Century: Spice Road board game
Century: Spice Road board game

Century: Spice Road

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Overall Rank: #91 | Trending Rank: #322

Centuries ago, the spice trade was the most important market in the world. It established and destroyed empires, compelled men to explore the far corners of the earth, and led to the discovery of new worlds. At that time, the value of spices even rivaled that of gold! In the old days, they carried a sense of mystery and allure. Spice merchants would weave fantastic tales of danger to reach these spices in hopes of selling their wares at higher prices. In later centuries, the demand on spices became so great, that those who controlled the spices generated immense wealth and renown. It is at this time, you find yourself leading your caravan across the eastern lands to the Mediterranean Sea in search of wealth and fortune. As a caravan leader, your journey begins on the Spice Road. This is Century: Spice Road!

In Century: Spice Road, players aim to collect and trade spices in order to acquire point cards and coins that are worth points at the end of the game. Players play cards from their hands to acquire spices for their caravan and trade those spices in for wealth and power (point cards and money), or to purchase new merchant cards to more efficiently acquire rare and valuable spices. Players take one action a turn until someone has acquired their fifth (or sixth in 2-3 player game) point card, players will finish out the current round of play and the person with the most points wins!

Play or Acquire Cards
At the start of the game, each player is given two merchant cards to start with and some preliminary spices. On their turn, each player may choose, as their action for the turn, to play a card from their hand, or spend spices to acquire a new merchant card from the row and place it in their hand. Merchant cards allow players to acquire new spices, exchange spices they currently have for different ones, or upgrade a spice to one worth more. Building up a good spice trading engine of merchant cards is an important part of succeeding on the Spice Road, so look out for powerful play sequences when taking new cards!

Once they've played all the cards from their hands, players must use their turn action to rest and return their cards to their hand. Now they'll be able to play their cards again on future turns, building up their caravan and further developing their hand of merchant cards to start acquiring point cards.

Claim Point Cards
The way to win in Century: Spice Road is to have the most points at the end of the game. Players get points when they acquire Point Cards and Coins by trading in their spices. Each point card in the row will have a different cost and overall point value listed on it, and the spice cost must be paid to acquire that card. If the two leftmost cards in the row are acquired, whoever acquired one of those point cards can take a coin from the pile above it. Silver coins are worth 1 point at the end of the game and gold coins are worth 3 points! Once a player has bought their fifth point card, the round of play finishes and a winner is crowned!

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User Ratings & Reviews

  • This one killed splendor for me, thanksfully. I was getting sick of that game
  • Played twice, excellent condition
  • Lots of fun - really easy to teach - should get a lot of play
  • 5/3/20 | 4 plays | 8/10 | This game is really growing on me, and now I have the Golem Edition on hold at Game Nerdz. Looking forward to the different theme, but this game is solid and I enjoy it as a streamlined engine-builder.5/5/2020 | Traded to BoardGameCo for Monolith Arena.I got the Golem Edition of this game, so there was no reason to own both.
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#Point Salad small but damn if it's not a table hog. Overall fun game but feel really random without much control, will still keep it for light use

#Century: Spice Road played a 2 player game, won by 1 point. Funny thing my wife just use her brown cube card then take the card back 5 time, in total 10 turns to get the 20 point 5 brown cards. I realized what she was doing by the time she got 2 brown cube and wasn't able to stop it. Stupid strat, but it worked so maybe i'm the stupid one

Good question and some good responses! I can relate to what's been said already.  Thankfully, no one has asked me that question yet, and my wife just smiles at me when I mention a game I'm thinking about or I tell her 'I bought this game for me for (birthday, Christmas, no special day) because I saw it on sale recently.  She doesn't know about but has probably guessed that I have an ongoing list of games I've heard about (that you won't find at Target) that I'm interested in trying/buying.  Some of those are ones I think are light enough for the family to enjoy, and some are mid-weight games I'll probably play solo or with a game night group that's been put on hold due to the current health situation.

I don't collect anything either, but books, board games, and knitting are what I like to do when I have some time to relax.  These keep my hands and mind busy in a way different from my career experiences, and I find them more enjoyable than watching tv all the time like some of my relatives do.  While there are only a few books I've read multiple times, I can play a game multiple times and have a different experience each time. Plus sharing them with different people is always fun. For example, we've had three exchange students since the 2018-2019 school year and all of them have enjoyed playing games with us. Our second one went home a week after his birthday due to the pandemic, and he was so excited that we gave him #Century: Spice Road for his birthday as a simple game he could play with his non-gaming family. Our current student has said he'll play anything with me.  Those experiences are part of the reason why I'll continue to buy and play games.



Hmm, that is a fascinating concept.  Let's see...what if I took..mmm, say #Ecos: First Continent and we combine that with something like...oooh, oooh... #Wingspan!  Weaving them together well is the tough part, especially since the African birds expansions hasn't been released yet...I think the number of ECOS tiles revealed is the number of birds readily avaialable to choose from each round.  If you take the "gain food" action, you can forgo gaining one food to gain a symbol of your choice.  For the "lay eggs"action, you may forgo obtaining an egg to double the symbol net drawn from the tile bag.  For the "draw cards" action, you can forgo one drawn card to draw one additional tile from the tile bag.

