Jaipur Card Game Review

Previously, I wrote a 2 player only tabletop game called Targi that was released back in 2012. I said that a lot of new games are getting released every year and only some can stand the test of time.

If the game is good, people will keep talking about the game and eventually reach more people.

This next one, Jaipur, was released even before Targi, back in 2009. Because the game was so popular, it got a new edition and became part of the series from Space Cowboys. There is even a digital version with more variants.

Like Targi, Jaipur is also only for 2 player but we will be using no wooden tokens in this game. Some say, it’s like a variant of Gin Rummy, a game that can be played using standard playing cards.

So, what is this Jaipur card game? How do we play it? Can we play the game solo?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Jaipur Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Jaipur going to be the best tabletop game for couples out there?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top.

Overview

Game’s Title: Jaipur
Genre: Card Game, 2 player only, Card Drafting, Hand Management, Set Collection, Competitive.
Designer: Sébastien Pauchon
Artist: Vincent Dutrait
Publisher: Space Cowboys
Number of Players: 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Official Website: Jaipur (spacecowboys.fr)

Release Year: 2009
Price: $25

Contents:
1 Camel Token
3 Seal of Excellence Tokens
18 Bonus Tokens
38 Goods Tokens
55 Cards (63 x 88 mm):
Diamond Cards (6)
Gold Cards (6)
Silver Cards (6)
Cloth Cards (8)
Spice Cards (8)
Leather Cards (10)
Camel Cards (11)
1 Metal Coin

About Jaipur Card Game

Jaipur card game was originally released in 2009 by GameWorks as the publisher. The original version has a green color for the box and the art by Alexandre Roche.

In 2010 the game become one of the 10 recommended games by Spiel des Jahres Award, the most prestigious award in the tabletop game industry. Some people consider it as one of the best card game for couples or 2 players.

In 2019, SpaceCowboys under Asmodee group released a new edition with the new art by Vincent Dutrait. This new version is part of the publisher series of games dedicated for 2 player followed by the sequels, Ankh’or, Tea for 2 and the latest one, Botanik.

All of these games have a metal coin with the publisher’s logo on it as the signature. The metal coin is the only added thing from the previous edition and doesn’t have a use in the game.

There is also a digital app of this game for both Android and iOS.

Because the game is so simple and yet popular, a lot of fans have been trying to create their own variant for solo and 3 or 4 player mode. There is also a lot of fan made reimplementation with different theme and settings.

The Theme / Setting and Gameplay

Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan, one of the state in India. The introduction part of the rulebook says that players are traders competing to become the Maharaja’s (the King’s) personal trader.

We do that by collecting goods from the Market and then exchange them into Rupees. If we have more money than our opponent by the end of the week or each round of the game, we will get a seal of excellence.

In this game, we will be collecting 6 types of Goods from Leather, Spice, Cloth, Silver, Gold and Diamonds in the form of cards from the general market. We can only have up to 7 cards in our hand at a time.

Each week or round, we can sell them into money in the form of tokens. If we sell early, the demand is still high and we can get a higher price. Towards the end of the week, the price is declining.

In order to increase the value, we can create a bundle of the same type of goods. If we can sell three or more, we can sell with higher price. We will get bonus tokens for each bundled goods.

The problem is that we don’t know which goods the market will provide. With the limited storage, we will try to hold on to certain type of goods hopefully we can sell the bundle.

On the other hand, while trying to do so, we give access of those goods to our opponent. But they also have the same issue.

The market will keep moving so we cannot hold so long. We sell so we are ready to collect another set of goods.

Trying to find the right time when to collect, hold and sell is the key to win the game.

One unique element and probably the most notable element of the game is the Camel. We can collect them but we cannot sell them into money.

In general, we can only collect one card at a time. If we want to collect more because the supply is there, we can do that by exchanging either the Camel or other Goods that we already have.

So, these adorable camel are not going to increase our storage limit but it can help to increase the buying power. We might not want to take all cards from the market and let our opponent get the fresh supply.

In fact, we might want to force them to take all of the camels so we will take the fresh goods.

The round will end after three of the goods have no more buyer. The player with more money will gain a Seal of Excellence from the Maharaja.

After that, we start over for 2 more rounds. Whoever can get 2 Seals in 3 rounds will become the personal trader.

Here is a video from Cardboard Rhino channel about this game.

Components

For all games in this series of 2 player only from SpaceCowboys, they have the same size of box with 13 x 18 x 3.8 cm. As mentioned earlier, this new edition will include a signature metal coin for the series.

They always say that the coin is limited but I think they will keep offering it. This version has a yellow color for the box with a trader in the market as the cover art. Also a camel.

The back of the box will tell us the summary of gameplay and some of the components. Also the box use the same finish as their other games. I don’t think it’s a linen finish but more like a dotted pattern.

Inside the box, the game comes with a custom yellow plastic insert with three slots. For the middle slots is for all of the cards with extra space to put our finger in order to lift the cards out.

The depth is enough to contain cards with sleeve. At least, if we use the 60 micron thickness or lower.

The size of all cards is the same, 63 x 88mm. So, we can use the 63.5 x 88mm sleeve but the corner of the sleeve might bend a bit because of the rounded corner of the insert. When we shuffle those cards with sleeves we can feel the bend a bit.

