Splendor Marvel

My wife and I are big Splendor fans, so we wanted to try the Marvel themed spinoff. I’m a Marvel fan so that seemed like a no-brainer.

After playing, we were not impressed. The original is better.

The Splendor Marvel board game, seen from above.

In Splendor, you’re a renaissance merchant, collecting gems to earn points, and eventually having enough gems to attract nobles. You build a deck to buy more and more high value cards.

Splendor Marvel takes us from renaissance gems to Infinity stones. It fits the theme well. Instead of collecting gems, you collect Infinity stones to buy cards with different Marvel superheroes on them. That… makes a little less sense, but we’ll go with it.

In truth, the update doesn’t bring a lot of new mechanisms to the game. It’s 95% the same game.

The visuals are different, but I personally preferred the original design. Both the Marvel hero cards and the infinity stone chips are too flashy, too noisy. You can’t quickly distinguish between the different gem colors.

I thought I’d like looking at the cards, reading the heroes’ names. I didn’t do any of that until the game ended. Unlike in other games like Wingspan, you can’t really appreciate the artwork while playing, you must pay attention to the colors more than the characters.

It was fun looking at the cards after the game ended, but it made me realize the heroes were sorted in a weird way. I expected the Marvel heroes to be sorted logically into the 3 different levels of the game. Level 1 heroes would be ones I rarely heard about, Level 3 would be the OG Avengers. It seems that they did start with that idea, but for some reason mixed it up at the last minute. I’m not sure why.

All in all, I would really recommend the original game over Splendor Marvel. Even as a Marvel fan, I think you’ll appreciate the original design more.

Next, we must try the Splendor Duel variant!

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