By: Timothy Mattes
Splendor is a game for two to four players that has each player attempt to build mines and collect precious stones to please the nobles and be the most prosperous. For those who have played it this description might come as a surprise because the game is almost completely devoid of theme. On your turn you may collect gems or purchase a single card by trading in gems or showing that you have them on the cards you have already acquired. If, during your turn you have completed the sets required for a Noble you may take the one that you have completed. The first player to fifteen points begins endgame where each player takes one more turn until all players have had the same number of turns.
The game is fantastic. I know you want a game dripping with theme or with a ton of mechanics that make a giant machine whirl across the board like a titan of tyranny but this game is so very good with it’s simplistic nature. Like Love letter the game takes a simple turn action and makes it a heavy thunderous decision. If you choose to take one token of three different colors will the card you want still be available when your turn comes around again? Will the gems you need be available next turn if you hate draft a card from the player that has had a commanding lead the entire game? Every choice you make is heavy and could make or break your game and strategy. Yes the theme is nonexistent, and the game might get stale after the fourth or fifth play through in one evening, but that is four to five times that you got to make heavy decisions and hose your neighbors unintentionally. In all honesty the most criminal thing about this game is the size of the box. Everything you need to play can fit into a box one eighth the size of the box it comes in. And that is the only issue I can find with the game. The rules are simple to read and understand, the game is fun and dynamic. The play styles and choices are varied enough through each play that the game never gets stale.
Asmodee also launched their Asmoplay organized play kits which provide a sheet of nobles to change the game up slightly as well as replacement gems that actually look like the gems they represent, and a playmat that is one of the coolest playmats I have seen for a tabletop game. It provides all of the instruction you need to set up for 2, 3, or 4 players. It also provides a way for stores to get fans of this type of game together to play and begin friendships that could go beyond splendor. I love these types of programs.
All in All splendor is absolutely worth your money. If you don’t already have it I strongly recommend adding it to your collection. I also recommend looking into the 3d printed boxes on Etsy to store your copy in and make it easily portable.
Final score 9.2/10