Designed by Paul Peterson, with artwork by Dave Allsop, Bruno Balixa, Conceptopolis, and Francisco Rico Torres, this 2012 game lets you “smash up” (Ha! I see what you did there) two classic factions into a deck of cards that you will use to stomp your opponents.
I’ve read a bunch of R.A. Salvatore’s “Drizzt Do’Urden” books set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting.
I think I’ve read 40, but there are probably 40 more (editor’s note: That’s probably an exaggeration) and I’ve always enjoyed the world-building Salvatore has done with the series, almost even more than the characters.
Drizzt is a Drow (Dark Elf), a former denizen of the underworld that’s fittingly called “The Underdark.” He’s an outcast from Drow society because it is pretty much a cesspool of evil scheming and betrayal and they worship the evil spider-goddess Lolth.
Since Drizzt has his own game, why not play a game where you get to be a conniving betrayer who’s looking out for your family’s interest and trying to bring down the other noble houses among the Drow?
Now you can, with Tyrants of the Underdark (2016), the deck-building area control game designed by Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, Andrew Veen with art by apparently nobody (I think it just spontaneously appeared on the cards in some miraculous event that should probably be canonized) and published by Gale Force 9 and Wizards of the Coast.
(Literally, the art credit on Boardgame Geek is “N/A”)
In Ancient Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs where whoever died and built the best pyramid was seen to be the most dope ruler in all the land, sometimes it wasn’t just what was buried with you that made the difference.
Sometimes it was who you were buried with.
And these people didn’t have to be dead ahead of you either.
(I’ll stop and let you think about that for a moment)
It’s definitely not something you want to think too hard about when you’re playing the latest version of Tom Cleaver’s Valley of the Kings.
The Cold War has always been an interesting topic for me. As a child of the 70s and 80s, I grew up during the height of it, when TV-movies like The Day After and World War III (damn, David Soul could act) made us wonder if nuclear annihilation was going to be coming soon.
(Of course, we didn’t have any incidents that literally made us as close to nuclear war as the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 60s, but that didn’t stop the fear)
Many games have been made simulating the Cold War and various aspects of it, most notably the GMT Games favourite Twilight Struggle. That game was the first time I knew of a card-driven game where cards had faction-specific events, and if you played your opponent’s event card, they chose whether to implement the event or not.
So when I heard that Jolly Roger Games and Ultra Pro were coming out with a quick 20-minute Cold War game called Iron Curtain, and that they were offering review copies in exchange for honest reviews, I knew I had to jump on it.
I’m glad I did.
Iron Curtain is a 2-player game designed by Asger Harding Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen with art by Jessica R. Eyler and David Prieto.
A new version of this game has just come out in the past couple of months, called Century: Golem Edition, with art by Justin Chan and Chris Quilliams.
The gameplay is exactly the same between the two games. The only differences are in the aesthetics and the artwork.
In Century: Golem Edition, instead of being medieval spice traders collecting spices to fulfill contracts, you are instead collecting and transforming crystals in order to power golems.
Instead of wooden cubes, you have nice plastic crystals instead.
Everything else is the same!
So which version should you get?
Personally, I love the look and feel of the Golem edition. The nice plastic crystals definitely feel better (and are easier to handle) than the small wooden cubes. The artwork is adorable too.
That being said, there are supposedly going to be more games in the “Century” line. I’m not sure what those games are going to be or whether they are going to have similar artwork.
It has been said that there will not be Golem version of those games, so your components may not be aligned when you get future games.
That may not make a difference. It may make a difference but you don’t care.
Either way, if that concerns you, you should definitely get the original version. It’s also not really worth upgrading if you already have the first game (unless you are a loving collector of art and must have the best artwork).
But if you have a choice, I would definitely suggest the Golem version of the game.
Century: Spice Road is a 2017 game designed by Emerson Matsuuchi, with art by David Richards and Fernanda Suárez and published by Plan B Games. There’s also Century: Golem Edition that plays the same and has the same designer and publisher, but with art by Justin Chan and Chris Quilliums.
I’m just reviewing the game itself, though I will comment on the component differences in another post.