Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round Or A Review of CentrixMay 21, 2020
Ryan looks at Canadian published Analog Game Studios’ Centrix.
- 2-6 Players
- 20 Minutes
- Ages 8+
- Published by Analog Game Studios
- Designed by Richard MacRae and Corey Myckan
What happens with board gamers want to design a game that feels like it belongs to classic games you may have grown up with? Centrix is what happens. A colorful Sorry or Parcheesi style game that uses cards instead of dice and 3D board where you will be trying to climbs the steps of the Centrix board to get all four of your pawns to the top first.
Centrix is a 2-6 player game, where players are trying to get their three pawns to the very top of the board first. The board is a 3D circle with 7 steps, made of colorful rings. These rings are made of cardboard that you place on the plastic base and will spin around during the game. Each of the 6 colors in the game are represented twice on each of the 6 levels (the 7th level is blank except for the Centrix logo). These steps of colors are very important to the game, but more on that in a second. The color rings are placed on the board, and can be rotated with cards. On a player’s turn they can play 1-3 cards. There are 2 special wild cards (move to any color, spin the board on the level on of your pawns are standing as many times as you want and then move 1 space any color), but for the most part a card is a number and a color. The number tells you how many times you can move the ring you are currently standing on (can be clockwise or counterclockwise). You do not HAVE to move a ring if you don’t want to, but if you do – it must be a ring your pawn is on and you must do the complete number. Then you may move the pawn that is on that ring one space in any direction as long as it lands on the color of the card you just played. So if I have a 3 Red, I can move the ring 3 times in one direction and then move the pawn one space in any direction as long as it lands on a red. Pawn movement, like the ring movement, does not have to happen. You can just choose to move the ring, to maybe set up for your next card (note: just moving the ring, you don’t have to match it up so the pawn can move, but you can still only move a ring a pawn is on). Players always have 3 cards in their hands, and can play as many of those 3 as possible.
There are two more things you need to know: Pawns cannot share the same space, so you have 1 of 2 options (you can never do both), you can jump over another pawn, as long as you land on the correct color OR you can land on the space of a pawn (again you need correct color) and bump that pawn down 2 spaces (and yes that can cause cascading bumps). The only other rule you need to know now is – when starting from the table to the first level, you may never bump a pawn that way. When on the final level that has colors, to reach the top level you must either play a wild or the color you are (So if you a blue player, you must play a blue card).
Centrix has a lot of table presence thanks to the bright colors and 3D look. For the most part the components are quality, though I wish the game came with a bag to store the cards in. The game does have double-sided ring boards, that show symbols on the other side (that match with symbols on colored cards) for those that are color blind, that is a nice touch and I applaud Analog Game Studios for that. Maybe one day we will see a deluxe version of Centrix, where the steps are actually painted and the plastic actually rotates. However, the way it is set up now, they could release expansion rings that have special actions on the steps when you land on them. That could be a really interesting twist on the game or maybe rings that are blocked (cannot be stepped on) for lower player counts (we will discuss lower player counts further down).
I will say that it can be hard to plan your move in advance due to the state of the board continually changing (up to 3 times per player before your next turn). You really have to decide what you can do with the cards you have when it becomes your turn again. However, the AP isn’t as bad as one would think thanks to each player only having 3 cards and 3 pawns to move. I have personally only played 3-player games of Centrix, however, I can see it is being even more fun with 5 or 6 players, as the player interaction like jumping over a line of pawns or bumping (and maybe a cascading bump) happening more often because there are more pawns on the board. With 6 players that would be 18 pawns on the board compared to the 9 pawns in 3-player. This is why I think it would be really cool if they came out with some rings that were designed specifically for 2 & 3 players (where certain spaces cannot be stepped on and if you would bump to that space, you have to go down 2 more spaces). That isn’t to say we haven’t had fun or close games in our 3-player games, because we have. The last game we played before writing this could have been ANYONE’s game, because we were all at and near the top of the rings.
Centrix is a modern twist to many of the classic roll/draw and move games you may have played growing up like Sorry or Parcheesi, yet offers players a little more choices. It also features some laugh out loud or hurray! moments as you bump your opponents down two spaces or jump over a line of pawns to make it to the top of the board. Overall, we enjoyed Centrix. I could see this one being a “gateway gateway” game. By that I mean, if you want to introduce hesitant non-gamers to games, this could be a good first step – it looks and plays like something familiar (albeit in 3d) but with a few more choices (thanks to having 3 card hands) and after playing it, you can move on to something like Ticket to Ride.
We enjoyed this one, you can check it out at:
Thanks to Analog Games Studios for sending a copy of Centrix for an honest review.