Splendor Digital Review


Score: 3 out of 5Splendor for Steam and mobile devices is a faithful, functional, and streamlined rendition of Space Cowboys and Asmodée’s tabletop drafting and engine-building game. The automation of the analog mechanics make digital games move quickly and efficiently, reducing potential downtime but detracting perhaps from comprehensive strategy and certainly from tactile engagement provided by the original game.

Splendor is a favorite tabletop game here at GamerNode, as already expressed in our review of the physical version, and almost all of what we said there holds true for Splendor digital. The game is available on mobile devices as well as Steam for Windows, and the two are identical aside from the difference in input: touch vs. mouse. This gives the $6.99 iOS and Android version a leg up on the $9.99 Steam version, as it has the superior control scheme for this type of game in addition to being more cost effective and portable.

A major benefit of the digital version of Splendor is the ease with with tokens and cards are drawn. So are the easy-to-read tallies of the various gem types. Combined with the way the game highlights which Development Cards one can afford with the supply of gems currently in hand, this automatic process keeps the “bookkeeping” aspect of the game to an absolute minimum. In the tabletop game, counting ones tokens and calculating what’s currently available eats up some mental resources, and it’s possible, if not commonplace, to overlook an easy or required pick-up.


But on the flip side of that coin, the digital nature of this game sucks some of the joy out of really using your mental facilities, exercising your attention span, and playing against the human(s) across the table, biting your nails as you watch them survey the Development Card spread, and hoping that they miss a strong move or avoid taking the card or token you were hoping to acquire on your next turn. Splendor digital does include a Pass and Play multiplayer mode alongside the solo mode vs. its AI opponents, but with all the information on screen, it removes much of that human element of unforced errors and debacles.

Splendor for PC and mobile also features a stress-inducing Challenge mode. As there is no online play, this provides some additional flair above and beyond the base game. Challenges mostly consist of gathering a certain number of Development Cards, but have limitations on things like time, number of turns, available gems, etc. This turns Splendor digital into more of a puzzle game than it is in its purely analog form. For those who seek a “brain-burning” challenge or long-term, goal-oriented play, this is where it’s at. Those with neurotic tendencies need not apply.

Splendor digital is a great representation of the wonderful tabletop game, particularly in its mobile form, which benefits from portability, touch controls, and a lower price tag. It’s great for getting games in without the tedium of actually manipulating game components, but that somehow also makes it a little less engaging, perhaps because it makes it easy for players to rush their turns, or because a lot of the fun of the original game is in its tactile nature and passive-aggressive player interaction, as well as the energy that surrounds the table with every game. Still, I enjoy it and will always have a place for it in my Steam library, and especially on my ever-present iPhone.

Buy on Amazon


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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