In Splendor, players become Renaissance merchants, with the goal of becoming popular with the nobility through the collection of gems and cards.
The game was originally released as a physical table top game in 2014, and has sold more than 200,000 copies.
Splendor supports games of two to four players, with a single-player competing against up to three AI characters, or real-world opponents taking turns on the same device.
When playing against the AI, gamers can change each AI player’s behavior to customize the experience.
In each game, the play area is lined by three development decks, each with a different rarity (the rarest cards are at the top). As the game begins, four development cards from each deck are placed in rows on the table, and piles of colored tokens are placed to the right of these rows.
Additionally, separate Noble tiles are placed in a column at the far right side of the table, and are randomly drawn from 10 unique tiles. The goal of each game is to collect 15 Prestige Points, which are earned by purchasing development cards and earning Noble tiles.
On each turn, players take one of four actions: take three tokens of different colors (making sure they don’t have more than 10 total tokens at the end of their turn), take two tokens of the same color (not allowed if there are less than four tokens of that color available), reserve a card (take a card from the board, or draw one from the three decks, along with a special golden token) or purchase a card by spending the right colors and combinations of tokens, as listed on each card.
As players purchase cards, some may contain bonuses, with each bonus being worth one permanent token of the bonus color, making future cards easier to purchase. These bonuses also relate to the Noble tiles at the side of the board. For instance, if one player purchases a card with a diamond bonus, they will receive a permanent diamond, or white token for their inventory. If a future card costs two diamond tokens to purchase, they would need to collect only one more physical white token to make the purchase.
At the end of the player’s turn, if they have acquired the types and quantities of bonuses listed on a Noble tile, they earn that tile. In cases where players may qualify to take more than one Noble tile, they’re forced to choose only one of them per turn. Acquired Noble tiles reward players with three Prestige Points each.
It’s worth noting, players can only have three reserved cards at the same time. To reserve more, they would need to actually purchase some of the cards they’ve reserved. In addition, the gold tokens players have acquired can be used as wild tokens, replacing any necessary token when purchasing a card.
Finally, the game offers an exclusive Challenge mode, based on historical facts. In this mode, players are presented with preset scenarios, and must complete specific goals, from earning a certain number of points or winning a special card to collecting a specific combination of gems. These challenges may have turn limits, time limits or other restrictions. There are 18 challenges available to complete at launch.