When it comes to two-player card games, Jaipur is up there with the very best of them. It has elements of hand-management and set collection and you’ll need to remember what your opponent has picked up – testing your memory skills – if you’re looking to really excel here.
Jaipur, affectionately known as the Pink City, is the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Here you and another player are two of the city’s most powerful merchants, competing to acquire goods such as the more common (and less valuable) leather, as well as the rare (and therefore more treasured) silver, gold or diamonds.
But acquiring them alone is not going to score you points. You have to sell them – and sell them fast, before their value dips – because your opponent is racing to do the same thing! But you also might want to hang onto your cards, because the larger amount you sell at once, the higher chance you have of collecting an additional bonus. It’s this balancing act of greed versus investment, risk versus reward, that really drives the game.
On your turn you can take the bright, vivid cards from the face-up flop (the ‘market’) in a variety of ways or sell sets of matching cards – but not both. Whatever happens, the market must always be stocked with five cards at the end of your turn – you either have to give back cards from your hand, or replenish it from the draw pile, rules differing depending on how many cards you acquired.
Instead of taking cards, you can sell one type of goods per turn. There are corresponding scoring chips for each good type, worth descending amounts of points. When you sell, say, purple silk cards, you’ll take the top number of purple silk chips equal to the number of cards you just sold. These points will count towards your total at the end of the round. If you sell three, four or five of a kind, you’ll collect an additional bonus, its exact value only revealed to you. When it comes to selling silver, gold and diamonds, players have to sell at least two at a time.
The round ends when either three different types of good tokens have all been claimed, or when the market cannot be replenished from the exhausted draw pile. Jaipur lasts three rounds, with scoring at the end of each. The winner will be the first player to win two rounds outright, and will receive the honour of being invited into the Maharaja’s court!
This really is a superb game in a little box from GameWorks. With games lasting only 30 minutes (so about 10 minutes per round), you’ll find yourself reaching for Jaipur again and again. We love how you can, to a certain extent, manipulate the market with regards to what options you leave your opponent. And the secret scoring bonuses? What a way to claim a glorious victory!
Player Count: 2
Time: 30 Minutes
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