Splendor Game Review
There was a Splendor Marathon in our home yesterday, so today, it’s time to write the Splendor Game Review. I stupidly held off buying Splendor for a long time because of the product description… “you are a wealthy Renaissance Merchant”… “acquire mines”, “hire artisans”, “make jewelry” and “attract wealthy patrons”. (Huh… will I need a soldering iron?) And then there’s kind of a creepy looking guy on the box. BUT (and this is a big BUT) when you get past the language and imagery, Splendor is actually a very easy, and quite fun deck building game. The game can be taught/learned in about 5 minutes… and it moves along pretty quick. The replay value is high enough that my people will spend the day playing it over and over (instead of going online to watch you tube videos!). Let me tell you a bit more about it….
Have I already convinced you? Click here to order—> Splendor
How to Play Splendor
The Splendor game comes with 3 sets of development cards, a set of hard Noble cards, and 6 sets of coins that represent different gems or gold… diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and onyx (which looks like a piece of chocolate…). The three sets of cards are clearly marked on the back.. and each set is increasingly expensive to purchase.
All of the cards have a cost on the bottom left… and give you a bonus gem on the top right. Some cards also have a point value.
On your turn you can-
- 1.Pick up 3 different gems.
- 2. Pick up 2 of one gem (if there are at least 4 in the stack)
- 3. Buy a development card with your gems or gems plus cards
- 4. “Reserve” a development card. This means; if there is a card you want (or you KNOW someone else wants), but you can’t quite afford to buy it… you can “reserve” it. Pick up the card and a gold coin (which is wild)… and maybe play the card later.
There another interesting twist…
When you’ve collected enough cards, you may get a visit from one of the nobles. Be sure to check at the end of your turn … these are “free points”. If you forget to check, tough beans.. .you miss out. (It’s happened to me more than once) The nobles are limited… once they are gone, they are gone. (Unlike development cards, which are replaced as they are purchased).
Simply stated- When you play the Splendor, you collect coins/gems, use them to buy development cards, then use the cards plus coins to buy more cards…. hopefully with points on them. To win the game, you must collect 15 points.
Collecting points starts off kind of slowly, but once people collect cards from the higher levels, things move FAST!
Splendor Game Review
I really enjoy playing Splendor… and so do my people. Like I said, this is an easy game to teach and learn, which makes it a fantastic “Gateway” game. Still, there is strategy involved. As you get better at playing Splendor, you no longer just worry about your own cards, you learn to go on the offensive against your fellow players (hoarding a certain gem that you know they need is a good one).
Since the game is played “open handed” everyone can see your set of cards, and how close you might be to winning. And that’s where those “reserve” cards come in to play… they are kept a secret! This means you can prevent others from using them, but also keep a secret stash of points in your pocket…
For such a simple game, Splendor is very engaging. I found that it has a high replay value. Since more coins and nobles are brought to the game with each additional player, the game changes depending on how many are playing.
The playing components are well made. I love the feel of the coins (a nice thick plastic). The cards are cards (sleeve them if you want), but you need to be able to shuffle and stack them up. The noble cards are thick cardboard. Best of all, the game box inset holds everything nicely. And the artwork looks good (the scary cover guy isn’t on any of the cards).
Splendor was a surprise hit in 2014… it came this close to being the Spiel des Jahres”, and it did pick up the “Golden Geek” Award. The accolades and awards were on point. Splendor is a worthy addition to the gaming table.
Who Can Play Splendor
The box says ages 10 and up. I think that a younger child could easily manage this game… especially if they are used to playing board games. If you can count to 15, and recognize a diamond from a ruby, then you should be good to go.
Each game lasts 20- 30 minutes… meaning you can play multiple games in an evening, or use Splendor as an in-between game.
The game does take up a bit of space though, so you will need a table to play on. (Playing in the car or on an airplane tray table just won’t work).
You can Find Splendor on Amazon