Splendor Is A Gem!

Splendor is a game I had never heard of until last night, but as I listened to the rules overview, I immediately though: I already like this game.  As it turns out, I was right.

Splendor is a wonderful gem of a game, wait, was that a pun?  Yes, I guess it was.  One more time without the pun: Splendor is a great game that doesn’t take long to learn and plays fast.  But, it also has a nice amount of strategy.

splendor play areaIn Splendor, players use their resources to purchase cards, which in turn add to their resource pool.  Some cards, in addition to providing more resources, give a number of victory points as well.  The first player to 15 points wins.  If that sounds fairly simple, it is because it is.  But, where it gets complex and strategic, is that the resources are different colored gems and each card costs a different amount of these gems.  One really has to think about what card they are going after, and ultimately, that card can be bought by an opponent before you actually get the chance to buy it yourself, which can be frustrating.  The two games I played were both fairly close, point-wise, so one missed opportunity can be the difference between winning or losing.

On a turn, a player can take only 1 of 4 actions.

They can take 2 gems (represented by chips/tokens) of the same color, unless there are fewer than 4 gems in that particular stack, in which case you may only take one gem of that color.

They can take 1 gem of three different colors.  So a red gem, a green gem, and a blue gem for example.

They can purchase a card.  Any gems used to pay for the card are returned to the supply.

They can reserve a card.

splendor personal reservesReserving a card is a neat mechanic that allows a player to take a card they cannot actually purchase at the time.  Also, when a player places a card in reserve, they take a wild gem that acts as any color.  Players may only have three cards in reserve at a time.  You can reserve cards that you actually want, in order to stop someone else from obtaining it.  Or, you can reserve cards that you absolutely have no intention of purchasing in the future just so that your opponent can’t purchase it.

Players may only have a maximum of 10 gem tokens at a time, and in a four player game, the supply can run very dry at times.  Eventually though, you will build up your own supply and this is when things get interesting.  The tiles at the top, called Nobles, don’t get replenished like the rest of the cards.  And, to make them even more awesome, they can only be bought with your supply of card gems and not with gem tokens.  And, (that’s two ands so you know they are indeed awesome) purchasing them doesn’t count as an action.

Those that have played Dominion and complained about the theme will probably feel the same way about this game.  I don’t mind the theme, but I’m not sure it best fits the actions and pace of the game.  This guy felt the same way and gave it a space theme.  Now that is an A for effort.

splendor storage insert

splendor player reserve

splendor play area

splendor player reserve

splendor game in progress

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