In Splendor, players lead a merchant guild, investing in mines, sending ships to the New World and recruiting artisans. Glory and pestige are the aims of the game. Using tokens representing gemstones, you will acquire developments which give prestige and produce new gems (bonuses). These bonuses reduce the cost of your purchases and attract noble patrons to give greater prestige.The first thing that struck us with this game is the excellent quality of the graphics – the playing pieces are really attractive and make the game enticing before you start. The manufacturer claims that Splendor can be explained in five minutes but we found the rules took quite a bit longer to assimilate and then explain to everyone – so much, in fact, that we put the game aside first time round as we all wanted to get going. However, when we did persevere with learning the rules, we found it well worthwhile.
Each game take around 30 to 40 minutes and it works equally well with two, three or four players. There’s just one action per turn, so no boring hanging around while other players have their go. The first player to reach fifteen prestige points by accumulating nobles and development triggers the end of the game. There’s plenty of opportunity to play strategically and we found this element increased after the first game or two, as the rules became familiar; every game (so far) plays out very differently. The game consists of 42 tokens in assorted colours plus 5 gold joker tokens, 90 development cards; 10 noble tiles and a rules booklet; recommended age is 10+. I like the fact the game is good for two players, as many seem to be better for more players; the element of strategy keeps you thinking and the premise of the game is unusual. Great fun.