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nick fury
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Cities of Splendor expansion
Expansion to Splendor
Players: 2-4
Time to set up: Five Minutes
Time to play: 30 minutes
Complexity: Easy
Age:10+

splendor is one of our families favorite games and hits the table quite often, yes even after the release of Century spice road. A Quick, easy to learn and play game based on strategy and a little luck. We have played this game with family and friends and it has been enjoyed by young and old alike.

So how is cities of splendor the expansion? Well this is actually 4 expansions that can be used together or individually as you see fit, without adding much complexity to the game while adding some new elements that add deeper strategy. We love this expansion, read on

Expansion Cities:

cities is a simple expansion that changes the game victory conditions. It is very easy to learn and adds a new twist to wining.

Each city tile is double sided and replaces the nobles in the game. During setup you place three random cities instead of the nobles.

Each of the tiles shows both point values to win and required bonuses such as
13 points plus 4 blue bonuses and 3 white bonuses
At the end of your turn if you meet the requirement you take the city tile. You continue the current round and if no other player is able to take a city tile, you win, if more then one player takes a tile, the player with the higher prestige wins.

Thoughts on Cities:

cities is a simple expansions that takes less then a minute or two to teach, but it changes the game in a significant way and freshens it up.

By changing the end conditions it forces competition for certain bonuses, which makes you more aware of your opponents moves more and changes your strategy during the game accordingly. You become more aware of other players points and bonuses, playing to block their moves while strategically getting the cards you need.

I would recommend playing this expansion first.

Expansion The Orient:

This expansion comes with 30 new expansion cards, 10 for each level.
The cards are placed to the right of the original cards with 2 expansion cards showing per level. As with the original cards, as you purchase these expansions, you replace them with the cards in the face down stack, until you run out.
The expansion cards do the following

level 1: A) wild. gives you two gold tokens or B) Gem Sack, Match a another cards bonus value
Level 2: A) pair a card and acquire a level one card free B) reserve a noble C) have two bonuses of the indicated color
level 3: A) take a level 2 card at no charge B) earn prestige points by discarding bonuses of the indicated color.

Thoughts on The Orient:

This expansion changes the base game quite a bit. For instance, you will be getting rid of lower level bonus cards to get the level 3 expansion cards that allow you to get more prestige points without having to build up massive quantities of bonus cards for prestige points as you have to do in the base game. Think of getting 3 or 4 prestige points while only having to sacrifice two bonus points of the required color. You can also reserve nobles and pair bonuses.

I feel that this makes the game more challenging, and makes the game strategically deeper, without adding complexity to the rules.
I really like this expansion as it gives players more options for play. This adds depth, without adding to the game time. I think this is the must play expansion in the box.

Expansion Strongholds:

in strongholds each player receives 3 towers. Each time you purchase a card you must do one of the following actions:
place a tower on an unclaimed card

remove an opponents tower from an claimed card
However, you can not put your tower on a card with another players tower on it.
Having done this, you are the only player that can purchase or reserve the card with your tower on it.
Also, if you put three towers on a card, you can purchase that card after taking your regular turn.

Thoughts on Strongholds:

Strongholds changes the strategy of the game by allowing you to reserve extra cards on the table, bypassing the limit of being able to only reserve 3 cards; in essence you can reserve 6 cards now. Also, by placing three of your towers on a single card, you have what amounts to an extra turn giving you the ability to purchase that card during your turn.

This is a great expansion for reserving and purchasing those higher value cards that give you points to win the game.
Works well with cities orient.

Expansion Trading Posts:

In this expansion each player takes five tokens (shields) of their chosen color, which will be used to purchase powers on the trading rout board.
Each power is unique and gives you certain advantageous during the game. These powers are as following

after you purchase a card take one gem token (cost 3 red bonuses and 1 white)

take two gems of the same color get one of a different color (cost 2 white bonuses)

Each of your wild tokens is worth two gems of the same color (cost 3 blue bonuses 1 black)

Gain 5 prestige points (cost 5 green bonuses 1 noble)

Gain 1 prestige point for each token you’ve placed on the board, including this one. (Cost: 3 Black Bonuses)

Thoughts on Trading Posts:

This expansion adds a great deal of strategy to the game. Beyond having to pay attention to prestige points and nobles, you now can earn special powers that can earn you gems and prestige points faster. I found that this expansion also shortens the game quite a bit, by my estimation between 5-7 minutes, so if you are looking for a quick game, this expansion is a must.

