The clattering of metal on the table was met with roars of glee and indignation. At the table in the corner, the dwarves were playing Splendarr. Two faced one another while a crowd gathered around them, placing bets on who would win the game. And this was quite a heated one, as the whole able went silent each time the dealer reached ceremoniously into the canvas bag and drew out a handful of multicolored rocks, resulting in groans or shouts each time the stones fell upon the playing surface.
Splendarr is a dwarven game of chance and strategy. First played by laborers deep in the mines under Splendarrmorndin, the game plays on the myth of the treasure buried deep in the caverns of Splendarrmorndin by Xitos. The first players used what was available to them in the mines but the game has since gained much popularity, especially in gambling, and in many shops one can find all manner of finely decorated Splendarr sets made from a variety of materials from wood to precious stones such as jade.
In Splendarr, two players or two teams of players face off against one another in a race to reach the treasure of Splendarrmorndin. The game has seven rounds, and each plays out the same. Each opponent has a set of seven flat, two-sided bars. One side of each bar is decorated with the symbol of a hammer, and the other with a sword. These are aptly named the hammers and swords sides. At the start of the round, each player determines how many of each they wish to play. Up to seven of either can be played, but each piece only counts for one or the other.
Once each player has made a final decision the next phase begins. In this phase, a third, neutral party, typically known as the dealer, draws blindly from a pool of stones. There are nineteen stones in total per Splendarr set. Nine are black, nine are red, and one is white. The dealer draws seven stones from this pool. Some dealers present all the stones at once, while others prefer to keep the suspense going as long as possible and reveal one stone at a time. The black stones represent boulders or caves, depending on the region the game is taking place in. The red stones represent enemies. The white stone indicates a different rule set for the round. When these are revealed, the winner of the round is determined first by examining the number of red stones. Any player who has not played a number of swords equal to or greater than the number of red stones automatically loses and the surviving opponent wins the round. However, if both players do not have enough swords, the round resets. But if both players have enough swords, the round moves to the next phase.
This phase focuses on the number of hammers each player has. Whichever player has the most hammers wins the round. If players are tied, the round starts over.
There are special rules if the dealer draws the white stone. This means that all other stones are automatically discounted. Instead, the players face off against one another. Each player gathers their bars together and toss them into the air so that they turn several times before landing. Once all the bars have settled on the playing surface, the number of swords face-up for each player are counted. The player with the most swords up wins the round.
After seven rounds, the player with the most victories wins the game.