I was looking for a small, light-weight game to play with the family this summer holidays, so when I saw #Century: Eastern Wonders among the short choice of the only place that sells board games near where i am, it was a no brainer, considering #Century: Spice Road is one of my family favourites.
I had read some very positive reviews about it, saying that it's slightly more complex and deeper than its older brother, so it seemed like a good choice. My main issue with Spice Road is it being too light and that the game funnels me into playing in auto-pilot, so I was expecting something differente from Eastern Wonders.
So, long story short, I bought it and came happily home with it, set it up and played a 2 player game with my daughter.
While we both had a good time playing it, we felt it was just more of the same, but layed out in a different way. You still end up with the game playing you, instead of you playing the game, but now with tiles as opposed to cards.
The outposts are a nice area control mechanism, but in a two player game I never felt like we were getting in each other's way. We started in opposite sides of the board, and we just took whatever tiles we needed without being blocked. I suppose this won't happen as often in a 3 or 4 player game.
The bonus tiles are also cool, but I don't see why would anyone go for the extra cargo or extra harvest, especially when the game seems to end so quickly (not a complain, I think the game length was perfect). Having one or two extra move bonus tiles seems like the best possible choice, so the others don't feel as powerful.
All in all it was a pleasant experience and I definitely won't turn down a game if presented to me, but I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting something else and got Spice Road but with tiles. It's like having vanilla ice cream and vanilla pudding. They look different, but at their core they're fundamentaly the same. (My daughter doesn't agree with me on this, btw. She think's there's a completely different layer of strategy in EW.)
I'm looking forward to try both games combined, as it seems the brainy, more meatier experience I was expecting, but it might end being Spice Road with cards and tiles.