One of the best things about Splendor is that the mechanics are so easy to pick up, while the strategy is surprisingly deep. Splendor is recommended for ages 10 and up, but with a few simple modifications my four year old is already playing!
At four years old, she's already a budding gamer. Some of her favorites include Frozen Surprise Slides, Feed the Woozle, and Hoot Owl Hoot. She can't wait to play Terraforming Mars with mom and dad, and she's pretty close to being able to play Splendor. She does play a simplified version of Splendor... we'll call it Splendor Junior... and that's what this post is all about!
This modified set of rules is perfect because it doesn't change the core mechanics of the game at all. When your little ones are ready to take on more complicated elements, nothing changes... they just get added on like an expansion.
Count out and set up gems just like you would a normal game, except for the gold chips. Leave those in the box.
Lay out the first row of cards - the green backed cards with the easiest purchase requirements. Leave the rest of the cards in the box.
For the most part, gameplay is exactly the same as the core game. Players take turns taking gems or purchasing cards in the same way as usual. Since you left your gold chips in the box, you won't be using the reserve mechanic. You can add this in later if you like.
Winning the Game
Choose one of the following conditions, and play until that condition is met. We've tried all of them, and we prefer the first, but none of them are wrong. This is, after all, an unofficial modification of the rules.
Play until a player has a card of each gem type.
Play until a player has five cards.
Play until a player has two victory points. Note: This can drastically change the length of the game, depending on where the relatively rare cards with victory points are in the stack after shuffling.
Games have tremendous educational value for kids, and this one is no different. I won't go into all of them, but I want to point out a few things that you can use Splendor to teach:
Colors (at least the ones present in the box - green, black, blue, red, white, and yellow)
Sorting by color
Paying for things