I would also say that this expansion changes your strategy by making you concentrate on getting a certain color of gems. For instance, I concentrated on getting the 5 prestige points which cost 5 green bonuses and a noble. I worked up toward getting the noble which cost 3 red, three brown and three blue to gain the 5 prestige points. So my strategy was to collect those bonuses. By the time I got the 5 prestige points I won the game.
This expansion changes the way you collect gems and bonuses during the game

Final thoughts:

This expansion, which is really 4 mini expansions, is a must have if you love splendor. It changes the game strategy significantly from the base game making the end game less predictable. Now you have to watch your opponents closely to counter their strategy. The nice part of this is you can play the expansions together, one at a time, or pick a few to throw in to change things up. Two enthusiastic thumbs up

Best for: ... families, casual gamers, strategy gamers
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Nicholas Dewald
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nunusmith wrote:
The nice part of this is you can play the expansions together


No you can't. This is specifically forbade in the rules. You are only allowed to play with one at a time. I'm guessing for balance reasons.
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Max DuBoff
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Nice review! I like your depth of explanation and thoughts on how each changes the game.

I totally disagree with your conclusions, though; my experience was that the expansions don't significantly alter the power of the high-tier strategy (and thus didn't significantly alter my play), with the notable exception of Cities. That being said, I enjoyed the expansions, and some are better than others, but Cities of Splendor is far from a must-have, particularly at its current ludicrous price point ($30+).
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Pete Sellers
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MD1616 wrote:
Nice review! I like your depth of explanation and thoughts on how each changes the game.

I totally disagree with your conclusions, though; my experience was that the expansions don't significantly alter the power of the high-tier strategy (and thus didn't significantly alter my play), with the notable exception of Cities. That being said, I enjoyed the expansions, and some are better than others, but Cities of Splendor is far from a must-have, particularly at its current ludicrous price point ($30+).


The price point is a killer, imho.
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David B
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Laladien wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
Nice review! I like your depth of explanation and thoughts on how each changes the game.

I totally disagree with your conclusions, though; my experience was that the expansions don't significantly alter the power of the high-tier strategy (and thus didn't significantly alter my play), with the notable exception of Cities. That being said, I enjoyed the expansions, and some are better than others, but Cities of Splendor is far from a must-have, particularly at its current ludicrous price point ($30+).


The price point is a killer, imho.


Yep. Killer for me, too. Same reason I haven't bought any of the expansions for Five Tribes.
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Pete Sellers
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pfctsqr wrote:
Laladien wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
Nice review! I like your depth of explanation and thoughts on how each changes the game.

I totally disagree with your conclusions, though; my experience was that the expansions don't significantly alter the power of the high-tier strategy (and thus didn't significantly alter my play), with the notable exception of Cities. That being said, I enjoyed the expansions, and some are better than others, but Cities of Splendor is far from a must-have, particularly at its current ludicrous price point ($30+).


The price point is a killer, imho.


Yep. Killer for me, too. Same reason I haven't bought any of the expansions for Five Tribes.


Mysterium, as well, suffers from this issue. Maybe I'm just cheap, but yeah...
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nick fury
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the Price point has put a lot of buyers off, I got mine for under 30 so it didn't hurt quite a much.

Having said that, you are getting 4 expansions, granted they are mini expansions. But one of them does add quite a bit of content.

As with all space cowboys games, the components are top notch, and value for dollar spent is reasonable.

it is quite staggering how much the price of games have been increasing over the last few years, with the average new games coming in at around $100.

part of this is due to manufacturing cost, distribution costs, art costs, design cost etc. Making a game is an expensive endeavor that takes time and money.

if you take into account the cost of paying for a game vs entertainment value for your money, gaming still is reasonable compared to other entertainment options, for example movies.

its my opinion so take it with a grain of salt

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nick fury
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PapaDeWald wrote:
nunusmith wrote:
The nice part of this is you can play the expansions together


No you can't. This is specifically forbade in the rules. You are only allowed to play with one at a time. I'm guessing for balance reasons.




yes you are correct, but there is no reason that you couldn't play them together. Maybe for balance as you said.

for research sake we did play them in various combos and they do work.

