Bored? Game! Splendor

Spelling of the title aside, I’ve really come to love Splendor. This isn’t just because of the cool poker-like chips that come in the box, but because it’s a simple and fun game to play. It works really well as something to squeeze in during a lunchtime or before bed, as strange as that sounds. A lot of board/card games involve setup and effort, it’s often why you have to really block out time to play them. Not so much with Splendor – it really only does take up to 30 minutes as advertised on the box.

Splendor is based around cards and poker chips. The chips are incredibly fun to stack and mess around with… Such a satisfying clacking sound. During your turn, you can collect chips, use those chips to buy cards to add to your jewel empire (you’re supposed to be a master jeweller/jewel baron/diamond geezer or something like that) or reserve a card you might want to buy later and get a golden ‘joker’ chip in return.

Buy. buy, buy.
Buy. buy, buy.

Each card has a ‘bonus’ value and a ‘prestige’ value. Bonus values can be used to buy cards instead of using chips, for example if a card costs 5 blue chips – or sapphires – and you have 3 blue bonus cards, you only need to pay 2 blue chips. Further in the game you’re able to just pick up cards without paying chips for them. Your jewel empire increases! Evil laughter, etc.

Now featuring Henry VIII!
Now featuring Henry VIII!

First to 15 prestige points wins. You can gather cards with no prestige and use them to buy expensive but prestigious cards later… And you can also attempt to build sets and score a valuable visit from a noble. These special cards/characters have requirements, for example you may need 3 red cards, 3 blue cards and 3 black cards but once you meet their criteria, they ‘visit’ you and you get their prestige. This is something along the lines of Henry VIII going “nice jewels, love!” and parking himself uncomfortably close to you for the rest of the time. Also, is that supposed to be Machiavelli or have I been playing too much Assassin’s Creed?


It all moves quite quickly, which is why I like this game so much. If you have a set of fluent players it’s nice to see chips and cards flying around and changing hands, almost like you really are jewel merchants making quick trades. Don’t try and resist the urge to caress your collection of cards or stack your chips though. Clack clack clack! Now that’s a pricelessly satisfying experience.

Designer: Marc André
Publisher: Space Cowboys
Mechanic: Card drafting/Set Collection
Number of Players: 2-4
Length of Game: 30 minutes
Complexity: Easy






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