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Splendor is a fast-paced and addictive game of chip-collecting and card development. Players are merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops — all in order to acquire the most prestige points. If you're wealthy enough, you might even receive a visit from a noble at some point, which of course will further increase your prestige.

On your turn, you may (1) collect chips (gems), or (2) buy and build a card, or (3) reserve one card. If you collect chips, you take either three different kinds of chips or two chips of the same kind. If you buy a card, you pay its price in chips and add it to your playing area. To reserve a card — in order to make sure you get it, or, why not, your opponents don't get it — you place it in front of you face down for later building; this costs you a round, but you also get gold in the form of a joker chip, which you can use as any gem.

All of the cards you buy increase your wealth as they give you a permanent gem bonus for later buys; some of the cards also give you prestige points. In order to win the game, you must reach 15 prestige points before your opponents do.

User Reviews (32)

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Comic Book Fan
Book Lover
Pet Lover
77 of 84 gamers found this helpful
“Splendid Game for Everyone”

Splendor was an impulse buy for me, that has really paid off. Its quick, easy to learn, and still allows for depth in game play. The game contains both luck and strategy in equal parts, and its hard to not love the “chips”.
Splendor consists of:
40 gem tokens: 7 Emerald(green), 7 Sapphire(blue), 7 Ruby, 7 Diamond(white), 7 Onyx(black) and 5 Gold(wild)
90 development cards in three decks: 40 level 1, 30 level 2, and 20 level 3
10 noble tiles

The gem tokens are laid out in stacks – the are very heavy poker chip style pieces that add a wonderful tactile sense to the game.
Development cards are laid out in 3 stacks, with the top 4 cards revealed next to each stack. Each card is bought with the appropriate value in gems, cost shown in the bottom left corner, value towards future purchases in the top right corner (shown as a gem), and those with a point value have a number in the top left corner.
1 noble tile is chosen at random per player and placed across the top. These have different point values (top left corner), and are scored automatically once you have a sufficient number of development cards (shown bottom left corner).

Actions – each player takes one of the following actions on their turn:
Take one Gold(wild) and/or Reserve a card to your hand. (Card hand limit is 3). Card taken to hand can be from the face up cards OR the top of the decks.
Take 2 Gem Tokens of the same kind, as long as there are at least 4 to draw from. (not including Gold)
Take 3 Gem Tokens of different colors. (not including Gold)
Play a card in front of you, either from your hand or from the face up cards, by paying its cost.

The game is all about the points – first one to score 15+ is the winner. These are scored off of the level 2 and 3 development cards and the noble tiles, in any combination.
Always keep in mind: 3 hand limit for reserved cards and 10 gem token limit at the end of your turn (no stockpiling).

At first, beginner players will just be trying to collect what they can and grab valuable cards as soon as they are revealed, sometimes targeting a noble tile or level 3 card for the points. But over time you can develop other strategies. Like any game that is “easy to learn but has depth”, replay value over time is based on the players you play against. The game becomes a race to see who can score first, the challenge is in reading your opponents and heading them off.

Once players have an understanding of the game, games are fast and aggressive with everyone’s attention on the revealed cards and their opponents scores. We have found Splendor is a great filler between games, or as an introduction to non gamers. It hits our table quite often, and pacing is slower when there’s just 2 players making it a nice quick pick up for me and my wife.
For anyone who has different people come over of different game levels or family game nights, this is a must for the collection. The weight of the poker chip/gem tokens is usually enough to get someone hooked.

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71 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Elegantly Simple, Simply Elegant”

I’ve got about 20 sessions with Splendor under my belt now, and I feel like I can give a quick and proper review of this instant classic from Marc André.

The title of this review says it all: Splendor is simple to learn, with simple mechanics, but gameplay is surprisingly smooth and rich. Players take turns either choosing gem tokens or reserving and buying development cards which give bonuses and victory points. Each development card requires a certain combination of gem tokens to purchase, and players are drawing from the same limited pool of tokens, thereby creating a fun and challenging balancing act. A successful player will need to monitor not only the remaining supply of tokens, but also his or her opponent’s strategy. A typical train of thought during a turn might go like this:

“I’ve got my eye on that expensive development card up there that would give me 4 victory points and a diamond bonus, but I need two more ruby tokens to buy it and there is only one ruby token in the pool right now. Maybe I should buy this other card down here in the meantime, which would give me an onyx bonus, which would then make it easier to buy that third card that has the ruby bonus, allowing me to finally buy that first card with the 4 victory points I was looking at without even needing another ruby token. But I know Casey is looking at that same card, so maybe I should just reserve the card now, which would also give me a gold token which I can use as a substitute for the ruby token that I don’t have. But, oh man, that onyx bonus would be nice too, because I only need two more onyx bonuses for that noble to come visit me, so I dunno…what should I do…”

On paper, that all probably sounds fussy and a bit confusing, but during actual gameplay, there’s a delightful range of choices open to the players at any given time that is consistently engaging, and with only two basic components (cards and tokens), it’s a game that can be taught and learned in minutes.

