Splendor In-Depth

Box art of splendor

Designer: Marc Andre

Artists: Abbas Amirabadi, Mahmoud Arasteh Nasab, Pascal Quidault 

Publisher: Space Cowboys

Year Published: 2014

No. of Players: 2-4

Ages: 10+

Playing Time:  30 minutes

Find Out More On BGG Here

Review:

We both first played splendor in college. Our friends introduced us to the game, Drew played first for a year then introduced Kay almost as soon as we met. We really fell in love with the game’s simplistic rules and minimal time required to play. We may hold some bias towards this game as it consumed a lot of our early date nights. The game held a prominent role in our weekly game group rotations. Splendor was simple enough that our family could understand and strategic enough our board game group remained engaged. Needless to say, that after acquiring the game ourselves last Christmas we purchased the expansion a few months later. 

Setup:

Splendor is easy to set up. The three different card decks are placed on the table in a row with the highest tier above the rest. Tiers are marked with dots on the back of the cards and with different colors making set up and clean up simple. Four cards are then drawn from each deck and displayed for everyone. Noble tiles are drawn, and also laid out. The gems are also put out so that everyone can reach. The noble tiles and gems are impacted by the number of players but the rulebook does a great job of clearly stating the changes. With that, the game is ready to be played.

Board Layout of a Four person Game

Gameplay:

Each turn a player can do one of three things. A player can pick up chips in two ways; the first is three chips of different colors or the second option, two chips of the same color. A player can also buy a card for the cost of the gems (shown on the bottom left-hand corner of the card). Finally, a player can reserve a card so that no other player can buy it. When a player reserves a card they are given a gold chip which can be used as any chip color. The game is over when one of the players reaches fifteen prestige points. Points can be earned in a combination of two ways, by buying cards with value and/or by meeting the requirements to gain a noble tile. 

A persons hand

Theme and Mechanics:

Splendor takes place in the renaissance era with each player playing as merchants trying to build up their prestige. The game is simple to learn and easy to play with a typical game lasting approximately 30 minutes. The game’s time can be influenced by the player’s strategy, i.e. people who take longer to think about their moves.  

Noble tile artwork

Artwork and Components:

Splendor is beautifully made. The artwork is exquisite and helps clearly convey the theme. It is also extremely well made, the chips are made of high-quality plastic that does not scratch or chip and the card are long-lasting, especially since they are not handled much. We have put hours into this game and the components look brand new. 

The Good:

Great Casual Game

Easy for anyone to play 

Luck can influence but doesn’t determine the winner 

The Other:

For some, the replay-ability feels too repetitive

The simplicity of the rules can be boring

Final Thoughts:

Splendor will always hold a special place on our shelf as well as in our hearts. We definitely recommend buying the expansion over time as this helps with replay-ability for years to come. Also, this game is great for families who enjoy Catan and are new to more involved board gaming. 

Players who like:

Collecting resources

Building up 

Quick and Casual

Chips from splendor

For those of you wanting to try splendor, get them here and help support us.

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Board Games

Written by twospartans

We are a couple who graduated from MSU and want to share our adventures in life. We like to play games, cook food, and more.

4 comments

  1. I love how Splendor works so well for both 2 players and 3-4. Some games feel like the 2-player mode is just tacked on, but for this one it’s a core, almost expert, mode.

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