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In Splendor you collect chips and develop cards. Players are merchants of the Renaissance attempting to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops—all in order to get the most prestige points. If you are rich enough, you may even receive a visit from a noble during the game, which will increase your prestige even further.
On your turn, you can (1) collect gems, or (2) buy and build a card, or (3) reserve one card. If you choose to collect gems, you can take three different kinds of gems or two gems of the same kind. If you buy a card, you pay its price in gems and add it to your table area. To reserve a card—to make sure you get it, or, your opponents does not - why not?—you place it face down in front of you for later building; this will costs you a round, but you will get gold in the form of a joker chip/gem, which you can use as any gem.
All of the cards you buy increase your wealth as they give you a gem bonus on all later buys; some of the cards also provide you prestige points. In order to win the game, you must be the first player to obtain 15 prestige points.