Days of Wonder knows a thing or two about making board games – you may have heard of Ticket to Ride and Smallworld, both great games made by Days of Wonder that we have enjoyed in both physical and digital forms. Their latest game, Splendor, is a card game that was released in 2014 to critical acclaim – over 20,000 copies have sold alreadyÂ -Â and it was announced not long ago that a version would be arriving on Android and iOS in the summer. Well, we’ve been playing the Android version of Splendor for the last few days, and we’re going to give our thoughts on how the game translates into digital form this time.
Splendor is set in the renaissance where prestige is everything – both figuratively and literally. The end point ofÂ Splendor is to amass 15 Prestige Points, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you really get into the mechanics of the game, it’s actually a relatively daunting task. The game is played with one set of cards between all players -Â Splendor can be played with between 2 and 4 players. There is a communal pool of cards and a communal pool of gems – with this established, you are able to do 3Â things each turn:
- Collect gemsÂ (either 3 different colours or 2 of the same colour)
- Buy a card
- Reserve a card
Again, the moves seem simple, but can be used to either further yourself or rather fiendishly hamper your opponent’s plans. That’s basically the rules ofÂ Splendor, which are explains through a tutorial when you first play through a game, however compared to the spoken and thematic tutorials featured in the digital versions of Ticket to Ride and Smallworld 2, the silentÂ tutorial ofÂ Splendor felt a little lacking. To give an example of this, points of emphasis during the tutorial were highlighted with a twinkle in the game’s text which could easily missed – a simple arrow or circling the emphasized area would have been more effective in this instance.
With the game mechanics down pat, you can put your skills to the test in several different modes – the standard game, which can be played against up to 3 AIs, or against 3 local players in a “pass-and-play” format, or there is aÂ challenge mode. If the standard game is getting a little stale, the challenge mode is a good way to mix it up as each scenario will impose a different set of rules and modifiers on you to try and win e.g. try to win in a certain number of turns. For the completionists, there are also a number of in-game achievements which can be earned from within the different game modes. Quite obviously missing, however, is an online multiplayer mode – it has been promised that this will be added in a future update though, but it makes the game seem a little incomplete compared to Ticket to Ride and Smallworld 2 which both had online capabilities at launch.
The AI inÂ SplendorÂ is pretty good – each AI player can be given an attribute like “Opportunistic” which in theory makes them play a little more aggressively. I wasn’t able to see much of a difference between the different players, but the game is a challenge to read at the best of times. Speaking of reading, the look of the game is great also – Splendor is a simple game so everything runs fluidly and looks good. Menus are clearly laid out, though I will say that the cursive font that has been chosen for the game is a little difficult to read sometimes.
Overall, Splendor is a solid and faithful representation of its physical version, however there are a host of niggling omissions – a spoken tutorial and online multiplayer, for instance – which make Splendor feel a little incomplete. For fans of the game, this game is pretty much exactly what you are looking for – for newcomers, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but you’ll grasp the game fairly quickly.Â However for all players, your long term relationship on the game could be limited unless you have friends to play this with in person and you’ll need to fork out $6.99 USD for the pleasure. If Splendor is the type of game that strikes your fancy, you can hit the Play Store links below: