In my last pairing, I voiced disappointment with the form of cultural appropriation that happens in tabletop games with giving games that have a market, buying, or trading system a generic “middle eastern” or “Indian” theme. Century: Spice Road is one of many games which fall into that category, so I was pleased to see this game fitted with a new skin.
Really? Another scalding on cultural appropriation?
I love Century: Spice Road. It’s another European-style (lovingly referred to as a Eurotrash game) game which focuses on gameplay mechanics, balance, and having multiple strategies to gain the most victory points and win. The game focuses on collecting and upgrading different spices in your caravan that you’ll sell to merchants to gain victory points. At its core, Century: Spice Road is a resource management game. You must make decisions on whether to keep or upgrade resources to get that merchant card that you want. Merchant cards are your key path to victory in the game. Using your spices to buy 5 merchant cards ends the game, and the player with the most victory points wins.
Century: Golem Edition’s mechanics are no different from the original. The game is a “retheme,” meaning that the only difference between Spice Road and Golem Edition is the artwork and core story.
In Century: Golem Edition, you collect gems (equivalent to Spice Road’s various spices) which you can use to power golems (Spice Road’s merchant victory point cards). Here’s my recommendation if you’re wondering whether to buy this game or not:
If you already own Century: Spice Road, I’d recommend against purchasing Golem Edition unless you prefer different artwork.
Golem Edition is a great retheme. I didn’t own Century: Spice Road, although I have played it a few times, so I leapt at this game when I saw it at friendly local game store (FLGS). I think that the artwork on the cards (especially the golems) and replacement of spices (which were painted, wooden cubes) with gems (which are translucent hard plastic) is for the better. I’m glad to see this resource management and trading game take on a new life with these fantasy elements.
I played this game with one other person—this game works well with two players but can support up to six.
What is Field to Ferment and why did you pair it with Golem Edition?
Just as Century: Golem Edition is a retheme of a tabletop game, Field to Ferment is a retheme, of sorts, of a beer. It’s a beer with three different variations, which are each brewed the same way but with different types of hops added! We performed a tasting of all three variations.
Field to Ferment has three variants: one made with Centennial hops, another with Simcoe, and one with Citra hops. I love all three versions of this beer. Field to Ferment is a nice, well-rounded (but on the lighter side) ale with a great finish that reflects hops from the Pacific Northwest region. It’s brewed by Fremont Brewing, which I consider to be one of the best breweries in the PNW. This beer is interesting, because the only difference in flavor is the hop variation.
Each variation brings unique notes to the taste:
- Centennial hops have a smooth, slightly herbal taste with a clean finish
- Simcoe—my favorite of the three—has a strong pine flavor but also with a clean finish
- Citra hops, to me, had a similar taste to the Centennial but with interesting citrus notes
Just as Century: Golem Edition is the same game with a new skin, Field to Ferment is the same beer with a different flavor.
I get it. But why care so much about these variations on the same thing?
You can gain a lot of insight by looking at the same thing with a different perspective. Making slight variations on the same thing, whether it’s making a small change to something that you’re creating or making a minor change to your daily routine for the better, you can stimulate yourself such that you think outside of the box. To me, this can turn a fun game with a common, Indian goods and spices trading theme into a fun, whimsical game about powering friendly golems with gems.
In the same vein, hop farmers who dared to innovate on selectively cultivating their hops have produced interesting flavors which create a trademark for a great beer three times over.
Thanks for reading! Until next time…