Jaipur is an ingeniously streamlined two-player trading game. The rules are simple, each turn is quick, rounds are short, and strategic concepts flow from it naturally while playing. I’ll explain that last one in more detail later, but I love this game because it is much deeper than I expected.
How to Play
Strategically collect and sell 6 different goods (and camels) in order to make the most money.
On each turn you can either take cards or sell cards.
- Take Cards
Take 1 face-up good from the central 5 and put it in your hand. (You cannot have more than 7 cards in your hand at once, camels do not count.) Replace it with the top card from the deck.
Take all face-up camels from the central 5 and place them in front of you face up. Replace them with the top card(s) from the deck.
Exchange any number of cards from the central 5 with camels in front of you and/or cards from your hand. Be careful that your hand size does not exceed 7 after exchanging.
If I wanted the 3 leather cards, I could return 3 camels from my pile to the central 5, and then put the 3 leather cards into my hand. Unfortunately, this would bring me to 8 cards in hand which is not allowed. So, instead I would need to return 1 card from hand (the cloth for instance) and 2 camels to the center to take the 3 leather.
- Sell Cards
Instead of taking cards, you can sell up to 5 cards of the same good at once. For each card you sell, you would take 1 goods-token of the respective type. (The first goods-tokens for each good are worth more then the later goods-tokens, except for silver.)
While cloth, leather, and spices can be sold in quantities of 1 or more, diamonds, silver, and gold must be sold in quantities of 2 or more.
In addition, if you sell 3 goods at once, you would get the top 3-goods bonus-token (worth between 1-3 points). If you sell 4 at once, you would get the top 4-goods bonus-token (worth between 4-6 points). Sell 5 or more and you get top 5-goods bonus-token (worth between 8-10 points).
Round End/Game End
The round ends when either:
- The draw pile runs out of cards while refilling the central 5.
- 3 separate piles of goods-tokens are depleted.
At the end of the round, the player with the most camels left over gets a 5-point bonus-token. Both players add their points, and the player with the most points wins the round.
Best 2 out of 3 rounds determines the winner of the game. If neither player has 2 wins, reset the game and play again.
I love this game because it is so simple and deceptively clever. The general premise is literally just get cards and sell cards, and it is very easy to teach. Even in a player’s first game, they will be able to make solid plays and high-quantity sales. The more you play the game though, the more you realize how you can manipulate your acquisitions, sales, and camels to best utilize the board.
I am not going to go into too much detail here because I plan on writing a strategy article about Jaipur at some point, and I do not want to scare people off. It really is easy to learn and fun to play immediately, but there is interesting strategy to learn as well. For those of you interested, a couple questions to keep in mind while playing are included below.
- Should I save for bigger bonus-tokens or cash in early for high value goods-tokens?
- How many camels does my opponent have and how many do I have?
- How many cards does my opponent have and how many do I have?
- What goods are my opponent going for, and how many do they have?
- Do I draw a card/take camels and give my opponent first choice of the new card(s) or is there something else I can do?
- How close are we to the end of the round, and do I want to make it happen sooner or later?