Century: Spice Road

Personal re-design of Emerson Matsuuchi's cube trading game Century: Spice Road

Why did I re-design an existing board game?

While the original game Century: Spice Road and its fantasy-themed alternate edition are lovely, I felt it was a bit overproduced.

I mean sure, the oversized cards are nice (and the metal coins, and the small bowls for cubes), but they felt mostly like an attempt to boost the shelf/ table presence of a card game about trading cubes for other cubes.

Game set up on the table with two rows of cards and some tokens

Smaller box

My preferred box size is a humble square, measuring 140×140×50mm. Compared to the original, my version takes 3,5× less space on my shelf 😀. Got to focus on the important metrics.

Image used on the box cover and cards is Samarkand, painted in 1923 by Alessio Issupoff (1889–1957). It's a lovely public domain painting and I felt it had the right feel and colour scheme for a spice road game.

Game box at an angleGame box slightly ajarGame box open with contents visibleWooden spice token cubes in the box bottom

Smaller cards

Cards in my version are regular bridge-sized cards (89×57mm) with linen finish. Poker-sized cards are more common, but I would use them only if the cards have text on them. On a bridge-sized card the line-lengths would be too short to fit text comfortably.

The cards with numbers give you Victory Points when acquired. The cards with a white banner are used for conversion. In this example, you would trade two orange cubes into two yellow and one turquoise.

Point and merchant card frontsPoint and merchant card backs

Rules summary

When I played the original game, new players often forgot what they could do on their turn. Since they already have a Caravan card in front of them to remind that they're limited to 10 cubes, I just added action reminders.

On the other side of the Caravan card are setup and win condition summaries.

Caravan cards showing front and back

These coins are certainly not as premium-feeling as metal coins would be, but for scoring tokens they are certainly good enough.

Plastic coin tokens in gold and silver colours