If you are ever interested in game design, one of the things to do is to change the rules on games you play and see what happens.

But as you pointed out, the rules say play one at a time. Then again, its my game I can change the rules if I want
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nunusmith wrote:
the Price point has put a lot of buyers off, I got mine for under 30 so it didn't hurt quite a much.

Having said that, you are getting 4 expansions, granted they are mini expansions. But one of them does add quite a bit of content.

As with all space cowboys games, the components are top notch, and value for dollar spent is reasonable.

it is quite staggering how much the price of games have been increasing over the last few years, with the average new games coming in at around $100.

part of this is due to manufacturing cost, distribution costs, art costs, design cost etc. Making a game is an expensive endeavor that takes time and money.

if you take into account the cost of paying for a game vs entertainment value for your money, gaming still is reasonable compared to other entertainment options, for example movies.

its my opinion so take it with a grain of salt



I concur, there are a lot of factors that go into the price point, but given that what you're dealing with are a series of mini-expansions, the cost of the set is high in comparison to the base game. I'm not judging anyone for buying it, mind you, I'm simply saying that for my purposes, it's more than I would be willing to spend.

I won't deny that I want it, I just can't justify the cost.
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Nicholas Dewald
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nunusmith wrote:
PapaDeWald wrote:
nunusmith wrote:
The nice part of this is you can play the expansions together


No you can't. This is specifically forbade in the rules. You are only allowed to play with one at a time. I'm guessing for balance reasons.




yes you are correct, but there is no reason that you couldn't play them together. Maybe for balance as you said.

for research sake we did play them in various combos and they do work.

If you are ever interested in game design, one of the things to do is to change the rules on games you play and see what happens.

But as you pointed out, the rules say play one at a time. Then again, its my game I can change the rules if I want


I agree with changing rules if you so wish, I just felt since it was a review it would be fair to explain that how you incorporated the expansions is a variant and not rules as intended.
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James R. Gracen
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Laladien wrote:
The price point is a killer, imho.

I just don't get that.

Here's an experiment. I just went online to look up the prices for a bunch of expansions for other games so I could compare them to the $30 price point of this game. My findings:

Wrench, or pretty much any of the Allies decks for Red Dragon Inn: $15.
Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium: $15.
Potion Explosion: The Fifth Ingredient: $25.
Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals: $17.
Carcassonne: Princess and the Dragon: $17.
Carcassonne: Traders and Builders: $16.
Carcassonne: Abbey and Mayor: $15.
Not to mention many expansions offered here in the Geek Store where you get like a three card expansion for a game for $5. Three stinking cards... Five bucks!

So lets say your average decent expansion retails for $17.

Now, Cities of Splendor is actually four expansions in one box. Currently available on Amazon.com for $8 each ($31.99 for the box set). If they were offered separately, what would you expect to pay? I would fully expect to see them each sell for, what? $10.99? $12.99? Definitely $8.99 at the bare minimum. Would they sell for that price? Damn straight. Would people complain about the price? Probably not nearly as much as they do over the current discounted price of $8 a piece offered as a set.

Makes no sense to me.

So you can get four *average* game expansions for $68 ($17x4 using my example above). You could *probably* expect to pay anywhere from $36 to $52 for the Cities of Splendor expansions, were they offered separately. Yet people complain about the current $32 price???

And, yes, I understand the Splendor expansions are mini expansions. The orient consists of 30 cards and a rule sheet. I would consider this, components-wise, slightly smaller than an RDI Allies deck selling for $15. Cities (for the tiles) and Strongholds (for the minis), taken together, would be similar to any one of the Carcassonne expansions.

My point is, Splendor remains the most played game between my wife and I. And I've gotten much more than $30 of enjoyment out of the four expansions, thank you very much. I don't see $30 for an excellent set of expansions such as this to be too high a price, or out of the ordinary when compared to expansions to other games currently on the market.
 
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CavemanLogic wrote:
Laladien wrote:
The price point is a killer, imho.

I just don't get that.

