A Game of Splendor
Days of Wonder’s mobile version of the popular board game
I have spent a few hours of the last week playing a new mobile game called “Splendor.” Now, I’ve never heard of Splendor before this. So in case you are just learning about it through this post, let me help you a bit.
First things first. This is Days of Wonder‘s digital version of a popular board game designed by Marc Andre and published by Space Cowboys. I found the best description of the game on Board Game Geek .
“Splendor is a game of chip-collecting and card development. Players are merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops—all in order to acquire the most prestige points. If you’re wealthy enough, you might even receive a visit from a noble at some point, which of course will further increase your prestige.
On your turn, you may (1) collect chips (gems), or (2) buy and build a card, or (3) reserve one card. If you collect chips, you take either three different kinds of chips or two chips of the same kind. If you buy a card, you pay its price in chips and add it to your playing area. To reserve a card—in order to make sure you get it, or, why not, your opponents don’t get it—you place it in front of you face down for later building; this costs you a round, but you also get gold in the form of a joker chip, which you can use as any gem.
All of the cards you buy increase your wealth as they give you a permanent gem bonus for later buys; some of the cards also give you prestige points. In order to win the game, you must reach 15 prestige points before your opponents do.”
I like card games and strategy things, but at first glimpse I believed that this was going to be difficult (and boring). It wasn’t. Once you understand the rules and what you have to do, it turns into a resource management versus the AI. Pay attention to what they take, and you’ll be able to figure out what they’re after. Just know that it’s a computer… and it knows what you’re doing too…
Splendor on mobile (I played on iOS) has 21 achievements to nab through Game Center and a list of challenges to complete outside of the normal gameplay. Yes… I completed them all. It’s an OCD for me. What?
Unfortunately, it does not have an online multiplayer platform yet. It does have a pass and play option, though. But if you’re gonna play in the same house with a bunch of people, it might be more fun to just play the board game.
Splendor is a great addition to the list of casual gaming experiences. You can sit down and play a match in 10 to 15 minutes and have enough of a challenge to keep you interested, but once you get through all of the current challenges, it does leave a bit more to be desired. I believe they intend to add an online multiplayer aspect to it which would bring it’s value up tremendously. I would personally like to see an asynchronous way to play, but I would imagine it would be difficult to do with four players. This is a very new game, so I’m sure we’ll see it continue to evolve over time.
You can download Splendor on iPhone and Android for $6.99. I definitely enjoyed this more than playing sudoku to pass some time. And I lied. It was a bit more than “a few hours.” Just be wary, the mute switch does not stop the game music. It WILL get stuck in your head…. or wake up your significant other if you play in bed.