In Splendor, when I buy a development card, can I choose to pay the full price using coins, rather than exploiting the bonus price reduction given by the development cards I already own?

Example: I have 3 emerald resources, and 3 emerald coins. On the board, there are no development cards with a price of more than 3 emeralds. Can I buy one of those using my coins rather than exploiting the three cards I already own?

This happened during a game in which I miscounted my opponent's resources and she took a card worth 6 emeralds which I was after. In a later game phase, I was in the situation of having to get rid of the excess emeralds to free room for other gem coins I needed.

  • As an aside, it can also be to a players advantage to create an artificial shortage of a color to prevent other players from having the ability to purchase cards requiring that color, thereby having more control over your opponents actions, even if the chips are not useful to you at the time.
    – JMoravitz
    Oct 4, 2016 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


It's not explicit in the rules whether you're allowed to do that, but they say:

if a player has 2 blue bonuses and wants to purchase a
card which costs 2 blue tokens and 1 green token, the player must only spend 1 green token.

Use of the word must would suggest that the discount from the cards is mandatory.

Also, I can see no reason why you would want to use up coins when you don't need to. You can always take 3 coins (or 2 of the same colour if 4 or more are left). You only have to discard coins if you have more than 10 at the end of your turn:

A player can never have more than 10 tokens at the end of
their turn (including jokers). If this happens, they must return tokens until they only have 10 left.

So in the example in your question you could carry on taking new coins and discard the unwanted emeralds at the end of your turn if you had more than 10 coins.

  • I see! Actually, we have a German translation of the rules only, and I admit we didn't understand them fully. This is really helpful. Oct 2, 2016 at 21:44
  • 1
    @Pietro Saccardi, If you want the rules in English, grab this file. It contains a succinct yet precisely-worded version of the rules that are actually clearer than the (poorly written) official rules.
    – ikegami
    Oct 3, 2016 at 20:51
  • 6
    actually the usage of must here only means that one is the minimum. The player must ONLY spend one token. It doesn't suggest as in other usages of must that it's mandatory.
    – Wolfkin
    Oct 5, 2016 at 20:57
  • 1
    A reason to use tokens when unnecessary could be to restore an empty pile (or bring it to 4) so a second player can take a token (or two) and then take an action on their following turn which would block a 3rd player, or perhaps even unblock themselves (through buying a card and returning a larger number of tokens to the pool). These scenarios are heavily contrived given they require predicting a full two turns but it is nonetheless theoretically possible, especially if we consider all players being AIs that play optimally.
    – Daniel
    Oct 6, 2022 at 3:39

Yes, you may. Using your chips in the manner you describe is your choice of payment. Just because you have development cards does not mean you cannot pay in gem chips. Indeed, at times it is a strategic choice to pay out your chips to make room for other gems.

  • 4
    Read through the other answer, I believe it shows your answer to be incorrect. And because you can always take more chips, even if you are at the limit (you discard down to 10 at the end of your turn), there's no need to "make room for other gems". And welcome to the site!
    – GendoIkari
    Oct 6, 2016 at 15:06

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