The other two slots are for the 38 round tokens and the metal coin. Each slot has the exact width for the tokens. We have to remove the insert if we are willing to use coin capsule for these tokens.

I assume these are all punch out cardboards tokens that they already punched out from the manufacturer. The diameter is about 4 cm with 0.15cm thickness.

Since the rulebook did specify in details the amount and different value of each token but only in illustration, except for the bonus tokens. If the illustration is accurate then, what I got here is the complete set.

Maybe it is unlikely to happen but in my mind, there is a chance that we can get different set of tokens from the box. One user said that they bought a copy with extra purple tokens and the Gold has more 6 value tokens and missing the 5 value Golds.

All of the components are very colorful. My copy also comes with an outdated leaflet to advertise the other games from this publisher.

Rulebook

For this review, I use the English copy of the game, only with the English rulebook. The game was released in multiple different languages through various publishers, like German, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, French, Ukranian, Czech, Nordic, Polish and Portuguese.

There are also a couple of fan made translations of the rule for Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic that we can find on the forum. The game itself is language independent. Other than the game’s title and some numbers, there is no text on the components.

The designer only posted the English rulebook of the first edition on the forum, here. For the official digital rulebook of the new edition, we can find it on the official webpage, here.

The rulebook doesn’t have page number but it has 8 pages. Here is the table of content of the rulebook.

Cover (1st page). They use the same art for the cover as in the art from the box cover. We can tell which language version the rulebook is by the flag sign on the round object in the character’s hand.

Introduction and Aim of the Game (2nd Page). As mentioned above, this explains a bit about the theme and what we will be doing to win the game in general.

Material (2nd Page). This contains the list of all components. What is missing is the detail of value and number of each Goods and Bonus Tokens.

Setup (2nd and 3rd Page). This part has a step by step setup guide with an illustrated example of how the setup will look like.

Game Turn (3rd Page). This explains that each turn we can choose only 1 of 2 possible actions: Take Cards or Sell Cards.

Take Cards Action (4th Page). In this section, we can find the 3 possible ways to take the cards from the market. At the bottom, we can find the info of hard hand limit.

Sell Cards Action (5th Page). This explains how to resolve the SELL CARDS action and the additional restriction for the most expensive goods.

End of a Round (6th Page). This explains the two possible way the end game could be triggered. The game ends immediately after a player triggers any of them. So, both players may not have the same number of turns.

Scoring (6th Page). This gives a good tip how to count scores from those tokens. We can also find the tie breaker. The first is MOST BONUS TOKENS, followed by MOST GOODS TOKENS.

New Round and End of the Game(6th Page). The game was designed to be played in 3 consecutive rounds. However it will end if one player manage to win 2 in a row. This section is just a reminder for that.

Reminders and Notes (7th page). This is a good reminder section if we want to revisit the game after a while. We can find some details for specific situation in the game.

Advice (7th page). This page actually has some strategy tips from the designer to win in this game.

Credits (8th page). So, the last page doesn’t have a summary of the gameplay but instead we can find some info about the designer and the artist.

There is also some contact info about the publisher and where to contact if there is some missing component. On this page, they also advertise the digital app version of Jaipur but without any QR code.

Overall, the rulebook did a good job explaining all of the rules. The common confusion that a lot of new player have been asking is about exchanging just 1 card which is not allowed. Either take 1 card or exchange multiple cards from the market.

I guess, they also need to point out that exchanging the same type of card doesn’t count. Another thing is the hand limit is a hard limit, especially regarding the take 1 card only.

Also, some new players might be confuse with how the camel works as they don’t add the hand limit and gives no point directly either. But those are part of what makes the game interesting.

One mistake that I made when first playing the game was about not sorting the Goods Tokens in descending value. I really thought it was in random order because I learned the game from playthrough video. The video didn’t specify and I assumed that was the case until my friend pointed that out to me.

Seal of Excellence Tokens

These are the 3 tokens with the male character on one side and a female character on the other. All 3 are identical with the light purple color on the edge. The male character is the same one as in the cover and for the female character, these tokens are the only ones.

In this game, we will be playing in  3 rounds. Each round we count the score and the winner of each round will take one of these tokens. To win the game, we need to get two of these tokens.

It is possible that the game will end after only the second round because the same player win twice in a row.

We can, of course, only play one round for 10 minutes. In that case, we really don’t need any of these tokens.

Camel Token

The next token is the Camel Token with, of course, a camel as the illustration. There is only one Camel token in the box.

In this game, we can collect Camel Cards. Those camels doesn’t necessarily going to give us points for collecting them. But at the end of the game, the player with the most Camel Cards will gain this Camel token. Even if that player only has 1 more card from the opponent.

We can see on either side of the token that there is a number 5. This indicates the value or victory points we get for having this token.

Since the amount of Camel cards that any player can have is not an open information, nobody can really tell who will get this extra 5 points. Unless, one player has any Camel Card and the other doesn’t even have one.

In a game where we can score like 100 points, maybe those 5 points doesn’t really matter that much. However, at the same time, we really don’t know how many points each player has until the end of the round.

We can only see the number of tokens and probably track the color but not the exact value.

