One of the hot games of 2017 was Century: Spice Road, a “handbuilding game” that promised to expand into a trilogy of three games, each of which could be combined with the others. Now, in 2023, all three games appear in a single “big box” with a new promo expansion add as well. Is this the version to get? Let’s take a look!
Century: Spice Road is a good game, but the appeal of the game was always the promise of more. Three games! All interconnected! Mix and match! I’ve now played all three times and four of the seven combined games, and the best game remains Century: Spice Road, by itself. Unfortunately, the idea of interconnected systems meant sacrificing individual character and pizzazz, and none of three games quite reach the levels of other top engine builders, although Spice Road does come close.
I still had high hopes for this Big Box collection, but I’m not sure what they were. Perhaps easier setup / teardown for the combined games. Perhaps new ways to mix and match the components? But perhaps my biggest hope was for a reasonable box, and we didn’t get that at all. This box is embarrassingly large, with a pathetically poor insert. I know people that have gotten 90% of the components of all three games into one of the original boxes; this absolutely could have (and should have) been a Ticket to Ride style 12”x12”x3” box, but instead it is large, awkward and unwieldy. There has been a trend lately with “big boxes” that aren’t all that big (e.g. Avalon, Istanbul, Isle of Skye) and I wish Plan B had stuck with that trend.
There is a new promo expansion, the other cash-grab reason why you might get a Big Box. But it feels bolted on, and not enough to make this that attractive, especially for players who already own the original (or the Golem editions). For the MSRP of $80, you could get two similar games (granted, not three, or seven, or ten, or whatever) that are far stronger: Res Arcana, Furnace, Race for the Galaxy, or yes, even Splendor, the original competition. These games are fine, but the weak packaging and high sticker price make it hard to recommend.
The Bottom Line
These games are not bad, but there are better games out there, with better packaging.
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