Component quality is high, with heavy tokens that feel great in your hand. The box is too big, however, with a lot of wasted space for storing the components; the publisher could have shrunk the box by 30%!

Overall, Splendor is one of those games that I’ll keep coming back to throughout the years, thanks to the simple yet engaging mechanics. It’s a quiet game, where players get lost in thought as they figure out their ever-changing strategies, and games like that never go out of style.

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I play red
69 of 76 gamers found this helpful
“Sheer elegance”

With a nod to Atticus653 for noting elegance in his title first….

Elegance is a refined simplicity, a simplicity that belies the amount of work and design that went into making an object — like, say, a gem. An elegantly cut gemstone may seem almost natural in its final shape, despite the jeweler’s delicate craft and fine eye.

So it is with Splendor. It’s so simple, so natural, so elegant that it barely feels like a game. When I first laid it out and prepared to play, I thought, “That’s it? That’s what all the hype is about?” Splendor seems simple to the point of being boring. However, it’s anything but.

In Splendor, you play a Renaissance jeweler looking to earn the prestige and recognition of the world. Play is, surprise, simple — on your turn, you can either take some of the multicolored gemstones, buy improvement cards that “produce” gems on your turn, or reserve the improvements to buy for later (and get a wild card gem when you do). Buy improvements with victory points (“prestige”) and buy certain arrangements of improvements to attract nobles to your tableau. The first player to 15 points wins. That’s it! Usually my mechanics paragraphs go on way longer than this!

While I keep using the word “simple,” elegance is what keeps you coming back to Splendor. I can’t tell whether it’s because of the simplicity or in spite of it, the game grips you hard. There’s a surprising amount of variance in the strategic choices you can make: do you buy a lot of cheap improvements to build a strong economy early on, or do you save up the gem tokens to buy more expensive ones with prestige attached to them? Do you focus on grabbing high-value top-tier improvements, or attracting nobles to your tableau? Games are over relatively quickly — long enough to feel meaty, but fast enough to leave you wanting more. Building your tableau of improvements, making smart acquisitions, and stealing cards out from under players all feel great.

Splendor’s presentation is simultaneously strong and a little weak. The art on the improvement cards is well-done, but it’s repetitive and lacks character. The theme, such as it is, feels very mechanical and not fleshed out in any way. However, the components are very high-quality, especially the poker-style chips used to represent the individual gems, which have a somewhat surprising heft to them that makes them feel valuable. Presentation is a mixed bag, on the whole, but the gameplay is fun enough that I don’t really miss a strong theme.

Splendor surprised me with its mix of simplicity and addictiveness. It’s a refreshingly elegant entry in a field of often overwrought, mechanically dense games. It’s fast becoming a favorite of mine, and I feel comfortable recommending it to almost any game group.

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65 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“Gem of a Game”

Over the last year I have continued to try and find games that could be played with my family. My wife does not like to play games that lst more than an hour, as well as games that are focused on player conflict or are extremely complex (in essence she prefers gateway games). Our two boys on the other hand very significantly. Both love theme, most of the time. While one loves in your face game play and complex games, the other prefers quick, “growth” games. By growth games, I mean a game where the player grow’s his tableau, his empire, or his deck. A game where things start simple, but by the players actions, become larger and/or more involved. The interesting thing about Splendor is that even with the varying tastes within the family, it is liked / enjoyed by all.

Components – This is definitely one of the high points of the game. The chips (gems) are consistent with ceramic poker chips. The cards art and quality are of the highest standards. Even the insert is molded to hold the game in place. High marks all the way around.

Theme – OK, this is definitely one of the weaker aspects to the game. Supposedly, each player in the game is a merchant of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops — all in order to acquire the most prestige. To be clear, this is a pasted on theme at its best. Not once did I ever feel like a Renaissance merchant. I mean, how often do merchants walk down the street picking up spare rubies, diamonds and emeralds. It took me more than two plays to understanding the transportation and shops portion of the theme as these are just driven by the picture on the cards and has no impact to gameplay at all. This is really an abstract game with 5 resources that you have to manage to earn victory points.

Gameplay – In my opinion, this is one of the game’s strength’s. This game can’t be easier to learn (OK, maybe it could, but I have no idea how). In essence, there are three levels of cards, with each subsequent group being both more expensive and more beneficial. During the game, four cards are flipped in play for each level. These cards can generate 1 of 5 resources, and possibly some victory points. Each card has a separate cost. The players goal will be to create a resource engine from the various cards in an effort to generate 15 victory points.

The players turn has only three options: acquire gems (either two of one color or 3 separate colors), buy/build a card (this means putting one of the cards into your resource engine / tableau) or reserve a card which is taking a card from one of the piles on the table and saving it to build at a later date). That’s it. Given those few choices, one would think there would be little strategy or even though needed or this game, but they would be wrong. There is a lot of thoughts on how you will get your 15 VPs. Will it be to buy out the lower cost cards, will you focus on just 2 or 3 colors, will you try to get a lot of many colors leaving yourself open to the volatility of which cards are available or will you focus on trying to attract one of the Lords and Ladies bonus cards right away?

