How to Play Splendor

If you’re looking for a game for your next family game night, look no further than Splendor. This card game is perfect for children ages 10 and up, easy to learn, and fun to play. It’s also perfect for those who enjoy sci-fi, fantasy, and history. We’ll take a look at what kind of game it is, how to play splendor, and break down all the basics of getting started and successfully playing the game. So, let’s get inspired by the Renaissance theme of this game and get started.

What Kind of Game is Splendor?

Splendor is a card based game that does not include a game board. It’s designed for 2-4 players ages 10 and up. So, it’s great for a small group or family. But, it might not be a great game if you are looking to play something that accommodates a lot of players.

The basic premise of this game is that you are a wealthy Renaissance merchant. Your goal? To acquire mines, transportation, hire artisans, and woo the nobility — all so that you can create the most amazing jewelry to sell and become the best-known merchant. As a merchant, your primary task in the game will be to acquire gemstones, trade for development cards, get gold tokens, and repeat. As we break down the gameplay, you’ll find that the game is fairly simple to play and master.

You’ll start the game with 10 noble tiles, 90 development cards, and 40 tokens that represent gemstones that you need to collect and trade. Though it might sound a bit complicated, the gameplay quickly comes together. Let’s break down the actual gameplay and learn how to play Splendor.

Getting Started

Now that we know a bit about Splendor, the goal of the game, and who the game is for, let’s go over the actual gameplay. Here are some of the basic things you need to do first when you’re learning how to play Splendor.

  • Decide on how many players: Some of the gameplay in Splendor is affected by how many players you have. For instance, if you have 2 players or 3 players, you might need to remove some of the tokens from the gameplay. And, you might need to reduce the number of noble tiles that you use.
  • Shuffle development card decks: There are three sets of development card decks for levels 1, 2, and 3, of the game. Be sure to shuffle each of these decks of cards separately and keep each deck separate for the duration of the game, as this will affect gameplay.
  • Reveal 4 cards from each development card deck: To set up the gameplay, after you have shuffled the development cards, turn over 4 cards from each level’s card deck.
  • Shuffle noble tiles and reveal as many as there are players, plus one: The number of noble tiles used in the game is affected by how many players there are. If you have 4 players, you will turn over 5 noble tile cards to represent all 4 players, plus one. You can remove any remaining noble tiles from the game and set them aside. You won’t be using them for the rest of the game.
  • Place all tokens in piles near the gameplay area: Make sure that all of the tokens are sorted by color and kept separately but next to each other. This way players can easily grab the tokens that they need throughout the game.


The goal of Splendor is to achieve prestige. The game is completed when the first player reaches 15 prestige points. Every player takes one final turn. And, the player with the highest prestige points wins. But, how do we get to this point? Let’s break down the actual gameplay now that we know the game’s goal and how to set the game up.

General Gameplay: Getting Started

  1. The youngest player of the game starts first. After this, the players take turns going clockwise.
  2. When taking your turn, complete one of four actions. There are only four actions during a player’s turn. You can do the following: Take 3 gem tokens of different colors; Take 2 gem tokens that are the same color; Reserve 1 development card and take 1 gold token; Purchase 1 face-up development card from the middle of the table or a previously reserved
  3. Earn prestige points and win. When the first player reaches 15 prestige points, every other player will take another turn until everyone has taken the same amount. After this, the players total their prestige scores, and the player with the most prestige points wins.

General Gameplay: General Rules

  1. Make sure you don’t have more than 10 tokens at a time. If you do, you must return all tokens over the allowed number back to their proper pile. You must make sure your tokens are visible to all players at all times.
  2. Reserve a development card and get a gold token. Players can reserve a development card during their turn by drawing the first card from one of your development card deck levels. The card must remain face down and should not be shown to the other players. You can’t have more than 3 of these types of cards in your possession at one time. If you do, you have to get rid of it. Reserving a development card is the only way you can get a gold token, so this is an important point of gameplay.
  3. Buy development cards when you can. The goal of the game is to earn prestige. One way you can do this is by buying development cards. A player can purchase them on their turn during the game. To purchase a card, you need to spend the number of tokens indicated on a card. For any card that a a player purchases, they need to make sure they are visible to all players and so that players can see all the bonuses and prestige points associated with the card.
  4. Get a visit from a noble: After a player’s turn is completed, they need to check with their noble tiles to see if they are getting a visit from one of them. When this happens, a player might get bonuses. Players cannot refuse a visit from a noble. So, this is a part of the game that you cannot affect.

A Splendid Game Night with Splendor

Though Splendor might seem like it’s a complicated game at first glance, it’s anything but. A card game with straightforward rules and gameplay, it’s a fun game for the whole family to enjoy. It’s easy to learn how to play Splendor. Soon, you’ll be hanging out with nobles and building up your merchant business as you play this creative and fun game.

Are you Planning a Game Night Party for Family & Friends? Check out our article on the topic for more ideas on how to plan a great family & friends game night. Looking for adult-specific games? Our article on Great Board Games for Adults will help give you plenty of inspiration too.

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