Jaipur Review - Watch Out, They Spit!

Ahhhh it's so nice to have something nice and simple and small to review. No complex rules, no different player counts, no £100 monstrosities with a hundred miniatures. Just a simple, 2 player only card game. And I love a good 2 player game, they always have that feeling of "back and forth" and there's no hard feelings about being mean because after all, you only have one opponent.

The downside is that 2 player games are the hardest thing to get to the table. You'd think it would be easy, but for me, it's a nightmare. I live alone, the girl I'm dating is not a gaming fanatic and when you go to a group meeting you're usually only wanting to play 3+ player games. So the quicker and easier they are, the better. And Jaipur certainly fits that bill, but is it fun to play? After its long break out of print Jaipur has finally returned to shelves for easier purchasing and I'd best give you the lowdown.




Designer: Sebastien Pauchon
Publisher: Gameworks
Age: 8+
Players: 2
Time: 30 Minutes
RRP: £17.99



From Board Game Geek

Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan. You are one of the two most powerful traders in the city.
But that's not enough for you, because only the merchant with two Seals of Excellence will have the privilege of being invited to the Maharaja's court.
You are therefore going to have to do better than your direct competitor by buying, exchanging and selling at better prices, all while keeping an eye on both your camel herds.
A card game for two seasoned traders!
When it's your turn, you can either take or sell cards.
If you take cards, you have to choose between taking all the camels, taking 1 card from the market or swapping 2 to 5 cards between the market and your cards.
If you sell cards, you get to sell only one type of good per turn, and you get as many chips from that good as you sold cards. The chips' values decrease as the game progresses, so you'd better hurry ! But, on the other hand, you get increasingly high rewards for selling 3, 4, or 5 cards of the same good at a time, so you'd better wait!
You can't sell camels, but they're paramount for trading and they're also worth a little something at the end of the round, enough sometimes to secure the win, so you have to use them smartly.
Jaipur is a fast-paced card game, a blend of tactics, risk and luck.

Who Remembers Pogs?

Jaipur is not one of the cheapest 2 player games around and you're not exactly getting a bang for your buck in terms of components. They're not bad, but there just isn't that much here for a £17.99 RRP. However have no fear, that will make up for itself later. Essentially you're getting a small stack of cards and various chips to represent the goods that essentially feel like Pogs. We are a far way away from the likes of Splendor, but there's nothing tacky or low quality here.


A Hundred Trade-Offs


The basic concept of Jaipur is straightforward, but the game is deceptively clever. It's a trading game by nature and as such all your decisions are about trade-offs. Every choice you make influences the open market in some way. Taking only one good from the market is slow, but it's the one you want and it doesn't open up much new stuff for the opponent. Exchanging goods means you have to give up something in your hand, which your opponent can then take if it's something they were looking for. And even though camels are handy for further scoring later, taking all of them just floods the market with new cards.

It's not just the buying though, even the selling has options to consider. The tokens have different amounts, with higher values at the top. This means the faster you trade in goods, the higher your rupee count. However, you may want to turn in larger sets because there are bonus tokens, collected for turning in sets of three, four, or five cards. Do you simply ignore those bonus sets and get in the quick trades first before demand falls, or do you take your time and save up for those large sets? Frequently you'll have to chop and change based on the market as well.

Of course there's an element of luck in the game from the timing of card draws, but we're talking about at most a 30 minute filler game here. Analysis paralysis should be almost non-existant and you'll often find very close scores.


Verdict on Jaipur


Jaipur is an extremely well designed 2 player game that makes up for its slightly high price tag with the interesting gameplay and gateway level simplicity. It's perfect for bringing in a completely new gamer to the industry and yet will reward seasoned gamers with fun times of trying to hinder their oppenents with bad-trade offs. It doesn't outstay its welcome and there is enough luck in the game to balance out the wins, but keep the scores close.

There are certainly more thematic 2 player games out there and certainly plenty more that will test the brain cells to a greater extent, hence it's not an all-time favourite of mine. But Jaipur deserves a lot of respect for being worthy of inclusion in some Top 10 Gateway Games lists out there.    



BROKEN RATING - 8 Spitting Camels




YOU WILL LIKE JAIPUR IF:


You want to be able to teach a game in 5 minutes and get going quickly.


You want some good interaction with your opponent.


You've got a thing for camels - does that exist?



YOU WILL NOT LIKE JAIPUR IF:


You think the game is a bit repetitive in how it plays each time.


You think the price point is a bit high for some chips and cards.

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