Puerto Rico: Rules

Gold prospector or governor, settler or Master Builder? Whichever character you play in the new world, you have only one goal: to attain as much fame and prosperity as possible!  Who will possess the most productive plantation?  Who will erect the most important buildings? Who will achieve the most victory points...?


The game plays over several rounds.  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 overseer, goods are manufactured. These are sold afterwards by merchants 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 Master Builder, building in the city etc.

Whoever consistently makes best use of the changing order of the individual actions and their special privileges, will have the greatest success and will win the game.

The winner is the player who possesses the most victory points at the end of the game.


5 Player Boards (each showing 12 island and 12 city spaces as well as an overview of the 7 characters)
1 Governor Card
(indicates the starting player for the round)
8 Character cards
(1 each of settler, mayor, master builder, overseer, merchant and captain; 2 gold prospectors)
1 Main Board
(for the different buildings and the money)
49 Buildings
(5 large violet buildings (2 spaces in size), 2 each 12 small violet buildings as well as 20 (colour-coded) refineries)
54 Doubloons
(46 single doubloon pieces, 8 five doubloon pieces)
58 Island Tiles
(8 quarry and 50 plantation tiles: 8x coffee, 9x tobacco, 10x corn, 11x sugar, 12x Indigo)
1 Colonists’ Ship

100 Colonists
(round wooden discs)


The Main Board is put into the centre of the table. All buildings are distributed according to the spaces indicated on it (see diagram page 3). The Doubloons are separated according to units and laid out on the appropriate area of the Main Board (Bank) (see diagram page 3).  

Each player receives: 
1 Player Board
  (which he displays in front of himself). 
:  (3 players: 2 doubloons, 4 players: 3 doubloons, 5 players: 4 doubloons) (the players’ doubloons must be kept in view on the compass of the Player Board, so that anybody can see at any time how much the other players possess).
1 Plantation
Tile.  First the starting player of the first round is determined (by lot). This player receives the Governor Card as well as a blue Indigo tile (which he puts openly on any of the 12 island spaces). The remaining players, following in the clockwise direction, receive: 
- 3 players
: 2nd player: 1x Indigo; 3rd player: 1x corn.
4 players: 2nd player: 1x Indigo; 3rd and 4th players: 1x corn each.
- 5 players
: 2nd and 3rd player: 1x Indigo each; 4th and 5th players: 1x corn each.  

The remaining play materials are laid out according to the following illustration (note: This diagram shows the display for 4 players):

Do not leave the required game components in the box.

The Victory Points: In two heaps:  (3 players:  75 points, 4 players:  100 points)
All 8 Quarry Tiles
All remaining plantation tiles
(shuffled face down).
4,5 or 6 Plantation Tiles
(one more than there are) are taken from the face down piles and laid face up beside the quarry pile.
The Character cards: (3 players: 
all cards except the two Gold prospectors (6 cards total), 4 players:  all cards except one Gold prospector (7 cards total), 5 players:  all 8 cards)
Three Cargo Ships: (3 players
: the ships with 4, 5 and 6 stowage spaces in the hold, 4 players: the ships with 5, 6 and 7 stowage spaces in the hold, 5 players: the ships with 6, 7 and 8 stowage spaces in the hold)
All Goods Tokens
(separated into five piles according to colour)
The Trading Company
The Colonists’ Ship
with 3,4 or 5 colonists (one for each player)
The Brown Colonists
(tokens) (pooled): (3 players: 55 tokens, 4 players: 75 tokens, 5 players: 95 tokens)


The play runs over several rounds (approx. 15). An individual round plays as follows:  

The player who possesses the Governor Card begins. He takes himself one of the Character cards, places it face up in front of himself and immediately implements the action given. The player to his left performs the same action, then the player to his left performs the same action, and so on, until everyone has implemented this action once.

Now the player to the governor’s left takes a turn; he takes one of the remaining characters and puts the card face up in front of himself. Beginning with himself (not with the governor!) everyone implements this action.

Subsequently, the player to his left takes his turn and assuming another character, carries out the action, with each player following as before, and so on.

