Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Board Game Top 100 (2024) Part 21 (56-55)

#56 Splendor

In Splendor players gather chips in different colors and then spend them to buy cards. The cards each have a jewel at the top representing a permanent resource that matches the chip of the same color. 

The jewels on cards can be used like the chips when buying cards. Spent chips are returned to the supply, but cards used for purchases stay in front of you and are used over and over again. They represent permanent wealth. 

As players buy cards and collect more and more jewels they can afford more expensive cards. The cheapest cards grant only a jewel as a benefit, but the more expensive cards also provide victory points. 

The first player to 15 (or more) victory points triggers the end of the game. Play continues until all players have an equal number of turns and the player with the most points wins. 

#55 Subastral 

Players take turns drafting cards from a central board. The central board is divided into sections, each a place to put cards. The sections are numbered and the cards are numbered. On your turn, you place a card from your hand into the section that matches the number on the card that you have chosen to play. Then you can take cards from either one side or the other of the card that you placed, taking all the cards from a single section. 

Taking from one side puts the cards into your hand to play onto the player board later, taking from the other side places cards into your tableau for scoring. Scoring is based on suit and suit rarity. Card numbers don't impact scoring in any way. They are just used for the card drafting puzzle. Once cards are removed from a section, these are randomly seeded from the deck.

Players are ultimately collecting sets to score points. Each time that you collect a card, you must place it with its matching suit, or if the card is of a new suit, you must start a new column, placing such cards in front of you, moving from left to right. Suits collected later will therefore be located further to the right. This becomes important because the cards furthest to the right score the most points. This scoring puzzle makes for an interesting decision space as you collect cards. 

The card sets are divided by suit and each suit is a kind of climate or earthly environment, anything from arctic desert to tropical rainforest and everything in between. These are beautifully illustrated, and Subastral looks stunning on the table. Once the deck has been sufficiently depleted that a section of the player board cannot be restocked, the game ends and the player with the highest score is the winner.

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