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In 1493 Christopher Columbus discovered the eastern-most island of the Great Antilles. About 50 years later, Puerto Rico began to really blossom - through you! Which roles will you play in this new world: Prospector? Governor? Settler? Trader? Whatever you do, you have one goal: to achieve the greatest prosperity and highest reputation! Who will have the most fruitful plantation? Who will build the most impressive buildings? And, who will earn the most victory points?
|By||JoshPayne||From||Warwickshire in United Kingdom|
|Puerto Rico! It's one of the absolute best euro games around...as is San Juan, the card game version. It's quick to learn and almost always enjoyable. The mechanism where money builds up on actions not yet selected is interesting. Players can buy buildings with special abilities to create rules exceptions: choices really matter and none of the buildings are tedious, pointless or unbalance the game too much. The order in which players must implement the actions matters a lot and makes all sessions of Puerto Rico entertaining and rewarding...it's re-playable and very addictive. Plenty of good options and decisions. The theme gives a sense of escapism, and it has good, attractive components for the price. I began playing online a few years back and this wasn't as good an experience, though: super-competitive players trying to calculate the strengths and weaknesses of each choice in points terms. It worked better when players play quickly, perhaps with friends of varying ability to tame this rigid calculation aspect and, crucially, make games less predictable.|
|By||Yersinia||From||Derbyshire in England|
Everything about Puerto Rico is just right.I was worried that it was going too complex having read many reviews which described it as a deep but highly playable game. I was surprised by how simple the mechanics of the game actually are. The rule book is the probably the most concise and clear that I have encountered and by the end of the first game everything was running like clockwork. What makes the game so absorbing is the amount of options you have. You are never overwhelmed with choices due to the elegant turn system. You will only have to make choices in a certain area at one time i.e. what do I want to build, what shall I sell, where shall I place my workers etc. These choices are governed by which of the seven role card is in play so your other major choice in the game is which of the available roles you want to use on your turn. The subtlety of the game comes with how these minor decisions layer up as the game progresses. There is almost no random element to the game so victory depends on the players choices not a run of good cards or lucky rolls. Because of the absence of luck element, winning is a very rewarding achievement (or so I'm told LOL) but not winning does not make you feel like a 'loser'.
I highly recommend Puerto. Its pretty easy to learn, play is smooth and balanced and it is deep and absorbing without becoming fiddly, heavy or laboured. A must.
|By||Wizball||From||Staffordshire in United Kingdom|
|An all time classic game which every gamer should own.
When this came out I played it once and that was it I was hooked and have never turned down a game of it since.
The object is to gain more victory points than everyone else by planting crops, building and trading.
There is no random element to this game and if you look on the net you will find lots of strategies about how to win the game. All I can say is it is a lot of fun and I really enjoy playing.
|By||MondoBot||From||East Sussex in UK|
|Puerto Rico is a great game that has some unique game play elements that deserves a full review for anybody that has heard of this game and wants to know more. Set on the island of the title in the 16th century, players compete to best capitalise on the flow of trade goods from the New World to Europe. In essence it is a resource management game, but it has a number of key features which make it unique and well worth a look. It is difficult to demonstrate what makes this game special without an in depth understanding of the mechanics, so I'll just have to dive straight in. The game play is at first appearance very straightforward. Your game board has spaces for plantation tiles and buildings. There are five types of crops available; corn, indigo, sugar, tobacco and coffee. Each has a corresponding tile that can be planted on your island, each occupying one of the plantation spaces. With the exception of corn, each crop has an associated processing building, dye plants for indigo, drying houses for tobacco etc, which are also represented by tiles that occupy the building spaces on your game board. For each manned plantation with a corresponding manned processing plant, you can generate one unit of goods, represented by coloured wooden 'barrels'. It is these goods that are the lifeblood of the game. They can be exported for victory points or sold to raise money. As mentioned, you need people in order to make anything happen on your island. Each plantation or building tile has at least one space on it for a colonist counter (Small wooden discs). Any building or plantation that is 'unoccupied' has no game function. Where Puerto Rico gets clever is in how these elements are manipulated by the players. In similar board or computer games I've played, each player would have a certain amount of cash or resource points to spread around depending on initial set-up and further affected by dice rolls or event cards. In Puerto Rico, the choices available to each player are ultimately very similar. Each player's game board is identical. There are no dice rolls involved so the luck element is reduced (Although not eliminated) and there are no event or action cards for players to hang on to and play later as part of some plan. This gives the game a chess like angle, in that from a standard set up, it is the actions and reactions of the players to one another that dictate the course of the game, not card draws or dice rolls. During each round each player takes one turn. On their turn a player may select one of seven unique roles (Although one, The Prospector is available twice), which are represented by cards. When a role is selected each player around the table performs the actions associated with that role, so if somebody selects The Settler for example, then each player in turn chooses a new plantation tile. Whoever actually selects the role gets a 'perk' associated with it, such as with The Settler the option to build a Quarry that reduces building costs instead of taking a normal plantation tile. As well as the perk there is another clever mechanic introduced in that there are always three more role cards than players (Hence the two extra Prospectors, who do not perform a game critical function are only needed in 4 or 5 player games). Each round the three roles that did not get selected each have one coin placed on them. When anybody selects a role they take any money currently on that card. Being first to choose a role can be critical