You may also think that there is little player interaction in this game given what I defined as could be done on a turn. Though this is true for direct interaction, thee is a significant amount of indirect interaction, especially for 3 and 4 player games. Because everyone’s resource engines are always transparent, it is not that hard to deduce what other players are going after. Thus you have the opportunity to disrupt this by either buying what they are going after, or reserving the card even if you can’t afford it yourself. There will be a bit of cursing when this get’s done more than once to a player. I would argue that everyone should leave at least 1 or 2 of their reserve slots for just this type of activity.

Replayability – Given the random nature of the cards, no game will be played exactly the same way twice. that said, it would likely still feel a lot like your other games. This is the type of game that you should expect exactly what you are getting into every game, but the how you do it can be tweaked each outing.

Personally I rate this game very highly given the simplicity and hidden depth, the fast gameplay and the high quality of the game. This is one game that I would anticipate coming out for the family quite often in the future.

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I'm a Real Person
Smash Up Fan
I play yellow
Comic Book Fan
65 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“Didn't do it for me...”

I had never heard about this game before I played it a few months ago. It sounded like a really cool concept: You are a jeweler trying to buy gem mines, trade routes and stores in order to increase your prestige and wealth.

On your turn you can collect gems (3 different types, or 2 of one type), buy a card with your gems, or reserve a card. You win when you have 15 prestige which you get mostly by acquiring cards. Cards give you a constant production of gems so that you don’t have to rely on getting gem tokens. Certain cards are harder to get but give you more prestige and more gems, and other cards are cheaper and make it easier for you to buy more expensive cards, but don’t give you much, or any prestige. Also there are a limited number of gem tokens so depending on the game and the cards that are on the table, certain gems may turn out to be more valuable. If you get enough cards of specific gems, then you can attract a noble who gives you more prestige. It’s good for 2 -4 players, I played it with 4.

-I really liked that there is no text in this game. I had been playing a lot of games that were text heavy and this made it super easy to understand and start playing.
-I really liked the gem tokens which were pretty hefty and made you feel like you were collecting something valuable.
-Also, the turns could be pretty quick so the game kept moving.
-It’s a pretty solid light game that is good between or before other games.
-Kid friendly because there is no reading involved, just some light math.
-Changing gem scarcity depending on cards, nobles, and strategy is a nice addition.

-You don’t really get to do much each turn (only one action), so I felt like even though the turns moved relatively fast, at the same time there was a lot of waiting around. Also, only having 1 action makes strategies develop slowly.
-There are certain cards that are just better to go after, I didn’t think the cards and the strategy of going after lower cards VS. waiting and going after bigger cards (or a combination of both) was well balanced. It could have been done better.
-Also, there was not enough social interaction for me. Everyone has to think about their turns and so for the most part people just kind of sat quietly while this game was going on. Very much like everyone was playing their own personal game.
-This may seem nit-picky, but the “mine”, “trade route”, and “Store” cards seemed like they could have been better thought out. Wouldn’t a jeweler need access to 1 of each of these? There should be some kind of bonus if you complete some sort of mine, trade, store combination or something. It seemed like something was missing from this part to tie it together.

I understand why so many people like this game, and I would recommend it to others, but it isn’t very fun for me. I understand that I’m in the minority with this opinion. There is a lot that I like about the game and I thought I would really enjoy it. I generally like working with simple strategy, and ones with limitation on what you can do. Surprisingly, it just didn’t do it for me in the end.

I know this is a light, fast, filler game, but it felt like it could have stayed light and just added another element. To me, it seems like there is half of a good game here. In my opinion, a game with a bunch of jewelers all vying for prestige should have a little more interaction between opponents, like deals or trading. On the other end, I understand that I should just ignore the theme and enjoy this little game, but I am unable to do that for whatever reason.

I’m glad that I’ve given it a few tries, and I’d play it if others were really wanting to, but it’s not a game I would ever get excited to play.

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Gamer - Level 1
73 of 81 gamers found this helpful
“Puzzle-type play with built-in ramp-up”

Played this over the holiday weekend with friends. As mentioned above: the theme is irrelevant – you could have written the colors and numbers by hand on index cards and discs and it would still work.

Having said that – it’s a testament to the design that it’s still an intriguing game. There is a puzzle-type feel to it that seems like you can “figure it out” if you just play one more time….

I also enjoyed the ramp-up speed element of the game: after using your jewels chips to buy cards that contain jewels, you start using your cards more than your jewel discs to buy more elements (which have more buying power), to the extent that the end of the game always has a swiftness to it. It feels more exciting to play than it probably looks like to others watching, but not playing.

Sits in a nice sweet-spot for a two-player game (though you can play with more). Overall, I could see this as a nice time-filler when you have a good 20 – 30 minutes to kill while waiting for guests to come over, waiting for a plane, etc. The canniness of the math involved is satisfying.

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Miniature Painter
Intermediate Reviewer
64 of 71 gamers found this helpful
“Get your Renaissance gems here!”

In Splendor, you are a Renaissance gem collector who acquires gem tokens and bonuses with the hopes of being visited by nobles. Some bonuses give you prestige points, as do all nobles. Be the first to acquire 15 prestige points and you will be dubbed The Duke or Duchess of Splendor!