Here's an experiment. I just went online to look up the prices for a bunch of expansions for other games so I could compare them to the $30 price point of this game. My findings:

Wrench, or pretty much any of the Allies decks for Red Dragon Inn: $15.
Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium: $15.
Potion Explosion: The Fifth Ingredient: $25.
Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals: $17.
Carcassonne: Princess and the Dragon: $17.
Carcassonne: Traders and Builders: $16.
Carcassonne: Abbey and Mayor: $15.
Not to mention many expansions offered here in the Geek Store where you get like a three card expansion for a game for $5. Three stinking cards... Five bucks!

So lets say your average decent expansion retails for $17.

Now, Cities of Splendor is actually four expansions in one box. Currently available on Amazon.com for $8 each ($31.99 for the box set). If they were offered separately, what would you expect to pay? I would fully expect to see them each sell for, what? $10.99? $12.99? Definitely $8.99 at the bare minimum. Would they sell for that price? Damn straight. Would people complain about the price? Probably not nearly as much as they do over the current discounted price of $8 a piece offered as a set.

Makes no sense to me.

So you can get four *average* game expansions for $68 ($17x4 using my example above). You could *probably* expect to pay anywhere from $36 to $52 for the Cities of Splendor expansions, were they offered separately. Yet people complain about the current $32 price???

And, yes, I understand the Splendor expansions are mini expansions. The orient consists of 30 cards and a rule sheet. I would consider this, components-wise, slightly smaller than an RDI Allies deck selling for $15. Cities (for the tiles) and Strongholds (for the minis), taken together, would be similar to any one of the Carcassonne expansions.

My point is, Splendor remains the most played game between my wife and I. And I've gotten much more than $30 of enjoyment out of the four expansions, thank you very much. I don't see $30 for an excellent set of expansions such as this to be too high a price, or out of the ordinary when compared to expansions to other games currently on the market.



Each expansion separately is naturally more expensive since each is produced, packaged, etc separately.


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CavemanLogic wrote:
Laladien wrote:
The price point is a killer, imho.

I just don't get that.

Here's an experiment. I just went online to look up the prices for a bunch of expansions for other games so I could compare them to the $30 price point of this game. My findings:

Wrench, or pretty much any of the Allies decks for Red Dragon Inn: $15.
Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium: $15.
Potion Explosion: The Fifth Ingredient: $25.
Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals: $17.
Carcassonne: Princess and the Dragon: $17.
Carcassonne: Traders and Builders: $16.
Carcassonne: Abbey and Mayor: $15.
Not to mention many expansions offered here in the Geek Store where you get like a three card expansion for a game for $5. Three stinking cards... Five bucks!

So lets say your average decent expansion retails for $17.

Now, Cities of Splendor is actually four expansions in one box. Currently available on Amazon.com for $8 each ($31.99 for the box set). If they were offered separately, what would you expect to pay? I would fully expect to see them each sell for, what? $10.99? $12.99? Definitely $8.99 at the bare minimum. Would they sell for that price? Damn straight. Would people complain about the price? Probably not nearly as much as they do over the current discounted price of $8 a piece offered as a set.

Makes no sense to me.

So you can get four *average* game expansions for $68 ($17x4 using my example above). You could *probably* expect to pay anywhere from $36 to $52 for the Cities of Splendor expansions, were they offered separately. Yet people complain about the current $32 price???

And, yes, I understand the Splendor expansions are mini expansions. The orient consists of 30 cards and a rule sheet. I would consider this, components-wise, slightly smaller than an RDI Allies deck selling for $15. Cities (for the tiles) and Strongholds (for the minis), taken together, would be similar to any one of the Carcassonne expansions.

My point is, Splendor remains the most played game between my wife and I. And I've gotten much more than $30 of enjoyment out of the four expansions, thank you very much. I don't see $30 for an excellent set of expansions such as this to be too high a price, or out of the ordinary when compared to expansions to other games currently on the market.


Let's address a few things here:

First of all, I'm not really complaining about it. I'm simply stating that, for my purposes, it's a price I'm really not willing to pay for the expansions. Again, I want them, but I don't feel I play the game enough that a $30 price point is of value to me (while it clearly is for you). I like Splendor, but I don't believe I play it enough to warrant paying full price for it. Am I complaining about the price? Not really, I'm simply stating that, to me at least, the cost doesn't present a value, especially give that there is only one expansion I actually liked playing. So in essence, I'd be paying $30 for Cities of Splendor and again, TO ME, this is not worth it.