Most of the time, I feel like I don’t really aim to gain this extra points. Our focus will be on when to play or take those Camel Cards. Sometimes, it’s not like we have a choice of how many Camel Cards we want to take.

Goods Tokens

The game says that we will get 38 Goods Tokens. There are 6 different type of Goods each with its own color, art, amount of tokens and the set of value.

Like the Camel Token, the numbers on these Goods Tokens represent the money or victory points that we are trying to collect. While the front side of the tokens clearly tell us which type of goods they are but at the back, they look similar.

The backside, like the Camel Token has an illustration of coins or money.

Here are the break down.

Diamonds (Red): 5 Tokens, 29 points (2 x 7 points, 3 x 5 points)
Gold (Yellow): 5 Tokens, 27 points (2 x 6 points, 3 x 5 points)
Silver (Blue): 5 Tokens, 25 points (5 x 5 points)
Cloth (Purple): 7 Tokens, 17 points (1 x 5 points, 2 x 3 points, 2 x 2 points, 2 x 1 point)
Spice (Green): 7 Tokens, 17 points (1 x 5 points, 2 x 3 points, 2 x 2 points, 2 x 1 point)
Leather (Brown): 9 Tokens, 15 points (1 x 4 points, 1 x 3 points, 1 x 2 points, 6 x 1 point)

Based on the numbers above, we can see that some goods are more valuable than others. Clearly the first three are more valuable.

It is said that the amount of tokens of each type is equal to the amount of cards of the same type minus 1. This also help us keep track of how many cards left based on the remaining tokens for each good.

We can predict a bit how likely which next card will show up. It will be helpful if we can also memorize what our opponent has taken.

In this game, we will be trying to collect cards of the same type of goods. We can sell only 1 for the three least valuable goods but we need 2 at least to sell the top 3.

Then, when we sell the cards we get to take the same amount of tokens for that goods. That is how we get points.

All of the Goods tokens will be sorted with the highest value at the top and in descending order to the bottom. So, whoever sell first, can have higher points than later.

I consider these tokens like a market demand. At the start, the demands are so high and the market will buy the goods with higher price. Since the cards or the supply is 1 more than the amount of available tokens, there is a chance that we have to sell that last one for free and gain no points directly.

The round will immediately end when three types of these tokens are depleted. So, they also serve as one of the timer of the game.

When counting the score, we simply flip the tokens to make it easier to tell the value because the number has larger size. The rulebook also suggests to make a pile of 10 rupees or 10 points, ignoring the type on the front.

This is considered as easier for children and adults and more practical to recount them later. However, I have to say to be prepared on sorting them back to play another round or future session.

The art itself on these tokens are obviously very beautiful. However, I do think some is confusing. For example, since they use Red color, a lot of people assume, instead of diamond they are ruby. Not that it matters to the game.

For the Gold, aside from the yellowish signature color, I don’t recognize the object on that as a resemblance of any Gold. I was expecting a Gold bar or something, just like the card.

For the Silver, I think it has a Silver sculpture of a Indian Peacock. The purple or cloth uses a shirt as illustration and the brown uses the leather shoes.

For the spice or the green one it uses a leaf as the illustration. Sadly, the rulebook, designer or artist didn’t really explain any of this. Since the color for each type are very contrast to each other, usually we don’t really pay attention to the art.

In fact, during the game, we simply just take the tokens, and just put them in a pile without even looking at the art. Not even during the scoring.

Bonus Tokens

These are the 18 tokens with the black border, similar to the Camel Token but without a Camel art. Instead it can show either 3, 4 or 5 cards. I think they could have used a different design for the Camel because some people consider the Camel as part of the Bonus.

In this game, when we sell a set of cards with the same type of Goods, we can get a corresponding Bonus Token if we sell 3, 4 or 5 of a kind. That is in addition to the Goods Tokens.

Unlike the Goods Token, Bonus Token doesn’t show any number at the front. The reason is because in this game, we will put them in random order. That means, the Bonus we will get can give a different value but still within certain range.

Here are the details.

5 of a Kind Bonus: 5 Tokens, 45 points (2 x 10 points, 1 x 9 points, 2 x 8 points).
4 of a kind Bonus: 6 Tokens, 30 points (2 for each 4, 5, and 6 points).
3 of a kind Bonus:  7 Tokens, 14 points (2 x 3 points, 3 x 2 points, 2 x 1 point).

These will give players incentives to hold some cards and not sell just one or 2 cards. Especially if we can get the set of 5, the bonus are significant.

This actually change the overall strategy. At first I thought we should just go for the most expensive Goods either the red, blue or yellow even if we only sell like a set of 3.

Let’s say, we sell a set of 3 for Diamonds, which we can get 7 + 7 + 5 points from the Goods Tokens and we are lucky to get the 3 points from the Bonus. That makes the total of 22 points.

If we sell a set of 5 of leather, with the lowest possible value, of all 1 point each we can get 5 points from the Goods. Then, with the bonus, we can get 8 points and give us a total of 13 points.

That is between the highest possible reward and the lowest possible scenario. There is a good chance we can get more from the lowest scenario. The highest for leather can go up to 20 points.

The problem is that if we go for the expensive one, we probably need to wait even longer while the cheaper cards will come more often. If we can sell faster get empty hand sooner and we will get a flexibility to start another set.