What do I like about this game?

The one thing that really stands out are the weighted poker chip-like gem tokens. They look, feel, and sound great while playing the game. Just listen to that! Plus, there’s nothing better than a single-fold rule book, as long as it’s well written. This one is is pretty good.

What don’t we like about this game?

We don’t understand the intro written in the Rule Book that talks about acquiring resource mines, transportation methods and artisans that will allow you to turn raw gems into beautiful jewels. It sounds like there’s a level to this game that just isn’t there.

Cards should be referred to as Mine, Transportation and Artisans instead of levels 1, 2 and 3. Requiring at least one card from each of those categories before getting a Noble visit would give this game a bit more depth and purpose of play.

Video Review

Check out our video review: Gettin’ Higgy with Splendor

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Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue
63 of 70 gamers found this helpful
“Spledid Fun; Deceptively Complex”

There is a lot of recent buzz over Splendor on gaming websites and forums, and many have deemed it a top pick for 2014. There is good reason for this, as the game is excellent. The box artwork for Splendor is lovely, and the game is hefty. I feels like quality even with the shrink wrap in place, and so much of that weight comes from the marvelously chunky tokens. I don’t think I have seen or read a review that did not mention Splendor’s awesome tokens. But how is the game itself?

The theme in Splendor is merchants, markets, and trading, but the theme does not factor in the game much. Setup and gameplay are simple enough, and the rules are clearly explained in the tidy rulebook. The game involves the acquisition of gem tokens which are used to buy cards that will enable players to win the game. The cards are kept in players’ hands and allow players to get discounted cards of higher values. Higher value cards are worth a specific number of points. The first player to get fifteen points wins. The game moves quickly, and 20-25 minutes is a typical game time.

I thought I would enjoy Splendor, since I love Jaipur. I guess the merchant and goods theme drew the comparison, but that is where the similarity between the two ends. I like and play both games, but they are quite different from one another. Splendor seems more abstract, but it is still simple to learn and play. On any given turn, a player can take (purchase) one of the cards from the field of play. So the “board” is ever changing, and players must continually adapt their strategy to best use the available cards.

I love the way the game accelerates; players start with nothing and build an income producing hand in about 20 minutes. A player’s luck or fortune can change dramatically in just a few turns. Splendor is a welcome addition to my game collection. I expect it will give me exciting and intriguing play for some time.

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3 Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012
62 of 69 gamers found this helpful
“Immediate replay value! But what about long term?...”

Where I live there are not 1/125th of the gamers as there are in my old stomping grounds (Columbus). I bought this little gem (pun intended) at Origins (2014) specifically for my friends who would identify themselves as ‘non-gamers.’

Teaching the game is simple. First person to 15 points (goal) triggers the last round (from Start player, not from the person who triggered the end). To earn points you need cards with them in the corner. To get cards you have to buy them with coins. So, for your action- you have 2 basic choices- A) get gems OR B) get a card.

A) You can chose either 3 different gems OR 2 of the same color (if there are at least 4 gems in the pile).

B)You can purchase any card on the board by turning in the required number of gem tokens, or using your already purchased cards (do not turn cards in).

There are a few more things- you can earn visits from nobles by fulfilling their card requirements. You can chose to reserve a card and get a wild coin. But that is basically the game.

My friends who do not normally consider themselves ‘gamers’ easily get the hang of this and enjoy the strategy of this game. As such, the half dozen of friends and family I have played with all have wanted to immediately play it again! Typically, after teaching this game, I am asked to play it at least 2 more times.

However, after teaching and playing this game 9 times in the span of a weekend (with different people) I do not know that I would continue to get the same enjoyment out of it a couple months from now.

I can quickly identify what cards a new player wants. If I were a cutthroat player, I could easily block their efforts just to frustrate them. I make it a rule never to do this, especially to new players, simply because it can be infuriating. There is nothing fun about getting my friends mad. Also, I wouldn’t want people to do that to me- reserve a card just so that I couldn’t get it. But I can see other gamers not having a problem with playing that cutthroat way.

I like this game, I really do. The mechanics work well. The game is easy to teach and fun to play. I just don’t know if I will be playing this one as much down the road. What do you guys think?

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70 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Very easy to learn but still so much fun!”

My initial thoughts of the game (prior to purchasing or playing) wasn’t amazing. It was my husband’s game choice. Once opened I was intrigued, the game has beautiful components. As we set it up, I began to get excited about playing it!

It’s a very simple game. You collect gems (3 different gems or 2 of one kind) to purchase cards that then are used as a permanent gem. Each card is worth 0-5 victory points. You can also get VP by gaining one or more of the nobles (each worth 3VP). First to 15VP wins!

The best thing about Splendor is how easy it is to learn. It’s so simple that I was able to teach my 5 year old. He’s not “great” at the game but he’s picking it up quickly and loves it!

The only downside that I’ve come across so far is the fact that my husband rarely wins, therefore is becoming frustrated and doesn’t want to play it with me anymore.

Splendor is definitely on my top 10 list. We’ve played the game over 50 times and still enjoy it as much as the first time. It’s still one that we reach for nearly every game night (and we play weekly!)

