A Gem In A Coalmine
Spyrium is the latest game by William Attia, the designer of the now-legendary Caylus. And while this game is smaller than Caylus in terms of length and complexity, it is just as rich and intense as its big brother.
The premise of the game is that in Victorian England (1800’s or so), a rare new crystal called Spyrium is discovered that revolutionizes industry and technology. You need to mine Spyrium, build buildings, and hire new workers in your quest to be the biggest industrial tycoon that England has ever seen.
- Decisions: 5/5. The decisions in Spyrium are simple enough (there are only a handful of possible actions), but thinking through all the ramifications of a given choice can be overwhelming at times. Each decision is meaningful and significant, and an unexpected set of choices can lead you in a totally new direction, which I love.
- Artwork: 4/5. I really like the artwork and design in this game. Some of the iconography is impossible to decipher for new players, but overall it’s slick and works well.
- Replayability: 5/5. The fact that the Marketplace and the Turn Action are random each game means that I can’t count on any one strategy from game to game. Each play session offers a unique set of choices and must be approached on its own terms.
- Awesomeness: 5/5. This game is the real deal. Each time I play I’m amazed at how things end up; it’s so well balanced that even when I think I have no good options, I’m able to figure something out that leaves me satisfied (even if I lose).
TOTAL SCORE: 19/20
Bottom line: Spyrium is a gem in a coalmine. It may never achieve blockbuster status, but the true gamers among us will appreciate its value. Game on!