Owning the most prestigious jewel collection is the name of the game in Splendor. Search all over the world to find the best gems and attract the best clients. Watch out though, your competitors may make a deal for the gem you have your eye on.
Theme: Jewel Collecting
Number of Players: 2-4
Game Time: 45 minutes
Age Appropriateness: 12 and up
Game Type: Splendor is a set collection, resource management, engine building game.
Game Play: Three rows of gem cards are turned face up, which are available for purchase. At the top of these rows sit the tiles for the ‘Nobles’ in play for that game. The cards all have a cost on the face and a permanent gem of one type to lay in front of you. On a players’ turn they may take gem tokens from the bank, purchase a card from the rows or place a card in play into reserve.
Should a player choose to collect gem tokens (which are very nice poker-style chips) they may select up to three different gems or two of the same provided there is the right number of that kind available.
Purchasing a card allows a player to place it in front of them and use its gem for future purchases. Tokens used to purchase cards must be returned to the bank. Gems used from cards in play in front of a player are not exhausted.
Placing a card in reserve ensures that no other player may purchase that card. A single wild token is given to a player putting a card in reserve.
There is a 10 token ‘hand limit’, and only three cards per player can be placed in reserve at one time.
The nobles are drawn to the hand of the first player that has in front of them the gem cards required for each individual noble. Most cards and all the nobles have a point value. The first player to 15 points triggers the end of the game.
Component Quality: The cards and gem tokens are high quality. I have a theory that if this game would have just included cardboard chits for the gem tokens the game would not have found as much popularity. There is something about the poker-style chips that everyone likes. It is just more fun to play with them.
My Take: So the theme in this game isn’t the strongest. The game is probably 95% about the mechanics, strategy and gameplay. But it is really fun and can be challenging.
Strategy gamers will appreciate all the different ways that there are to play defensively, and to try and come up with a strategy that will carry you to victory. However, the order that the cards come out and another player purchasing a card you need can completely destroy your plan.
I really like this game, as does my family and gaming group. When you first get the game, you will want to play multiple times in a sitting. It is definitely one that still gets to the table quite often. A decent length game, but can slow down a bit with four. Three is the sweet spot with this one.
Expansions and Replay-ability: There are no expansions for Splendor. It has enough replay-ability to make it into your regular game rotation. The nobles do not all get used every game, which helps keep the game fresh.
Rick Grayshock is a husband and father who is a digital content producer for FOX Sports Ohio and is a co-founder of the Cleveland sports website WaitingForNextYear.com. Rick is excited to contribute to Meeple Moments and to write about his ‘other’ favorite hobby.