How to Play Splendor

Splendor Overview Closeup
Copyright © 2019 Matt Halvorson. All Rights Reserved.

Splendor has only been around since 2014 but it is already considered a strategy classic. The mechanics are simple and make the games quick, but the endless roads to victory create a robust gaming experience. Learning to play is very simple. Built for 2 – 4 players. This is our full guide to how to play Splendor board game.

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HOW TO PLAY SPLENDOR – WHAT IS IT?

You are a gem trader in the Renaissance (1300 – 1600). Using five different types of jewels, you save the right combination to buy items such as mines and transportation to make your gem empire grow. The bigger you get, the more access you have to victory points and first to fifteen wins.

A grid of 12 cards is laid out. There are three rows that get increasingly more powerful/expensive. Each card has a cost, a gem bonus and maybe some victory points. You collect loose gem chips to buy early cards, but once you buy a card you get that gem permanently. You will always need to the loose gems but with these bonuses, you can get better and better cards.


HOW TO PLAY SPLENDOR – SETUP

Learning how to play Splendor is easy but mastering it could take a lifetime. There are three decks of cards, each with a dot on the bottom. The deck with one dot goes on the bottom and has the cheapest. The deck with two dots goes in the middle and the three dots has the top.

Lay out four cards in a row next to each of the three decks. Then put out the square nobles cards. Choose random cards at the quantity of the number of players plus one.

Finally put out the stacks of the gems, these change based on the number of players. Four players – 4 of each | three players – 5 of each | two players – 7 of each. The gold titles always stay the same.

How To Play Splendor Setup View

HOW TO PLAY SPLENDOR – GAMEPLAY

There is not much to learning how to play Splendor. The way the game works is you have just one of four actions to take on each of your turns. It is a matter of acquiring gems in a few different ways of buying stuff. There is the bonus of nobles, but they happen automatically. You only have four options, it is easy, no need to be intimidated when learning how to play Splendor.

ACTIONS

Option 1 – Take 3 gems of different colors

Just like it says, as long as there are 3 gems of each color, you get to grab one of each from three that are available. They all have to be different colors. If the options are limited, you could take 2 or 1 chip with this option. Not ideal, but it might be how you end up.

Option 2 – Take 2 gems of same color

Similar to the above, this is your other main option for getting gem chips. You get less in this option, but if you are a bit more desperate this might get you closer to your goal. The main thing here is that you can ONLY do this if there are at least 4 of that color gem available to take. If not, you can’t do this.

Option 3 – Buy an item

Once you got some gems and/or bonus cards, you can choose to pay for an item (any face up communal card from the center) for this turn. You get any one card. You pay the cost in the top right corner, take the card into your personal area and flip a new card from the deck in that row to refill the spot. Paying the cost requires you to have that much in a combination of loose gem tokens and bonus cards. Turn in any loose chips you used to pay back to the communal stacks. You do not get any new chips with this option.

Option 4 – Reserve a card an grab a gold wild chip

This is kind of a wild catch all option, when the other’s don’t suit you, this is what you might end up with. In this option you get to take any one card out of the grid. It does NOT go in your reserve giving you bonuses, but you get to set it aside and now you are the only one who can eventually buy it. You can have a max of three of these in your hand at any one time. On top of that, you get to take one gold chip. These are wild and can be used as any color.

NOBLES

One special little bonus is the unique Noble Square tiles. This is the set collection portion of how to play Splendor. At the end of your turn, if you have satisfied their condition, they come to your place. To satisfy, you have to have the bonus cards equal to what it says on their cost. This does not include the chips. Only one person can get each Noble and the, coming by does not count towards your action for the turn.

How To Play Splendor Nobles

GAME ENDING

Once someone gets to 15 victory points, the game end triggers. It does not end right there, everyone has to have the same number of turns. Remember who goes first because depending on where it ends, there may or may not be more turns. At the end of that, whoever has the most points wins. And that was all you need to know to master how to play Splendor.


HOW TO PLAY SPLENDOR – KEY INFORMATION

RESTRICTIONS

You can only have a max of ten resource chips at any one time. If you have too many at the end of the turn, you have to give whichever ones you want back to the stack until you go down to 10 total. This is to ensure that you have to buy items and can’t just save up for the good stuff.

You can only get one Noble Card per turn. If you trigger two, you have to choose one and just hope the other is still available on your next turn.

CARD BREAKDOWN

DECK I (40) – 8x blue (7x 0P, 1x 1P), 8x white (7x 0P, 1x 1P), 8x red (7x 0P, 1x 1P), 8x green (7x 0P, 1x 1P), 8x black (7x 0P, 1x 1P).

DECK II (30) – 6x blue (2x 1P, 3x 2P, 1x 3P), 6x white (2x 1P, 3x 2P, 1x 3P), 6x red (2x 1P, 3x 2P, 1x 3P), 6x green (2x 1P, 3x 2P, 1x 3P), 6x black (2x 1P, 3x 2P, 1x 3P).

DECK III (20) – 4x blue (1x 3P, 2x 4P, 1x 5P), 4x white (1x 3P, 2x 4P, 1x 5P), 4x red (1x 3P, 2x 4P, 1x 5P), 4x green (1x 3P, 2x 4P, 1x 5P), 4x black (1x 3P, 2x 4P, 1x 5P).

How To Play Splendor 3 Card Decks

HOW TO PLAY SPLENDOR – IN CLOSING

Splendor is a very simple game to learn and games can go pretty quickly. This makes for a very fun and fast based play. We hope you have enjoyed this guide on how to play Splendor board game and can now say you know how to do it!

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