I have to admit that I poo-pooed Splendor by Marc André after the first play. I considered it a simple set collection game without that much charm. At times like this I have to check myself, before I wreck myself and admit I’m a bit of a game snob. While it’s true that the rules to Splendor are straight forward and simple, there is something to be said for it’s ease of entry and high replay value. Not every game needs to be hours of complex decision making and downtime.
In Splendor you play a rich merchant buying up mines, transportation and experts to help you acquire wealth beyond your wildest dreams…or 15 points to be exact. Gameplay involves either taking gems to help with the costs of expanding your empire or cashing said gems in to get development cards. Cards can be worth points, but they will also continually produce you bonus gems. So, if I trade in a diamond, an emerald, a ruby and an onyx I can claim a mine card that is worth a sapphire each round. Building up a bunch of development cards will be important. Some of the higher higher priced developments carry quite a price tag and you’ll need the help of those bonuses to be able to afford them.
Another benefit of stocking up on development cards is that it gives you a chance to win a visit from a noble worth big points. Depending on the number of players, 3-5 nobles are up for grabs. Those nobles will be won once a player has enough bonuses to warrant their visit. Nobles are worth three of the total 15 points need to win the game.
On a turn when you take gems from the supply, you have the option of taking three different types of gems or two gems of one type, provided there are at least four of that type left. You also have the option of claiming a development card. When you claim a development card you take it into your hand to be bought at a later time. You also get a gold token from the supply that can be