This post originally appeared on my old blog: PinkMeeple
1. brilliant or gorgeous appearance, coloring, etc.; magnificence: the splendor of the palace.
2. an instance or display of imposing pomp or grandeur: the splendor of the coronation.
3. grandeur; glory; brilliant distinction: the splendor of ancient Greek architecture.
4. great brightness; brilliant light or luster.
5. a board game designed by Marc André and published by Space Cowboys
I bought Splendor on a whim after seeing a run-through/review on a YouTube channel somewhere. I am pretty sure it was Joel Eddy and Drive Thru Review. But no matter…
Everyone has been raving how it should win Spiel des Jahres! I have to agree, this game is awesome! It hits that sweet spot of 30 minutes or so. It plays fast and smooth and I can teach it to anyone in 3 minutes. It is currently one of my favorite games and I never see it leaving my collection. I’ve played it only two and three player. Not sure what happens at four, but the game does change a bit from two to three players as more cards tend to stay on the board instead of disappearing into other players tableaus or hands.
Gameplay: There are chips in the bank of 5 colors and the amount varies based on number of players. On the table there are three stacks of cards (level 1-3) with four dealt from each…so 12 cards on the table. The Level 1 cards (green-backed) are easiest to acquire, then Level 2 (yellow) and last the blue-backed are the hardest or most costly to acquire. More on this later.
On your turn you do one of four actions. They are:
1) You can pick three chips of three different colors (no more than 10 can be in front of you)
2) You can take two chips of one color if there are at least four in that stack (again discard down to 10)
3) You can take card from the table and put it in your hand (no more than 3) and a gold (wild) chip
or 4) You can purchase a card from the table.
Cards are purchased by paying the bank the number of color chips required in the lower left area of the card. The gold chips are wild and each can be used in place of another color chip. As you purchase cards, you can use the gem in the upper right as chips for payment toward other cards. So eventually, you can “buy” cards for free because you have enough bonus gems in front of you to pay for it. Then, in later turns, you can buy other cards that give you bonus points indicated by a number of 1-4 in the upper left of the card. At the end of your turn check the nobles on the table (three were drawn at random at the set-up of the game), if you have the number of bonus gems in front of you indicated on the noble card, you get that noble card and it’s bonus points. First person to 15 points triggers the last round. Easy, peasy.
Thoughts: Now, this game isn’t exactly age appropriate and although she doesn’t quite grasp the strategy involved in winning the game, she does understand the mechanics of getting chips to buy cards and discounting them with the bonuses in front of her. I think she loves to want to play it because I like it so much. And she loves the chips. She is definitely going to be a fan of quality components when she gets older. But hey, aren’t we all? And yes, she has beaten me on occasion – and that’s only because I was helping her make the hard decisions which in some cases screwed me over.
Like I said, the component quality is fantastic! The chips could’ve been made out of cardboard or plastic and people would still love this game. But in this case, the components really add an extra level of quality and swag to the game. They are really fantastic, meaty, heavy ceramic poker chips with stickers applied to both sides. This game can be a little luck driven with cards that come out into the field, but there is also some strategy involved as players take cards off the table to purchase or into their hands to prevent you from taking them. So, ya, even a little of “take that.” I introduced Splendor to my gaming group and all loved it. They thought it was fast and easy to learn! Granted, a little slow at first, but it picks up speed quickly as you build up your gem engine and speed toward your 15 point goal. A great 30 minute fix. Not really a filler, but not quite a full-on lengthy game. I recommend it highly. Go get it!