Of course, depending on the luck, it is still possible to go for set of 5 for even the expensive goods and that will be more valuable. Because of that, we still need to control some of the expensive ones preventing the opponent to complete their set.

These bonuses are how we can increase the score to from around 50 points just from Goods Tokens to around 70 to 90 points. That is if we go for the highest.

Most of the time, we will only use probably like less than half of these Bonus Tokens for both players. These tokens are also considered as limited supply.

It is very unlikely to happen but if the bonus for specific set runs out of tokens, we cannot get them anymore. On the other hand, we can still score the Bonus Tokens even if the remaining Goods Tokens available is less than the number of cards we sell.

Cards

Cards are the main component of the game. They either depict one of the Goods or the Camel. As mentioned before that the amount of cards for each type of Goods is equal to the amount of tokens  of that type plus 1.

With 11 Camel cards, we get a total of 55 cards in this game. Both the Goods Cards and Camel cards have the same back of cards because they will be in the same face down deck.

The back of the card use a rather pink color scheme and the same male character as in the box cover. For each type of Goods or Camel, the cards are all identical.

In this game, we will be collecting these cards in our hand before we sell these cards to gain those tokens. The card itself is worth nothing but when we trade them into tokens, the tokens may give a different value.

There is a hard hand limit restriction. We can only have 7 cards in hand by the end of our turn. As mentioned before, while we can sell single or double cards, but we really want to gain a bundle. Selling more of the same type at a time will give us more points.

So, if we want to sell a set of 5, that leaves us just 2 more available cards. At most, we can only hold like 2 or 3 type of cards. Trying to hold everything will make us lose the flexibility.

Camel Cards are a bit different. We don’t keep them in our hand but instead we will keep them in our HERD if we choose to take them from the market.

While Camels are not going to increase the hand size but it does give us a flexibility when we want to take several cards from the market.

So, in this game, we can only take 1 out of 5 available Goods cards from the market and put them in our hand. However, there is a chance that the market will show several cards that we are collecting.

To take several cards, we can only exchange them by put cards back to the market the same amount of cards we take. This can be done by either using cards in our hand with different types from the one from the market or with the Camel cards or the combination of both.

Because of that, we want to have several Camels in our herd. But then, there is a chance that the situation might happen before we have any or enough Camels. In that case, we might want to take other type of Goods.

We may not try to collect and sell those goods, but they still give us flexibility like the Camel. Sometimes, they can be a better option than the Camel.

If we exchange Goods using the Camel, that means we will fill our hand. In that case, if we already have 7 cards, it cannot be done. The Camels become useless. Hand management around that limit is still the key of the game.

So, what is the purpose of Camels? Other than getting one bonus at the end if we have more Camels than our opponent?

I think the purpose is to fill the market with Camels for all 5 spots. In this game, we cannot draw blindly from the top of the facedown deck. So, whatever available in the market, the player has to take them if they cannot sell.

The rule is that when we choose to take Camel from the Market, we have to take all of them. The market will then  be empty and filled with a fresh new supply from the deck.

If that happens to us then our opponent will be the first to access those new cards. Those 5 cards can be the expensive goods or of course, just another Camel. If it turns out that more than 1 card is a valuable one then, that player had better be sure to have cards or Camels to exchange.

So, while we are giving our Camels to the opponent and they will more likely to get the Camel Token, that tactic is still wasting their turn. They may get 5 points but we probably can get more from selling the right cards.

With all of that cards play, timing becomes the key factor to win the game. We need to know when to take Goods or Camel, sell Goods or flood the market with Camels.

In this game, players will start with 5 cards which some can be Camels. So, each player can have a different starting situation. It is possible that all 5 starting cards are all Camels or all Goods.

Because of that the variety of cards and the randomness of the deck will give a different setup from game to game. It also makes the game feels very luck swing. One player can keep getting the expensive cards in a row.

On the other hand, the Market itself will start with 3 Camels occupying the 5 slots. That means the other two are the only different setup variable. Even the two of them can both be Camels as well.

The cards themselves have a beautiful art just like in the Tokens. The difference is that we keep this card in our hand so we will more likely to look at the art. Of course, after a while all we will see is the color.

Since the cards doesn’t have any text or icons, they can fully display the illustrations. Even if they use white border for both sides we can still clearly see every details on that art.

Metal Coin

This is the last thing that we get from the new edition. It doesn’t have any use for the game, other than maybe as coin flip to decide who will be the starting player. Even for that, we can still use the other component.

The metal coin actually a signature for the publisher’s series of games dedicated for 2 player only games. For fans of the series, maybe they want to buy all of the 4 games to have these coins.

At the same time, for those  who already have the first edition of Jaipur, they probably need to buy the new version if collecting these coins is their goal.

The coin itself is smaller than the Tokens in Jaipur with 3.5 cm diameter with rather bronze color. On the front, the coin will have the logo of the game and the other side will have the publisher’s logo.

That is it with all of the components we get from the new edition of Jaipur card game. Now, we can learn how to play.

How to Play

Jaipur was designed specifically only for 2 players. There have been fan made variants for different player count like solo or 3 to 4 players whether to use a single or additional copy of the game.