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Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph Beta 1.0 Tester
69 of 77 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“A Splendorous Filler”

Hello my Splendid Gamers and Gamerettes!

Today, we are going to take a look at a wonderful little filler game called Splendor. If you like engine building games, Euros, or short easy-to-learn fillers…this may be the game for you. How does Splendor manage to fill all of these needs? Grab some tea and a biscuit, and let Granny give you the scoop!

How to Play

Well, Splendor is a pretty easy game to learn and teach. The layout of the game includes three rows of increasingly expensive cards that cost different combinations of gems. Initially, gems are picked up from 6 stacks of chips in six different colors (excellent components that many rave about). You can grab 2 of the same color or 3 different colors on your turn, and use these to purchase cards. The cards, in turn, have a gem picture at the top that can now be used in addition to the chips to buy more expensive cards. Thus, the engine building begins. Of course, a game can’t be Euro without Victory Points (Prestige). These are acquired through various cards that have points printed on them or on several noble tiles that can be grabbed if you get the right combination of cards first. The first person to 15 points signals the end of the game…but you finish the round. Whoever has the most points wins!

What do I Think?

I really like this game. There is ABSOLUTELY NO THEME, so gamers who require even a little theme to pull them in…this game is not for you. However, if you like quick engine building Euros, this game is Splendiferous. It really is fast too. If you sit around waiting for just the right card, YOU WILL LOSE! Splendor is a game best played quickly. Once you start seeing the patterns, everyone should be able to do there turn in a few seconds…time it if you have to. I won’t play this with someone who is AP prone. The game should get down to 30 minutes if you play regularly. For a filler, this game provides some satisfying strategy and tactical decision making.

Note: Many experienced gamers who have not played Splendor take too long to get their engine perfect. Experienced Splendorbs will crush them. Play quick and adapt to the cards available.

Granny approved!

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Guardian Angel
Baron / Baroness
Miniature Painter
66 of 74 gamers found this helpful
“A Chance Encounter Leads Me to Find a New Great Game”

It was a rainy night at Brews and Board Games this past Tuesday. It was late and the crowd was thinning out, but I wasn’t ready to head home yet. I spied a table with three guys sitting at it opening a copy of Splendor. I didn’t know what it was, but I hovered around hoping they might be looking for a fourth player. I was in luck; they were.

I had never heard of Splendor, but one of the others had heard good things about it, and he said it was supposed to be fairly simple. We decided to give it a try.

The game consists of four decks of cards; three of which are labeled with either one, two, or three pips respectively (denoting the relative value of the cards in each deck). These are the development cards. These decks were arranged into a column from one to three, and four cards were taken from each deck and laid out in rows stemming outwards from their ‘parent’ deck.

We now had 12 cards face up. Each card has an illustration of either a gem mine, a means of transporting gems to market, or a gem market of some sort. Each card also has a series of numbers on the card:

lower left – one (or more) numbers in colored circles. These denote the various types and amounts of gems (either chips or in production) you need to purchase that card.

upper left – IF a card has a number here, it is the number of victory points this card is worth.

Lastly, each card will have in the upper right hand corner a gem – onyx, emerald, ruby, sapphire, or diamond – which is sort of gem that the card produces for you.

Above this grid of cards we laid out cards from the final deck – the noble cards. Each of these cards had a picture of a noble on it, as well as a victory point amount, and an amount of gems in which you need to have in production in order to attract that noble to inspect your goods.

Finally, we had stacks of chips – real casino quality clay-type poker chips – with art on them for the type of gems they represented, and one additional stack for gold (which serve as a ‘wild card’ chip). There are seven of each type of gem chip and only five gold chips.

Play works like this:

One your turn you may do one of the following things:

1) Take one each of any three different gem chips (not the gold chips).

2) Take two of one type of gem chip, but only of there are four or more of that chip to be taken. If there are three or less, you may not take two of this type of gem at the present time.

3) Use gems which you have to purchase a card from the face up selection of development cards. As cards are purchased, they are replaced by the next card off their deck.

4) Place a development card into your hand and keep it in reserve and take one gold chip. You may purchase this card from your hand on a later turn.

5) Attract a noble.

Play then passes to the next player.

The object of the game is to get to 15 victory points (at least with four players it was; it may vary with 2-3 players).

Development cards which you buy get laid face up in front of you. The gem in the upper right hand corner is now considered part of your available gem store and can be used to buy more cards.

Example: I buy a dev card which produces a Sapphire. On future turns, if I need Sapphires to buy other cards, this card will count as one Sapphire which I can use towards a purchase. These cards stack, so if I have three cards which produce Sapphires, I have three Sapphires I can ‘spend’ without needing actual Sapphire chips.

Initially, of course, you start with no dev cards in front of you, so the first turn or two is spent taking chips to be able to purchase a development card.

As you spend gems to buy cards they go back into the pool of chips which can then be taken. As you build up development cards in front of you, it becomes easier to buy more expensive cards (some of them require 7 of one type of gem to buy, which you certainly won’t be able to get in just chips). Bear in mind, gold chips are ‘wild cards’ and may take the place of any type of gem chip in a purchase.