When everybody has each taken and completed the actions for a character, the round is completed.  One doubloon is placed on each unused Character card.  All used Character cards are then placed back in line with the unused Character cards and the Governor Card is passed to the next player; a new round begins.  The new governor selects the first new character, and so on.

The Characters:
Each character contains on the one hand a special privilege for the player who took it, and on the other hand a general action, which each player implements in turn (exception: Gold prospector).


The Settler (Settler phase : planting new plantations on the island)
Whoever selects this character, takes either a quarry panel (as its privilege) or one of the face-up plantation tiles, and puts it on any free island space on his Player Board.  Subsequently, all other players in turn can themselves take one of the face-up plantation tiles (no quarry however! Exception: Builder’s hut) and put it on their island.

Finally the settler puts the remaining plantation tiles onto a face up discard pile and turns one more plantation tile than there are players face up.

The special function of the Hacienda, the builder’s hut and the Hospices should be considered.

-              Should there be insufficient plantation tiles in the draw piles, the settler should take the discard pile, shuffle it and make new draw piles for the plantation tiles before drawing any further tiles. If there are still too few tiles available, players must do without in the following settler phases.

-              To clarify: The arrangement of the plantations and/or quarries on the island spaces is of no consequence; they may be arranged in any way.

-              Should all of a player’s 12 island spaces be occupied, he may take no more plantation tiles in the settler phase.

-              Once there are no more quarries in the supply, the settler and the owners of the builder’s hut cannot use their quarry privilege any more.

The Mayor (Mayor phase : arrival of new colonists)
The tiles (plantations/quarries and/or buildings) show 1 to 3 circles. On each of these circles exactly one colonist can be placed.  If there is at least one colonist on a tile, it is considered to be occupied. Only occupied tiles fulfill their function, vacant tiles never work!

Whoever selects the mayor character, first takes (as his privilege) a colonist from the general supply (not from the Colonists’ Ship!). Subsequently, he distributes the colonists from the Colonists’ Ship, beginning with himself: Each player receives in turn a colonist, continuing around the table, until the ship is empty.

This/these new colonist(s) can now be freely distributed by each player, together with all his existing colonists from earlier rounds, on his panels. If a player is unable to accommodate all his colonists, he may place the surplus tokens in the small illustration of the city San Juan “in transit”.  There they remain indefinitely, so that players may distribute them later on free circles (in a later mayor phase!).

As his last action, the mayor determines the ongoing need for new colonists: For each unoccupied circle on all players’ buildings (free circles on plantations/quarries do not count!), a colonist from the supply is put on the Colonists’ Ship. Note: At least as many colonists as there are players must be put on the ship.


-              Actually, all players can distribute their colonists at the same time in the mayor phase. However in some cases, who places his colonist where can be of importance. Therefore the given sequence also applies in this phase: First the mayor distributes all his colonists, then the next player and so on. 

-              Should the placing of colonists on the Colonists’ Ship have been forgotten, simply place the minimum number of colonists on the ship later.

-              If the supply of colonists runs out, the mayor may no longer use his privilege.

-              To clarify: No player may of their own free will place colonists in San Juan “in transit”; as long as he can, a player must occupy free circles. This however does not apply outside of the mayor phase.

The Master Builder (Master Builder phase: erection of buildings)
Whoever takes this character, can build a building immediately, by depositing the construction costs indicated on the building (in the first circle) less one doubloon (his privilege) into the bank; and then putting the building onto any of his 12 city spaces that are free. In the case of a large two adjacent free spaces are required.  Next the other players may build in turn one building each. Note: No player may build more than once.

Detailed data on the individual buildings and their function are at the end of the rules.

Quarries: Each occupied quarry, which a player possesses, lowers the construction costs of his buildings by 1 doubloon. However, with the buildings in the first column, only one occupied quarry is taken into account, with the buildings in the second column up to two, with those in the third column up to three and with those in the fourth column up to four (a player with 3 occupied quarries would thus have to pay, for example, the following construction costs: Builder’s hut: 1; Counting house: 3; Port: 5; Town hall: 7).


-              The special function of the university should be considered.

-              If the master builder does not build, he does not keep the 1 doubloon discount for later use (privilege)!