Secondly, you yourself have similarly about the price of expansions in your own topic - "Not to mention many expansions offered here in the Geek Store where you get like a three card expansion for a game for $5. Three stinking cards... Five bucks!". So... you take some issue with three cards being five bucks, but there are people out there that think it' a good value. It's the same issue and you seem to take an issue with it, so you're kind of in the same boat as I am, just with a different title. Same logic, different cost, different games...

This is going to be a "to each his/her own" type issue. If you see value in it, that's great. It's a good game, for sure, I just feel it's too high of a price point for what you get - again, that's my opinion on it. If you get $30 worth of enjoyment out of it (if you are able to quantify $$$ to enjoyment), by all means do it!

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Max DuBoff
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CavemanLogic wrote:
Laladien wrote:
The price point is a killer, imho.

I just don't get that.

Here's an experiment. I just went online to look up the prices for a bunch of expansions for other games so I could compare them to the $30 price point of this game. My findings:

Wrench, or pretty much any of the Allies decks for Red Dragon Inn: $15.
Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium: $15.
Potion Explosion: The Fifth Ingredient: $25.
Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals: $17.
Carcassonne: Princess and the Dragon: $17.
Carcassonne: Traders and Builders: $16.
Carcassonne: Abbey and Mayor: $15.
Not to mention many expansions offered here in the Geek Store where you get like a three card expansion for a game for $5. Three stinking cards... Five bucks!

So lets say your average decent expansion retails for $17.

Now, Cities of Splendor is actually four expansions in one box. Currently available on Amazon.com for $8 each ($31.99 for the box set). If they were offered separately, what would you expect to pay? I would fully expect to see them each sell for, what? $10.99? $12.99? Definitely $8.99 at the bare minimum. Would they sell for that price? Damn straight. Would people complain about the price? Probably not nearly as much as they do over the current discounted price of $8 a piece offered as a set.

Makes no sense to me.

So you can get four *average* game expansions for $68 ($17x4 using my example above). You could *probably* expect to pay anywhere from $36 to $52 for the Cities of Splendor expansions, were they offered separately. Yet people complain about the current $32 price???

And, yes, I understand the Splendor expansions are mini expansions. The orient consists of 30 cards and a rule sheet. I would consider this, components-wise, slightly smaller than an RDI Allies deck selling for $15. Cities (for the tiles) and Strongholds (for the minis), taken together, would be similar to any one of the Carcassonne expansions.

My point is, Splendor remains the most played game between my wife and I. And I've gotten much more than $30 of enjoyment out of the four expansions, thank you very much. I don't see $30 for an excellent set of expansions such as this to be too high a price, or out of the ordinary when compared to expansions to other games currently on the market.

Adding on to what others have capably said, I'd like to note that (as I mentioned farther up) I don't think the expansions change the game enough to be worthwhile. An expansion that makes for an entirely different game, e.g. Ticket to Ride map packs, are absolutely worth $30.
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Laladien wrote:
Secondly, you yourself have similarly about the price of expansions in your own topic - "Not to mention many expansions offered here in the Geek Store where you get like a three card expansion for a game for $5. Three stinking cards... Five bucks!". So... you take some issue with three cards being five bucks, but there are people out there that think it' a good value. It's the same issue and you seem to take an issue with it, so you're kind of in the same boat as I am, just with a different title. Same logic, different cost, different games..

I mentioned the Geek Store expansions because it demonstrates that, in comparison, the Cities of Splendor expansions are an exceptional deal. The Orient expansion comes with *30* cards for eight bucks. The Geek Store expansions are generally a single card for $3, or a couple cards for $5. And, while I knock the price, I myself have browsed and made large purchases from the Geek Store to get the extra exclusives for my games you can't get anywhere else.

My post wasn't meant to be a knock against you personally. It was just meant to demonstrate that in comparison to many other expansions, these are not necessarily overpriced, as others like to claim here in the forums.

But of course, if you don't play the game enough, as you say, then spending $30 on an expansion may not give you the best bang for your buck. At that point it's not necessarily the Price Point that kills the sale for you, as it's comparably priced to other expansions. It has more to do with your personal "Plays Per Dollar" ratio for the game being too low to make the purchase worthwhile for you.

