The Jokkmokk Winter Market is a Swedish tradition dating back more than 400 years. This town of around 3,000 inhabitants plays host to more than 30,000 visitors each year starting the first Thursday in February every year. This is one of the oldest winter markets and has grown far beyond homemade crafts.
Jokkmokk: The Winter Market from Wizkids is a card game for 2 to 5 players that gives you a glimpse of this International event. Players control two meeples as they explore the market, gathering collections of cards with the hopes of scoring higher than their opponents.
A Winter Wonderland
While I’ve never been to Jokkmokk, Sweden, Erin and I did get to experience the European Christmas Markets in December 2022. We explored markets from Germany to France, eating delicious food and bringing home unique gifts.
In Jokkmokk: The Winter Market, you select card sets from 3 different levels. For each game, you’ll select 2 card sets from each of the 3 levels. You can increase the playtime by adding in an additional card set or make the game more challenging by skipping the basic card sets. The back of the rulebook has suggestions on thematic card sets that you can include in each game.
Once you have your card sets selected, shuffle the day cards together and the night cards together, creating two unique stacks of cards. The player with the meeple in the back of the line goes first. The active player can move their meeple as far forward into the market as they want, landing in any unoccupied space. That player then collects the card in that location.
Similar to the game Tokaido, moving further into the board means that you’ll wait longer for your next turn. Because players are controlling two meeples, time between your turns are not that long. As spaces open up behind the line of meeples, new cards are placed on the board.
Shopping, Day and Night
Some cards will trigger mid-game scoring which are based on who has the most and second most of specific items. Once the daytime deck is empty, any cards that score mid-game will trigger. After this, the new night cards will roll out into empty spaces in the market.
Jokkmokk comes to an end once the night deck has been exhausted and the cards on the board have been claimed. Each card set has scoring based on patterns, sets of items, numbers of cards or other criteria. Players will be watching what items their opponents are collecting, especially if the card gives points based on player position.
A Warm Winter Journey
For anyone that has played Sushi Go Party, the setup will feel familiar. Being able to choose the card sets each game is fantastic when you play the game with a diverse crowd. If you’re playing with kids, chose cards that have simple scoring mechanics. When playing with gamers, boost the difficulty by choosing more advanced card sets. With 18 different card sets, there’s lots of flexibility in the box.
The majority of the complexity rests on the card sets that are chosen at the start of each game. Outside of this, players are just deciding how far they will travel into the market on their turn. Jokkmokk takes around 3 minutes to teach and the length of the game can be adjusted by adding or removing sets of cards.
My only issue with the game comes from the gameplay at 2-players. We’ve tried enjoying the game at just two players and the competition just isn’t there. At 2-players, players usually get the cards they want and there’s no tension in the gameplay. It just falls flat compared to 4 and 5-player games.
I’m a big fan of the bright and fun artwork throughout the game. Swedish illustrator Christina Hägerfors did an excellent job creating inviting art that stands out using a nostalgic color palette and simple shapes. While this is her first board game credit, I hope she’s involved in more projects in the future.
If you’re looking for an excellent set collecting game with loads of replayability, Jokkmokk: The Winter Market would be an excellent purchase. The gameplay is chill while still being competitive. Jokkmokk is going to be a staple of the game table during the cooler seasons in our home.
Jokkmokk: The Winter Market is now available at your local game store or the Wizkids webstore.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- 18 card sets leads to lots of variety
- Bright and inviting artwork throughout
- Mid game scoring with some card sets
- Gameplay at 2-players is bland