Splendor rules regarding tokens (gem coins) state:

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. A player can return all or some of those they’ve just drawn....

That phrase "those they've just drawn" is used ambiguously.

1) Does the phrase "those they've just drawn" mean you can return only those drawn on that turn? That doesn't make sense, but the phrase could be interpreted that way (or not). Or does it simply mean that you aren't required to hold newly acquired coins for a turn?

2) Does the phrase "return all" mean that the player can return literally any number of their coins to the bank without purchasing, no matter when they were acquired?

3) Can you return coins without purchasing, even if you are below the 10 token limit?


2 Answers 2


You may return any of the tokens currently in your possession.

When you collect gems and/or gold, you may collect fewer tokens than you are entitled to collect. It would be a little weird to collect tokens and immediately return them, but that addendum indicates it's perfectly valid to do so.

It doesn't mean you can only return those you've drawn.

It doesn't mean you can return more than would be necessary to avoid exceeding the limit.

The Splendor rules are quite poorly written. What follows is the complete rules (except the setup instructions) rewritten in much clearer language.

Rules of Splendor

[These rules are found here as text and as images suitable for printing on 3.5" x 2.5" cards.]


 Players     Gems       Gold     Dev Cards   Nobles  
---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
    2      4 of each      5      4 of each      3    
    3      5 of each      5      4 of each      4    
    4      7 of each      5      4 of each      5    

On your turn, perform the following steps:

  1. Take one of the following actions:

    • Collect up to three different gems.

    • Collect two gems of a type of which at least four gems are available.

    • Reserve a face-up or face-down development card and take up to one gold, but only if you have fewer than three development cards currently reserved. Reserved cards are kept private.

    • Purchase an available or previously-reserved development card.

  2. Replace any missing development cards if possible.

  3. Discard down to ten gems and/or gold.

  4. Form a permanent alliance with an unallied noble whose requirements you meet (if possible). Nobles are not replaced.

  5. The game ends if any player has 15 or more points, and if all of the players have had the same number of turns. Those with the fewest development cards win ties.

  • "you may collect fewer tokens than you are entitled to collect." Woah, I know that this is true when there aren't enough piles left to grab 3 different colors, (as per your older question on that); but I've never heard that you can simply choose to take 1 gem on your turn, for example, even if all piles are full. What's the source for that?
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 3:03
  • @Gendolkari, The rules say you have to collect three, but the faq clarifies that is up to three.
    – ikegami
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 3:13
  • I find that FAQ unclear in this point as it was answering a question about a situation where there were not 3 colors left. I'm not saying you're wrong, and it would be an extreme edge case where it could matter anyway.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 3:20
  • I don't find anything unclear about "The action 'take three different tokens' allows you to pick only two different tokens, or even one.". This allows you to pick less than three when there are less than three available, and it saves you from picking gems yous just have to return anyway because of hand size limit. The rest of the time, you'd want to pick three, but there's no reason to forbid picking up less than three.
    – ikegami
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 3:22

1) The second thing: "Or does it simply mean that you aren't required to hold newly acquired coins for a turn?" It is simply clarifying that you are allowed to return new ones; it is not a restriction on the previous sentence about having to return tokens.

2 and 3; no, "you can return all" is again just clarifying that of the ones that you have to return, they could be all new ones. You can only return tokens to put yourself back at 10; you can't go below 10 this way.

In other words, the last sentence you quote isn't introducing any new rules or allowing you to do anything that wasn't already stated; it is just extra clarification.

  • This is really bad rulebook design. Superfluous clarifications should either be omitted entirely or relegated to an FAQ section - sure you'd get somebody asking "Can I return tokens I just drew?", but that question is much easier to address than this one. A great way of understanding a ruleset is to repeatedly ask "What does this rule add to the game?", and the answer should never be nothing. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 21:47

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