The Far East
Preview The Orient Expansion from Cities of Splendor
At long last, your trading caravans have returned from the lands of the Orient, heavy laden with goods and gemstones. There, among the thriving empires of India, China, and Japan, you’ve found undeniable riches and developments unlike anything yet seen in Europe. You’re walking in the footsteps of Marco Polo… but you’re not alone. The other great trade guilds have also reached the Orient, and amidst these new treasures, your old struggle remains the same.
The Orient is just one of the four expansions included in Cities of Splendor, the first ever expansion for Splendor, and like the other three expansions in the box, it offers an elegant variant to the original game, bringing new challenges and new ways to test your mind against the game’s puzzle and your rival players. Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the Trading Posts, The Cities, and The Strongholds expansions, and today, we’ll take a closer look at exactly what The Orient has to offer!
Into the Unknown
For years, you’ve experienced your games of Splendor with the three decks of development cards offered by the base game. These cards depict the greatest cities of Europe and the closely surrounding countries, but with your caravans moving farther east, an entirely new region of the world opens up with The Orient expansion.
When using this expansion, the standard three decks of development cards are joined by three decks of Orient development cards—split across three levels, just like the base game cards. When setting up at the beginning of the game, two Orient development cards for each level are flipped face-up alongside the standard development cards. The Orient cards follow the same rules as the base game’s cards, but you’ll soon find that the treasures you encounter in the far East are different than anything you’ve yet seen in your travels.
One of the most common new symbols you’ll encounter on the Orient development cards is the gem bag. Rather than conveying a gem bonus on its own, cards showing the gem bag must be associated with a previously purchased development card, giving you a bonus identical to that card! Other new development cards may give you two bonuses of the same type, or allow you to reserve a noble, ensuring that no one can win that noble’s patronage except for you. Still other cards reward you by granting you any lower-level development card without spending gems.
Of course, all of the new powers offered by the Orient development cards are worth pursuing, but they become especially valuable if you think about them in the context of the noble tiles. If an Orient card gives you two bonuses of the same type, it counts as two bonuses for purchasing new cards or for receiving nobles, allowing you to quickly meet a noble’s requirements. Similarly, if you purchase a card that also lets you pick up a lower-level card for free, you can snag the exact card you need to win the attentions of another fickle nobleman.
And even if you’re picking up cards just to win a noble’s attention, that doesn’t mean they’re useless—far from it! Several Orient development cards don’t cost gems. Instead, you must discard a couple of your previously acquired development cards to claim this type of card. If you’ve already claimed a noble, sacrificing a few of your less useful development cards could be the perfect way to snag more prestige in the endgame.
Journey to the Orient
For all its wonders, The Orient is just one of the four expansions included in Cities of Splendor. Prepare for your games of Splendor to radically change—you can watch The Orient expansion played on the Space Cowboys US Facebook page this Thursday, and join us at Gen Con Indy 2017 to pick up your copy of the game!