Best Play Recommends: Jaipur
What: A beautifully designed two player card game about trading in an Indian market
Players: Two. Yup, that’s it. Two or nothing.
Time: 15–20 minutes
People: Any two people. It’s a great holiday game for a couple
Available: Get it here UK or here US
Why we recommend it
When we recommend games, we try to tell you how they work, how they might make you feel and the kind of fun you could expect to have with a group of friends.
With this one, it’s a bit different. We’ll still cover some of that stuff but I want to talk about a game that’s special to me. It’s a game that you can only play it with one other player.
Before that, here’s another thing we rarely talk about: the box.
It’s a cardboard box. Boring. Once we lose our child-like imagination for turning them into forts, robots and TVs they just become boring objects or worse: objects of fear.
Fear of the packing and moving we have to do. Fear of lots of carrying and shifting. Fear of the bottom falling out.
For Jaipur though, that box represents a reminder.
A reminder of quality time spent with someone I love. Oh and it’s also very small, which is key because that means it travels everywhere.
Every vacation or weekend away with my partner along comes Jaipur. Our very own third wheel.
I’ve played it in Paris, Barcelona, Ireland, England, California, New York and it will likely be getting an outing in Peru soon. Every game is always so close, often requiring you to double count just to make sure you’ve eked out every last point you can find.
You can get quite good at it, but ultimately it will always be about the risks you take.
Jaipur is a two player game, probably based on some old card game. although this one’s about an Indian marketplace.
It’s a game of timing and gambling. The more of a good you sell, and the quicker you sell it, the more money you are likely to make. Hold the goods too long and you might miss out on the biggest riches.
It’s a game of taking risks. Every time you take something from the market, you add something new.
There is nothing worse than taking a cheap piece of leather only for a diamond to flip off the top and your opponent to smile with glee.
It’s simple enough to play with anyone, but has enough depth that I’ve played it hundreds of times and still enjoy it.
The game goes as fast or slow as you need it to and it’s a pretty looking game as well. Pretty enough that you don’t feel self conscious as you pull it out in some foreign bar or hotel lobby. Pretty enough that the odd stranger will shoot you a curious look or maybe ask what it is you’re doing and watch for a while.
There are other games we sometimes travel with, like Hive, Fuse or Deep Sea Adventure but none of them have quite that enduring quality that you get with Jaipur.
If you ever go on vacation (or holiday as we in the UK call it) as a couple then I recommend Jaipur wholeheartedly for your down time. Certainly easier to pack than Twilight Imperium anyway.