Let's take a look at what he had to say about this top-selling game in his Splendor Review:
How I came to play
The first time I played this game I knew nothing about it and it was brought out to fill a gap in the gaming night, as a previous game had finished early. It was described to me as a engine builder with hand management thrown in.
I didn't even know what that meant but the art style and the quality components left me intrigued. I now understand that you have to build a hand of cards in order to use the iconography on the cards to help you achieve the goal of the game.
What Splendor is
Splendor is a resource management game in which players, between two and four, compete to collect the most points. The story of the game is that players take on the roles of merchants during the Renaissance and must try their best to my gem mines, transportation and shops in order to win.
The more wealthy you are within the world of Splendor, the more likely it is for a honourable noble to come visit you.
Set up and how to play
At the start of the game tiles are dealt in the centre, making up the pool of cards you can 'purchase' and add to your hand. These are purchased with the different coloured plastic chits and each card costs a different amount. These gem chits are left in a pile or stack and make up the currency of the game.
When its your turn you must make a single action, which must be one of the following:
- Grab three gems of different colours from the gem area explained above.
- Grab two gems of the same colour (only if there are at least four gems of that colour).
There are emerald, sapphire, ruby, diamond, onyx, and gold gems, with the gold gems acting as a wildcard piece.
Alternatively you can buy a card by spending the required gems for that card (returning them to the gem area), before laying that card face up in front of the player. The gem on that development card may be used on future purchases. For instance if you buy a card with a red gem icon then this will count in the next round as one red gem towards any future purchase.
There are small tiles that give victory points which require a larger amount of gems of different colours so forward thinking is a must to win the game. The first player to get to 15 VP's will trigger the end of the game.
This adds a level of strategic thinking and you must keep an eye on what the other players are doing so they don't beat you to the tiles or cards you are working on getting.
Splendor a very, very easy game to learn and play. By your third game you should be able to understand how the game works and be able to use forward-thinking to get the upper hand against your opponents. That being said its not overly easy and has a good level of backwards and forwards and any one person can be one move away from winning.
The game pieces, although basic, are very fitting within the theme and this board game is one of the regulars to our table and has shown no signs of wear at all - which is great considering the cost.
Zatu Games Rating
Splendor is a fairly cheap game with great quality. Its easy to pick up yet hard to master. Its a great gateway game for those who are new to the hobby and its one of the best quick to the table games around. In fact, I think that it's a must for every gamer.