Splendor reminds me of Quake 3. It was a lovely slick engine in need of a good game. I’ve had Splendor for a long time now (in gamer time) and it occasionally gets wheeled out. Particularly when non gamer relatives call.
I’ve spoken about this game before and like a number of other games that people rave about I’ve never really gotten it. That’s fine I don’t get lots of popular things it’s part of the reason I’m a gamer.
Splendor is a game of theme tacked on gem dealing where you are trying to build up your economy and get to 15 points before the others do. (Bloody others and their ways). You buy gems of five different colours. Diamonds, sapphires, rubys, emeralds and brown ones each of which cost you coins of these same colours. In a turn you can buy stuff, draw some coins or reserve a cards and claim a joker.
Buying is simple, pay the cost and take your gem. Each gem card has a purchase cost of this many of this colour, this many of that colour and so on. You can pay for it through a mix of multi coloured jokers (gold), coins in hand and gems you’ve already bought. Each of the previously bought gems add an ambient value but never actually get spent. Some of the more expensive gems come with a score value so collect enough of these and you’re well on your way to getting to the 15 point finish line. Another complication is the Royal gem whores (or whatever they’re called) who once you’ve assembled particular combos of gems will visit and never leave like a bathroom smell. They each add 3 points to your score so getting them in your camp is key.
You see since I first played this game I’ve learned a bit about its nuisances. This is a race game. Every single move counts and cock blockery abounds. Well it does with two or three players if you’re keeping an eye on your opponents (but you’re not because you’re self centered and only think of yourself). With four players it’s a lot more random and strategy goes out the window.
This game will click with a certain mindset. That said it’s often a close race and has that “i would have won if I had one more turn” vibe going on which is always great.
I don’t know what it is about this game. It’s just short of being a really really good game. It’s missing that one dash of magic sauce and it would be a classic. Maybe it’s me (it’s not) but ill happily play it but not in preference to a whole lot else. Curse me and my sophisticated tastes