So, this section will only discuss the standard official way to play Jaipur with just 2 players. There are some variants from the digital version of the game which may alter some of the setup and gameplay.

This next video from JMNC Games channel will show the setup and how to play Jaipur.

Setup

First. Place 3 CAMEL CARDS faceup between players. This will be the 3 of 5 cards from the MARKET.

Second. Shuffle the remaining 52 CARDS well and create a single face down deck, right next to the MARKET.

Third. Deal 5 cards from the top of the deck to each player as their STARTING CARDS.

Fourth. Deal 2 more cards from the top of the deck to fill the last 2 spots for the MARKET.

Fifth. Any player who has any CAMEL CARDS remove those cards from their hand and put them faceup in a stack in front of them.

This will become the player’s HERD. Notice that as a stack means players don’t reveal the number of Camel cards that they have to the opponent.

Players may have different number of Goods and Camel Cards. Also, It is possible that a player will start with no Goods Cards in hand because they have 5 Camel cards at the start.

Sixth. Sort all of the TOKENS by type of Goods and create a separate pile for each type with the side showing different color face up.

Seventh. For the GOODS TOKENS, put them in descending order with the highest value at the top of the pile. Then, spread each token so players can see the value of each token.

Eighth. For the BONUS TOKENS, we don’t spread out the tokens like the Goods. The order of tokens in each pile is intended to be random.

Ninth. Place the CAMEL TOKEN next to the BONUS TOKENS.

Tenth. Place the 3 SEAL OF EXCELLENCE TOKENS within the reach of both players.

Eleventh. Pick the STARTING PLAYER and the game is ready to start.

Gameplay

The game of Jaipur is played over 3 rounds. Each round, players will count their scores and decide the winner of that round. Whoever wins 2 rounds out of 3 wins the game.

Each round, players will take turns doing ONLY 1 of 2 possible actions until the end of round is triggered. The actions are either TAKE CARDS or SELL CARDS.

Take Cards

Taking cards means taking from the MARKET. There are 3 possible ways of taking the cards. Players can either take 1 Goods card, Exchange several Goods or Take ALL Camel Cards.

If the player take 1 Goods Card, they take the card from the market and put it in their hand. Remember that there is a hand limit of 7 cards.

If the player already has 7 cards in their hand, not counting the Camels in their Herd, they cannot do this action. They can either EXCHANGE, TAKE CAMELS (if available), or SELL CARDS.

After the player has taken the card, the market should be refilled back to 5 cards again by drawing the top card from the deck.

If the player choose to take ALL CAMEL CARDS from the Market, they simply take the cards and put them into the stack of their Herd. Then, the MARKET should be refilled back to 5 cards again.

This option can be done in any amount of Camel Cards. So, it is possible to take just 1 or up to 5 Camel cards by this action, depending on what’s available.

What we need to keep in mind is that the next player will get the first access to those new cards replacing the Camels.

There is no card limit for the Herd. We can have as many Camel Cards as we want. But Camels doesn’t necessarily going to give us point at the end of the game.

The last option is to EXCHANGE SEVERAL GOODS. This is the option if we want to take several Goods cards available in the market in a turn.

We can take 2 up to 5 Goods to our hand. It doesn’t matter if the cards are all the same type or all different. However, we need to return the same number of cards.

The returned cards can be camels, goods or a combination of both.

But remember that we cannot have more than 7 cards in our hand by the end of the exchange. If we only exchange using the cards from our hand, the hand size should not change.

That is not the case if we exchange using Camels. If we already have 7 cards, the Camels become useless.

NOTE: We cannot exchange the same type of Goods between the cards we take and the cards we put them back to the market. In this case, having multiple type of Goods can be good for exchanging if we cannot use Camels because we already have 7.

After the player has done with any of the TAKE CARD ACTIONS, their turn is over and it’s the opponent’s turn. Unless the end of the round is triggered which the round ends immediately.

Sell Cards

Selling cards means, we discard the cards from our hand, put them into the discard pile and take the Goods and Bonus Tokens. There are several steps we need to resolve for this action, Discard Cards, Take Goods Tokens and Take Bonus Tokens.

We can only sell one type of Goods in a single turn. For any chosen type, we can discard as many cards as we want. But there is a minimum.

For Leather (brown), Spice (Green) and Cloth (Purple), the minimum is 1. When selling Silver (Blue), Gold (Yellow) or Diamond (Red), the minimum is 2 cards.

After we discard the card, we take the corresponding Goods Tokens with the same amount as the amount of cards we discarded. We can only take the available Goods Tokens as the tokens are considered as limited supply.

For the most expensive Goods, we still need to sell 2 cards at least, even if there is less amount of tokens.

If we sell 3 or more cards of the same type, we get to take Bonus Tokens, in addition to the Goods Tokens. We take the tokens from the corresponding tile.

So, with 3 cards sold, we take the Bonus Tokens from the 3 cards pile. Since there is only a bonus of up to 5 cards, there is no point on selling more than 5 cards at a time.

Even if there is less amount of Goods Tokens, we still take the corresponding Bonus Tokens. This is why we still want to sell 3 or more cards even if the available Goods tokens are only 2 or less.

For any Goods or Bonus Tokens we take, we place them in a stack in front of us.