Not all development cards are worth victory points, but they all produce some kind of gem. Cheap cards which aren’t worth victory points will still help you.

To get a noble card you must have the right amount of gems in production . Gem chips won’t cut it here.

Once you have the right number of gems in production you can attract a noble to inspect your wares. All nobles are worth victory points.

You can win without attracting any nobles, but they make it easier to edge out the others and claim victory for yourself.

I didn’t read the rules, so I don’t know how clearly they are presented. But we figured out how to play in about 2 minutes. In 5 minutes were seeing the strategies involved. In 25 minutes we had played the game to completion.

In short, the components are TOP NOTCH; I really don’t know how they got such quality into that box for $40(!)

The game was very easy to learn and play.

Play was interesting and fun.

My highest recommendation is to say I will add this game to my collection as soon as possible.

If you get the chance to play this game, do it!

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Z-Man Games fan
I play red
Indie Board & Cards fan
66 of 74 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Who needs theme with a game this good?”

Dead of Winter. Panamax. Munchkin. These games are dripping with theme. For some it’s the most important part of a game. And in most cases it helps the experience. So with that said, how good can a game be with no theme? How about the best game of 2014.


In the box you will find 40 clay tokens (poker chips), 10 Noble tiles, 90 cards (40 level 1, 30 level 2, and 20 level 3), and instructions on how to play. It may not seem like a lot, but at $30-$40 the quality is top notch.

There are many games that use tokens or poker chips. And for most of those games, it would be great if they were of the same the quality that Asmodee is supplying here. The first thing you will notice is the nice, weighted, clay chips that come with the game. And seeing how much they are used, this is a great thing. These are built to last and are simply top notch.

The cards? Good stock with interesting artwork. Pretty much what you would expect a game with cards to be. The cards list the cost on the bottom section. Any gem (colour indicator) with a number beside it represents that the player must have that number of the resource. The top of the card list the bonus gem the card represents, and any victory points the card is worth.

The box? Well designed with spots for all the chips, and built in dividers to keep the different types of cards separated. Again, the care that went in to this is great.


Shuffle each level of card deck separately, and then place them in a column in the middle of the table in increasing order, placing level 1 cards at the bottom and level 3 at the top. Reveal the top 4 cards from each level. Next, shuffle the noble tiles and reveal an equal amount of tiles per players, plus one extra tile (ie reveal 4 in a 3 player game). Finally, place the poker chips in 6 distinct piles (sorted by color) within reach of the players. You will use all the chips in a 4 player game. For a 3 player game remove 2 of each (except from the yellow pile) and for a 2 player game, remove 3 of each (once again taken 0 from the yellow pile).

Game Play – Basics

On a player’s turn they will perform one of the following four actions:

*Take 3 chips of a different colours.
*Take 2 chips of the same colour (there MUST be 4 tokens or more to complete this action)
*Reserve 1 development card and take 1 yellow chip (yellow chips are “wild” and act as any colour). Players may have up to 3 cards in reserve.
*Purchase 1 face-up development card from any of the 3 levels.

A few notes: player’s may have a maximum of 10 chips in their possession. The cost of purchasing a card is indicating by the “gems” on the card. As an example, a card with one blue, green, and black gems on the bottom will cost 3 chips. If there was a 2 beside the black gem, the player would need to pay one additional black gem.

Play continues until one player has scored 15 victory points.

Game Play – Advanced Tactics

There’s a few advance tactics involved in the game.

The first is the bonus gems you get when you purchase a card. On the top the card will have one of the 5 different colours. This gem is permanently in a player’s possession once purchased and can be used to purchase additional cards.

The next advanced tactic is the Noble tiles. A player can earn the Noble tile (and it’s bonus points) by collecting sets of cards. Typically this will be two sets of four, or 3 sets of 3. For example if a player has 3 black, 3 red, and 3 white cards in their possession, and a Noble tile list that, the player would gain possession of that Noble tile and it’s victory points.

An additional point to keep in mind with the Noble tiles is that a player can score only 1 per turn. As there is some overlap it is possible a player will qualify for more than one, but will have to choose which to take. The player may score the additional tile on their next turn if nobody else completes the goal.

The last advanced tactic is reserving the top card of one of the decks blind. This can be a risky play as you don’t know what you will get and have limited reserve slots. But, if you get lucky you may get a card one of your opponents badly needs, or a card you can easily complete while picking up a yellow chip.


On the game’s site they explain the theme like this “As a wealthy Renaissance merchant, acquire mines and transportation, hire artisans and woo the nobility. Create the most fantastic jewelry to become the best-known merchant of them all!” But…let’s be honest. While the artwork is great and the chips are very nice…there’s little to no theme here. Nobody says they are taking two rubies, they say they’ll take two red. If you need theme…you will miss out on a great game.

Replay Value

As this is a card based game, the game is random and no two games will play the exact same way. This helps eliminate a “master tactic” for victory and allows each play to be fun. The game also scales well with 2, 3, or 4 players. And it plays fast. With a group that is familiar with the game, you can easily finish in 20 minutes. With 2 experienced players? As low as 10. Add in the fact that the game is easy to teach, and there’s a lot going on here.