-              it is not possible to develop more than 12 city spaces. Anybody with only one free space cannot build large buildings.

The Overseer (Overseer phase : production of goods)
Whoever selects this character receives goods according to his production chains from the general supply and puts them on the compass on his Player Board beside his money; so the goods supply of any player is always visible. Subsequently, in turn, the other players also receive their goods.

As the last action of the overseer phase, the Overseer (as his privilege) takes yet another token, for one of the types of goods that he produced normally, from the general supply.


-              Please consider the special function of the refinery.

-              If any type of goods is no longer present in the supply, players concerned go without.

-              If the overseer did not produce anything, he does not receive the one extra token (privilege).

Note:  The overseer is the riskiest character in the game.  Take caution that you do not help your fellow players by allowing them goods production greater than your own!

The Merchant (Merchant phase: selling goods)
Whoever takes this character, can immediately sell exactly one goods token to the Trading Company. He receives for it the price indicated there (0 - 4 doubloons) plus 1 doubloon (as his privilege). Subsequently, every other player in turn can sell no more than one commodity at the indicated price to the Trading Company. The dealer phase is terminated, when each player has taken his turn and/or if the Trading Company is full.

Whilst selling, the following restrictions are to be considered:

-              The Trading Company takes at the most four goods. If it is full, the following players cannot sell any more goods.

-              The Trading Company only takes goods of different types (exception: Counting house).

As last action, if there are four goods tokens, the Merchant empties the Trading Company, removing these to the general supply. If the Trading Company contains three or less goods tokens, these remain in the Trading Company (thus it is more difficult in the next Merchant phase to sell goods; there are already certain types of goods in the Trading Company, and besides its available capacity is reduced.)


-              The special function of the small and/or large market hall and the counting house should be considered.

-              If the Merchant sells nothing, he does not receive the additional doubloon (privilege).

-              It is permitted to sell corn to the Trading Company, even if no income is acquired.

The Captain (Captain phase: supply of goods)
The Captain enables the delivery of goods into the Old World, i.e. in turn order goods tokens are placed on the cargo ships. The captain begins supplying, followed by the next player in turn, and so on. Note: In the captain phase the players can take their turn several times. It is to be noted that a player must supply as long as he has goods to supply in his turn and is capable of supplying. He may only supply goods of the same type in each turn. The captain phase is continued for as long as necessary in turn order, until nobody can supply any more.

Supply rules 
The following restrictions are to be considered when supplying: 

Each cargo ship takes only goods tokens of the same type. 
No cargo ship takes a type of goods, which are already on one of the other two ships.
A full ship takes no more goods tokens. 
Whoever’s turn it is, must supply, if he can. However he may only supply goods tokens of one type. 
Whoever supplies goods, must supply as many goods tokens of that type as possible.  Thus no goods tokens may be held back, if they can be placed on the appropriate ship at the time of supplying. From this it follows that a player, with several ships to choose from, must always use a ship with a sufficiently large hold, or with the maximum stowage space available. 
When a player has several available types, he can select which type he supplies (thus he does not have to select, for example, the type of goods which he could supply most.)

Victory Points 
For each goods token a player supplies, he receives one victory point (1 VP), in form of a 1 VP chip (thus with supplying all goods types are equal: 1 VP per stone! There is no difference in value as when selling (Merchant phase) here!).  The captain receives (as his privilege) in the case of his first supply one VP more. The VP may, contrary to the rule for money and goods, be kept secret, by being placed face down on the compass. Occasionally the players should change their 1 chips of VP into 5’s.

If nobody can supply any more, check whether the players can store the goods, remaining on their compass: Each player is always allowed to store one goods token. For all stones going beyond it a player must have stores (small or large warehouse) occupied by a colonist. If this is not the case, he must put all goods tokens he cannot store back into the general supply (more information under Small Warehouse).

As the last action of the captain phase the captain empties all full ships so that they are completely empty, by placing the goods tokens as appropriate into the general supply. Ships that are not full remain as they are (thus the players are subject to more restrictions in the next captain phase, certain goods types are clearly already supplied and the available capacity of some ships is reduced).

