Old Games, New Twists – Marvel Splendor and Star Wars Unlocked!
If you’ve ever travelled down to my basement you’ll see shelves and shelves of board and card games. At this present, we are not quite sure how many games we own, but that number is easily above 150. Sometimes, games get played a lot and then are shoved back onto the shelves to collect dust for a while. Other experiences – legacy games for examples – are one and done experiences. Splendor, a fantastic title that we really enjoyed for months on end, is one of those games collecting dust, but a brand new crossover is happening which is bringing it back to our table…sort of. And in other news, while we’ve really enjoyed the Unlocked! series, these games really can only be played once. You can read about a spooky and adventurous experience about this game right now! Still, slap Star Wars on the box, and my interest is instantly perked! Let’s take a look.
Splendor is a pretty standard and easy to understand game, but the biggest knock on the original release was that it lacked a theme. While fun to play, it was a game that lacked creativity in the cards, the story, etc. That all changes with Marvel Splendor, and while there are a few minor rule changes, you should view this as a Marvel overlay to Splendor.
What is Splendor? Essentially, you will be collecting chips (poker chips really) on your turn that are different colours – either 3 different colours or two of the same colour – and on subsequent turns will use those chips to purchase cards from the center of the table. These cards will have Victory Points in the top left corner, and a specific chip in the top right corner that is yours forever and can now be used to pay the cost of other cards going forward.
There are bonuses that can be earned – like whoever has the most Avengers cards, or someone who has a specific card combination in front of them – and these will add to your accumulated Victory Points. The game ends when one player has one of each card, and the elusive green chip which is only obtainable by purchasing a Level 3 card from the middle of the table.
This is a great game this holiday season because of how simple it is to play. The Marvel overlay makes the base game much more enjoyable to get to the table to play. If you are a Marvel fan, or love easy to learn games with some surprisingly deep strategy, than grab this up!
Unlocked! Star Wars
Unlocked! games all feature a similar setup and play structure. You will download the application from the Android or iOS app store, locate the scenario that you are playing, and begin the timer. The app is where you will solve numerical or mechanical puzzles, ask for hints, and of course, keeps track of your time – generally about 60 minutes. The cards themselves are a mixture of look-and-find scenarios and combination scenarios.
Often, a card will have letters and numbers hidden within the artwork – these are cards you need to grab from the stack (without looking at the other cards). Combination cards will have puzzle pieces in the top corner (either a right piece or a left piece) which denotes that these cards can be combined with something else to create a specific item you need. As you proceed, the game will tell you which cards to keep, and which to discard, so you’ll never be overwhelmed with cards you no longer need.
But here is where Unlocked! is unique to other games – you don’t tear the cards up, write on the cards, nothing. So when you are finished, you can put the cards back into the stack, tuck it away, and either play it much later – when you’ve forgotten the solution – or you can even share it with a friend. We’ve done this a few times, and in every situation, those friends opted to buy their own Unlocked! adventures.
We were lucky enough to experience the Star Wars version of the game, and without spoiling any of the stories, there is an additional gameplay element here where each game you get up to three advantage cards that will give you tips about the campaign. It’s a great little twist on the classic Unlocked! experience, and one we think you will enjoy this holiday season!