Bonus Tokens are also considered as limited supply. If there is no Bonus for 5 cards left, selling 5 cards doesn’t allow us to take the other Bonus. This is very unlikely to happen but it is possible.

After we are done with the Sell actions, our turn is over and it is the opponent’s turn. Unless we trigger the end of the round and the round ends immediately.

End of a Round

The round in Jaipur ends immediately if 1 of 2 possible things happens.

Either 3 types of Goods Tokens are depleted or there are not enough cards in the deck to refill the market back to 5 cards.

For the first, it can happen after the SELL CARDS action and for the second can happen after the TAKE CARDS action.

If we can still refill the Market back to five but then with no cards left in the deck, the round continues with the next player’s turn.

The round ends immediately. It means players may have different number of turns. The starting player can also be the last to take action.

With all of that in mind, it’s recommended to pay attention to the Market and the opponent before taking our action. The opponent might be the one to trigger it and we will have no additional turn.

We may have that one sell to score more but only if we have one more turn to sell. Maybe it’s better to just sell now and get what we have.

On the other hand, it is possible to prolong the round ourselves if the opponent doesn’t have the mean to trigger it. Like if we can sell 2 Goods and one of them will deplete all the corresponding Goods Tokens. In that case, we should sell the other first.

Any remaining cards in hand will contribute nothing to the score.

Before we proceed to the scoring, we need to decide who will get the CAMEL TOKEN. We should count the Camel Cards in our herd.

Whoever has the most Camel Cards will take that Camel Token and put them in the stack of Tokens. It doesn’t matter if the winner only have 1 more Camel Card.

The rule doesn’t state but I assume that if both players are tied in Camel Cards, none of them will take the Camel Token.

After that, we proceed to Scoring of the Round.

Scoring

During this phase, we simply turn over all of the tokens from our Stack and add the scores from those tokens. This includes the Goods Tokens, Bonus Tokens and Camel Token.

There is no other scoring category. The remaining hand of cards will give nothing to the score.

The rule suggests to make pile of 10 rupees or 10 VP for easier and quicker to count the score.

The player with the most rupees or VP wins the round and take 1 Seal of Excellence.

If there is a tie, the player with the most BONUS TOKENS wins. As the second tie breaker, the player with the most GOODS TOKENS takes the seal.

If neither player has 2 Seals of Excellence yet, set the game up again and play another round. The player who lost the previous round starts.

The game ends when a player has 2 Seal of Excellence.

That is it with how to play the card game of Jaipur.

Variants

As mentioned before, that if we play the digital version, the game offers campaign mode that alter some of the rule from the base game for each session.

We can use that idea to play with the physical copy of Jaipur. This way the game has more replay value and we will have different experience.

Here are the details for each variants.

Reverse Value. Here we layout the Goods Tokens with the lowest value at the top. This way whoever sell first will get the lowest value of each type of goods.

Low Storage. In this variant, the hand limit is only 5 instead of 7. This will be more difficult to collect and sell a set of 5 or at least we cannot keep other things.

Extended Game. Instead of gaining 2 Seals of Excellence, we need 3.

Nothing Fancy. In this variant, Golds and Diamond tokens are removed from the game. We are still using the card and if we sell, it’s like skipping turns. Maybe forcing the other player to take Camels.

Herd Bonus. This is a normal game but if the Camel bonus is worth 15 points instead of 5. Collecting them can actually help us win the game.

Steady Price. Goods of the same type will have an equal value. In the game, Diamond will always worth 7, Gold with 6, Silver with 5, Cloth with 3, Spice with 2 and Leather with 1. That means, we don’t have to sell early to get the highest value.

Large Storage. In this variant, the hand limit is 9, instead of the regular 7.

Really Extended Game. We need to get 5 Seals of Excellence to win the game.

Large Quantities. For this variant, the minimum to sell each type of Goods is increased by 1. That means to we need at least 2 cards to sell Cloth, Spice and Leather and 3 cards for Silver, Gold and Diamond.

Leather and Tea/Spice. In this variant, we can only sell the brown and green Goods to gain points.

I guess, some can be mixed together and there are several that we can modify to make our own variant. For example, instead of Leather and Tea, we can only sell Cloth and Silver, etc.

My Experience and Thoughts

At first, I thought Jaipur is just a simple, fast game with some randomness. People keep saying that if we get a bad luck, we can just reset the game and play another round.

I really thought that was it. The game doesn’t seem to have any depth. I thought the only strategy was to go for the most expensive goods and like trying to avoid the common goods.

With that in mind, I ended up mostly getting a set of 3, at most a 4. I thought making a set of 5 is basically just for being lucky. So, I played that way for a while and the one I played with seemed to have the same idea.

Then I got a chance to play this with another player. That time, this was the only two games that we had, so we played this a lot more than usual.

What surprised me is that using that same strategy, I kept losing consecutively. Not only that. I got like 60 points while my opponent can reach like 80. So, there was clearly a better strategy then.

My playmate said that she didn’t want to go for the expensive ones. It is easier to make a set of 5 with the cheaper Goods. That was the time I started to consider the Bonus Tokens for a set of 5.

She was right. With a set of 3, I can only get at most extra 3 points while the set of 5 will give us at least 8 points.

