Welcome to the Splendor Compendium!
This page contains a number of short articles that highlight some features of the digital version of Splendor. They should be of interest to both the beginner and the expert player.
You are also welcome to discuss about these topics with other players on the Splendor forum.
- About the Artificial Intelligence (“AI”)
- About the Balanced AI
- About the Specialized AI
- About the Opportunistic AI
- About the Challenges
About the Artificial Intelligence (“AI”)
There are 3 types of AI: Balanced, Opportunistic and Specialized
Details for each type will be explained below.
For now, one thing you should know is that there is no “silver bullet” with Splendor – which is what makes this game so interesting! In the board game world, every once in a while an expert player would come up with a new “ultimate” strategy. And within a week, another player would explain a counter-attack and tear down the proposed technique.
So Splendor is not a “solved game”. And the various AIs in the digital version are not divided by difficulty levels but by behaviors. These behaviors were inspired by techniques from real-life players. You might beat some behaviors more easily than others. And it could be different for another player. Give it a try!
About the Balanced AI
Here are the little secrets about the balanced AI.
Balanced AIs are kind of hoarders: they will slowly stash tokens, selecting tokens of different colors evenly, starting by the colors that dominate the board. This tactic allows them to always have a large choice of development cards to purchase, and they will rarely be stuck.
Bots with a balanced AI are slow starters, they regularly buy level 1 development cards to increase their resources. However, this can make them dangerous opponents in the long run, because they progressively need less and less tokens to play. Balanced bots rarely need to reserve cards, and because they have a lot of resources, they acquire nobles more easily.
Since balanced AIs are very flexible in their tactic decisions, they are less predictable and can adapt more easily to changes in level 2 and 3 cards.
About the Specialized AI
The keyword here is “performance”. This AI aims for level 2 and 3 cards. It will scan the dominant colors on the board at the beginning of the game, then ramp up to buy good cards.
The specialized AI usually accumulates only 2 or 3 colors: the two first colors are the dominant colors of the board. The third one is a backup color, which comes in handy when the dominant colors change on the board.
Once this AI has enough resources, it can change its bicolor/tricolor strategy to acquire new high value cards. It can reserve level 2-3 cards early on at the middle of the game to secure cards with high prestige points. It can even reserve cards just for gold if it helps reaching high value cards.
The specialized AI is rather predictable once you’ve identified its target, because its color preferences are obvious. This AI does not take long to reach its goals and can quickly earn prestige points, as opposed to the balanced AI.
About the Opportunistic AI
The keyword for this AI is “counter-attack”.
It uses a mixed strategy: on one hand, it tries to gain Prestige Points from the level-1 and 2 cards at first, then on the level-3 cards later on. On the other hand, it also analyzes a lot the game of the other players around the table and tries to block them and they are too far ahead.
This AI has a tendency to collect many tokens and does not hesitate to dry out one pile of tokens when there are only a few tokens left. It can even choose to retain some of these tokens to make other players lose turns.
It also makes more reservations than the other AIs, both for its own benefit and for bothering the other players. For example, it would make reservations early in the game to collect cards that other players would want to grab. So this AI will usually target the two first players to take their place.
About the Challenges
The digital version of Splendor brings a brand new feature: Challenges. Challenges offer problems to solve, often with minor rules tweaks, set-up configurations or goals.
What we are trying to accomplish with Challenges are 3 things:
- Fun: have fun exploring alternate possibilities with the Splendor game system
- Mind-teaser: get your brains at work with some simple but sometimes tricky puzzles
- Improve yourself: these Challenges were not designed at random. They were actually developed after watching real-life players play in tournaments, talking to experts, etc. They have a hidden purpose: help you discover some specific techniques that you will be able to re-use in the normal game! Playing these Challenges will take your understanding of the game to the next level.
These Challenges are grouped in themes (6 challenges per theme), and sorted by increasing difficulty.
And one last thing: the History-interested among you should read the stories attached to each of theses Challenges. All dated facts are historically accurate, and you will discover some amazing stories from the XV and XVI centuries!