You look out the window of your high-rise office onto the wonderful splendor of Victorian London, England. All around you see the work of others like you, smoke stacks, machines and gears churning, pumping away, working to bring glory to Her Majesty. But unlike the others you work to be the best! Turning around, you grab the glowing green crystal off your desk. Spyrium. The life blood and future of your mega industrial conglomerate. You stare into its mystery, wondering what other properties it may have or offer you. Setting it back down, you look at the new recruit files on your desk. Thumbing through them until you find the ones you want. These are the next miners, workers and management staff that will help you achieve your dreams.
Pressing a button on your desk you call in your secretary. “Yes sir” your secretary says entering your office. “Miss Lawrence, please bring me the latest profit & loss reports and call Mr. Garth into my office please. We have much work to do tonight. You may leave for the day once he arrives Miss Lawrence. Please be prompt tomorrow. It will be a very important day for us.” “Yes sir and of course sir. Thank you and have a nice evening.” she replies as she exits your office to complete her tasks. Sitting in your chair, you envision where you see your company in the next few years and whom you plan on putting out of business. Looking out the window, you watch the smoke stacks across the city and starting planning which ones will have your name on them next.
Game Designer: William Attia
Artwork: Arnaud Demaegd
Players: 2 – 5 players
Playing Time: 30 – 90 minutes
Game Mechanics: Worker placement, card drafting
Contents: 1 game board; 35 workers (7 of each color); 20 discs (4 of each color); about 50 Spyrium crystals; 24 tokens (numbered 1, 2, and 3 (8 of each number)); 31 coins of £1, and 15 of £5; 10 Bonus tokens (2 of each color); 1 First player card; 1 First player card; 7 Event cards; 7 Technique cards; 17 Character cards; 35 Building cards.
Suggested Retail Price: $34.99
Parental Advisory: Safe for kids
Spyrium is a euro-style worker placement game from William Attia of Caylus fame (my favorite game of all time.) Oddly enough this is only Attia’s second game that I have played and both of them are quite stellar. However, where Caylus is a very deep, strategic brain burner of a game, Spyrium is more medium weight, shorter game length with still a good bit of strategy involved yet every bit as fun to play as its predecessor.
The first few times I played Spyrium, I played as a two player with a friend who is a very well versed strategy game player. We played three times that night and had a good amount of fun even as just a two player game. So we know that yes, you can have a good game experience with Spyrium as a two player game. Obviously the more you add the more the depth and color of the choices, strategy and card effects come into play. This games sweet spot is most certainly in the four – five player area.
Spyrium offers a very good balance of economic, worker placement, variable powers and card acquisition with a hint of “take that” when effectively making it more costly for your opponent to activate a card they are placed next to. The use of character cards, building and technologies gives Spyrium a varied amount of possibilities and the new event cards that occur every round give plenty of opportunities for strategy and the rethinking of strategy when a fellow player may have made a move that affected your previous plans. The event cards also being in view of all players a turn before they come into play make it much easier to plan strategy and remove random chance to a degree making this a great game for strategic gamers who do not like randomness. Every round when the new cards come into play are the only real amount of randomness a player needs to worry about, giving this game a strong feel of planning and also giving each player the chance to not only plan for themselves but also to strategically slow down other players if the said player has guessed the proper strategy. Even so, players like previously said have the ability to change plans and still have a possibility decent outcome.
Spyrium is only six rounds long which is one of the reason it playing time is so short, and it comes up on you fast. Being able to think ahead a move or two and having purchased your buildings correctly, maximized your income every round (as income is very important) and being able to utilize the character powers as well as purchase the technique cards are very important.
One of the best things about this game is the rule book. It is very well laid out and explains things very well (a rarity or most games.) The components for Spyrium are typical of a euro but still more than functional and the artwork is quite unique and thematic. The money is cardboard bits of usual thickness, the worker pieces are wooden, they Spyrium is a clear green plastic cards of sufficient thickness so as to stay in good condition even after many plays.
Spyrium is a very easy game to learn and after a few plays, you get to know the cards and their effects pretty quickly, making future games much faster and still just as competitive and strategic. Even a short game of Spyrium is a good game of Spyrium. Spyrium packs a lot of game into a small box. It also conveys the theme fairly well as well for a worker placement game.
Every game of Spyrium I have played leaves me feeling satisfied. Like I made good use of my time, learned something, used my brain and played a deep game even if only for 30 – 40 minutes. There are lots of decent and good worker placement games, but I feel that Spyrium rises above most of them and was one of my favorite games to come out in 2013.
If you like strategy games, worker placement games, shorter play times and games with only bits of randomness, then Spyrium is a great choice for you.
Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):
Rules Book: 9
Club Fantasci Overall Score: 8.5
I am giving 8.5 out 10 stars because Spyrium captures the spirit of a great worker placement/euro-style game with the ability to be played in a shorter time which to many is a deciding factor in the games they will by due to increasingly shrinking time frames because of busy lives. Spyrium is a strong front-runner in games to own, play often and take on the road. It’s compact, full of theme, game and re-playability. Spyrium is a must have game in my opinion. Like it’s brother Caylus, Spyrium will be still standing long after the cult of the new era of board games has dissipated and the truly great games are left standing.
This game is Club Fantasci Certified!
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