As you say "to each his/her own". I agree. My "plays Per Dollar" of the base game is probably around five at this point. Will the expansion ratio get that high? Probably not, but I still think it is a good deal...for me.

Take care.
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MD1616 wrote:
Adding on to what others have capably said, I'd like to note that (as I mentioned farther up) I don't think the expansions change the game enough to be worthwhile. An expansion that makes for an entirely different game, e.g. Ticket to Ride map packs, are absolutely worth $30.

Again, to each his own. I don't own any of the Ticket to Ride map packs, so my potential Plays Per Dollar ratio is infinitely small, and not worth the purchase price for me.

In regards to the game changing capabilities of the Cities of Splendor expansion, I respectfully disagree with you, and agree with the OP above.

nunusmith wrote:
This expansion, which is really 4 mini expansions, is a must have if you love splendor. It changes the game strategy significantly from the base game making the end game less predictable. Now you have to watch your opponents closely to counter their strategy.


Have fun!
 
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CavemanLogic wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
Adding on to what others have capably said, I'd like to note that (as I mentioned farther up) I don't think the expansions change the game enough to be worthwhile. An expansion that makes for an entirely different game, e.g. Ticket to Ride map packs, are absolutely worth $30.

Again, to each his own. I don't own any of the Ticket to Ride map packs, so my potential Plays Per Dollar ratio is infinitely small, and not worth the purchase price for me.

In regards to the game changing capabilities of the Cities of Splendor expansion, I respectfully disagree with you, and agree with the OP above.

*snip*

If you feel like sharing, I'd be curious to hear why you think that, though I realize this thread also might not be the appropriate place.
 
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CavemanLogic wrote:
Laladien wrote:
Secondly, you yourself have similarly about the price of expansions in your own topic - "Not to mention many expansions offered here in the Geek Store where you get like a three card expansion for a game for $5. Three stinking cards... Five bucks!". So... you take some issue with three cards being five bucks, but there are people out there that think it' a good value. It's the same issue and you seem to take an issue with it, so you're kind of in the same boat as I am, just with a different title. Same logic, different cost, different games..

I mentioned the Geek Store expansions because it demonstrates that, in comparison, the Cities of Splendor expansions are an exceptional deal. The Orient expansion comes with *30* cards for eight bucks. The Geek Store expansions are generally a single card for $3, or a couple cards for $5. And, while I knock the price, I myself have browsed and made large purchases from the Geek Store to get the extra exclusives for my games you can't get anywhere else.

My post wasn't meant to be a knock against you personally. It was just meant to demonstrate that in comparison to many other expansions, these are not necessarily overpriced, as others like to claim here in the forums.

But of course, if you don't play the game enough, as you say, then spending $30 on an expansion may not give you the best bang for your buck. At that point it's not necessarily the Price Point that kills the sale for you, as it's comparably priced to other expansions. It has more to do with your personal "Plays Per Dollar" ratio for the game being too low to make the purchase worthwhile for you.

As you say "to each his/her own". I agree. My "plays Per Dollar" of the base game is probably around five at this point. Will the expansion ratio get that high? Probably not, but I still think it is a good deal...for me.

Take care.


Nah, I didn't think it was a knock on me. I was just pointing out that it seemed as though you shared a similar insight based on the comment about the BGG store... which yeah, I won't deny is kind of crazy!
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MD1616 wrote:
CavemanLogic wrote:

Again, to each his own. I don't own any of the Ticket to Ride map packs, so my potential Plays Per Dollar ratio is infinitely small, and not worth the purchase price for me.

In regards to the game changing capabilities of the Cities of Splendor expansion, I respectfully disagree with you, and agree with the OP above.

*snip*

If you feel like sharing, I'd be curious to hear why you think that, though I realize this thread also might not be the appropriate place.

Sure, which part? If the first, my potential Plays Per Dollar for the TTR map packs is actually zero. I'm currently very unlikely to play any of the map packs, so zero plays divided by $30 is...zero. My ratio for Splendor base game, however, is much higher. I would guess somewhere between four and five. That means I've managed four or five plays of the game *for each dollar* spent on the game. I bought Splendor back in December of 2014 for $26, and with our something in the range of 100-150 plays of it, I'm liking my current ratio. And the expansion definitely provides some much needed variability (even if it does immediately cut my ratio in half ).

