Are you ready to become the richest merchant ever?? Jaipur card drafting game will give you the opportunity. Together with another player, you are the best merchants in the country. But that is not enough for you, only one is the best, and only the richest will become the trader for the Maharaja, the ruler.
Jaipur board game – a 2 player game, where players trade & sell goods. From cloth, spice, to gold and diamonds. Oh, and camel hordes. So you exchange & trade all kinds of goods & camels, to gain goods that are more valuable. Then you sell them to obtain rupees (Victory Points). The player that collects the most rupees wins the round and obtains a Seal of Excellence. The player that collects 2 Seals of Excellence is the winner on Jaipur.
I would call Jaipur an old-school 2 player board game. Originally released in 2009, still remaining as a great family board game. It has all it needs: it is easy to learn, quick to play, replayable and has a healthy balance between strategy & luck. It can definitely be played with children or the elderly. I also suppose that more advanced gamers would want something a little more complex.
Jaipur game overview
If you are only interested in the review, you can scroll down to the review section, as here I explain how the game is played for you to have a better picture of the gameplay.
Each player is dealt with 5 cards. They can be any type of good or camel cards. There are also 5 cards that are placed face up onto tabletop, which represents the market. In case players had any camel cards in their hand, they place them in from of them, forming each player’s horde. This is how players begin the game, and they are now ready to take those goods, camels and start trading & selling.
During player turn, you either can take a card from the market or sell a card from your hand (never both).
To pick a card, you can do it in 3 different options: take 1 good card from the market, then replace a card to the market by drawing a card from the card deck (option 1). Alternatively, a player can pick up numerous goods from the market and exchange them with cards from his hand (option 2) . This option must be implemented based on several rules – you cannot exchange the same good types you are taking, and you as well can use the camels from your horde for the exchange (i.e. if you take 2 silver cards, you can swap it with 1 cloth and 1 camel card). It is allowed to take different types of goods from the market if you managed to exchange them based on previously mentioned rules. And finally, you can take the camels to form the market. But if you do, you must take all of them (option 3).
If a player decides to sell a card instead, he discards the good card, or a number of identical types of good cards, and obtains respective good tokens, based on the number of cards discarded. The tokens are placed in piles based on good types and their values. In every pile, the top token is the most valuable in terms of points, while subsequent tokens (the ones that are below) decrease in value.
So basically, players keep considering, do they want to sell a smaller amount of goods, but sell them for a higher price, or sell more goods, but obtain a bonus. If a player sells 3 or more goods, the player also obtains a bonus token, which also provides additional rupees (points).
The round continues until there are no remaining cards in the deck to fill in the market, or the three good token piles are collected. Play 2-3 rounds until one player collects 2 Seals of Excellence.
The review will be covered in the following structure:
Everything in this game is about decision making. You are constantly assessing the risk, the greed to collect more tokens, and you all the time feel the urgency, the race to pick up those top valuable tokens. This brings tons of fun.
What else, let’s see. Jaipur is very balanced. Typically the scores are so close, that the bonus from camels often seals the deal, which is only 5 rupees! That’s insane. And to get to that level, there is no entry barrier. The game has so simple rules, and easy to understand the strategy, that it is no brained for new players to get it, and challenge an expert player.
This of course brings the advanced player’s opinion about the game. It is good, to play occasionally with family members. But for those hardcore game nights, such players would crave something more complicated. This is why I conclude that the families and simple game lovers will enjoy it the most.
Due to its simplicity, the gameplay feels a bit routine, in terms of actions. Yet, every game is different. I was surprised to notice different strategies you can take to score more Victory Points. You can focus on cheaper goods, such as cloth, or focus more on trading the top tier goods, such as diamonds and gold. In either way, it is a viable option to succeed – you either collect more tokens that have fewer points per token, or collect more valuable tokens, but fewer in quantity.
Another fun aspect of the game is the camel management. Managing them properly is crucial if you want to compete for the win. Since you can only acquire all camels at once, it often opens up the opportunities to add a lot of goods’ cards to the market that your opponent will be able to pick. On the other hand, both players will fill the market full of camels anyway ( by trading). So eventually, one player will have no choice but to take camels. But you also need those camels to trade more effectively. Tricky, don’t you think so?
And these are the main risk-reward considerations and strategy considerations that create a pretty good replay value for Jaipur board game.
“ -What do I do, pick goods or camels? Will I reveal 3 gold cards? But I need those camels for trading, they could also provide me additional points at the end of the game, which is close. So I’ll take them.
Art & parts
Well, what do you know? I have found some nasty impressions about the art of the game. I mean it in a positive way. From dead pandas (that is in relation to the very first game edition), that are too scary to pick, to stunning artwork that immerses & invites you to play & enjoy. You just want to collect those beautiful goods. The tokens are great as well.
Regarding the newest edition, it still looks really good, and I did not spot any issues with the components. The cards seem to be of good quality, the feel of them is similar to casual cardboard playing cards that will wear off slowly, no sleeves required.
I am really, really glad to also spot that the Jaipur board game is colorblind-friendly. Even though it is a very colorful game, the colors basically do not matter. You can distinguish all types of cards very easily.
Jaipur colorblindness rating: A (Very good).
I would say the game is budget-friendly, there is not really much to say about it. If you enjoy quick & light strategy games for two players, you can check the price of the game down below.
Jaipur board game review
I recommend Jaipur for those who enjoy light & quick gameplay. It is really well balanced and has beautiful art. You can replay it pretty often, but the mechanics themselves feel a bit routine. All in all - a good, budget-friendly family game.
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