Klicka för svenska      Puerto Rico

Distributor: Rio Grande Games (English edition)
Alea (German edition)
Category: Strategy game
Players: 3-5
Play time: 1:30-2:30
Ages: 12+
Content:     5 Player Boards
    1 Governor Card 
    8 Character cards (settler, mayor, builder, craftsman, trader, captain, 2 prospectors)
    1 Main Board (for the different buildings and the money)

  49 Buildings

  54 Doubloons (46 single doubloon pieces, 8 five doubloon pieces)
  58 Island Tiles (8x quarry, 8x coffee, 9x tobacco, 10x corn, 11x sugar, 12x Indigo)
    1 Colonists’ Ship

100 Colonists (round wooden discs) (Actually I have 13 extra)
Game target: To have most Victory Points (VP) after a full round after one or more of the following three conditions has occured: 
- At the end of the Mayor phase there are not enough colonists to place on the Ship. 
- During the Builder phase at least one player develops his twelfth (and last) city space
- During the Captain phase all VP chips are used up. 

The players’ VP are totaled. Each player adds: 
- The total of his VP chips plus: 
- The VP from his buildings (red-brown number in the upper-right) plus 
- The extra VP from his occupied large buildings  

Rules: Rules in English
Rules in English to the expansion
Strategy: First of all you must be very flexible to change strategy during the game, as it depends a lot of the interaction and choices made by the other players. One of the most important things are to keep an extra eye on the player to your right. Avoid to use the same strategy as he uses, as well the most destructive is to use a similar tactic as the player at your left. This because you always has to choose goods in both craftman, building and trader phase. This mean that the risk is bigger that the good you want to choose isn't available, alternatively hasn't any place left to be put at.

In a news group the following comments by Alan Kwan is made:
There are two elements composing one's score:
1. goods shipped
2. buildings, including bonus points from large buildings

For #2, you need money and quarries. To get money from the trader, all you really need is to be able to produce a couple of the more expensive goods, like two tobacco, or a coffee and a sugar, etc., or even just one. That doesn't require many people. Quarries also don't require many people to man.

For #1, you require more people. You need 1 people to make a corn, and 2 people to make anything else. I think the best mix is some of each: a few corns, and a few more expensive crops so that you can make some money through the trader for buying the buildings you need. When you have limited people, having some corn increases your total output quantity, but having nothing except corn would cut down your income. A hospice is useful, but you can alleviate the need for people by making some corn.

I am beginning to think that buying a hospice too early, when one hasn't set up his money-generating facilities (sugar/tobacco/coffee plants, or quarries or a constructor's hut, or markets), is a trap and a losing strategy. You need money to buy the more expensive plants, which will then generate steady income for you to buy a hospice or whatever you need. If you spend your first doubloons on a hospice - an expensive building which doesn't help you generate income - this can significantly slow you down. More details in my comments at Board
Game Geek.

In order for a hospice to be really effective, you need several other things too. You need plants for your plantations. (A player who is making only corn doesn't really need a hospice.) You need to make sure that the goods you produce are getting shipped instead of thrown away, so you need a warehouse or a wharf. Both of these require money. Too often I see a player who buys a hospice too early ends up with lots of unemployed in San Juan, and/or with lots of plantations with no production because they don't have money for the plants.

Comments: My edition is from 2002. The designer is Andreas Seyfarth. The name of the German original game is the same.

Every round, each player chooses one of seven various characters, and sets a particular action for all players to take in turn order.  Thus for example the settler raises new plantations on which, with the help of the craftsman, goods are manufactured. These are sold afterwards by trader to the trading company, or shipped by the captain into the Old World. With the money made buildings can be erected, by means of the builder, building in the city etc.

For the moment this feels like my best game, although you never know when the position will be replaced. Already from the first play it felt unusually good and I thought a lot of strategies and mistakes on the way home in a way I've never done before. All information is open, so it's easy to teach and grasp the game quickly, still there seems to be an endless depth. AS soon someone are talking about a killing startegy, it seems to be easily counter-attacked as soon as every other player is aware of it. One of the interesting thing with the game is that everything you do affect the other players as well, sometimes a choice of a role can end up being better for any of the other players, even if the role choser always have both an extra advantage, excluding the advantage of being the first to do it. The roles which aren't chosen gets a dubloon, to be more attractive during the next round.

The game has a very good scalability, so it works equally good with 3, 4 or 5 players. There is also an official 2-player variant.

Extract from Belgoludique report 2005-02-07 I started the day to play Puerto Rico, this time with the expansion, where we randomly draw violet buildings according to their building cost. It wasn’t bad with some changes, but the game is so good in itself, so I still don’t see the need of an expansion. I won the game with 43 vp before Jean with 38 vp. Patrice and Alexis both had 35 vp and Benjamin came last with 32 vp. The game is one of the few I rate 10 of 10.



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