That's as far as I got with that one but other fun game combos might be #Terraforming Mars & #Anachrony

#Heaven & Ale & #Troyes

#PARKS & #Wingspan (huge potential!)

#Tapestry & #Scythe

#Century: Spice Road & #Splendor


1. #Five Tribes

2. #Century: Spice Road or #Century: A New World (I'm cheating here. I can't decide which one I want more.)

3. #Azul: Summer Pavilion

To be honest I could easily mention 10 or 15 games that are on my wishlist. Which ones that are on top changes often.

I've had success introducing non-gamers to #Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle and #Disney: The Haunted Mansion - Call of the Spirits Game. Both are fun, easy to learn, and are well liked-even for non-hardcore HP fans.  Next on my list would be #Splendor, #Century: Spice Road and #Azul.

We really like #Dominion: Second Edition and have #Dominion: Intrigue (Second Edition). Dominion started us into board gaming as a hobby. I've now bought the #Century: Spice Road trilogy, and one of our all-time favorites is #Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle.  Everyone loves that game, even though we've attempted year 5 half a dozen times and not won. I also like #Terraforming Mars which I've only played by myself-still hoping to find someone to play it with.

It's a mechanic I like, and will continue to look for deck builders with and without playing off boards.

I received all three games, #Century: Spice Road, #Century: Eastern Wonders, and #Century: A New World for my birthday last fall.  Spice road is easy to teach and it gets non-gamers interested.  (We gave a copy to our Spanish exchange student as a birthday present and he was so excited to share it with his non-gamer parents.) For me and my family, each one gets a little harder and the challenges are different enough we enjoy all three.  With the board being different every time, EW has great replayability. 

We never saw the outposts as preventing other players from using the same tile as all players can build an outpost on each tile by paying the appropriate number of cubes for each existing outpost.  It does make us consider if we want the action enough to pay the cost.  We've had multiple player outposts on tiles in both 2 and 3 player games.

We haven't played any of the combinations yet as a family, but I have enjoyed playing the first two combined solo as multiple players.

#Century: Spice Road is a wonderful game and I've gotten to play it a few dozen times. I'm a bit burnt out at the moment so I've been playing other games like #PARKS, #Lions of Lydia: A Strategic Game of Ancient Prestige, and #The Whatnot Cabinet to fill that void.

I can get them to play #Ticket to Ride: Europe, #Century: Spice Road#Pandemic, #Sushi Go Party! and #Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle and #6 Nimmt! fairly easily.  My wife also likes #Splendor #Azul and #Alhambra. I'm always up for a game, my wife occasionally, and my son not so much. I'm hoping to get more game play with #Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale, #Istanbul: The Dice Game, and #The Quacks of Quedlinburg.

I played WingspanPipelineDominion 2nd Edition, and Century: Spice Road. I was absolutely impressed by Pipeline. It felt like it has so much room for any player to create and build amazing engines to grow and pay off. It was a rough first play though so it's the type of game I imagine that I'll be able to teach it better and help the players enjoy it more now that I've gone through the first time.

Dominion and Century are of course always solid games that are quick and easy.

I got a couple of game days in this week so got to play quite a few games:

Scythe and Century were repeat plays. 

Every time I play Scythe I appreciate the game more.  It's definitely always in the running for my favourite game. 

Century: Spice Road is a game that fits perfectly in the time it takes.  I haven't played it enough to give definitive thoughts on it.  Generally speaking though I think it's a fine game and a good game for the time it takes.

Ethnos was fun and relatively quick.   I would call it a push your luck game combined with an area control game.  Much like Century Spice Road I think it works well with the play time.  I enjoyed it but I think if it was longer it might get frustrating due to the luck involved.

Tiny Towns was an interesting one!  Unfortunately we had to cut the play short which is a shame because I think the real game will start in the last half when you start running out of space.  I would definitely want another game of this.

Trains is deck builder with a map which we've seen before.  However, I really like the level of complexity it is at.  Where I found something like Tyrants of the Underdark to be fun but long I feel that Trains is easy to teach and a reasonable length.  (Ok, it's not THAT short but it's definitely not a slog either.)  I'd definitely consider adding this to my collection.

Towers of Arkhanos is the newest one of the bunch.  (One of the guys I play with does a lot of kickstarting.)  I'm a bit mixed on this one.  Building the towers is a cool visual and spatial element that is different from anything else I have played.   However, I found the game itself to be ok.  Being first in a round made a huge difference as certain squares were much better than others and certain dice would be good with the rest being merely ok.   I didn't find the game bad, just ok.  It was fast and didn't overstay its welcome either.


I'm the same way about SM. I've been looking at Plan B games too since I enjoy Century: Spice RoadAzul, and Reef. They all allow me to enjoy good strategy decision making while still being easy to bring to the table with newer gamers.

The biggest thing the other comments have missed is compatibility: Century: Spice Road & Century: Eastern Wonders have a combined form (From Sand to Sea) which is pretty good and definitely a big selling point for the Century series. The third and final installment in the series (Century: A New World) isn't available yet but will also feature combined games (combining with each of the first two games and combining all three games, for a total of seven unique games).The hitch: Golem edition features gems, not cubes, and uses different colors. While you can still work around this and combine them, it removes a lot of the elegance. Save yourself the trouble and buy Spice Road (and buy Eastern Wonders while you're at it - it's a great game).