Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio saw some hot new games for sale. Three games, Bärenpark, Century: Spice Road, and Werewords have a lot of people talking. On the whole, they are all some solid new games that are worth playing.
Century: Spice Road
Century: Spice Road by Plan B Games is a game that’s all about fulfilling spice contracts for victory points. You’ll do this by building up your deck and using your cards to convert one kind of spice into other kinds of spices.
The board is laid out with two different rivers of cards. One river is full of trade routes, which are cards that help you gather and trade spices (colored cubes). The second river is full of demand cards, which are what you are trying to fulfill in order to get victory points.
There are four different colors of cubes, yellow, red, green and brown. Yellow is the easiest and least valuable cube. The next step up is red, the next is green, and brown is the hardest to get to.
On your turn players can take four different actions:
- Taking a trade route card
- Playing a card from your hand
- Claim a demand card
- Pick up all of the cards you’ve played
The end of the game is triggered when one player had fulfilled their fifth demand card. The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.
Century: Spice Road has very simple mechanics, but has a great depth of variability and strategy. As you continue to pick up trade route cards, you start to build a spice conversion engine. But you can’t get too caught up in building the perfect engine, because then your opponents may quickly grab the easier demand cards and bring a swift end to the game.
I really enjoy playing Century: Spice Road, because there is a ton of replay value in the game. The demand deck and the trade routes decks are both large, so you’re not going to be playing with the same combinations of cards every game.
The game is incredibly easy to teach to people and it only takes about 30 minutes or so to play. And even though the mechanics are easy to explain, the game offers a good amount of depth in terms of strategy.
Century: Spice Road is for 2-5 players, takes about 30-45 minutes to play and retails for $39.99.
Bärenpark by Mayfair Games is an adorable tile-laying game about building a bear zoo. Your goal is to build the best bear park in the world by cleverly laying your different enclosures, restrooms, playgrounds, waterways, etc so that you rack up the most victory points.
Each player starts with their own unique construction site. As you place tiles on the site, you’ll cover up different symbols. Those symbols will allow you to take different kinds of tiles or a new construction zone.
There are also three different objectives you’ll want to work towards. The first person to accomplish the objective will get the most points at the end of the game. The second person to complete it will get less, and so on.
Once you cover every spot on your construction zone, (except for the bear statue space) you’ll get to take a bear statue and place it in the space. There are a lot of bear statues available, but they are all worth successively less points. So grabbing statues as quickly as possible is a good idea!
Once one player has completely filled four of their construction zones, the final round is triggered.
This is a super cute and a super light game. I love tile-laying games that encourage you to try to fill up a certain space in the best way possible. It really speaks to the part of me that likes things to fit into neat little spaces.
Bärenpark is super easy to teach and super easy to play. It’s definitely a light game, so if you’re looking for a ton of depth in your board games, this is not the game for you. It’s a great game to play with family and with children.
It’s a fun, relaxing game, and it’s going to be one that I turn to when life is stressing me out. It’s simply enjoyable.
Bärenpark is for 2-4 players, takes about 30-45 minutes to play, and costs $42.00.
Werewords is basically a game of 20 questions with hidden identities. At the beginning of the game, each player will be dealt a different role card. If you are the Mayor, you reveal your card immediately.
The Mayor gets to choose the secret word, and then will be answering questions with either a yes, no, maybe, or so close token. The Mayor cannot speak during the game.
There are two teams, the Villagers and the Werewolf. Like One Night Ultimate Werewolf, there is an app that runs the game. It instructs everyone to close their eyes. The Mayor opens their eyes and chooses the secret word. Then the werewolf opens their eyes and sees the word. Next the Seer, who is on the Villager’s team, opens their eyes to see the secret word.
Once that’s over, everyone opens their eyes and starts to ask questions to try to zero in on what the secret word is. They only have 4 minutes to try to guess the word. The word can be anything. Thankfully the app has several difficulty levels that you can choose from when you start the game.
If the Villagers guess the word, the Werewolf can attempt to guess who the Seer is. If the Werewolf points out the Seer, the wolf wins. If the Villagers don’t guess the word, then they will attempt to figure out who the Werewolf is.
There’s a bit of a twist as well. How ever many people you play with, there will always be one extra role card. The Mayor will take that role card and be secretly on that team. So it’s possible that the Mayor could also be either a Werewolf or the Seer.
When I heard about this game, I was not that excited about it. It just seemed like a meh concept. But once I played it, I really enjoyed the game. Sure, it’s super simple and super quick. But it’s really addictive. And unlike a lot of hidden-identity board games, there isn’t that much direct conflict between the two teams.
I personally have been involved in many One Night or other related hidden-identity that get extremely heated, which can be pretty stressful. Werewords is not stressful, and it’s a different kind of mind-bender that is really fun. It’s quick, easy to learn, cheap and super fun. It’s perfect for parties or large gatherings.
Werewords is for 4-10 players, takes about 10 minutes to play, and retails for $19.95.
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