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Splendor» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Is there a chance of this game becoming "Samey" after few plays? rss

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Madhujith Venkatakrishna
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I just got this game and played it twice, so don't know the depths of what all can be done, but somehow when playing it the 2nd time around we all felt the game had a single route to victory.

1st start out by collecting gems of varied colors so that you've an engine to almost buy higher gems for free and reserving cards based on what you have and then once the game reaches a tipping point i.e. a self-sustaining engine race towards getting those cars with points and target 1/2 bonus cards....I couldn't see any other route to victory and this after a few game play might lose its sheen...

Any thoughts on the same???

Thanks,
Madhu
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I don't really understand your point. It is like saying that Dominion is always won by reaching a tipping point and then buying victory cards to win by having the most points. Or Magic: The Gathering by reducing your opponent's life to 0. Splendor has many different ways of getting to a tipping point and some of them close out the game after a tipping point better than others. The changing landscape from game to game of cards in the grid and the available nobles make no one strategy a winning one all the time.
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Joe Oppedisano
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I'd also add that part of the strategy is looking at what other players seem to be going for and building as part of their strategy. Decisions can include deciding how and when to slow down an opponents progress while adding to your own.

Do you work towards a Noble that you know another player wants? Can you get that Noble before them? Which cards do you try to get first, over other cards that are available in the display. When do you reserve a card?

All of these make the game replayable. Now that's not to say the game doesn't get to a point of feeling limited in replays more so than a game like Twilight Imperium. But I don't think it can be compared to such games. I would think of it more like games like Hive or even Race for the Galaxy.

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Darin Bolyard
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There's certainly more to it, but it's not the multiple paths to victory that make this game shine. I won't weigh in on the different strategies, but I will liken its replay value to games like Spades or Rummy.

As for your description of how the game plays, you could be talking about Dominion or other similar deck-building games.

I personally enjoy Splendor, though it's not a game I ALWAYS want to play. But that's me now--now that I've gotten a taste of games like Power Grid and The Castles of Burgundy. I imagine that if I had owned Splendor several years ago, I probably would have kept it stashed near the kitchen table for quick access, just as we did with decks of cards growing up.

There's a lot of hype around Splendor. Next time you play it, drop any expectations you may have for it, and play it for what it is. It's got replay value for sure, but not if you expect it to deliver deep strategy.

edit: Doh! Rick ninja'd me on the Dominion reference.
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John Bradshaw
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It depends what you mean by "few".

For me, almost all games lose their shine after a while - some faster than others(!), although some of those can excite again after a long break from them. I think I've played Splendor more times than many of the games in my collection, (it has the advantage of a short play time in that regard) but I'll be happy to play it again. I only sleeve cards if a game is likely to receive many plays, and Splendor is sleeved!

It's not my favourite game - I prefer more theme - but it's brilliant at what it does, and I can't imagine many actively disliking it, even after a "few" plays.

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Daniel B-G
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I think I've played this game about 30 times, now, which I think is a decent amount. The game does lose it's lustre after a while. It's quite group thinky in a lot of ways. If everyone is gunning for the nobles, then you should work through the cards. There's also resource denial which can be very effective at creating a block.

I'm burnt out now (thought my friends aren't unfortunately), but it took a while to get there.
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fangotango
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I think the OP would do well to read through some of the threads in the strategy forums here on BGG, where a number of different strategies are discussed, and the value of trying to remain flexible and adjust your play as the game develops. Building an engine until you can buy high value cards almost for free seems not to be the recommended way to win the race to 15 points by the experienced players. At least, that's the impression I have gotten.
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Jason W
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fangotango wrote:
I think the OP would do well to read through some of the threads in the strategy forums here on BGG, where a number of different strategies are discussed, and the value of trying to remain flexible and adjust your play as the game develops. Building an engine until you can buy high value cards almost for free seems not to be the recommended way to win the race to 15 points by the experienced players. At least, that's the impression I have gotten.

