05 October 2017
Add an extra touch of flavour to one of the year's best games
Century: Spice Road is a beautiful card game that’s mechanically involving and fantastic fun to play, if as dry as cinnamon when it comes to its simple gameplay basics.
This makes its accompanying playmat a divisive addition to the game, offering a fittingly attractive garnish that helps to give an extra lick of theme and atmosphere despite being arguably unnecessary.
Illustrated by artist Chris Quilliams, the playmat is a wonderfully vibrant presence once rolled out across the tabletop, presenting a rich purple background for the game’s two rows of cards, partnered with a rich faux-wooden table, four circular spots on which to sit the four plastic bowls of spice cubes – appropriately coloured with the dried seasoning of choice – and some sticks of cinnamon, cardamom pods, saffron flowers and turmeric pods that lend an air of luxury and mood to each match.
The Century series logo is subtly carved into the wooden table and the spaces for the points cards that offer gold and silver coins, as well as the leftmost trading card that can be acquired for free, are nicely embellished to remind you of their extra gameplay rules. There’s extra room for the remaining orange- and purple-backed stacks of cards. The whole thing is framed with a tasteful border that adds a little bit of depth and class to the durable rubber surface.
There’s no doubt it’s a well-produced, good-looking accessory. Yet, with Spice Road being such a simple, straightforward and relatively quick game to play in a travel-friendly box, is there any need to have to carry around a separate rolled mat? Setup and gameplay are simple enough to make it more of a hassle for most players unless you’re playing non-stop all evening at home or need to protect your cards against a rougher surface while out and about.
But there’s no denying that if you’re committed to the game, it does help lend that extra little spice of atmosphere to an already stellar experience.
Manufacturer: Plan B
This review originally appeared in the August/September 2017 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.