As far as your second point, the game-changing capabilities of the expansions, there are quite a few. The OP touched on a few in his review above. Here are my main points that I feel are game-changing:

1) The expansion definitely refreshes the game, allowing different paths to victory (via the Cities tiles).

2) The Orient cards open the game up, especially in larger player count games, giving you more options on your turn (more cards to choose from) in case your opponents take the card(s) you were targeting.

3) Conversely, the Strongholds expansion works to narrow the game down, allowing you more blocking mechanisms to use against your opponents. So with these two expansions, you actually have the ability to dial in your desired level of player interaction for any given game. An interesting challenge, which I have not yet tried, would be to (*Variant Alert*) play with *both* those expansions at the same time to both widen your, and narrow your opponent's, choices at the same time.

4) The new powers on the Trading Post tile, and the new options on the Orient cards change the game up in interesting ways, allowing you more mechanisms with which to purchase development cards in the game.

4a) The Strongholds and the Orient cards both have ways with which you can temporarily bypass the 10-gem limit which may allow you to purchase those more expensive development cards. See my reply here for a way to obtain 13 gems before buying a card using the Strongholds expansion. Alternatively, the double-gold single use cards in the Orient expansion can be used in a similar fashion. Both of those can be game-changers if used at the proper time.

5) The bonus Prestige Points you can earn on the Trading Post track can be a game-changer as well, allowing you to sneak up and overtake your opponents with a well timed play.

I feel that this collection of four expansions adds a bunch of new mechanics that change the game up in many new and interesting ways. To me, this is well worth the $30 for all the variability it brings. Conversely, an expansion such as the $30 Ticket to Ride map packs which give you, essentially, the same game experience as the base game, but on a different map, with maybe some new mechanic thrown in, doesn't seem as exciting to me.

Some people may enjoy Ticket to Ride more than Splendor, and find the different map expansions more enjoyable(*). While I own, and *occasionally* enjoy, the Ticket to Ride base game, I haven't played it in years. Lately, I have been enjoying shorter, easy to set up, light to medium weight games, that my wife and I can wind down with after a long day at work. Our 15-20 minute Splendor games are perfect for that.

(*) It is kinda weird that the different TTR map packs don't excite me, since, as my avatar suggests, I am a *huge* RoboRally fan. I own all the old early 90's expansions, and love the variability that all of those different playing boards provide.

Sorry to be a little long-winded here...
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CavemanLogic wrote:
MD1616 wrote:
CavemanLogic wrote:

Again, to each his own. I don't own any of the Ticket to Ride map packs, so my potential Plays Per Dollar ratio is infinitely small, and not worth the purchase price for me.

In regards to the game changing capabilities of the Cities of Splendor expansion, I respectfully disagree with you, and agree with the OP above.

*snip*

If you feel like sharing, I'd be curious to hear why you think that, though I realize this thread also might not be the appropriate place.

Sure, which part? If the first, my potential Plays Per Dollar for the TTR map packs is actually zero. I'm currently very unlikely to play any of the map packs, so zero plays divided by $30 is...zero. My ratio for Splendor base game, however, is much higher. I would guess somewhere between four and five. That means I've managed four or five plays of the game *for each dollar* spent on the game. I bought Splendor back in December of 2014 for $26, and with our something in the range of 100-150 plays of it, I'm liking my current ratio. And the expansion definitely provides some much needed variability (even if it does immediately cut my ratio in half ).

As far as your second point, the game-changing capabilities of the expansions, there are quite a few. The OP touched on a few in his review above. Here are my main points that I feel are game-changing:

1) The expansion definitely refreshes the game, allowing different paths to victory (via the Cities tiles).

2) The Orient cards open the game up, especially in larger player count games, giving you more options on your turn (more cards to choose from) in case your opponents take the card(s) you were targeting.

3) Conversely, the Strongholds expansion works to narrow the game down, allowing you more blocking mechanisms to use against your opponents. So with these two expansions, you actually have the ability to dial in your desired level of player interaction for any given game. An interesting challenge, which I have not yet tried, would be to (*Variant Alert*) play with *both* those expansions at the same time to both widen your, and narrow your opponent's, choices at the same time.

4) The new powers on the Trading Post tile, and the new options on the Orient cards change the game up in interesting ways, allowing you more mechanisms with which to purchase development cards in the game.

