Game Length: 30 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 2 players who want a light and non-confrontational trading game
Jaipur is a two player trading and hand management game where players are competing to earn the right to be the favoured merchant of the Maharajah. They will do this by taking or trading cards from a central stock, then redeeming those cards for points. However, you’ll need to be careful – when you take cards, you’ll end up revealing new, potentially valuable goods for your opponent!
Players will start with a hand of cards. On their turn, a player may take one of four actions – they may take a card from the market, adding it to their hand; they may trade cards between their hand and the market; or they may redeem a set of the same cards for points.
Cards come in seven varieties – three valuable goods, three common goods, and camels, which are not worth anything but can be claimed in groups and don’t count towards a player’s hand limit. The valuable goods are always worth a lot when redeemed for points, but the value of the common goods sharply drops after the first few are sold. On top of this, players receive bonus points for claiming 3 or more goods at once.
Players will need to balance between making room in their hands to claim more cards, getting a large enough group of goods to qualify for extra points, and claiming the more valuable tokens by redeeming cards early. On top of that, players will need to be careful about ending the game – if three stocks of tokens are depleted, the game ends immediately, and a tactical player will definitely take advantage of that, preventing their opponent from scoring extra points!
Jaipur is an elegant game, easily taught and plays quickly. There is a strong degree of luck involved in what cards are revealed in the central supply, but it still manages to be a satisfying game, where victory comes to the player who best reads the market and minimises the risk of their opponents picking up valuable cards.
Jaipur makes great light two player game. Turns can be taken quickly as there is not a lot to analyse on a given turn, and the luck factor allows players to feel like they always have a chance to come back. If you are looking for an introduction into two player games, Jaipur is an excellent choice.