Game Review:  Splendor – Marvel Edition

Splendor is a great game because it has simple mechanics, is easy to teach, easy to learn, and the games take about half an hour.

If you like Splendor, then Splendor Marvel is great to pick up since it has an added game mechanic that gives more tactical options.  If you never played Splendor before, then Splendor Marvel takes about 30 seconds longer to learn!

Splendor Marvel is Better than the Original!

What is Splendor?

Splendor is a game where you collect resources and use them to purchase cards.  Players are simulating merchants who are purchasing mines, transportation, and shops to increase their prestige.  The goal of the game is to be the first to reach 15 prestige points.  If you satisfy certain gem requirements, you can receive a nobles token which increases your prestige points.

You can teach Splendor in about 2-3 minutes.  Teaching Splendor Marvel only means explaining one more way to get victory points.  Either version is great if you want something easy to learn, but they are also quick to play.  Normal games last about 30 minutes and can go even faster as you get familiar.  This game is one that I travel with often and that comes off the shelf when there are guests, especially if they don’t want to learn something complicated.

What is Different about the Splendor Marvel?

The mechanics are the same, but instead of a gem motif, you have various heroes and villains that you can build a team with.  Each one produces resources of a certain color, just like in Splendor where they produce resources of a certain gem type.  

The colors in the Marvel edition correspond to the Infinity Stones.

  • Reality Stone  =  red
  • Soul Stone  =  orange
  • Mind Stone  =  yellow
  • Space Stone  =  blue
  • Power Stone  =  purple
  • Time Stone  =  green

The two main differences between the versions are that Marvel has some cards that also have the Avengers symbol on them, and there is an extra token that looks like the resource tokens, but you cannot buy anything with it.  

The Avengers symbol on a card means that it counts towards the total number of Avengers on your team.  When the first person has three, they get the Avengers token, which is worth 3 victory points.  In order to steal that token, another player needs to get a higher Avenger total.  Some cards have two Avenger symbols on them and count double!

Just like in Splendor, there are three rows of cards that you can acquire.  The most expensive cards have the Time Stone symbol on them, and when you buy one you get a green token.  Each player can only get one green token, but it is a victory requirement.  

Instead of nobles, Marvel has locations, but the mechanics are exactly the same.

How do you Win Splendor Marvel?

In order to win Splendor Marvel, you need 16 victory points and one of each infinity stone.  If there is a tie and one of those players has the Avengers token, they win!   To fulfill the stones requirement you need cards that have those stones, not resource tokens.

How do the Avengers Cards Affect Strategy?

Playing Marvel Splendor adds that strategy of going for the Avengers’ 3 victory points, but they can change hands and often do at late stages of the game.  Buying Avengers cards is more expensive than equivalent cards without the symbol, so it is an economic choice too.  Other than that, the strategies are the same as the base Splendor game, but that means there are still a number of ways to win!  

Some people try to buy Avengers that have victory points built into their cards.  Others go for Avengers early and try to maintain a strong lead.  Some people focus on the locations, since the first person to qualify for each gets to keep those three victory points for the whole game.  Another basic strategy is to buy as many cheap cards as possible to build up buying power for getting the higher victory point cards later.  This allows you to pick up a lot of free cards and not have to acquire resources to buy them.

Marvel Splendor is more than just changing the cards from gem-related into heroes, villains, and Infinity Stones.  The simplicity of the game remains, while adding in the Avengers tactic, so it’s my preferred choice!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you played Marvel Splendor?
  2. What did you like or hate about it?
  3. Do you think the game is better with 2, 3, or 4 players?
  4. If you played Splendor before, which did you like better?

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