8

Splendor is a great game, but the rules were written sub-optimally.

The following quotes the rules that specify what actions a player can take on his turn:

On their turn, a player must choose to perform only one of the following four actions.

  • Take 3 gem tokens of different colors.
  • Take 2 gem tokens of the same color. This action is only possible if there are at least 4 tokens of the chosen color left when the player takes them.
  • Reserve 1 development card and take 1 gold token (joker).
  • Purchase 1 face-up development card from the middle of the table or a previously reserved one.

As written, it's not hard to get into a situation where it's impossible to perform a legal turn. I presume you can pass if you can't perform any of the actions, but there might be other options.

  1. Can you reserve a development card if there is no gold left (taking the development card without gaining gold)?

  2. Can you take gems if there are fewer than three colors of gems left (taking one from each of the remaining colors)?

  • doh! Always find the answer after posting – ikegami Oct 1 '14 at 15:29
  • 2
    Note - there is a limit of ten tokens per player, to be reconciled at the end of each turn. (I'm sure you know this - just leaving it for future visitors) – The Chaz 2.0 Oct 2 '14 at 18:41
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  1. Yes you can still reserve without being able to get a gold (some disadvantage: you get the card, but not the gold)
  2. Yes you can still take gem tokens when there are fewer than three colors left (obviously you might get fewer than normal).

Combining these two leads to a useful money-starvation strategy (esp. in 3-player games) if there is some critical color needed for either the nobles or the middle/top row cards. Reserve up to three of the critical color-generating cards (from any rows) and leave the other player with junk in the first row and excessively expensive junk in the middle row. When you run of gold, the other players are then forced to either buy junk, pick up useless color coins, reserve without getting gold, or even gamble by reserving a random (face-down) card.

Even better if you time things so that when you do purchase the cards you've reserved and return useful coins to the supply, they are near their 10-coin limit so can't (net) pick up many coins in that turn, letting you try to get your useful money back before they can get it :) and continue the money-starvation for even more rounds (you can't do that with 4+ players, someone will pick up the useful money).

In a 3-player game, if two of you collude you can mess up the third player.

In one extreme case of a game I played, 10 of the 12 face-up cards ended up being black-producing, which was totally useless for nobles and top row.

  • 1
    "Even better if you time things so that when you do purchase the cards you've reserved and return useful coins to the supply, they are near their 10-coin limit so can't pick up in that turn" The rules say that a player cannot have more than 10 tokens at the end of their turn. So they can still take the useful tokens, they just have to discard some of their less useful tokens at the end of their turn. – Acccumulation Feb 2 at 19:59
  • @Acccumulation: yes, to be precise we should say "taking net 3 coins" - the point is that taking 3 coins but having to put 1 or 2 back is usually a waste of that player's turn - especially if those are colors they didn't want to take previously. Hence, this is a starvation strategy. – smci Feb 13 at 20:15
  • You said "return useful coins to the supply, they are near their 10-coin limit so can't pick up in that turn" If the tokens they have aren't useful, and you just returns useful ones to the supply, then picking up 3 tokens and putting three back is not a waste of a turn. – Acccumulation Feb 13 at 21:29
  • @Acccumulation: yes but like I said that only happens when those are colors they did want to take previously but weren't available in previous turns. And even then, picking up (say) 1 net coin is not very useful. You're right that I should edit my terminology though. – smci Feb 14 at 1:07
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Aha! From the designer's web site,

I cannot take three tokens, and the two remaining stacks are less than four tokens high. Can I take tokens anyway?

The action "take three different tokens" allows you to pick only two different tokens, or even one.

So it's yes to #2. One would imagine it's yes to #1 too.

2

ikegami is correct - the answer to both is yes. Taking a card to your reserve without receiving a corresponding gold is inefficient to your strategy but is definitely an option. You can always take one each of three different colors; the rule you're mentioned simply indicates it's not legal to take two of the same color gem unless there's at least 4 in the stack at the time you take your two during your turn.

-3

Yes you can do both. Here's a thing being over looked i think. If you are at your 10 coin limit, you can still reserve and get the gold (if available) or draw tokens. You rlthen have to put tokens back to be at your ten token limit. Also you can't reserve more than three cards

  • 2
    "Yes you can do both" and two unrelated comments do not amount to an answer. – ikegami Jun 22 '15 at 17:44
  • @ikegami: that's a bit harsh. I believe mike wants to confirm #1 & #2 and also add a comment. The comment is a valid one, related to #2 and about as off-topic as the upvoted answer explaining the money starvation strategy. One may ignore this answer. But downvotes for factually correct answer are exaggerated, imho. – cfi Jan 18 '16 at 22:39
  • @cfi, Yes, it's technically an answer. What I meant is that it's a completely useless answer to just say "yes" and repeating the question as an answer. I was hoping he'd actually provide the basis for his answer, but it looks like he pulled it out of his thin air. /// No, the limit on the number of cards you can reserve has no bearing on either questions. The question is about what happens when you do reserve a card; it's not about when you can reserve card. – ikegami Jan 19 '16 at 13:10
  • @ikegami: (A) The question (both parts) are clearly asked as yes/no questions and there's no reason that a valid answer must have anything else but a simple "yes" or "no". (B) You're overseeing the fact that mike points out that you are allowed to take three coins, then drop others to get again down to the limit of ten. And that addresses the second part of the question. Mike's point btw is that none of the other answers takes this into account. And my point is: This answer is not factually incorrect, and it is on-topic. Therefore it is imho inappropriate to downvote. – cfi Jan 19 '16 at 15:32
  • @cfi, There is not only a reason; there's a very good reason: There's no way to evaluate an answer that's just "yes" or "no". That makes them extremely poor answers. /// Re "You're overseeing the fact that mike points out that you are allowed to take three coins, then drop others to get again down to the limit of ten.", The questions are about when there are not enough resources to take, not what happens when you take too many resources. – ikegami Jan 20 '16 at 12:51

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