Over All Impression.

This is a great game. While there are still a few games from 2014 that I want to play (new Star Wars and Dead of Winter), right now I’d put this at the top of the list. It’s got great components, plays fast, plays different, and works with a variety of people. And because it scales so well, it has quickly become to go to game to play while waiting on one or two players when getting together for a game night.

Also…the game is one of my favourite 2 payer games. It plays fast, and with a players chips and cards being shown at all time, you can examine what they are doing and really build up counters attacks and defensive moves. Sure the game isn’t heavy even at two players…but it has a really great weight for that quick 2 player game fix.

Sure there’s no theme…but the gameplay is so great that you’ll get over that quickly as you are playing your 3rd round of the night.

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71 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Never stays home”

This game is the first one I pack in my bag when I’m going anywhere. And that’s saying something since I ride my bike everywhere. The only downfall is the box size (but that’s
pretty true about most board games) and it was easily repackaged to a portable size.

Replay Value:
Okay I admit, 3 games in a row is about my limit but I am always up for a game.

I love the chips with the nice weight and size. The cards are gorgeous and are designed so you can easily tell (front or back) which level they are.

Easy to Learn:
I’ve taught this to all levels of gamer (including non-gamer relatives) and it’s really quick to explain. It’s also addictive so it’s a great game to get them started with!

Other good points:
Fast game – we’ve played two games on a 1/2 hour lunch break (with 2 players).

I’m not a huge fan of the royal bonuses (the dukes and such that you can earn for having cards of a certain type and number). I feel they overlap too much and make it a little over-powering. We fix this by pulling them at random and then tossing and repulling if the same color is on all the bonuses.

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Comic Book Fan
61 of 69 gamers found this helpful
“Welcome to your new game addiction”

Splendor is a deceptive little beast of a game. The game is as simple as this:

The object is to reach 15 prestige points first. Prestige points are accumulated by purchasing cards from the play field or from those reserved in your hand, using the different color gemstone chips or ‘wild’ gold chips, and by receiving noble tiles by having the corresponding gemstone production shown on them.

On your turn you either take 3 different gemstone chips, take 2 or the same kind of gemstone chip(if there are still four or more in the stack), purchase a card, or reserve a card(face up from the field, or face down from the top of one of the decks if you’re feeling saucy). The cards you purchase produce one of the five colors, making future purchases discounted by one of that color.

And that’s pretty much it. You can learn it in five minutes.

Then you play a game, and something diabolical happens. The strategy reveals itself to you. Do you build towards those high-point cards, or try to steal away all of the noble tiles? Do you reserve those key cards that you want to purchase, or the ones that your opponents have their eyes on? Do you horde important color chips? WHY CAN’T I STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS GAME?! And that’s it. You are now hooked, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. You’ll break Splendor out and teach your friends, just as a quick filler game when time is short. But one game is not enough. One game becomes three. But… They all seemed so drastically different. Huh. Weird. There’s only three small decks of cards, and six stacks of gemstone and gold chips. And those noble tiles. But they’re so PRETTY.

And that is what awaits inside that lovely yellow box. Your sparkling, short-form, seductive doom. But there’s no shame in that. Don’t fight it. You can fit in so many more games if you don’t fight…

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65 of 74 gamers found this helpful
“Gem hoarding at its finest”

The rules are very easy to learn but there are so many ways to win! You really get to see different personalities through how people strategize in this game. Some like to buy every card they can afford right away, while some carefully manage their hand and go for the high value gems.

This is one of my go-to games on gaming nights because of it is easy to teach but still offers a good challenge. There are no fine prints in this game to read, only numbers and jewels.

There is now a Splendor mobile app for those that want to play it on the go. This game will keep you coming back time and time again.

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4 Beta 1.0 Tester
Gamer - Level 4
72 of 85 gamers found this helpful
“This isn't feel like gaming”

Okay, many people would think the opposite. Splendor is awesome and most people love to play this like crazy, no exception to my friends but not me. I tried the game twice and felt flat. The game is not a game. All you need to do is to get the best course of action to collect the thing you need as fast as you can and get to end the game. A racing game of tableau building gems.

Players will collect gems and use these gems to buy more better gems that will eventually give them points. Doesn’t feel thematic for me and doesn’t give me enjoyment feel playing the game. It’s very abstract and once you immerse with the game, it’s no longer important about the gem or theme. It boils down only to the core mechanic.

I, myself call this not a game, maybe a racing system to prove who’s the fastest to accumulate something. But I can realize why most people like it. The game is simple and very easy to teach to casual / non-gamers. You can play with family or even children (this could be a good way to teach them, it provides a good deal of knowledge in it).

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Critic - Level 2
61 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“Quick theme-less fun”

My wife and I picked up this game on a whim to help get more games during a buy one get one free sale and man was it a good choice. In a nut shell this game is perfect as a night starter or closer. The game takes between 20-40 min to play and about 2 min to teach.