The special function of the small and/or large warehouse, the port and wharf should be considered. 
If a player cannot store all his goods tokens, he may select which types he stores and which he puts back into the general supply. 
The captain receives only one VP (privilege) extra, even if he ships several goods types. If he does not supply anything, he does not receive the additional VP
To clarify: Whether the players are able to store their goods is examined only at the end of each captain phase, not at the end each phase.

The Gold Prospector
A player who selects the Character card Gold prospector does not start off any general action, and only receives his privilege: a doubloon from the bank.

A new round... 
After the last player has selected a character and all players implemented the appropriate action, the round ends. Now one doubloon each is put on the three unused Character cards from the bank. It does not matter if a character already has one or more doubloons on it. Such characters are more attractive in following rounds, since they now bring in one or more doubloons in addition to their privilege (for example, a player who takes a Gold prospector with 2 doubloons on it, receives a total of 3 doubloons).  Finally all other Character cards are replaced beside the Main Board. The Governor Card is passed on to the left of the previous governor. The new governor begins the next round, by taking one of the Character cards, and so on.  


The game ends at the completion of the round in which at least one of the following three conditions occurs: 
At the end of the Mayor phase if there are not enough colonists to place on the Colonists’ Ship. 
During the Master Builder phase at least one player develops his twelfth (and last) city space
During the Captain phase all VP chips are used up (should the chips run out before all players in this captain phase received their VP, the players concerned note these on a sheet of paper.)  

The players’ VP are totaled on a sheet of paper. 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  

Note: The VP of a building count, even if it is not occupied (for example the five large buildings each earn 4 VP, even if they are not occupied.) The extra VP of the 5 large buildings are however taken into account only if they are occupied!

The winner is the player with the most VP.  In the event of a tie, whoever has the most doubloons and goods wins (1 goods = 1 doubloon).


The following applies to all buildings: 
Each player may build each building only once. 
As soon as at least one colonist is placed on a building, it is considered as occupied. Only occupied buildings have an effect (exception: VP). 
The city space on which a building is placed is of no significance (exactly as with the plantation and quarries on the island spaces). Buildings may be placed on more than one city space e.g. a large building; but no two may share the same space. Furthermore, exactly as with the island tiles, no buildings may be taken from the Player Board to create space (in order for example to place other buildings). 
The red-brown number on the upper right of each building indicates how many VP (occupied or vacant) awarded. 
The number in the first circle of each building indicates its construction costs. It has no further use after the building has been built.  

The refineries (The Produktionsgebäude) (blue, white, light and dark-brown) 
Refineries are necessary in addition to the plantations for the production of the different goods: 

In the indigo refinery (indigokuperei), dye (blue goods tokens) is made from the Indigo plant 
The sugar cane is pressed in the sugar mill (zucker-muehle) to make sugar (white goods tokens). 
The tobacco leaves are sent to the tobacco store to become tobacco (light brown goods tokens). 
Coffee beans (kaffebohnen)(dark-brown goods tokens) are burned from the coffee plant in the coffee roaster (kaffeeroesterei).

Note: For the corn crops no refinery is needed. Corn (yellow goods tokens) is made directly on the plantation, i.e. each occupied corn plantation brings in a yellow goods token directly in a Overseer phase.  

The circles of a production building indicate how many goods can be produced at maximum here, if they are occupied with colonists. In addition the player requires exactly the same number of occupied plantations.


-              No raw materials can be  held “in storage”. For example on page 8 of the rules (see right) the player actually receives only the indicated goods tokens; all dormant colonists continue to bring in nothing!

-              As has already been described under “The Overseer”, a player produces nothing, if the general supply  has no more appropriate goods tokens present.


There are 17 different violet buildings: There are two of each of the 12 smaller buildings, one of each of the 5 large buildings. The special functions of the violet buildings slightly alter the basic rules (for example that the owner of an office may sell a goods type to the trading firm, regardless of those already present.) A player is however not obligated to use his violet buildings if he doesn’t wish to (of particular importance with the Wharf, see below).

Small market hall (Kleine Markthalle)
In the Merchant phase, if the owner of a small market hall sells a goods token, he receives an extra doubloon for it from the bank. Example: A player sells a corn goods token and receives 1 doubloon for it.

