Boardgame Review: Splendor

Today, I'll talk about Splendor, a strategic board game wherein you collect gems and earn prestige points to win. This is pretty similar to chess but the difference is you earn points to win rather than trapping your opponent's king. The game is very simple that explaining the mechanics only takes around 5 mins and approximately 30 mins to finish the game. I know the game may sound simple and "boring" at first but eventually, you'll get the hang of it. The more players, the more pressure it gets! This also requires a lot of thinking as you need to see how your opponents' behave and what possible strategies to form in order to win.

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Splendor boardgame


This game also won awards such as the best card game for Origins Game Fair 2015, 2014 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game Winner, and 11 more!

I won't go into full detail for you can read the official rule book here (Don't worry its not a boring manual as rules contain 3 pages only... WITH PICTURES!) but this is the straightforward game mechanics:

1.) Setup - Before the game, you should have a row of 1-3 tier cards and a set of nobles wherein the total nobles placed is based on the number of players plus one (E.g. If your 2 players, nobles should be 3. If you playing 3, nobles should be 4) and there should only be a maximum of 4 players. Here are the parts of the set:

  • Gems - The bread and butter of the game. Contains 40 pieces.

  • Developments - Cards that give your gem discounts and/or prestige points. Contains 90 pieces.

  • Nobles - Tiles that give you prestige points. Contains 10 pieces.

Splendor parts



Splendor setup: Assuming your playing 4 players. Developments should be arranged based on the level with 4 columns revealed


2.) Turn sequence - The youngest player starts first (This is officially stated in the rule book... Not unless you're bored of the same person being the first). Do only ONE of the following:

  • Gather gems - Get 3 gems: Either 1 of each different or 2 of the same and one different but you can't get a gold token. You can only have a maximum of 10 gems.

  • Reserve a development - Maximum of 3 reservations and only are done once per turn. When you do, get a gold token (Joker). Gold tokens are equivalent to any gem. If the Gold stocks ran out, you may still reserve but without getting a gold gem. Since there's an empty space due to getting the card, you automatically replace it from the deck on the left.

  • Buy a development/noble - Buy based on the certain amount of gems placed on the card/tile. Since there will be an empty space due to getting the card, you automatically replace it from the deck on the left. Note that you cannot replace nobles nor reserve them.

3.) Winning Condition - If you reach 15 prestige points, you win the game!

FAQ - Frequently asked questions

Some things to clarify about...

  • What if we ran out of developments? - You still continue the game with limited cards. If you run out, then the player with the most prestige points wins. If a tie, the player with fewer developments win.

  • What if we ran out of nobles? - You continue without replacing them. Once a noble has been purchased, you can't replace it.

  • Can you steal gems/developments/nobles from other players? - No you can't. Once you availed a development/noble, it's yours for good. Gems can't be stolen too as the player who owns them can freely stock them 'till they earn their desired development/noble but note that you can only have a maximum of 10 gems.

  • What's the best strategy? It's up for you to find out as there are plenty of ways to formulate one.

Have no playmate but interested to play? This game has a built-in app for iOS and Android too! Although, it's not for free and costs $6.99.

Ready to play? Let's go! Once you master the game, you can join splendor tournaments in your local gaming store. Surprised? Yup, there is a splendor tournament! That's how popular and strategic this game is. Click this and this if you like to see a sneak peek of a tournament RSVP. Definitely worth the buy if you and your friends love to play casual games! The physical copy costs around roughly $40.

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