Game Review – Splendor by Space Cowboy Games

The hubby and I have a friend who LOVES 7 Wonders. As in, rabidly. And I can’t blame her – it’s a good solid game that lends itself to plenty of replays. But the biggest problem we have is the math at the end – yes, I know there’s apps and pencils and paper and an engineer for a husband but I still hate the math.

pic1904079_mdFortunately for those of us who want something a wee bit less mathy…. I give you Splendor by Space Cowboy Games!

Let me point out right from the top that I LOVE THIS WEBSITE. If you’re a game manufacturer this is what you want to give me, a potential customer. I love the display, the videos and all the info I need is right there. Love it love it love it!

First… Wow. Just…wow. If you don’t love this game right off the top because of the tokens and the artwork then there’s something wrong with your gamer genes. The concept is that you’re a jewel merchant trying to mine and collect enough jewels to get nobles to back your company. To do this you need to mine gems, buy jewels and mines and useful people to make your company successful.

This reminds me a lot of 7 Wonders in the resource management needed to achieve your goal. You want to get to 15 prestige points to win the game and that’s achieved through getting cards with points on them and earning the sponsorship of a noble.

pic1904126_mdOn each turn you can pick up tokens/gems or purchase a card by using either the gems or the resources generated by cards you’ve previously bought. The cards show the amount needed to earn a card representing a mine or some other resource that will keep giving you that gem for the rest of the game.

Much like 7 Wonders you need to get the base resources from the level 1 cards to make it easier to get the second or third level cards – as you can see, they cost much more than the base elements.

To earn the patronage of a noble you need to have the required number of gem cards for each noble – some require only two types of gem cards, some need more – these are randomly chosen at the start of the game.

Gameplay: Wow… easy as heck to explain, learn and play. There are five gems and one “joker” which can be used for any gem. You pick up either three different gems a turn, two of the same gem, or a single joker OR buy a card with your gems or resource cards.

That’s it.

You can also reserve a card by taking it off the table and taking a joker chip hoping to be able to pay for it later… but you can only have three cards in your hand. You can also do a blind pick off the top of any deck and get one joker chip as well – but you may never be able to pay for the card. You also can’t have more than ten gem chips in front of you and you can’t take two of the same chip if there are four or less on the stack.

The game scales up and down wonderfully pulling gem tokens from the stacks depending on how many players you have – same with the nobles. We played with two and three people and the game was just as enjoyable and had just as much fun. With the cards changing up every time no game will ever be the same – and that’s a huge plus.

Also the artwork and the use of poker chips for the gems – to me, art can make or break a game and this is just lovely artwork. The gems are nice and heavy and you’ll find yourself fondling the tokens because of how they feel in your hands.

All in all I recommend this as a great game if you’re looking for a fast fun game for all ages with a fast set-up, fast and easy rules to learn and plenty of strategy to keep you replaying this game over and over again!


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