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Review of Reviews: Splendor

Posted Friday, 19-Jun-2015

A compilation of reviews for the popular board game Splendor.

Contributed by Troy Pitschman


From designer Marc Andre (Barony, Bonbons) and published by Space Cowboys (Black Fleet, Elysium) comes the 2014 resource management game and Spiel Des Jahres nominee Splendor.

Take on the role of a renaissance jewelry merchant in this card drafting and resource management game that sees players buying and selling gems to become the premier jeweler in the land and become exceedingly wealthy.

How Do You Play?

Splendor is for 2-4 players and takes about 30 minutes to play. It’s all about buying and selling gems and then refining those gems into jewelry which you will then sell visiting nobles. Essentially, Splendor is all about getting the required gem colors and development colors that nobles are looking for in order to sell to the nobles.


Splendor takes just a few minutes to learn and is suitable for mature children as well.
Splendor takes just a few minutes to learn and is suitable for board game-loving children as well.


James Flemming, writing for Board Game Reviews by Josh explains the game’s point system in his review of the game:

“There are two ways to get points. There are development cards which are worth points, and there will also be a number of nobles available each game who are also worth points.”


The rules for Splendor are very easy to understand and welcoming to newer players.
The rules for Splendor are very easy to understand and welcoming to newer players.


Aside from strategically purchasing and selling gems players will also want to attract nobles; Flemming explains, “To attract a noble to visit her, a player checks at the end of her turn if she has at least the number and color of cards for which the noble is looking.”

The rules for Splendor are very easy to understand and welcoming to newer players.  However the game’s buying/selling mechanic gives the game a great strategic element as players will need to keep track of what they need, and what their opponent’s needs in order to make profitable trades.

Is Splendor the right game for you?

Splendor is a quick game with simple rules that relies on resource management and bargaining as its main tactical component. Those who are fans of resource management & wealth accumulation, or have an interest in the renaissance should certainly give Splendor a chance.

However if you’re looking for long, complex drawn out games with a lot of depth, you’re better off leaving Splendor on the shelf. It’s a light strategy game easily accessible to a variety of players. Tony Mastrangelli of Board Game Quest commented:

“While I don’t have young ones at home, I do think that Splendor make’s a great family game. The rules are easy enough to comprehend and the theme is completely family friendly. While I won’t be pulling Splendor off the shelf every day, it’s a great game to have around for the right moments.”

Splendor make a fantastic family game.
Splendor make a fantastic family game.


Reviewers seem to agree that Splendor is at its best as a filler game or if you’re looking to play a simple game with family.

See What Others Are Saying

Board Game Quest’s Tony Manstrangelli gave the title an average review in his article about the gem crafting tile:

“Overall I did find Splendor enjoyable. The game mechanics are rock solid (pun intended), the components are well made and it’s a game where we can jump right in and start playing.  For me, the pasted on theme, low player interaction, and lack of depth keep it from getting too much table time. I’ll pull it out when I’m looking for a gateway game or when it’s late and I want to play something with minimal setup and learning.”


Some reviews believe Splendor will lose its luster over time.
Some reviews believe Splendor will lose its luster over time.


Eric Martin, from Death of Monopoly thinks Splendor will lose its luster over time:

“I’ll probably play it a few more times. But the “holding” option and gold gems are entirely superfluous and one can very easily win this one by just waiting, hoarding chips, and buying the first cards that come up.”

Meanwhile James Flemming from Board Game Reviews by Josh gave the title a more positive review in his article stating:

“The game does not necessarily reach for the stars, but it absolutely nails what it does aim for – giving players the feeling of quickly and inexorably building the greatest and most kick-buttingest card drafting gem engine the world has ever seen!”

Likewise Dale Yu from Opinionated Gamers gave the game a thumbs-up:

“Overall, I have enjoyed my games of Splendor, and it is definitely one that will remain in the game collection. I do think that this is the right level of complexity for the Spiel des Jahres, and I strongly believe that this will be one of the nominees when the short list is   announced (assuming that this game has adequate German distribution).”


Splendor Board Game
Splendor is a wonderful ‘filler’ board game.


Overall, the game received mixed reviews from critics with the most consistent criticism being the game’s low replay value and some balancing issues. Still, Splendor is great as a quick game that’s easily accessible especially as filler and will be a welcome addition to fans of resource management strategy games.


Ready to buy?  Find the best prices for Splendor on BoardGamePrices.com.

Published by BoardGamePrices.com

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