Splendor is a modern classic board game for 2-4 players, who assume the role of Renaissance gem merchants, building up their wealth in gemstones, gem mines, hiring artisans, and building shops, seeking to attract the notice of the nobility. Players acquire single-use gemstone tokens, then trade sets of those tokens for cards that represent gem mines, artisans, and shops, which are used as permanent gems. The higher cost cards also confer “prestige” (victory) points. Collecting sets of the same color cards enable one to purchase the higher cost cards and attract the attention of nobles, which also provide prestige points. The goal of the game is to gain at least 15 prestige points.
This is a lightweight, fun family game that has broad appeal. There is little to no conflict between players as one player’s actions do not directly affect the other players, other than the availability of specific gemstone tokens, cards, or nobles. This also enables you to play the game asynchronously, a turn at a time, rather than at a single sitting. All you need is something, such as a token or index card, to indicate whose turn it is.
There is an expansion, Cities of Splendor, which offers additional cards and twists on the rules, and a retheming of the game, Splendor Marvel, which also adds some new rules. There’s also an excellent Splendor app for phones and tablets, that can be played solo against a selection of AI opponents, pass-and-play, and online (if you have an account). The app contains a nice tutorial and challenges to help you improve your game. For more info, see this iOS app review or Android/Chromebook app review.
Any way you play it, Splendor is a worthy addition to your game library.