Century Golem Series
review by Alapai
The Century Golem series are 3 related games for 2-4 players made by Plan B Games. In them, you obtain and trade different crystal tokens in order to power golems which provide you with victory points.
The Century Golem versions are reskins of the original Century series, using crystal tokens powering golems for each game instead of collecting spices or goods. Beyond that, each series has the same gameplay, so aesthetic is the difference between the original Century series and the Golem series.
Century Golem Edition is a reskin of Century Spice Road and a hand management game. On your turn, you can take one of four actions: 1) Play a Merchant card, 2) Acquire a Merchant card, 3) Claim a Golem card, or 4) Rest. When you play a card, you follow the action listed on the card. Some will have you obtain crystal tokens. Some will let you upgrade crystals. Most will have you trade crystals you currently have for other crystals. To acquire a card, you put a crystal from your stash on every card to the left of the card you want, then put the card into your hand moving all the cards to the right of it over a space and adding a new card from the deck to the far right of the display. To claim a Golem card, you have to spend crystals equal to what the card shows, then you take the card and put it face down in front of you. To rest, you take all of the cards you've played and return them to your hand. Once a player has enough Golem cards (varies depending on player count), you end the round (each player gets an equal number of turns) and count up victory points from Golem cards, coins and crystals.
Century Golem Eastern Mountains is a reskin of Century Eastern Wonders and is a map exploration game. On your turn, you move, then take one of the three actions: Trade, Village or Mine. To move, you can go to an adjacent tile for free, but additional tiles require you placing a crystal on the tile you leave. If you're on a mountain tile, you can take the Trade action and trade crystals from your board according to the tile you're on. You do need an outpost on the tile to trade crystals and when you start the trade action, you can pay crystals to place an outpost on the tile. Placing an outpost also uncovers parts of your board and once you have uncovered a full column, you get a bonus tile that gives you additional abilities or victory points. Uncovering more spaces horizontally also earns you victory points listed on your board. If you're on a village tile, you can take the Village action and trade crystals for victory points. If you don't want to take the Trade action or Village action, you can take the Mine action and take 2 of the yellow crystals. Once somebody takes their 4th victory point tile, you end the round and count up victory points from VP tiles, bonus tiles, spaces on your board and crystals.
Century Golem An Endless World is a reskin of Century A New World and is a worker placement game. On your turn, you can take one of two actions: Work or Rest. To work, you choose a location and place traders on that location equal to the amount required or, if there are already traders there, place one more trader than the amount there, moving the traders already there back to their owner. Then, you take the action from the location. Production locations earn you a crystal from the supply. Upgrade locations allow you to upgrade crystals from your storage. Trade locations allow you to trade the crystals listed at the location. Golem locations allow you take a bonus tile and/or claim a Golem card. Bonus tiles get you points at the end of the game if you meet their requirements. Golem cards get you points and a bonus benefit: making locations cheaper to play traders, gaining crystals from locations, gaining new traders from your reserves or taking exploration tiles from the board. To rest, you simply take back all your traders from the location board. Once a player has claimed 8 cards, you end the round and count up victory points from Golem cards, bonus tiles, exploration tiles and crystals.
The three games have some commonality. Each has you collecting crystals of varying value and trading them to get different crystals before buying victory points. The way each game goes about them is different, but not so much so that being able to move from one game to the other is incredibly difficult. In fact, each game can be combined with any of the others to make an additional game, as well as a mega version that combines all three. Each one utilizes the mechanics from its specific game (the Merchant cards from the original, the mountain tiles from Eastern Mountains and the locations from An Endless World) with the same crystals, but the main victory points only come from the latest in the series (aka An Endless World's cards if you're using it or Eastern Mountains' VP tiles if you're combining only the original and Eastern Mountains).
I enjoy the Century Golem series as a simple resource management series. The original Golem edition is a very simple game that still has a good amount of strategy. It also has the least interaction in that the only interaction is taking cards before your opponents. Both Eastern Mountains and An Endless World have a little more interaction in that you can make actions more expensive for your opponents in each by taking actions before them (outposts in Eastern Mountains cost one per outpost already there and locations in An Endless World get more expensive if an opponent has traders there already). Even with this though, all three games are much less interactive than many other games. Doing well in a Century Golem game requires you getting the resources you need more so than confronting opponents or slowing opponents down. Combining the games does allow for more replayability, but is more so a fun novelty as the combinations just reuse the same mechanics.
If you want reasonably simple resource management games, the Century Golem series (or the original Century series if you like the past setting more than the fantasy setting) are a good group of games that will offer you similar gameplay between them, but enough differences to be 3 distinct games.
Century Golem Edition, Eastern Mountains and An Endless World are available now from our webstore.