Hacienda (Hazienda) 
in the settler phase, during his turn, the owner of a hacienda may, before he takes one of the face-up plantation tiles, take one of the face-down tiles from the draw pile and put it on one of his vacant island spaces.  He then takes a face-up tile as normal in addition to this. 

If a player takes up such a face-down tile, he must place it on his board
If he also possesses a builder’s hut, he may not take a quarry tile in place of the face-down tile.  

Builder’s hut (Bauhütte )
in the settler phase, the owner of a builder’s hut can, in his turn, take a quarry in place of one of the face-up plantation tiles.  He may take only one quarry. Note: If the settler possesses a builder’s hut, he may nevertheless take only one quarry.  

Small warehouse (Kleines Lagerhaus)
As already described under “The Captain”, at the end of each captain phase the players need stores for goods not shipped, otherwise they must put these back into the general supply. The owner of a small warehouse may at the end of a Captain phase, beside the one goods token which every player may always store, keep as many goods of another type as desired.

Note: When storing the goods are not physically assigned to the warehouses, but only mentally, i.e. the goods remain on the compass. Storing doesn’t protect against the obligation to supply goods, only against putting back into the general supply after supplying.

Hospice (Hospiz)
In the Settler phase, when the owner of a hospice takes an Island tile (plantation or quarry), he also takes a colonist from the general supply and places it on this tile.

Note: If the player is also the owner of a Hacienda also takes a face-down tile, he receives no colonist for this. If there are no more colonist tokens in the supply (possible towards the end of the game), he may take one from the Colonists’ Ship. If there aren’t any there, then he goes without.  

Counting house (Kontor)
If the owner of a counting house sells a goods token in the Merchant phase, this may be of the same type as one already in the Trading Company. If the Trading Company is full, the counting house is of no use.

Example: In the Trading Company there is already a tobacco goods token. The owner of a counting house takes his turn and sells a further tobacco. Next the owner of the other counting house takes his turn – he also sells tobacco...

Large market hall (Große Markthalle) 
If the owner of a large market hall sells a goods token in the Merchant phase, he receives two extra doubloons for it from the bank.

Note: If a player possesses a small and a large market hall, he accordingly receives 3 doubloons extra with the sales.  

Large warehouse (Große Lagerhaus) 
The owners of a large warehouse may at the end of a Captain phase in addition to their normal allowance of one goods token, store as many goods tokens as desired of two further types.

Note: If a player possesses a small and a large warehouse, he can store up to 3 goods types as well as a goods token of a fourth type as his normal allowance.

The Manufacturer’s (Manufaktur) 
During the Overseer phase if the owner of a manufacturer’s produces more than one type of goods, he receives money from the bank: For two goods types he receives 1 doubloon, for three types 2 doubloons, for four types 3 doubloons and for all five types 5 doubloons.  The overall number of produced goods tokens does not affect this.

Example: The owner of a manufacturer’s has 3 sugar cane, 3 corn, and 1 tobacco plantation as well as the appropriately equipped refineries. In the current overseer phase however, he actually produces only 2 goods tokens, 1 sugar and 1 tobacco, as there are no more corn and only two sugars in the general supply.  He takes 1 doubloon from the bank, since he produced two goods types.

University (Universität) 
If the owner of a university in the Master Builder phase builds a building, he may immediately take a Colonist from the general supply and put it on this building.

Note: If he builds a refinery with more than one circle, he receives only one colonist. If there are no more colonist tokens in the general supply (possible towards the end of the game), he may take one from the Colonists’ Ship. If there are none there, he must go without.

Port (Hafen) 
If the owner of a port supplies one or more goods tokens during a Captain phase, he receives one extra VP.

Example: The owner of a port (and one wharf) can load only 3 of his 5 tobacco goods tokens onto the tobacco ship.  Since it is full now, the goods are shipped: for this the player receives 3+1 VP.  In the next supply round he ships two sugar tokens on the appropriate ship: 2+1 VP.  A further supply round he uses his wharf and puts the two remaining tobacco tokens back into the supply: again 2+1 VP. Thus he has gained through his port, in this Captain phase, 3 additional VP.

