Splendor by Space Cowboys, is a European style board game that uses card drafting and set collecting to create a wonderful economic based game.
There are six types of gems in Splendor, one of which acts as a wild and can only be collected by reserving a card. Players will need to collect various combinations of the gems to purchase cards. There are three tiers of cards to purchase, the first tier costs the least but most do not have a point value, the second tier costs more than the first tier and they all have a low point value, the third tier costs a lot of gems but have a high value. Additionally, players can receive points by collecting certain combinations of cards and attracting the attention of nobles. All the cards, gems, and nobles are set up like in the picture below.
To play Splendor, players will take one of three actions during their turn. Take gems; players have two options when taking gems, either take one of three different types of gems or take two of the same gem. The second option can only be performed if there are at least four gems in the pile. Players are also only able to have up to ten gems in their possession at the end of their turn. The second action is to purchase a card, these cards have a permanent gem value on them, which will aid players in making additional purchases in future turns. The final type of action is to reserve a card, when players reserve a card no other player is able to purchase this card, on a later turn the player that reserved the card is able to purchase it if they are able. When reserving a card players will also receive a gold piece, which acts as a wild.
The end of game is triggered when one player has at least fifteen prestige points, however each player will have an equal number of turns. Therefore if the first player triggers the end game, then all the other players will have one more turn. The winner of the game will be the player with the highest number of prestige points.
Splendor has a very unique quality to its game play, which I greatly enjoy! The game is great for families to play, because of its low combativeness. While the strategy component is great for experienced players, it is not so high that new players have no chance of winning the game, which is great for introducing less experienced gamers to Splendor. Initially when trying to explain the game it can sound very confusing and not make much since, but after a round or two most everyone seems to catch on to how the game works. To boil down an explanation of the game, it would be that players use wealth, to collect more wealth. This economic system works “splendidly” as it can be easily comprehended rather quickly by new players. Additionally, the games artwork is very nice and the components are really top notch. I would definitely recommend Splendor to anyone who is just getting into the hobby, is looking for a shorter game to play, or has mixed groups of experienced and less experienced players.
If you already enjoy Splendor and are looking for other European style games I suggest checking out my reviews on Settlers of Catan and Kingdom Builder, which are bound to add some great variety to your game nights.
If you are interested in purchasing Splendor, you can use this link!
Ages: 10 and up
Playtime: 30 Minutes
Players: 2-4 Players
If you would like more information on Splendor, please check out their website.