at certain points in the game, to gain the associated perk and also prevent somebody else from choosing it. At the start of each round the first player receives the Governor card. After they have chosen their role and each player performed the associated actions the player next to them then picks a role from the remaining cards. Play continues until each player has picked one role. The remaining three cards have one coin placed on them and the others are returned. The Governor card is handed one place to the left and play continues with a new round. Over the course of the game each player will thus have several rounds of going first and the benefit of getting first choice of the roles. The final crucial element of game play is the winning conditions. Players earn victory points by shipping goods. Shipping occurs when somebody selects The Captain role, and each player in turn places any barrels of goods into ships represented by cards with a varying number of spaces. Loading takes place in a series of mini rounds and there are strict rules in that ships can only hold like-goods and you must load if able. Unless you have built warehouses any unloaded goods are discarded, so it can be crucial to produce goods at the right time and load them in the right order. Victory points are also awarded for the buildings you have built with each building tile having an associated victory point value. There are a number of special large buildings that are worth more victory points and have some special effect to generate more points (Such as the Fortress which gives you one extra point for every three colonists). Building these can give you a crucial edge in a close run game, but require lots of cash and careful timing to play effectively. That is a brief summary of the basic mechanics of the game. There are many different types of buildings that each have specific game effects that compliment various elements of the game, such as goods storage, automatically providing colonists for plantations etc. There are limited numbers of each however, and it is important to get cash early so you can bag the ones that will help out your plans. Basic game play involves carefully selecting roles at the right time; juggling your buildings with the number of colonists that can take advantage of them; trying to produce goods that nobody else can; making every penny that you earn count etc. If you make the wrong choice at anytime you can quite easily sit by and watch everybody else profit, such as shipping rounds when you have no goods; receive colonists when you have no buildings; get a building opportunity when you have no money etc. You never seem to be able to do everything you want in a turn, which is the mark of a good game in my opinion. A number of basic strategies become obvious quite quickly in Puerto Rico, the two most obvious being The Builder and The Shipper. The Builder throws everything into accumulating as much cash as possible and then buying as many big buildings as they can and then quickly ending the game. Shipping is slower, since it takes time to get the production buildings and colonists, and money is usually spent with no immediate return. However, as the game goes on a well-planned shipping strategy starts to generate huge amounts of victory points for little effort. The first few games might seem a little random, with some players going nowhere and others surging ahead, despite having made similar choices. You may feel that there is little in the way in interaction and players make choices in isolation. You may then find that an unbeatable strategy develops that everybody fights over and whoever is the first to get such and such a building always wins. Some people abandon the game too quickly feeling that it always plays the same way. This is not true and it is the fact they are always playing it the same way. What may seem like an unbeatable strategy with one group of players might not work with others. I have dominated a number of games in a row with aggressive building, only to sit down with another group and declare that shipping is pointless, and be beaten mercilessly into last place by excellent shipping strategies. After a little research and thought there is only one strategy that really works, and that is this; you have to watch what other players are doing and see how that will effect you in relation to the relative seating positions. Being able react tactically is much more important than a grandiose strategy that can be undermined because somebody else pips you to the buildings you want every time, or you always seem to loading last. If the person on your left always ships then there is a good chance that you will not be able to load your goods because the ships are full. In such as case build a Wharf that gives you a personal 'virtual' ship to fill, or start choosing roles that sabotage their plans without compromising yours. Blindly ploughing on with your own endeavours might be helping others more than they help you. You have to keep an eye on who has planted what, what buildings they own, who will be Governor next etc, and be able to adapt accordingly, especially in the closing moments of the game. This really opens Puerto Rico up to be a challenging and fulfilling game, and not just a resource juggling game that you soon tire of. Another major factor is the number of players. Buildings run out much quicker with five players, making their ownership much more valuable. With fewer players there is not the same competition for resources so it may be more of a race for efficiency, to rake in victory points. I have played this game with many different people, and I can't recall anybody not enjoying it. The deeper more nefarious tactics outlined above appeal to more hardened gamers, even some of my friends whose initial response was "We plant crops?! Do our ships have canons? Can we burn down each others factories?" while other more causal gamers seem to enjoy the lack of direct confrontation and the 'empire building@ element. It is a nice feeling towards the end of the game when your island starts to generate victory points on everybody else's turn. As a final note it should be said the playing pieces are all on good quality card and the artwork is multicoloured and of sufficiently atmospheric quality. The rules are clearly laid out and well written with numerous examples. I don't think we ever once found ourselves stuck for an interpretation of the rules or questioning a potentially 'broken' rule. The game is well supported with numerous websites given over to discussions of game play and tactics. You can also download PDF's from Rio Grande Games' website of new buildings and plantations, although I am still having fun with those that come with the basic game, so I can't comment on them.|
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Rio Grande Games
Spirit Games (Est. 1984, Lefglow Ltd) - Supplying role playing games (RPG), wargames rules, miniatures and scenery, new and traditional board and card games for the last 35 years
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