Century Golem Edition an Endless World is the not-so-snappy title of an actually-quite-snappy game by Emerson Matsuuchi from PlanB Games. The sixth in the series of Century games follows the original trilogy of Spice Road, Eastern Wonders and a New World to be the concluding chapter of the reworking of the three in Golem guise.
Golem Of The Century
The Century games all work on the basis of trading resources for better resources in order to gain victory point cards. In this case, the resources are now gems and the points are Golems. Both of these are, literally and figuratively, fantastic.
The gems are chunky, about the size of a D6, and are irregularly shaped so they are easy to pick up and a joy to handle. They come in four colours, yellow, the least valuable, up through Green, Blue and then Red the best. They each have their own pot which goes together as the four quarters of a circle with a neat overall lid to hold them together.
The Golem cards, too, are lovely. Printed on oversize playing card stock they have great artwork depicting giant Golems going about their allotted roles of Exploration, Traders, Help or Tools. When you gain a Golem card it will assist you according to its class.
Exploration will reveal more of the board. Traders mean more of your worker meeples move from reserve into your active pool. Help lets you activate a location using fewer traders and Tools give you extra gems when you work a location. The rules are well-presented on concise handy reference cards.
Century Golem Edition an Endless World may not be quite endless, but it does have a lot of variation. The board consists of four large tiles put together in a square. Each of these has six, or in one case five, locations on it. Three of these tiles are always used and the fourth can be one of three alternatives.
The top two tiles contain the four, all-important Golem locations where you can trade the right combination of crystals for the points-gaining Golems. All the rest are workable. Up to half of these start covering up.
The Golem deck is tailored to the player count and with two players there are only 4 Exploration Golems to uncover them. This seems a bit harsh but is to make sure there’s competition for locations and adds, I guess, to variable replayability.
Century Golem Edition an Endless World is a quick game to play. Certainly faster than typing out the title. By the time I’ve done that you could have had two turns in Century Golem Edition an Endless World!
Each turn you can do one of just two things: place some traders on to a location to work it or recall all your traders to start again. Working a location will either let you
produce gems, upgrade gems, trade gems or pay gems for a Golem card. If another player is already there you must place one more trader that they have and return their traders to their pool.
This is an incentive to leave your traders out as long as possible making the sites more expensive. You cannot work a location that already has your traders on it until they have been rested i.e. brought home first.
When you gain a Golem card you can also take a bonus tile. You may have a choice of two and can have up to three in total. These either give straight points, points for set combinations at game end or move traders from your reserve to your active pool.
The game ends when a player takes their 8th scoring Golem and the rest of the round is played out. You then get the points for Golems, Bonus tiles, non-yellow crystals and possibly exploration tiles when you uncovered new locations.
The Bonus tile points for collecting sets of Golems can add significantly to your score. Gameplay then is a balance between going for Golems with high scores, good help or good set combinations.
One of the hooks of the Century series is that you can combine any two or more together. In Century Golem Edition an Endless World you get the rules and materials for the three possible combinations in the Golem world featuring an Endless World (EW) i.e. Golem Edition (GE) + EW, Eastern Mountains (EM) + EW and GE + EM + EW.
So that’s three extra rules cards, extra bonus cards, new and different location tiles and a new set of golems. I haven’t played any of the combos yet (and I’m not sure if you can mix Golem and original editions) but it’s all there if I want it.
Would I recommend that you own Century Golem Edition an Endless World? Yes, I would. I own two of the Century series of games: one non-Golem – Eastern Wonders and one Golem Edition – this one. They are both good and both give you a lot of components in your box. (More say than the original Spice Road or Century Golem Edition). But the Golem Editions have the edge in having the lovely crystals to trade rather than the more fiddly spice cubes.
It’s easy to learn with solid mechanics and a quick turn time. If you’ve not entered the Century world before buying this one. If you do have any of the other games, you get the added bonus of being able to combine them together. I wouldn’t necessarily get both editions of the same version except, maybe, Eastern Wonders and Eastern Mountains. So off we go mining for gems.