Splendor is a card game for 2-4 players. You purchase development point cards with gained resources and the first player to 15 points wins. During a player’s turn they have the option of picking up a limited number of gem tokens and on future turns, spend those tokens in certain combinations to pick up development cards in the center. Players can only pick up 3 tokens of different types, or 2 of a similar gem type with some restrictions. Alternately, players can pick up a gold token which works as a wild card gem.
Development cards come from 3 separate decks, each with increasing costs of needed gems, but offering more and more points. As an option, a player can pick up a development card and keep it in their hand (maximum of 3) so that no one else can scoop it up.
Players will spend gem tokens to match what is displayed on the development card. Further, purchased development cards can act as a single gem type which can be used to buy other development cards. So players can try to purchase cheap development cards that offer no points, yet they allow you to amass more gem types which can be used to spend on more expensive cards later. Also, unlike the gem tokens which are discarded back into the supply, development cards you obtain always stay with you.
In addition to the development cards there is also a random number of noble cards. Each noble offers points if players get particular combinations of development cards. While they aren’t a lot of points, they can offer a means to score with the low cost development cards (provided the developments are of the needed sets).
The Good – It’s an immensely enjoyable, light strategy card game. It’s a snap to learn yet offers just enough challenge in play. The collection of gem tokens from a limited supply and holding of key development cards adds a small facet of player interaction. The components are nice with cards of nice stock and hearty gem tokens. The artwork is tasteful and offers a colorful, classical look of the 15-16th century.
The Bad – Once a player lags behind, it can be hard to catch up. Some might also argue that the card strategy isn’t too deep either with a few considering it too light for their tastes. The box is rather roomy for the actual amount of components inside.
The Verdict – Splendor is an immensely enjoyable game. The 15 point total is just long enough to allow a player to amass enough developments to get that feel of a decent game engine going, while not lingering too long to make the play tiresome. There really aren’t any glaring faults to this game. It’s fast, simple, and engaging. It’s not pretentious. It’s just simple fun. Splendor is a wonderful family game and well worth picking up.