Splendor is the game of gems, gold, mines and merchants!
Over the next few weeks, we'll be highlighting popular games you may not have tried! If you've already got Carcasonne, Dominion and Love Letter (the staples!), we're here to showcase what you should try next!
In Splendor, you take on the role of a merchant trying to acquire gemstones – it’s super easy to learn, and like all the games we recommend, it’s great fun!
There are three decks of cards – 1 for each gemstone. Each card will have a cost, as well as a corresponding value.
The gemstones are represented in the game by sets of poker chips (which are of a very satisfying weight, and shuffling them is addictive!).
There are additional bonus tiles that change from game to game, helping to increase the replay value as different bonuses and goals are introduced each time you play, always giving you something new to shoot for.
On your turn, you can take one action. This action can be to collect gems (to buy cards), or purchase a card if you have the right number of gems.
If you want to take gems, you can either take three gems of three different types, or take 2 gems of the same type (so long as 4 gems remain in the pile afterwards). You can also choose to take 1 gold, which acts as a wild card.
This one action having so many decision points lends to the strategy of Splendor. Depending on the cards in place, the gems remaining, and indeed the gem pools of your opponent, you’ll often find yourself trying to out-wit and out-swindle each other. Making the correct choice for gem acquirement is paramount to a sound victory!
If you’d like to purchase a card, you simply cash in the requisite gems and take the card, adding it to your play area in front of you.
In addition to victory points, each card will also have a gem featured on the top right hand corner. What that means is that once the card is added to your play area, you will permanently have 1 of that type of gem on your turn for the rest of the game. This can eliminate your need to take gems of that type!
What this means is that eventually, you may get to a point where you cards are producing gems for you, and allowing you to acquire more cards without the need of the ‘take gems’ action!
Of course, that extra income isn’t the only reason you’ll have to narrow down your card selection – each of the bonus tiles also have a requisite of the number and types of cards you’ve acquired. Once you meet that requisite, you can take the bonus tile and add it to your play area, granting you further bonus points at the end of the game.
The game comes to an end when any of the players reaches 15 points (a sum of the points of both their acquired cards and any bonus tiles). At that point, you play to the end of the round, at which point the player with the highest number of points is the winner.
Splendor makes for a fast, simple game that is a perfect stepping stone for a family or household looking to try something new after having played Catan, Carcasonne or even a more traditional game like Monopoly.