Tabletop Gaming’s 10 Best Games of the Year 2017: Starfinder and Century: Spice Road
Nobody could fault you for accuracy if you boiled Starfinder down to ‘Pathfinder in space’, but at the same time you wouldn’t quite be doing it justice.
While it certainly draws heavily from Paizo’s fantasy RPG – to the extent that you can easily transfer characters and creatures from one game to the other – Starfinder is very much its own beast.
For one thing, it has a fascinating setting that mixes pulp sci-fi tropes with classic fantasy (not to mention ramshackle fleets of spacebound goblins) that give it a thoroughly unique feel. More than that, it expands the already deep ruleset to account for battles between starships, technomantic powers and a whole array of weird and wonderful alien races.
It’s not what you would call a rules-light experience, but for many gamers the ability to tinker with every aspect of your character and their equipment is among the biggest draws out there.
By mixing and matching a whole galaxy of familiar tropes and clichés, Starfinder carves out its very own niche in the packed RPG genre; one where swords and shields can live alongside robotic snipers, while brave adventurers power through the darkness of space in search of glory.
3. CENTURY: SPICE ROAD
Although it travels by roads safely paved by Splendor, Century: Spice Road easily pleases the most capricious board gaming taste buds.
Never has taking a bunch of cubes of one colour and changing them for cubes of different colours been more exciting, and – if timed successfully – rewarding with silver or gold coins, that you almost wish were real.
However, the most appealing part of the game is its accessibility, that nonetheless allows a lot of space for strategy and planning, peppered with a bit of luck. While you are essentially just collecting cards to change one type of cube into another, it is the combination of the right cards, played at the right time, in the right sequence that creates a well-oiled game-winning engine.
Although, at times the amount of choice can feel overwhelming, when Century: Spice Road ‘clicks’, it becomes an excellent gaming experience. In addition, the game has beautiful artwork and, as a final ‘tick’, the box is designed to fit all components perfectly, including the bowls for each spices (cubes), that magically do not spill inside the box. Century: Spice Road in a simple engine-building Eurogame that you absolutely must sample the flavour of.
Check back in all of this week to see the rest of the top 10 and find out what we picked as our favourite game of 2017!
This is just part of our 2017 Game of the Year countdown in the December 2017 issue of Tabletop Gaming. To read the full feature, including more special awards and the top games of the year as chosen by designers of games including Scythe, Sushi Go!, 7 Wonders Duel, Fiasco, Santorini and more, pick up a copy of the magazine in print or digital.