Designer: Sébastien Pauchon
Jaipur is certainly one of the much loved 2-player only games. In fact I think it just squeaks into the top 5 ranked 2-player only games on Board Game Geek. So it was with much anticipation that I eventually purchased Jaipur and I’ve been playing it pretty much since we opened the package.
Jaipur is a game of set collection, with a good dose of hand management and trading. In Japiur each of the two players will start with a hand of cards, which may consist of any of the 6 good types or camels. There is a central market of 5 face up cards and a pool of goods tokens which are purchased using goods cards. On your turn you may take one action. You may either; take one card from the central market and add it to your hand; take all of the camels from the central market and lay them face up in your player area; trade camels or goods from your hand for more than one card from the central market; or play a set of one type of good from your hand in order to obtain goods tokens.
There is a hand limit of 7 which determines how often you will want to trade for goods, but it is also important to try and trade goods of a specific type before your opponent. Not only is there a limited supply of tokens for each good type (which is fewer than the number of cards in the deck), but the goods tokens have different values and the higher values are taken by the players who buy them first. You can trade in a set of one card for the basic goods (Leather, Silk and Spices), but you must trade at least 2 of one type to obtain Gold, Silver or Diamonds.
The benefit of trading higher numbers of cards of the same type is increased by bonus tokens. Tokens are available for trading a set of 3, 4 or 5 and have a secret gold value on the reverse which varies from1 to 10 depending on the size of the set. It’s often worth holding out for a set of 5, but sometimes with a hand limit of seven, this can just block you from progressing and you can watch your opponent sail to victory.
Each round ends when either the deck of cards runs out or 3 or more types of tokens have been depleted. A bonus 5-point token is given to the player with the largest herd of camels and then players add up their total gold. The player with the most gets a Seal of Excellence and the game is played as a best of 3 rounds, first player to win 2 rounds is the ultimate winner.
|For trading in three spice cards I obtain the top 3 points tokens, because I was the first player to trade in spices and a bonus token for playing a set of 3 of the same cards.|
Jaipur is addictive. It’s simple, but for some reason does not lose any replayability value because of it. It’s quick – taking just about 30 minutes for all three rounds. It’s portable and has already travelled with us on train journeys and trips abroad. If you couldn’t tell, we really enjoy this game. Perhaps I’m slightly biased since I’m writing this review just a couple of days after my first ever win (it’s only taken about 10 plays to get there), but this game packs a punch for two players. It could make a perfect introductory game for a non-gaming spouse, but there’s enough complexity to the game to keep even the biggest gamer couples coming back for more. I'd give Jaipur 7.5/10.