Cities of Splendor Review | Board Games | Zatu Games UK

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    Awards

    75%

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • Four expansions in one box.
    • Minutes to learn each expansion.
    • Retains feel of core game.

    Might Not Like

    • Cannot combine expansions.
    • Questions over the depth of each expansio
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    Cities of Splendor Review

    Cities of Splendor Review

    Most people know of, or are aware of Splendor a 2014 game from Space Cowboys. For those who have been living under a rock, go buy it today!!  Seriously, it is a great game which is easy to learn and play, but with plenty to think about.

    In Splendor you are a gem dealer collecting various Gems to buy permanent Gem cards. Collect enough of the right kind of Gem cards and you might attract a visit from a local Noble. Once you exceed 15 prestige (victory points) the game ends and the player with the most points wins. Fast forward to the end of 2017 and Space Cowboys announced an expansion set for the base game.

    Enter Cities of Splendor, a set of four mini-expansions for the base game.

    Gems

    Inside the box for Cities of Splendor are all the components that you need for all four expansions. These consist of,

    • First Player tile.
    • City tiles.
    • Trading post board.
    • Coats of Arms.
    • Orient cards.
    • Strongholds.
    • Rules sheets for all four games.

    The Cities

    This first expansion in the Cities of Splendor is suggested as the first addition to the base game. It allows for light changes to be made. In the Cities expansion you will not use Nobles cards. Instead you will use three random city tiles. There is quite an amount of variety in these cards. This is due to there being seven double-sided tiles.

    The change is quite distinctive though, in the same way that Nobles are achieved by having a certain number of permanent gems. So City tiles are achieved in the same way. Except to receive a City tile you will also need a certain minimum amount of prestige.

    Where it changes however is as soon as the first city tile is claimed that triggers the last round. At the end of the round you win if you are the only one with a City tile. If there are more than one claimed then you use prestige to break ties. So even if you are trailing in the score a judicious buying of Gem cards can sneak a victory for you.

    • Component Quality - 5
    • Engagement - 4
    • Replay-ability - 4
    • Player interaction - 2

    Trading Posts

    In the Trading Post expansion each player will have a set of coats of arms. You will use the Trading post board and be able to buy a bonus that will apply until the end of the game. These bonus’ vary in strength and ability from, Gaining a free Gem token when buying a card, being able to still take three Gems when taking two of the same colour, Gold is worth two Gems instead of one or additional Prestige.

    • Component Quality - 3
    • Engagement - 3
    • Replay-ability - 3
    • Player interaction - 1

    The Orient

    With The Orient expansion you have an extra set of 30 cards. These are divided up as three sets of 10, one for each level of the core game. You will play the game as normal. But with the Orient cards you get additional bonus’ when you buy them. This for me is the strongest of the four expansions in this game.

    Level one cards might give you a single use two gold (wild) option or a bonus Gem to one you already have. Level two cards will give you cards which are worth two Gems or even reserve a Noble. Level three cards will you go for a free level two card or maybe discard one from the game to gain three prestige.

    • Component Quality - 4
    • Engagement - 4
    • Replay-ability - 4
    • Player interaction - 1

    The Strongholds

    The final expansion in Cities of Splendor is the Strongholds expansion. With this expansion, each player will have three plastic Stronghold miniatures. The way these work is similar to a reserve action. You will place them onto cards in the tableau. This stops others from buying them. They can however place their stronghold onto the card to remove yours.

    If you manage to get all three Strongholds onto one card you can use a second purchase action in one turn to buy that card.

    • Component Quality - 4
    • Engagement - 4
    • Replay-ability - 3
    • Player interaction - 4

    Cities of Splendor - The Collection

    So how do these all come together? Well they don’t. That is they are each to be played separately but not together. This feels very strange and does make you question why they were boxed together and not sold individually? While I cannot definitively say why that is, I do postulate it is a cost issue of the components in the separate expansions.

    That grumble aside, each of the expansions work, and work well. The Cities can tend to shorten the game or help someone who is behind to sneak a win. The Orient can also shorten the game but adds some nice little wrinkles to the mechanics. Trading Post allows you to gain some nice game changing bonus’ as well.

    All three of these add some nice elements to the core game. In my opinion (it is just my opinion), Stronghold is the weakest but it can bring a bit of take that into play as you can block a card you clearly see an opponent going for.

    Overall value to you will depend on how much you play Splendor and how much you want to change-up the game. At its current price point of sub £25, which works out at approx £6.50 per expansion, I do think it does add enough “new” to the game to be worthwhile. I purchased Cities of Splendor for my own use and do not regret that decision at all.

    I purchased my own copy of “Cities of Splendor” for my own use. This does not affect my review or my final thoughts on the game.

    Zatu Score

    75%

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Four expansions in one box.
    • Minutes to learn each expansion.
    • Retains feel of core game.

    Might not like

    • Cannot combine expansions.
    • Questions over the depth of each expansio

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    A lot of the games have reviews both text and video

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