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Review: Jaipur

Posted by Eisley on 7th November 2009

Jaipur

I’ve mentioned before that I’m always on the lookout for great 2-player games, so hearing that Jaipur was 2-player only got my interest. 

Players collect cards of goods and camels with which they will claim goods tiles to earn points.  In between the players are  five face-up cards and next to those are the goods tiles which are discs with points values on them.  The goods discs are laid out in order with each stack having the highest on the top and then decreasing.  Players take turns performing actions.

A player can take a single face-up card, take all the camels cards on display, or take as many face-up goods cards as desired but, in this last case, they must  be replaced with cards from your hand or with camel cards.  Alternatively,  a player can claim goods tiles by discarding goods cards of the same type and, in return, they receive an equal number of discs of the relevamt type.  For example, discard 2 green cards and take 2 green discs.  If a player cashes in 3, 4 or 5 cards at the same time they receive a bonus tile too.  The points values for the bonus tiles are hidden and vary, although the points for the bonus-5 tiles are the greatest.

A round is over when tiles of only 3 goods remain.  The player with the most points wins the round and first player to win 2 rounds wins the game.

The game may be simple but it offfers some very interesting decisions.  Taking lots of cards at once is great for you (especially if you replace them with camels) but then the cards drawn from the deck to replace them may give the opponent a great set to pick from too.  The same applies when taking lots of camels at once.  So, sometimes taking one card can be a better tactic if you know you’re both waiting for similar cards.  Timing is cricital: Should you grab a couple of goods discs with higher scores now but no bonus, or wait to get more matching cards so you get the bonus tile too but by then your opponent may have taken the higher scoring tiles?  These decisions are fun and make you realise that you need to watch what cards the opponent has picked up too.  Also, being best 2 out of 3 rounds is nice so that a large win in a single round doesn’t overwhelm the game and makes it simple.

Overall, Jaipur is a simple but clever, card management game with good interaction and nice push-your-luck gameplay too.  It has more depth than it first appears but remains light & tactical.  I was pleasantly surprised and look forwards to playing it more.  Jaipur now joins my collection of fun 2-player games that I take wherever I travel, and I am hoping it will continue to deliver after repeated plays.

James

[Played with 2 players]

Second Opinion: Read the thoughts of the other player (my friend Rick) at: http://www.gamesetupmatch.com/news.htm#12

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