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Subject: [Table-Top Tango Reviews] Camels Beware... rss

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ginny g
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Greetings fellow Geeks!

After much lurking, reading, studying, (and thankfully- laughing) I have decided it is time to start writing some reviews! (God help us all...)
Most often, my game play is two player. Lucky for me, my partner of 7 years is a fellow board game lover (well... appreciator... let's say strong appreciator...) so I usually have someone to wrangle into a game. I also admit to having a loose pocketbook at my FLGS. Couple this with my borderline obsession to read new geek lists, reviews, and blogs on BGG... and, well... I have a small but growing board game collection (lucky me)!!
Look for more written reviews over the coming weeks as I work through my collection- (and if I review them all, I get to buy more, right??) under the name “Table-Top Tango Reviews: xxxxx” Hopefully video reviews to follow in the coming months.
I will be following a consistent format for reviewing, but am happy to add additional 'categories' if needed... suggestions welcome...

Lastly, as mentioned above, I will try to hit on the two player playability of each game. Most in my collection have it, but not all. Some can be played with two, but shine with more... and vice versa. I hope to become a reliable resource for those focusing primarily on two player gaming!

We'll start off with an easy one!

The game: Jaipur

Designer: Sebastien Pauchon

Components: A small box game (7.75”x4”x1.5”). 1 GREAT instruction manual, 60 tokens, and 55 goods cards. The box is of sturdy construction- with an insert that works well. I do find that I rubber band this box for travel however, as it can open and spill. The instruction manual is the best you could ask for. Simple, clear instruction, with pictures... see for yourself here http://www.gameworks.ch/2010/pdf/JAIPUR_GB.pdf . The tokens are 1.5” across- so a bit bigger than a half dollar, and good and thick.
For those who grew up in the 90's- compare to large pogs. (remember these? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogs).

The cards are also of sturdy construction- fiber texture, not too slick, and showing no signs of wear yet!
All in all, the components are quite good- I can't think of anything to be concerned about.

Release Date/Versions:
published in 2009 by Game Works. Distributed by Asmodee in the US, and as of fall 2012, still readily available.

Quick Overview: I don't know if I can explain it much better than the instruction manual- but the game play is deceptively simple. The goal is to collect cards of the same color. You then turn them in for the equal number of tokens of the same color. The tension comes in deciding whether to hold out one more round and try to pick up one more card of the same set in order to increase your bonus, and risk your opponent cashing in on the same color in the meantime- taking the 'I got more points for cashing in first' bonus. There is a delicate balance between when to cash in. Or, as it was better put, 'ya gotta know when ta hold em...' The turn by turn game play is simple. “On your turn you can Take Cards, or Sell Cards- but NEVER BOTH!”. In taking cards, you can either take 1. several goods, 2. take 1 single good, or 3. take the camels. It is at this point I will state- never underestimate the power of the camel. Seriously. They spit, they're mean, and they're worth 5 points at the end of the round if you have the most. During the round, they function mostly as place-holders. I wouldn’t call them wild cards, as they cannot be involved in any of the selling of goods (ie trading in of color sets), but they can used to fill the void of multiple cards taken from the market area. A camel strategy is a sound strategy.

Scoring is also a delight because of the random tokens acquired when you turn in 3, 4, or 5 of a particular color. The back side of the token reveals its end game value... and while you may think you're ahead, you never quite know what the final score will be until the tokens are flipped and counted.
I won't address the additional details of turn by turn game play, as there are already several videos, and, as provided above- a very simple to follow instruction manual.

Weight/Length of Game Play:
This game is quick. So quick in fact, that it is actually designed to be a best 2 out of 3 game. Total game play (2-3 rounds) 15-25 minutes max. If it takes you longer than this, you are spending way too much time thinking about a light game. This game is light. Both in intensity and time... but don't let that fool you- it's a remarkably satisfying game. Because there is a variable of cards and drawing- there is luck involved... but I think there is skill involved, and it comes more from making the best choices from the cards on hand at the moment – rather than crafting some grand strategy. A quick tactical game that has just the right amount of 'screwage' for a game of this duration and weight. A three round game will frequently invoke a 'ok... best 5 outta 6... ' conversation.

Suitable for 2?: 2 player only! And... VERY suitable

Suitable for 3+? nope.

Compare this to:
I have not played Balloon Cup- but in the comparisons of light, quick, and set collecting, I would consider them very similar.

Final Thoughts: What a great underestimated game. I mean, seriously... this is no Twilight Struggle, but who has the brain power to whip that out on a quick game night after dinner and before bed? I can't think of another game I can play in under 30 minutes of this weight, that I would rather play. For the even mildly competitive 2 player couples out there, you need to add this to your collection. Expect some laughs, some tears, some 'ARGH! I was gonna pick that up next!!!' expletives, and even some bad camel jokes. All in all, worth $25 (or less) and 30 minutes of your life. I promise.

Score: Within it's weight, cost, and time category (or more simply... 'for what it is..') a solid 9/10
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ginny g
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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rookie mistake...
forgot to add pictures. editing now..
 
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Manuel Pasi
Switzerland
Zürich
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After being a nervous wreck for two weeks.....
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I can finally exhale!! THIS TEAM!!!!!
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Keep 'em coming...me like!
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Christophe Laurent
Finland
Helsinki
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Hi !

Nice and interesting review as I am myself mostly a 2-player gamer.
One typo in your review: designer name is Sebastien Pauchon.
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Jack Bennett
United States
Rougemont
North Carolina
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Play. Always.
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Good review. I was pleasantly surprised by this game my first time playing it. I was playing with a stranger (while visiting out-of-state) and we decided to try it out. It took us only 5 min. or so to get the rules down. The play was simple, enjoyable, and with just enough decisions to be made at the right time to keep it tense.

A fun two-player game!
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Lyle Williams
United States
Tonganoxie
Kansas
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Enjoyed the review. Looking forward to more reviews from you.

I discovered this game on Rodney Smith's video series "Watch It Played".
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ginny g
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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thanks for the catch on the name spelling... i looked at the box, and the 'caligraphy' "c" definitely looked like an "e". fixing it now!
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Megandy .
United States
Virginia
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great review! you definitely captured the game's essence and its nuances. i can't wait to read more of your reviews!
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Liam Liam
Scotland
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Solid review. Great Job.

igamelikeagirl wrote:
rookie mistake...
forgot to add pictures. editing now..


Gulp 10 reviews in and yet to include a picture of the game I'm reviewing.

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