Wharf (Werft)  
When a player takes his turn in the Captain phase, he must load his goods onto available ships as described under “The Captain”.  However, if he possesses a wharf, he can use it as follows in his turn: Instead of shipping on one of the three cargo ships, he puts all his goods tokens of any one type back into the general supply, and receives one VP for each (he effectively uses his own (imaginary) ship with unrestricted capacity).  If he takes another turn supplying in this captain phase, he must supply another goods type to a cargo ship if he can (still) and so on.  Wharfs can be used by their owner only once per phase. He can however determine when he will use it. His own “Wharf Ship” does not follow the same rules as the three cargo ships; he may supply a goods type which already is on one of these ships or which another wharf owner also supplied.

Note: If a player uses his wharf, he must ship all goods tokens of the type selected. In addition, he is not obliged to select the type of which he possesses most goods tokens. A Wharf Ship stows up to 11 goods tokens of one type.

The Large Buildings 
The following five buildings are only ever built once in the game.  In each case they use two city spaces, but are considered however nevertheless only as one building.

Note: Wherever in the rules the large buildings are referred to, then they refer to the following five buildings!

Guildhall (Zunfthalle): 
The owner of the occupied guildhall receives at the end of the game an additional 1 VP for each small refinery (= kl. Indigokueperei and kl. Zuckermuehle) he owns (occupied or vacant); as well as 2 VP for each large (occupied or vacant) refinery (= Indigokueperei, Zuckermuehle, Tabakspeicher, Kaffeeroesterei). 

Example:  The guildhall owner possesses at the game’s end a small and a large sugar mill, a small Indigokueperei and the Kaffeeroesterei:  he receives additional 6 VP.

Residence (Residenz) 
The owner of an occupied residence receives additional VP at the end of the game for his (occupied or unoccupied) plantations and quarries based on the number of island spaces they fill.  For up to nine spaces occupied he receives 4 VP, for ten fields 5 VP, for eleven fields 6 VP and for all twelve occupied island fields he receives 7 VP.

Example: The owner of the residence has finished the game with plantations and/or quarries on 10 of its 12 island spaces: he receives additional 5 VP.

Fortress (Festung) 
The owner of an occupied fortress at the end of the game gains additional VP at a rate of 1 VP for every three colonists on his Player Board.

Example: The owner of the fortress has finished the game with 20 colonists on his plantations, quarries, buildings, and in San Juan: he receives in total 6 VP.

Customs office (Zollhaus) 
With an occupied customs office, a player at the end of the game gains additional VP at the rate of one for every four VP in his possession at the game’s end.  Only the VP chips the player has are considered, not the VP of his buildings.

Example: The owner of the customs office has in his possession at game end 23 VP altogether in the form of his 1 and 5 VP chips: he receives additional 5 VP.

Town Hall (Rathaus)
The owner of the occupied town hall additionally receives 1 VP for each violet building (occupied or vacant) he owns (city hall occupied is taken into account!).

Example: A player possesses to playing the following violet buildings: Hacienda, builder’s hut, counting house, large warehouse, port, residence and city hall (all occupied): he receives additional 7 VP.

(we recommend to keep this page of the rulebook at hand (originally page 12 in German rulebook from which this was translated) during play, so that the illustration of the individual buildings can be used by the players, for those who view the Main Board upside down)(see diagram at back of rules).

The Author and the Publishing House would like to thank the many playtesters for their great commitment and their numerous suggestions, particularly: Beate Bachl, Sibylle Bergmann, Christine & Peter Duerdoth, Walburga Freudenstein, Holger Frieberg, Markus Huber, Andreas Maszuhn, Michael Meier-Bachl, Karen Seyfarth, Dominik Wagner as well as the Viennese Games Academy and the groups from Berlin, Boedefeld, Goettingen and Rosenheim.

If you should have criticism, questions or suggestions for this game, write to us or call:
alea,Postfach 1150,D-83233 Bernau am Chiemsee, 

Fon:08051 -970721,Fax:08051 -970722,


© 2001 Andreas Seyfarth
© 2002 Ravensburger Spieleverlag

 Translation prepared by Fellonmyhead.


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