Cities of Splendor
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- The first-ever expansion for Splendor
- Four new expansions for Splendor in a single box, each offering a unique experience
- Each expansion highlights and enhances a separate aspect of the original game
- Four different expansions with dramatically different approaches means that there's an option for everyone
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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Cities of splendor introduces four complete expansions to the splendor base game, each accentuating and highlighting a different aspect of the original game. Towers allow players to reserve additional cards, special powers introduce a new layer of engine building, cities give players a new goal to strive towards, and a range of exciting development cards add spice to any game. Each of these four expansions offers a completely unique approach to the game of splendor without compromising the game’s original elegance.
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|Sold By||MMP Living||Gamerz Guild||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Gamerz Guild||Amazon.com|
|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||2.62 x 10.88 x 8.5 in||0.93 x 3.33 x 4.26 in||6.3 x 2.8 x 9 in||7.9 x 2 x 7.9 in||1.38 x 11.61 x 5.79 in||11.5 x 11.5 x 2.75 in|
|Item Weight||1.25 lbs||1.5 lbs||1.25 lbs||1 lb||1.75 lbs||3 lbs|
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You won't see a verified purchase badge on this review because I decided to support my local friendly game store and bought this product there.
So, to summarize Splendor first: the game is played by using "gems" to buy cards that grant bonus gems and victory points. There are three ranks of cards that increase in expense and reward. Certain positions in gems can enable a player to claim a visit by a noble, granting victory points. The first player who meets or exceeds 15 victory points announces that, and the round is played out. Highest scorer (not always the first declaring player) wins.
The expansion messes with the gameplay in four ways:
"Cities" removes the nobles from play and replaces them with slightly more complex "city" tiles that require a position in gems AND a victory point count to claim. Each tile bears a "win number". Once the tile is claimed, that is that players winning victory point target. If they meet that score AND they are the only player to have claimed a city so far, they IMMEDIATELY win - the round is not played out. If more than one city has been claimed before the victory point score is met, the round plays out as normal and highest scorer wins. This variant messes with the end game mechanics.
"Strongholds" uses 12 colored towers, three tower pieces per player, to stake a claim on cards. As a player places them, that player and only that player can buy those cards. If the player places three towers on a single card, they can purchase it and possibly a second card. This variant messes with the card-acquisition strategies players use to strengthen their own position or foil an opponent's strategy by altering the way cards are purchased and possibly the number of actions allowed in a turn.
"Trading Posts" involves claiming various sub-goals as play progresses using color-coded counters. This, for me, was the least impressive from a reading, but I may have missed the nuances it provides. This variant messes with the basic structure of the game goals by offering gem bonuses and other in-game opportunities as more trading post counters are placed on the progress track.
"The Orient" introduces new cards that offer new benefits and slightly change-up the card acquisition process. This variant adds complexity to the basic game without disturbing the underlying game structure very much. You are offered new ways to get where you always go, including being able to use a turn to "reserve" nobles (with no upper limit on how many may be "reserved"(!)).
I confess to being disappointed that this product wasn't really an "expansion" to the game, more a way to play different games with Splendor's pieces. I was hoping for five- and six- player expansion components. The "Cities" expansion seems to me the most straightforward way to retool Splendor, offering a subtle and powerful change to the end-game tactics required to extract a win from one's wily opponents. The "Strongholds" seems to be overly complex for what it does, requiring a rather lengthy "demonstration" of play.
I suppose I can always buy a second Splendor set for more player-count. In point of fact I already did (but then discovered my first set had mysteriously gone missing).
The quality of the components is as high as that of the original game.
"Cities" uses sturdy card tiles larger than but of similar robustness to the Noble tiles.
"Trading Posts" Uses thick card counters and a thick card progress track, of similar sturdiness to the Noble tiles.
"Strongholds" Uses twelve large plastic towers pleasingly detailed to look like medieval European towers.
"Orient" Uses cards of the same high quality and appearance as those in the base set.
A star comes off not because of my expectations but because of a general lack of "oomph" for the price in any of the games from a first look. I'll come back and re-star if the experience over time is stellar enough.
The cities expansion replaces Nobles with a 3 cities, each requiring a different set of bonuses or prestige points to earn. The game ends when a player obtains a city first, or if you obtain at the same time as your opponents, the one with the most overall prestige wins. I enjoyed this and it changed the game up and added a higher level or trying to mess with and block your opponents.
Strongholds gives each player three towers which they use to place on face up cards or remove towers their opponents placed. Once all three of your towers are up, you can buy the card after your regular action, so it will enable, if allowed by your opponents, almost a second turn. I didn't particularly care for this expansion and didn't really get the point of it.
The Orient contains 30 new cards or ten per each level of Splendor. These cards, once purchased can add to your bonuses, give you two gold tokens at once, reserve a noble and even earn prestige points by discarding bonus colors, among other abilities. This expansion is pretty fascinating and really changes the way you play the game, offering even more opportunities for victory.
Finally Trading Posts is the final expansion in the box. A small sideboard is added and each player gains five tokens. At the end of your turn, if you meet the right requirements, you place your token on one of the powers. These offer cool bonuses like bonus prestige points or having each gold token count for two. This is another great expansion that really adds to and changes the base game, as well as mixes up the traditional game strategies.
At the same price as the base game, this is still a requires buy, especially if you really enjoy the base game of Splendor. I highly recommend this and it remains a staple in between bigger games on our game nights.