In Puerto Rico, you are a colonial governor in trying to make the most productive town possible. This is achieved by gaining victory tokens by sending goods produced back to the Old World, constructing buildings and meeting certain other conditions. This is a game for the micro-managers out there with a knack for delegating resources in an efficient way.
|Great Eurogames keep on coming|
The game plays out in a quite irregular fashion. Every player has a turn choosing a certain role for example, “Builder”, “Mayor” or “Captain”. When the first player chooses a role for that turn they take the action corresponding with that role for example, if a player takes the “Builder” role they have the first opportunity to construct a building. Play then passes to the next person who has the next opportunity to construct a building, after this the next player has their turn and so on until everyone has had a chance to construct a building. When play passes back to the player who originally chose the “Builder” their choice of role is now finished.
Play will then pass to the next player who chooses a role themselves, they take the corresponding action and then the next player has the chance to do the same thing, this continues until everyone has a turn. Play continues like this until everyone has chosen a role and everyone has had a chance to use said action. After this the round is over.
|This is what it looks like all nice and layed out|
The game-play is confusing at first glance especially for players more used to a linear style of game-play where you take all your actions at once and your turn is then finished. This is in my experience overcome quite quickly for such a tactically diverse game. You would expect the set up time for a game of this complexity to be as time consuming as a Monopoly or Agricola (review to come...), however the set up and play time is very short.
The way you play your game may differ hugely to the player sitting next to you but in the end its victory points that matter, not how you get them. The key to this game is striking the balance between keeping your buildings and plantations manned, producing/selling/trading goods, constructing buildings/plantations and meeting requirements to benefit yourself.
|iPad owners can look forward to an adaptation, coming soon from Codito|
Maximizing your benefits so that they work in a synergistic way is usually a case of choosing a certain path and following it through from start to finish. For example, by taking the “Trader” role often and focusing on selling goods like coffee or tobacco to increase your profits with the “Small Market” and/or “Large Market”. Such a tactic is hard to achieve because to even produce the coffee before you sell it requires you to construct a “Coffee Roaster” to harvest the goods, gain a “Coffee Plantation”, have them both manned and then using a “Craftsman” role to produce the goods.
This game has been highly decorated since its 2002 release and after playing it you can understand why. A complex tactical game with multiple paths to victory means you won't know who is winning until the game ends. Playable with a minimum of three people means it may be a little less easy to get a game together than some of the 2+ player games out there. But also being restricted to five or less people means that for the same reason its use may be limited in bigger parties. The game length can vary, and if someone is in a what they believe to be a winning position they may choose to end the game quickly or someone in a poorer position may try to stall the game. This is a strong indicator of the quality of games coming out of Europe in the past ten or so years.
- Aidan B