WONDER – Jaipur Camel Up

Today, I will not be sharing about a WIN nor crafting a tale of WOE. On this Wednesday, a new “W” word will get spotlighted, as I share a story of board game WONDER.

The game involved is Sebastien Pauchon’s 2-player title, Jaipur. As a quick refresher, Jaipur is a set collection and hand management game with some card drafting. The goal is to gain sets of jewels or goods that can be exchanged for point tiles. The bigger the set, the more bonus points you will be able to earn. Thus, timing is important. Do I go ahead and sell my set now (and get the higher point tile) or do I wait and try to make the set bigger? Jaipur also has camel cards. Camel cards can be drafted as a means of “paying” for jewel/goods cards on a future turn.

When the end-of-round condition is reached, players tally up their points to see who “takes the round.” Win the majority of rounds and you win the game. Simple concept, fun to play.

But have you ever played a game and something happened that you couldn’t explain? You know you did this, but that happened? Maybe its a string of dice rolls that seem impossible. Maybe its a card draw that felt miraculous — a moment of gaming WONDER!

In my time playing Jaipur, I am learning to keep a wary eye on the game’s camels. First off, my nephew has noted that one of the camels is unlike the other…but what is that he’s carrying? Is it a monkey? A panda? A dead panda?!? A stuffed toy? Creepy.

Where have you been, camel? What have you done?

That’s not all. By no means! In the game I played with my wife, we each won a round, so ended up needing a tiebreaker third round. Between rounds 1 and 2, the cards were sorted back out and the tiles redistributed as necessary. Then, the cards were shuffled and made ready for a new round. The weirdness started when we would start pulling from the deck to replace the market and some of the camel cards were face up in the deck. None of the jewels or goods, just the camels.

Okay, that’s weird — but I guess I must have messed up when compiling the deck (although, surely I would have noticed that while shuffling…..right?!)

Then, 2nd round complete –> on to the tiebreaker round. Let’s clean up and get the tiles and cards ready again. This time, no card mistakes. The backs of the cards all look the same, so it should be very easy to make sure they are all the right direction before I begin shuffling. With a little extra attention this time, the cards get piled up, shuffled, and the deck is made ready for the final round. We start playing — both of us focused on making good decisions, watching out for the other’s tactics, trying to win…

And somewhere along the way, when going to draw another card for the market –> there’s a camel staring up at us.

May your decks ever be Jaipur up!

Not Mr. Jaipur. Not that luxurious beard and mustache. Not that height-defying red turban. A camel. With that right eye just staring at us. AND HE WASN’T THE ONLY ONE. A couple more of his rebellious friends were doing the same thing in that deck.

I put you face down, camels. I PUT YOU FACE DOWN!!!!

Let this be a warning to the Game Board Community. Feel free to play Jaipur. It is a fun game. It’s a good time.

But please, don’t trust the camels.

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