Thanks to its quick play time and ease of setup and tear down this game has been one of our most played games. Every weekend we play this at least once and I have yet to get anything resembling a repeat game. While there is a limited number of cards and a very limited number of nobles there is still plenty of opportunity for replay value here.

One of my favorite parts of this game are the components. Everything in the box is top quality but it’s the poker chips (the gems) that stand out the most. Every time I play the game I just want to constantly fiddle with these. They are real poker chips with weight, not that plastic stuff you get with most poker sets.

I think that the biggest flaw of this game is the theme, it’s just non existent. Technically you are a gem collector or something like that but you also mine the gems? There is just not much here so if you really need theme to enjoy a game I doubt you will like this one.

Here’s a link to my blog with a pic:

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66 of 79 gamers found this helpful
“Current favourite, highly addictive”

I love this game! Its totally addictive, easy to learn but surprisingly strategic and challenging too. The heavy weight gems have great hand-feel and the artwork on the cards is excellent. I have the special edition with the play mat and special gem tokens, this gives it an even more special feel. I you are a fan of the game I recommend the special edition if you can find it, it just adds some luxury to it.

The game plays very quickly, never more than 30 – 35 minutes. Everybody gets really engaged and there is plenty of interaction. My gamer group keeps asking to replay this, I think it will be a favourite with us for a long time.

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United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Book Lover
23 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“A Replayable Jewel of a Filler”

The award winning Splendor is a simple game of card drafting and set collection from French publisher, Space Cowboys. Designed for two to four players, aged ten and up, they take the roles of merchants during the Renaissance who are competing to build the most successful jewel emporium. They will invest in mines and transportation, and then employ artisans who can turn raw gems into beautiful jewels, in the process hopefully attracting the attention of the nobility and acquiring their patronage. A game takes no longer than thirty minutes and scales easily from two to four players.

Splendor consists of seven sturdy Gem tokens of each gem colour—Diamond (white), Emerald (green), Onyx (black), Ruby (red), and Sapphire (blue), plus five Gold or ‘wild card’ tokens. Ninety Development cards are divided into three decks consisting of forty Level 1 cards, thirty Level 2 cards, and twenty Level 3 cards. There are ten Noble tiles. At game start, Noble tiles equal to the number of players plus are randomly drawn and placed face up; each Development card deck is shuffled and four cards drawn from it and laid in a line, so that there is grid of three by four cards.

Each Development card is marked with a gem representing its value and a cost that must be paid in gems. So one Development card might cost one Emerald, Onyx, Ruby, and Sapphire gem each, whilst another might cost two Ruby and two Sapphire gems. In addition to the gem granted by a Development card, others are marked with Prestige points. Level 1 cards are easier to purchase than Level 2 and Level 3 cards. Each Noble tile is illustrated with a portrait and a player needs to own three Development cards of three colours or four Development cards of two colours—for example, three Diamond (white), Emerald (green), and Sapphire (blue) each or four Onyx and four Ruby Development cards, if he is to qualify to gain that Noble’s patronage.

Each player starts with nothing and on his turn can do one action. This can be to take Gem tokens (three of different colours or two of one colour); reserve one Development card and take a gold token; or purchase a single Development, either face up from the table or a previously reserved one. A player cannot have more than ten Gem tokens. A player needs to spend the correct number of Gem tokens to purchase a Development card—as indicated on the card—to purchase it. Gold tokens count as any Gem token. Purchased Development cards act as bonuses in future purchases. For example, a Development card costs two Diamond, four Onyx, and one Ruby Gems to purchase. If a player already has two Onyx and one Ruby Development cards, then they act as bonuses and cut the cost to just two Diamond and two Onyx Gem tokens. If a player has enough bonuses to purchase a Development card for free, then he can. Purchased cards are replaced from their respective Development decks until that deck runs out. At the end of a turn, if a player purchased Development cards with gems equal to those on a Noble tile, then he is awarded that tile.

Play continues until one player has acquired fifteen Prestige points. Then the current round is completed so that everyone has played the same number of turns. The player with the most Prestige points is the winner.

Splendor is a simple game. Players try to collect Gem tokens to buy Development cards. This is not only to gain the bonuses that will reduce the cost of purchasing further Development cards, but also to qualify for the Noble tiles. As players collect more Development cards, they gain more bonuses and thus buy better cards.

In fact, Splendor sounds too simple, but it gets tactical when play turns competitive. Players are competing for the same resources, so a player can block another player’s actions—taking the Gem tokens another player wants, purchasing or reserving a Development card another player wants, and getting a Noble card first. This forces players to change plans from one turn to the next, so players have to watch what each other does and what cards and tokens each player has. Thus play is more challenging with more players.

As much as Splendor is physically well done—the Gem tokens are hefty, the cards attractive, and so on—the game’s theme is very light. In fact, the concept of investing in mines and transportation and employing artisans to turn gems into jewels never even enters play. It could even have a whole new theme—or none at all—and game play would be unaffected.

Splendor is not quite a light filler—it is slightly more complex than that in terms of what a player needs to think about from one turn to the next. Nevertheless, the game is enjoyable and worth replaying as a solidly designed filler.


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