Jaipur: A Two-Player Game

Jaipur: A Two-Player Game // Savvy Game Night

Clearly, Dan and I go through phases with our two-player games. Last fall, we couldn’t get enough of Lost Cities. This spring, our go-to two-player game was Morels. And this summer, we’re all about the newest addition to our collection: Jaipur.

Jaipur Set-Up // Savvy Game Nigth

The game is simple enough: on your turn, you can either collect more goods or sell some of the goods from your collection. The person with the most money at the end is the winner. Typically, the game is played in three rounds. If we’re really short on time or energy, we might just play one round. If we have a half hour or so, we’ll do all three. There’s enough going on in the game that it doesn’t feel repetitive, even if we play it multiple times per week, but it is also simple enough for nights when we don’t want to exert a bunch of brainpower to strategize our gameplay.

If you’re looking for a great two-player game that doesn’t require much strategy, I recommend Jaipur.

Jaipur Tokens // Savvy Game Night

Mechanism:

Each player is a merchant looking to earn two Seals of Excellence before their competitor. There are five cards available in the playing area at all times. On your turn, you may:

1. Take one good from the play area, which is replaced from the Draw pile.

2. Take multiple goods from the play area, and replace them with your own goods or camels.

3. Take all the camels in the play area (so you have free cards available to replace goods when you later opt for #2).

4. Sell one type of good for monetary tokens. Some goods (like rubies) are worth more than others, and there are bonuses for selling 3, 4 or 5 of any type of good at a time.

The round is over when 3 types of goods have no more tokens or the Draw pile is out. Whoever has the most points on their tokens wins the round, and earns a Seal of Excellence. Typically, the game ends up being 2-3 rounds.

Number of Players:

Two only.

Set Up Time:

5-10 minutes.

Play Time for New Players:

10-15 minutes per round. 40-45 minutes total if you play all three.

Play Time for Experienced Players:

10-15 minutes per round. 40-45 minutes total if you play all three.

Age Range:

8+

Overall Rating for Jaipur: 9 out of 10 stars.

Psst: This post contains affiliate links. I only ever recommend products I use myself. 

 

Pandemic: A Cooperative Game

Pandemic: A Cooperative Game on Savvy Game Night

Let’s talk cooperative games. Rather than the typical board game format, in which there is one winner and everyone else loses, in a cooperative game, it is all or nothing: either everyone wins together, or everyone loses. In the case of Pandemic, either you find cures for or eradicate all four deadly diseases that have broken out around the world, or everyone dies.

So far, Pandemic is Dan’s and my favorite cooperative game. It is nicely balanced, and it is neither too difficult to ever win, nor so easy that it doesn’t feel like much of a challenge. I’d say we win about 2/3 of the time. And more often than not, we lose because we run out of player cards, not because there were so many outbreaks that we couldn’t control them. There have been several occurrences where we just needed one more turn, maybe two, in order to get all the cures or eliminate the last disease.

Pandemic In Play on Savvy Game Night

Unless you are playing with five people every time you play Pandemic, the game changes a little bit each time. Each player is given a role with a special ability: the Medic can treat all the illnesses in a city at once, rather than one per turn; the Dispatcher can move other players around the board; the Scientist can find a cure with 4 player cards instead of the usual 5, and so on. Since the roles are randomly assigned, the combination of special abilities available in the game changes a bit each time (again, unless you are playing with the full five players).

Note: A newer version of the game was released in 2013. Apparently, it introduces two new roles and reduces the maximum number of players to four. So if you purchase/play the newer version, the combination of roles will change every game, even when you are playing with the max number of players.

It’s a fun game for Dan and I when we aren’t feeling all that competitive and want to work together. And because it is a cooperative game, Pandemic is a great one to pull out when we have friends over with mixed levels of experience with or interest in board games.
Pandemic, a cooperative game. Don't let too many outbreaks happen, or everyone loses! On Savvy Game Night

There’s an outbreak in Essen, and the blue disease has spread to all neighboring cities. Don’t let too many of these happen, or everyone loses!

Mechanism:

Pandemic is a cooperative game, so either everyone wins or everyone loses. Four diseases have simultaneously broken out around the world. Players must research to find a cure for or completely eradicate all four diseases before the epidemics become too overwhelming to contain. Each player may take up to 4 actions on their turn to move around the map, treat infected cities, research a cure or build a research station. At the end of each turn, the diseases spread just a bit more, unless an Epidemic card turns up, which accelerates the infection rate.

The game is over when: all the diseases have been cured and/or eradicated, there have been 8 outbreaks, or there are no player cards remaining.

Number of Players:

2-5. It is much more difficult to win with just two players, but it is still doable.

Set Up Time:

5-10 minutes

Play Time for New Players:

1 hour.

Play Time for Experienced Players:

45 minutes – 1 hour.

Age Range:

8+

Overall Rating for Pandemic: 8/10

Pandemic Player Cards on Savvy Game Night

Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only ever link to games I’ve played and enjoyed myself. Most of the links above are to the newer version of this game. If you’d like to purchase the version of the game photographed here, click here.