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  • Profile : Splendor

    Profile : Splendor

    “Gateway games” are boardgames that act as a great entry point for folks when they’re just getting in to gaming. While they might still have a lot of strategic depth to them, in general their rules are succinct and straightforward so that there is less set-up and less to keep track of overall. Getting more people to play more games is one of our largest goals as well as being an incredibly rewarding experience, we highly recommend that you make room on your shelf for a couple gateway games.

    This week’s featured gateway game is Splendor, designed by Marc Andre and published by Asmodee.

    # of players: 2-4

    Length of game: 15 minutes per player.

    Splendor is a game of mining, collecting and refining gems so that you can turn around and sell them allowing you to invest in your gem-bound empire even further. The theme in this game is extremely light and not particularly necessary but having some gorgeous artwork certainly helps draw people in. The gems are all represented by poker chips which adds a very tactile element to an otherwise dry game. It is pretty entertaining to just play with the chips while waiting for others to make their decision.

    Gameplay is where Splendor truly shines! Each player is racing to acquire 15 points and once someone does the game will end within a couple turns. On a player’s turn they choose to take one of three different actions:

    1. Take some gems: either two from the same color, or one each from three different colors.
    2. Purchase a card: there are a variety of cards and by cashing in some of your gems you can acquire one. The game revolves around purchasing these cards because having them means that you get a permanent discount on the gem cost of all future cards you might take. The cards come in 3 tiers, with the lower tiers requiring fewer gems to purchase and the higher tiers being worth more points!
    3. Reserve a card: sometimes you’re worried that someone might grab the card you’re working on before you are ready to purchase it. In those instances you can reserve a card so that you alone are able to complete it on a future turn. As a consolation for spending your turn reserving, you are also able to take a gold (poker chip) which counts as a wild of any color!

    In addition to taking those actions players are working to gain the favor of nobles. The nobles each want you to collect a specific number and color of gem, the first player to do so is able to claim the noble which is worth 3 points.

    Nobles and cards are the only source of points, so working on each is important if you want to claim victory!

    Splendor is a game that is hard to turn down the opportunity to play, it plays so quickly and the balancing is so tight that we’re always down for another round. As a gateway game, you should bring this to the table for folks that might enjoy set collection / strategy / math / planning. Additionally, the game plays well whether you’re playing with 2-3-4 players and slightly alters the setup for each accordingly. Splendor’s simplicity means that it works well across all ages, but despite its simplicity it retains a lot of strategic thinking which is what makes it such a great game.

    Bonus points for: great components, the chips really bring it all together!

  • List : Games for a day at the museum

    List : Games for a day at the museum

    Did you hear?

    Field Museum has free days (for IL residents) starting today, September 10th, through Sunday September 13!

    A weekend at Field followed by geeky, sciencey games sounds like our perfect weekend! So go check out the museum and then pick up one of these games to round out your weekend.

    Evolution by NorthStar Games:

    In Evolution, players create and adapt their own species in a dynamic ecosystem with hungry predators and limited resources. Traits like Hard Shell and Horns will protect you from carnivores, while a Long Neck will help you get food that others can’t reach. With over 4,000 different species to create, every game becomes a different adventure. So gather your friends and family around the table and see who will best adapt their species to eat, multiply, and thrive.

    Dominant Species The Card Game by GMT Games:

    40,000 B.C. - A great ice age is ending. Another titanic struggle for global supremacy has unwittingly commenced between the animal species. Dominant Species: The Card Game is a fast-playing game that abstractly recreates a tiny portion of ancient history: the ponderous rescinding of an ice age and what that entails for the living creatures trying to adapt to the slowly-changing earth.

    7 Wonders by Asmodee:

    In 7 Wonders, you lead an ancient civilization as it rises from its barbaric roots to become a world power. Lead your troops to a military victory or create a nation of artisans and philosophers. Establish a powerful merchant state or master the mysteries of science and technology. Build an architectural wonder that will fascinate for eons to come, and rule the most powerful civilization on Earth!

    Hive by Gen42 Games: (also available as on digital platforms)

    Hive is a highly addictive strategic game for two players that is not restricted by a board and can be played anywhere on any flat surface. Hive is made up of twenty two pieces, eleven black and eleven white, resembling a variety of creatures each with a unique way of moving.

    The object of the game is to totally surround your opponent’s queen, while at the same time trying to block your opponent from doing likewise to your queen. The player to totally surround his opponent’s queen wins the game.

    The Great Dinosaur Rush by APE Games: While this game isn’t out yet, it does hit Kickstarter this month, and we got a chance to play it at GenCon and loved it! We think it’s a game SUE the T.Rex herself would love.

    Players compete to grab bones from the best dig sites, and build new dinosaurs for prestigious museums. Gain notoriety by stealing bones, sabotaging dig sites and otherwise impeding the other paleontologists. Play dirty if you want to win. Just not TOO dirty!

    What are your favorite history/nature based games?