What is it?
Splendor is a point’s collection game. You gain points by matching gems and ultimately claiming bigger cards with smaller cards.
What do you get?
Splendor comes with gem tokens, a nice board and a lot of cards.
How does it work?
The game is the first player to score 15 points. During a players turn you can take 3 gems or 2 gems of the same colour, purchase a card or bid for a master. Gradually you will buy smaller gems and on them they have price reduction points on them meaning things in future will be easier to obtain. The pricier cards give victory points and hold more sway to obtain the characters which grant large bonuses. Once the first player reaches 15 points there is a final round so everyone has even turns. The most points wins.
Is it any good?
You know the sort of game that on the face of it looks boring, the artwork is boring and the how to play is really dull? Yea, that is Splendor. Honestly, it took some persuading to get me to like the game just from the box art.
BUT do not let that fool you. Splendor is in fact a very well thought out and balanced game. As soon as you know what to do and understand the mechanics (and get over the box art) it’s a real brain teaser. Every option presented to you is a peach, making those big decisions is really rewarding and there is a real glimpse of superior maths involved with the games design. Honestly, they got it so spot on its kind of a feat of rocket engineering right there.
I’ve only played one game and it was the base set so I cannot comment on how it progresses and the expansions but I’m sure they are well thought out. If anything after my game I was hungry to try it again and this time use a very different strategy. There is a bidding phase involved too which just adds to the intrigue of playing with different people and how they would approach it.
I really rave on to people about Splendor and I get the looks back that I know I once felt. It’s such a casualty for its very plain surface. They could have used space ships or set it as a black market in ancient Rome and it would have been more interesting than “you are a jewel merchant”.