4a) The Strongholds and the Orient cards both have ways with which you can temporarily bypass the 10-gem limit which may allow you to purchase those more expensive development cards. See my reply here for a way to obtain 13 gems before buying a card using the Strongholds expansion. Alternatively, the double-gold single use cards in the Orient expansion can be used in a similar fashion. Both of those can be game-changers if used at the proper time.

5) The bonus Prestige Points you can earn on the Trading Post track can be a game-changer as well, allowing you to sneak up and overtake your opponents with a well timed play.

I feel that this collection of four expansions adds a bunch of new mechanics that change the game up in many new and interesting ways. To me, this is well worth the $30 for all the variability it brings. Conversely, an expansion such as the $30 Ticket to Ride map packs which give you, essentially, the same game experience as the base game, but on a different map, with maybe some new mechanic thrown in, doesn't seem as exciting to me.

Some people may enjoy Ticket to Ride more than Splendor, and find the different map expansions more enjoyable(*). While I own, and *occasionally* enjoy, the Ticket to Ride base game, I haven't played it in years. Lately, I have been enjoying shorter, easy to set up, light to medium weight games, that my wife and I can wind down with after a long day at work. Our 15-20 minute Splendor games are perfect for that.

(*) It is kinda weird that the different TTR map packs don't excite me, since, as my avatar suggests, I am a *huge* RoboRally fan. I own all the old early 90's expansions, and love the variability that all of those different playing boards provide.

Sorry to be a little long-winded here...



excellent summary of the new expansions powers. As I try to keep my reviews short (started a facebook page called Shorty's short Reviews) I didnt want to go into too much detail. My goal is to give a reader trying to decide if they want to buy the game, a quick reference that says, this is the game and what it does. You have summed the powers up nicely, and yes, although the rules say you have to use one of the expansions at a time, I dont see why you cant experiment and tailor the game as you see fit
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I love the expansion thanks for the review.

And About the cost i dont mind it. It adds so much worth it.
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CavemanLogic wrote:
Laladien wrote:
Secondly, you yourself have similarly about the price of expansions in your own topic - "Not to mention many expansions offered here in the Geek Store where you get like a three card expansion for a game for $5. Three stinking cards... Five bucks!". So... you take some issue with three cards being five bucks, but there are people out there that think it' a good value. It's the same issue and you seem to take an issue with it, so you're kind of in the same boat as I am, just with a different title. Same logic, different cost, different games..

I mentioned the Geek Store expansions because it demonstrates that, in comparison, the Cities of Splendor expansions are an exceptional deal. The Orient expansion comes with *30* cards for eight bucks. The Geek Store expansions are generally a single card for $3, or a couple cards for $5. And, while I knock the price, I myself have browsed and made large purchases from the Geek Store to get the extra exclusives for my games you can't get anywhere else.

My post wasn't meant to be a knock against you personally. It was just meant to demonstrate that in comparison to many other expansions, these are not necessarily overpriced, as others like to claim here in the forums.

But of course, if you don't play the game enough, as you say, then spending $30 on an expansion may not give you the best bang for your buck. At that point it's not necessarily the Price Point that kills the sale for you, as it's comparably priced to other expansions. It has more to do with your personal "Plays Per Dollar" ratio for the game being too low to make the purchase worthwhile for you.

As you say "to each his/her own". I agree. My "plays Per Dollar" of the base game is probably around five at this point. Will the expansion ratio get that high? Probably not, but I still think it is a good deal...for me.

Take care.


It's only a good deal if the buyer is getting something they want though. I personally would probably never play Stronghold or Cities.

I doubt anyone would ever buy Stronghold if it was a stand alone expansion. Unless you're playing against someone with ADD, no one's ever getting a card for free. And at two players, this expansion is irrelevant. (I remove your tower, you remove my tower, repeat.)

It kind of sucks for people playing mostly at two players since stronghold also isn't that great for two. It seems to make the game even more luck based.

Unfortunately, you don't have a choice of getting ALL the expansions, whether you like/want them all or not. That's why people have an issue with the price.

I think they would have made more people happy, and more money by splitting it in two cheaper/smaller expansions. People who wanted both would have been free to do so.

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Cool Stuff Inc just had it on sale for $23.99 which was tempting enough for me to bite.
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