Thursday, January 28, 2016

Puerto Rico, an excellent classic board game

Recently, I frequently play Puerto Rico at Board Game Arena.

My past entry: Board Game Arena, an excellent online service for board gamers

Puerto Rico was developed by Andreas Seyfarth in 2002. Its theme is colonization of Puerto Rico. In this game, each player has their own farm space. Players cultivate the farm to establish some plantation. Corn, indigo, sugar, tobacco, and coffee can be harvested from the farm. Players can either sell the products to gain money or ship them for victory points. Players can also build several facilities with paying money. Buildings bring you various advantages as well as victory points.

In Puerto Rico, variable phase system is applied. Each player chooses a role. And once a role is chosen, all players orderly take an action in accordance with the chosen role. For example, when player A choose “captain,” all players have to ship their produce as many as possible.

This system makes the game complex. You may want to sell a box of sugar taking the role of “merchant,” but if you do so, another player will sell a box of coffee (for higher income!). In this case, you are wise to choose “captain” to force players to ship all products (all products are equally treated valuable regardless of its price) to prevent others from gaining more money.

In Puerto Rico, you do not roll the dice, not draw cards, either. It means there are almost no randomized elements appeared in this game. Thus, a good player will usually win. But, the interaction between players sometimes causes an unexpected tide of gaming process. It is a fascinating point of this game.

To be honest, I am not good at Puerto Rico. I won only in one-fourth of matches. A bad move leads to critical failure in this game. I need more learning and practice.

Puerto Rico is rather a complex game. It takes one hour on the internet for play. The designer has also developed San Juan, a card game quite similar to Puerto Rico. It is easier to play. Unfortunately, Board Game Arena does not support San Juan.

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