Review – Splendor
A set collection game.
Year Published: 2014
Designer: Marc André
Publisher: Space Cowboys
Game Time: 30+ Mins
Set-up Time: >5 Mins
Mechanic: Card Drafting, Set Collection
How to win: Have the most points after someone has reached 15 points.
Splendor is a fast-paced and addictive game of chip-collecting and card development. Players are merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops — all in order to acquire the most prestige points. If you’re wealthy enough, you might even receive a visit from a noble at some point, which of course will further increase your prestige.
Stack up each gem chip by colour. You’ll remove a couple of each for 2-3 player games.
Shuffle each development deck by type and lay out 4 cards in a row next to the deck.
Lay out nobles equal to the number of players plus one.
On your turn you take one of 3 actions…
Take Tokens – Take 3 of three different colours or 2 of one colour (if there is more than 4 left in the stack). If at the end of your turn you have more than 10 tokens, discard down.
Reserve a Development Card – Take a development card, place it face down in front of you and take a gold (Joker) token.
Buy a Development Card – Trade in gems equal to the cost of that card. Development cards you already control give you a discount on new cards. If its bought from the middle, replace it. If you buy one from your previously reserved pile you don’t replace it.
At the end of your turn, if the BONUSES on your development cards is enough to recruit a noble, do so now.
Each development card and noble is worth a number of points, when a player has 15 points the end game triggers.
Each player takes an even number of turns and the game end.
Whoever has the most points wins. For a tiebreaker the player with the fewest development cards wins.
I generally don’t like ‘race’ games (unless it’s an actual ‘race’) where you’re racing to a particular score or goal. There has been a few games where this has put me off.
In Splendor it works well. Turns are quick (usually) and you can plan ahead (mostly) and build that engine you need to win.
I say ‘usually’ and ‘mostly’ as those with AP can struggle with the ever changing environment and you can ‘mostly’ have a plan but it maybe be destroyed by that player taking that card you wanted.
There are several paths you can take. Do you take a load of smaller cards with no value in order to build up end game, or do you save gems to buy only point scoring cards… Do specifically go for Nobles or not?
The art is great, the chips are heavy and lovely and the game is smooth and simple.
One I enjoy every so often.
I give it 6/10