and there’s no point in both of us having it.
If you enjoy engine-building games (often the experience that most deckbuilding games have), then you will almost certainly enjoy this (or Century: Spice Road). If you’re a fan of Splendor, then I definitely recommend you at least give this a try, because I think you’ll like it.
I’m eager to play it again (hopefully Jaydee will pick it up soon!).
Jaydee: I absolutely loved this game, both mechanics and aesthetics of it! I can’t wait to buy it. Alas our last two copies left the shop the day before I could buy one of ‘em!
Seems like Tim enjoyed himself while playing it too, and I have been doing nothing but saying how awesome it is, so this one is one that I will be adding to my collection so we have more access to it.
That’s all for now, cheers!
Tim & Jaydee