As you've probably learned from some of my other posts (feel free to reread if you haven't figured it out), I'm no stranger to hardcore, heavy board games. However, that's not to say that I'm a hater of simpler classics and other easy finds. In fact, one of my all time favorite games is Splendor, and I have to admit that it's pretty simple. Despite that, it's actually a lot of fun and makes for a good beginning game, filler game, or family game. Here's the lowdown.
In the game, you are playing as a merchant in the Renaissance looking to acquire gems and, eventually, gem mines, hoping to own the most prestigious ones in order to be the richest of them all! (i.e. have the most points). You are also trying to use your riches to impress the nobles, thus earning you even more prestige.
Set up is incredibly easy. There are 3 different levels of cards and 6 different color jewels in the game. As well as a number of noble cards (up top). The number of jewels of each color as well as noble cards in play will vary depending on player count.
On your turn you can take 3 different color gems, 2 of the same color (permitting there are at least 4 in the stack), reserve a card - earning you a gold (Wild) gem token - or trade gems in to take a card. Cards sit in front of you permanently and always count to one gem of that color. The numbers on the cards are your prestige points only (the cards don't count as that many). If you collect the appropriate number of cards shown on the noble cards, you may also collect a noble on your turn as a free action.
The first player to 15 points triggers the end of the game. The round will finish if the game ends before everyone has had the same amount of turns.
Aaaaaaand, that's pretty much it! Like I said, there isn't a lot to it. Games typically take no more than half an hour, depending on player count, so it's quick, light, and even worth playing a few times in a row.
I like this game because, even though it's simple, there is a little strategy involved (which gems to take, what to reserve and when, when to grab cards vs collect more gems) amidst all the luck of which cards come out. I highly recommend it for those just starting out in the board game world!
Happy Gaming, Folks! :)