BoardGameBattle: Splendor vs Century Golem Edition vs Homebrewers
It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, so lets come back with a triple threat match. We are looking at three different engine building games here and seeing which one of these family weight games is going to come out on top. Let’s meet our contenders. Today we have Splendor facing off against Century Golem Edition and Homebrewers for the title of favorite light weight engine building game.
Let’s Meet the Fighters
Splendor is a game all about collecting gems and becoming the best gem merchant in wherever it is set. It is a fairly generic theme, but it works for the game. Splendor, like I said, starts with you collecting gems to buy cheap cards that then give you more gems. However, the gems you get from the cards are permanent and in a tableau in front of you. So you collect more gems, but now you need less to get your next card. And if you can figure it out, you can build up those cheaper cards to then get more expensive cards for cheaper, or for free, and those cards generally give you points.
Century Golem Edition
Another game with gems, but this one is a little bit different. This one gives you a hand of cards that you add more cards to. You are trying to build your most efficient hand play combos of getting gems, and upgrading gems. When you get the right combination of gems, then you can trade those gems in for a Golem. And the golems at the end of the game are worth points. So with Century Golem Edition, you are trying to build up that perfect engine in your hand. Super fast turns and a really fun game.
Finally, my favorite theme, we have brewing beer in Homebrewers. In this game you are competing to have the best beers in four different categories, ale, stout, porter and IPA. You can brew them and get some base points, but one of the big things in the game is that you can modify your brews. Maybe you have a card with yuzu on it, you can then make a yuzu IPA. That might give you more money, points, or raise you up in another beer. Twice during the year, you are then judged on how good your brews are, player with the most points wins.
Al of the games allow you to get better at doing things as the game goes on. In Splendor it is because you have more permanent gems and with Homebrewers you have the ingredients on the beers. Century is a bit different, but you have an improved engine because of the new cards that you’ve add to your hand.
There is also that every game is about points. In Homebrewers you get points for brewing the best beers. Splendor you get points with the cards that you buy. Century Golem Edition, you get points for the golems and coins that you have. They also give the players a chance to catch-up. Though, Splendor is the one where this stands out most. Because the end game in Splendor is triggered by someone reaching a point threshold.
So, I already kind of talked about one. Century builds up an engine of card play. Homebrewers and Splendor have a tableau. Now even between Splendor and Homebrewers there is a difference. Homebrewers you trigger part of your tableau when you build, Splendor the whole power of the tableau is always available. So the engine building piece itself, while similar that there is one, how they each handle it is different.
And while the theme is an obvious difference, I think it’s worth pointing out that Century Golem Edition and Homebrewers feel like they have more theme than Splendor. If we go back to the clean versus messy games article I wrote this week, Splendor is the cleanest. This isn’t that it is massively more clean in game play than the others, but just that all of them a very neat and tight games, Splendor just removes more theme while doing that.
They come out swinging, Splendor gets ahead with some fast and simple moves getting Homebrewers into a corner. But it, like in a button mashing video game, just seems to be doing the same basic moves over and over again. Homebrewers and Century Golem Edition get the upper hand knocking Splendor out of the ring.
Homebrewers and Century Golem Edition keep on duking it out in the middle of the ring. Every time Splendor tries to get back in, they dump it back out. The battle, in the end comes down to the two of them. Century Golem Edition keeping some cards back and changing up their moves. But Homebrewers builds up several solid sets of moves to keep pace… and the winner is…
Homebrewers just beats out Century Golem Edition, though, it is really close. Both are engine building games and both are a lot of fun. I think that I just like the theme of Homebrewers better. It is fun to sit down and play that game, and it plays fast, and at the end talk about what weird beers you’ve made and if you’d try them. Both are really good games though. And I know a lot of people really like Splendor, but to me, I’m kind of done with that one. It was fun, but I know how it plays out most of the time now, so I don’t need to play it again.
Which do you prefer?