What I didn’t realize was that when we sell, we actually need to spend 1 turn. So, even if we can make multiple sets of 3, we will lose more turns. Like 3 sets of 3 will give us only 9 points with 3 turns selling. With a set of 5 we can get even 10 points with just 1 turn for selling.

It turns out it was a huge. After that, I changed my strategy. I got better with higher score than before.

But it got me thinking. Should I just ignore the expensive Goods?

Well, not really. If then the opponent can make a set of 5 from those, a set of 5 from the cheaper ones are not going to catch up.

We still need to hold them. At least to make sure that the opponent will only make a set of  3 or even 2 before we dump that card.

Because of that I thought Jaipur actually has a depth. But still not that deep.

I mean, with that strategy to always go for 5, then the decreasing value seems to be irrelevant. The advice part even says that we need to sell them early to get higher points.

Some people even said about focusing on certain types of Goods for different point of the game. Like for Silver that can maintain the value, we should just see the lat.

But so far, I don’t think it will contribute a lot to the total score. It’s not like we can find out how the market will supply the goods. There were some games where we only sell once for a type because the cards are mostly at the bottom of the deck.

Maybe for the expensive ones, it is not a bad idea to just sell early but not Silver.

Another thing that becomes less valuable is the Camels. I get it that having Camels can help us make more exchange without losing cards in hand.

However, this becomes irrelevant when we always go for a set of 5. Most of the time our hand is almost full. Even if we have Camels, we will end up cannot take those cards. They will play more significant role when the strategy is just for a set of 3.

I will, instead, more likely to exchange using cards in hand. It is not uncommon that I have to switch to collecting a different type of Goods during this situation.

Back then, with the initial strategy of mine,  with more Camels, I can see how we can put the opponent to a situation where they can only take all Camel cards.

Since I switched to the new strategy, that will mostly happen because of the randomness of the cards. Most of the time, I will not even have any Camels. Occasionally, of course I can make that happen.

I really don’t care about the type of Goods as long as I can make a set of 5. Even if the remaining Goods Tokens is less than the card. Somehow I think, the less valuable the Goods become, we should go for the higher bundle.

I mean, the value per goods is already low at that point. But the bonus remains the same.

I guess, there is one downside with sets of 5 strategy that leads to always have a full hand of cards. We cannot actually do anything when the market has 1 Goods Card and 4 Camel Cards.

In that case, we cannot take just 1 card and we cannot make any exchange. This happened rather rarely but that means, we can only take Camels.

In the end, the randomness still plays some roles where one player can keep getting the same most expensive cards consecutively. We really need to shuffle those cards.

This becomes another problem since the game is about set collection of the same type. We discard those cards with the same type and they will end up right next to each other.

The problem is when we want to play the next round right away. We may not shuffle the deck very well. Again, it becomes irrelevant if we pursue the set of 5.

Well, with 2 players, one player should shuffle and the other should sort back the Tokens.

Some people also pointed out regarding the amount of cards that are 1 plus the amount of corresponding tokens. We can actually keep track of how many cards left based on the remaining Goods Tokens.

Maybe it will be useful to help us figure out the cards that our opponent has in their hand. But so far, I don’t think we really need to play that way. I don’t know how significant it will give the score.

Jaipur is still a filler game. There will be times when we are excited to keep playing the game over and over again. But there will be times when we got tired of it. Even I now only play for 1 round occasionally.

It is very easy to teach and it is very fun to collect and stack those tokens.

Conclusion

Jaipur is probably one of the most popular modern tabletop game for only 2 players, first released in 2009. It already got a new edition and become the first of the 2 player game series by Space Cowboys.

In this game, players will collect goods in the form of cards. Players take turns collecting them from the market that always have 5 cards. The cards are random and we don’t know what will come next.

There are 6 different type of Goods. The challenge is that we can only hold up to 7 cards in our hand.

We can sell this card and in return we will get a token that is worth points. Each type of Goods will have a different set of tokens with descending value. Whoever can sell first can get the higher value.

On the other hand, player can also choose to create a bundle of goods of the same type and sell those in bundle. If we can sell 3, 4 or 5 of the same type at a time, we can get the corresponding Bonus Token.

These Bonus Tokens will give random amount of bonus points. However, the bigger the bundle will give us higher range of points. So, even if the Goods tokens are worth very low like just 1 point, we can still score very high from the Bonus Tokens.

Another challenge of the game is that each turn, we can only take 1 card from the market. If the market offers several cards that we need, we can only make an exchange.

We can exchange using cards in our hand or using Camels Cards that we can also take from the Market. Camels will not necessarily give points at the end unless we are the one with the most.

So, having Camels will give flexibility of controlling the market, an extension to our hand limit. The game is about managing these cards between our hand, the Camels and the market.

Selling is the only way to gain points. However, it still takes a turn while giving the opponent access to the market.

The key of this game is about timing. We need to know when to take cards, sell cards or exchange cards while building a set to gain Bonus Tokens. Our choices are just to sell cards immediately or push our luck hoping that the same type of cards will come out.

The game will be played over 3 rounds. Each round we will setup the game, play and count scores. Whoever wins 2 out of 3 rounds wins the game.

The round will end either if the deck of cards runs out or 3 Goods Tokens have been depleted. Each round can take like 10 minutes to play, so 30 minutes for 3 rounds.

