A to Z 2015 : SPLENDOR

Our next entry is not only a favorite of the playgroup I attend once or twice a week, but also the Ladyfolk. So much so that she gets fairly irritated if I ever forget to bring it (which is often...) to our own Game Nights with friends and family. To be fair, I could be reminded...

Anyhow, all we're ever trying to do is live a life full of...

Splendor is a Gateway game with some different mechanics than we've covered thus far throughout this A to Z Challenge. Nothing difficult, just different. The game centers around set collecting and engine building.

The game has 5 main resources (technically 6 total) in the form of Gem tokens: Ruby (red), Diamond (white), Sapphire (blue), Emerald (green), and Onyx (black). They are represented by tokens, much akin to poker chips, featuring those gem/color. The sixth gem is Gold (yellow), which acts as a wildcard, usable in the place of any one of the other resource types.

There are three tiers of cards and each is shuffled into their own separate deck (Development cards and Development decks). Those decks are then placed in the play area, forming a column, and the top four cards of each is placed in corresponding rows. Then, depending on the number of players, a set amount of Noble tiles are placed next to the formed grid of cards (Marketplace) and the Gem tokens are placed in an area easily accessible by everyone.

The youngest player begins the game. A player may make only one of three actions on their turn:

  1. Collect 3 Gem tokens of different types OR 2 Gem tokens of the same type (IF there is at least 4 Gem tokens of that type in its stack). There is a cap of 10 Gem tokens. If a player collects Gem tokens and exceeds that cap, they must return any tokens to the staging area until they have only 10, or less, remaining.
  2. Reserve a card. A player may take a card from either the Marketplace or the top of any deck. When doing so, that player also collects a Gold Gem token if any are available (this is essentially the only way to obtain this type of token). A player may still reserve a card if there are no Gold Gem tokens available. A Reserved card is placed in the player's area (face-down if desired), or their hand. There is a cap of 3 Reserved cards. Once a player reaches that cap they may no longer Reserve cards.
  3. Buy a Development card from either the Marketplace or your Reserve Hand. Players may trade in the amount of tokens dictated on a card, after reductions are applied, to purchase it from either the Marketplace or their hand. It is then placed face up in front of them with all pertinent information (Development card type and Prestige Point value) visible to all players.
NOTE: When a card is bought or Reserved it is immediately replaced by the top card of the deck associated with that row. When a deck and row runs out of Development cards, players must purchase from the others available.

Once a player has selected and completed their action, play continues clockwise.

Each Development card has Gem type (upper righthand corner) and varying costs to purchase, detailed along the lower lefthand side of each card. For example, the Emerald Development card in the bottom row costs 1 Diamond, 1 Sapphire, 1 Ruby, and 1 Onyx to buy (collect). A player must have those Gem tokens available to spend, factoring in discounts, to obtain that specific card. Once a card is purchased, it's set in your play area and will count as a price reduction for further purchases requiring that Gem price. This is accumulative. As you collect sets of Gem Development cards, it becomes much easier to purchase the cards from higher tiers.

NOTE: For example, buying that first Emerald Development card, would then grant a discount towards, say... that first Sapphire Development card in the bottom row. You would no longer need an Emerald Gem token, because that cost (of 1) is covered by the Emerald Development card you purchased earlier!

Some Development cards have Prestige Points which are displayed in the upper lefthand corner. Nobles are also worth Prestige Points and you can acquire them by building sets of the appropriate types needed to lure them. For example, the Noble to the far right requires you to have collected 3 Onyx, 3 Sapphire, and 3 Diamond Development cards. Once a player has the met requirements of attracting a Noble, at the end of their turn, it is placed in their play area and they receive those bonus Prestige Points.

NOTE: Only one Noble may be lured at any given time. If, by chance, a player meets the requirements of more than 1 Noble at the end of their turn, they must pick and choose only one. If the other(s) is still available come the end of their next turn, they may then lure another. Nobles can swing the tide of a game!

When a player reaches 15 or more Prestige Points, the round is completed and the player with the most Prestige Points wins! In the event of a tie, the player with the least amount of Development cards wins!

FULL REVIEW HERE - Pictures coming soon!

Have you ever played Splendor before? If so, did you like it? If not, does it look like a game you would want to introduce to your playgroup?