Agreed. There have been many discussions of which strategy is best. My opinion is that it depends on the game. But, to OP's point, it's not THAT complicated of a game. But that doesn't mean it starts to get boring after just a few plays.
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Gary Salazar
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What the OP posted is just one strategy from many that are available to be used.

Engine builder- which focuses on cheap greens until you get an engine for discounts and go for the nobles.
Big Drops - focuses on reserving and purchasing high value cards
Tempo - somewhere in between the two above
double/tri color - focuses on only 2 or 3 colors for big drops and/or nobles respectively

Other tactics used are token monopoly, gold hoarding and card blocks.
Depending on the number of players and the table state, you have to change tactics and adapt else you will lose.


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Matt N

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Heavy tier 1 + noble strategies almost always lose to anyone good. Beyond that, it's very table or group dependent on whether to rush to tier 2, or tier 3, or nobles + tier 1 cards + various point cards... and how much to hoard chips/cards to play defensively.

For instance, I lost a regular 3 player game because someone rushed straight for Tier 3 cards while I was playing a Tier 2 strategy. I lost a 4 player quarterfinal game because I went for Tier 3 cards early (mainly because someone bought a freaking 7 black card straight up without reserving it first...) and got chip blocked by the rest of the table. Against weaker players, you can pick any good strategy and win the vast majority of the time, but there's a lot of tension and back and forth among a more skilled table.

So, Splendor is still a rush for VP game each time, but it's not a single generic route to victory.
 
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Dan Helland
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My wife and I have been playing about every other night for months. If you enjoy abstract concepts, there is a ton of depth. There's all sorts of nuance and analysis to every play.

Regularly we have situations where "wow, never seen that before." Odd distributions and considered responses are the MO of every game.

Much more variety than standard card games, which often feel like office filing. I have never been bored during a game, or felt like plays were obvious.

IMO, the game is best with 2 players.
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Darin Bolyard
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sticker wrote:
IMO, the game is best with 2 players.

Perhaps this merits a different thread topic, but I would say the game is quite different with 2 vs. with 4. With 2, you see a few cards you want, and only one of them might get taken before your next turn. In 3, or more prevalently 4, player games, the cards you want are always getting snatched up.

I enjoy it more with 2 or 3 than with 4 for sure. With 4 players, it begins to lose one of it's highest strengths--very fast play time.
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David Hammel
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Yeah, this game is a bit repetitive, but if you handle it as a filler and not the main course (i.e. don't overplay it or expect the moon of it), it's always a fun time. I love when people make it sound more strategic than it really is.
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Dan Helland
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TheGreatHamEl wrote:
Yeah, this game is a bit repetitive, but if you handle it as a filler and not the main course (i.e. don't overplay it or expect the moon of it), it's always a fun time. I love when people make it sound more strategic than it really is.


The game is about 80% skill if not higher. The only luck element is what cards cycle up when you purchase/reserve, but the players have complete control over the cycling. Moreover, the component qualities of each color factor into those choices (ie. red gems tend to have white and black costs).

I'd say the game has relatively little strategy but enormous tactical weight.

The level may be arguably lighter than chess, but only because it mainly draws upon frequency assessment rather than the compounded factors of board placement and movement. (And of course, staid play patterns.)

The game is by no means light fare, although it can be played that way.
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Dan Helland
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dbolyard wrote:
sticker wrote:
IMO, the game is best with 2 players.

Perhaps this merits a different thread topic, but I would say the game is quite different with 2 vs. with 4. With 2, you see a few cards you want, and only one of them might get taken before your next turn. In 3, or more prevalently 4, player games, the cards you want are always getting snatched up.

I enjoy it more with 2 or 3 than with 4 for sure. With 4 players, it begins to lose one of it's highest strengths--very fast play time.


Agreed. The reason I prefer 2 player is a 3rd or 4th player can make poor cycling decisions that affect you.
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