Jaipur is indeed a filler game. It is also very easy to teach and learn. It comes with good production value and in a small box.  Which makes it an ideal for portable game to play anywhere with anybody.

More Similar Games

Here are some games that I have played so far that in my opinion share some similarities with Jaipur.

Timing / Market Manipulation

One experience that stands out from Jaipur is the TIMING. What I mean is in this game, to play the game well, we need to know when is the right time to take cards, sell cards or just exchange. If we don’t play it right, our opponent will get the advantage.

There is a tension and tough decision between selling or push our luck hoping that the 5th Goods of the same type will come out. Sometimes we just take cards for exchanging later, not necessarily to collect and sell them.

From what I understand, the designer actually implement this same idea to his other games which is also in the same series. Ankh’or and possibly the latest one, Botanik will have this similar experience but with different mechanism.

In Ankh’or, we will be playing with tiles and drafting them from the market. The timing element is when to spend the Ankh token to reset the market because the market will not reset automatically.

If we reset when the market is empty, then the next player will get the fresh supply of tiles. Just like how we have to take all Camels in Jaipur. If we can control the market well, we can get the tile for cheaper price.

Another game with similar experience in my opinion is Mandala, which is also a 2 player only game. In this game we will have two shared market or 2 Mandalas. We can either stall by keep manipulating both market or just finish them to score.

I think Seastead also has a bit of manipulating the communal area in more complex setting but also only for 2 players. In this game, we will be racing against our opponent to occupy all of the Flotilla tiles with our buildings.

The timing is from taking advantage from the opponent ship as the ship can also decrease the cost to build. There is a chance to lure the opponent to build their shipyard by using Port tiles.

Card Management

In Jaipur the resource management is strictly just cards. However, it is not just hand management or hand of cards but we also can use the Camels in our herd. In addition to that, the market can also be used to store the card, hopefully the opponent will not take it.

For that similar experience, I think we can also have that from Quests of Valeria. In this game, we have a hand of character cards that we can spend to buy hire more characters.

The hired characters will go into our tableau for different purposes like completing a quest, similar to Jaipur when selling cards. We get a quest which is worth points at the end but lose those cards in exchange.

While the theme and overall gameplay is totally different but I also think that Hero Realms and The Big Book of Madness also have this experience. Both of them are deck building game, so of course, there is a bit of hand management.

With Hero Realms, we can also have a Champion as an extra card that will stay longer in our tableau instead of just come and go in circulation. The Big Book of Madness is cooperative game where in addition to hand management, we can also place 3 or 4 element cards that our teammate can use.

I think to certain extend, Peloponnes Card Game also have this experience of two different managements we need to do. In this game, we are expanding our city in our tableau using cards.

Those city cards can generate resources which we will do hand management. However, we can also choose to sacrifice those cards if we cannot afford to pay with cards in hand. The challenge is the score mostly comes from the cards in tableau and only certain cards in hand that will contribute to the scoring.

Objective / Set Collection

I guess the last most interesting thing about Jaipur is when we can sell those cards into Tokens. Maybe it’s more about the tactile and satisfaction for building up our tokens, like collecting coins. It feels rewarding for the effort of collecting.

That mechanism is basically an objective that we can fulfill by collecting a set of Goods or in this case set of cards of the same type. Then, we sell them into coins, especially if we can make a bundle to get the Bonus Tokens.

Most games with points and score will have this element. For me, what I enjoy from this element from Jaipur is the baby step that we can just cash in as short term objective and accumulate the result.

It’s not just something that we can score at the end or something that we can lose. We complete the objective and move on to another one.

For that experience, I think The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game also offers this. In this game, we need to always create a set of 3 from the same type of building cards.

Like in Jaipur, if we can do it early, we can have more bonus. The difference is that we may work on multiple objectives. We may start one but hold it because the market doesn’t supply the right card and while waiting, we can work on the other objective. Then later, we can go back and finish the first one.

The Dice game version also have this but in roll and write genre with extra spatial puzzle.

Walking in Burano is another one. In this game, we will be drafting parts of building cards with different color.

Then, we are tying to place them into our tableau to create each building so they can have the same color of all parts. If we manage to do that, we can score higher or just not getting the penalty.

Tybor the Builder is another game about city building with this short term and set collection element using a card drafting mechanism. In this game, we will be collecting Workers for their Power or to use their influence to decrease the cost to build.

Then, we can convert those powers to gain building cards which will give us not just points but possibly extra bonus.

For games with Worker Placement mechanism, I think Targi and Architects of the West Kingdom also have this. In both of these games, we need to collect a set of different resources before we can spend them to build certain building cards that will give us immediate points.

Targi is like Jaipur, only for 2 players while the other can support up to 5 players. Architects of the West Kingdom is significantly bigger in size.

There are definitely other games that I have not played but with these similarities. I will keep updating my website with more games. Find out the latest update from this Complete List. If we are just looking for portable games that we can play anywhere, there are more games on that list.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about Jaipur, a card game. At this point, this is the oldest modern designer tabletop game that I have played and written a review about.

I probably have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.

I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget.  If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with a lot of player interaction.

The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play. Some games can also be played in solitaire mode and they are still more engaging than other entertainment activity.

So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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