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Prospector, captain, mayor, trader, settler, craftsman, or builder?

Which roles will you play in the new world? Will you own the most prosperous plantations? Will you build the most valuable buildings?

You have but one goal: achieve the greatest prosperity and highest respect! This is shown by the player who earns the most victory points?

User Reviews (63)

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Novice Reviewer
Novice Advisor
Baron / Baroness
107 of 114 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Beautiful Non-Randomness”

Puerto Rico takes resource games to a new level and wraps it in a tremendously fun and non-random cloak. The fact that Puerto Rico comes very close to being totally non-random makes it ripe for all sorts of strategies and a variety of playouts.

The setup is pretty quick, with the real challenge finding a medium sized or bigger table to hold all the pieces, cards, board, and individual player’s boards.

Players take turns as the “governor” which allows the players in order starting with the Governor to choose different roles for each turn. Each role does different things, and also gives the player who chooses the role a special ability related to the role.

For example, a player may choose Mayor to increase population on everyone’s farms, or a player may choose Craftsman to “produce” for everyone’s crops, etc.

By building, producing, selling, and shipping the crops, players amass more money and victory points. Players can use the money to create bigger and more beneficial buildings and victory points are the way a player will eventually win.

This game is a perfect strategy board game for casual+ gamers. The non-random aspect of it will have avid and power gamers thinking of different tactics and ways to “break” the game. Overall it has tons of replay value and should be a staple in any gamer’s cabinet.

Gameplay: 5/5 – Very well thought out game mechanics
Fun: 4/5 – Great for strategists as well as casual players
Replayability: 3/5 – There are definitely strategies that can be “winning”, so eventually the games can get a bit stale
Learning Curve: 3/5 – It will take several games for most players to completely get the hang of this one
Tilt: 3/5 – I really like this game but I can’t play it continuously like I can some other ones.
Total: 3.6/5

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8 Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012 Bronze Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
107 of 114 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 3
“Overall a Great Game”

Puerto Rico is a role selection euro game. The premise is that you’re are building a colony, harvesting goods, and shipping them to the mother land. But in order to do this you need to hire different people to help you grow your plantation. As you are loading your goods on the ship you gain victory points (there are a few other ways to gain VPs as well), the colonist with the most VP’s at the end of the game wins!

I give the components for Puerto Rico a high ranking. We have played a few dozen times and can see little wear and tear on the pieces. That being said, there is little handling of the pieces vs. a game like Dominion where the pieces are constantly in your hand. The pieces are all cardboard or wooden pieces, the norm for your classic euro. The one down side I will say is the size of the “colonist” pieces, they’re little wooden pieces half the size of a dime.

The player with the governor card starts every round selecting the role/ character to hire to help with their colony. Each of these characters have their own ability that they bring, and for the most part there is only one to hire per round. Sometimes hiring this person will only help you, or it will help everyone, but give you a bonus for selecting them.

Mayor: Brings colonist to work on your plantation and activate your buildings and plantations. BONUS: you get one extra colonist for selecting the Mayor.

Builder: Allows everyone to build buildings. These buildings have special abilities that range from gaining bonus VP’s to being able to store your goods. Additionally each building is worth any number of VP’s. BONUS: building cost you one less coin.

Captain: Every player is able to ship their goods and sailing them home to the mother land. For every good you ship home you receive one VP. BONUS: you get an extra VP for selecting the captain.

Trader: Allows players to sell on of their goods on the trading block for coins. BONUS: selecting the Trader earns you one extra coin for selling your good.

Prospector: Simply gains you a coin. Other players gain nothing.

Settler: Each player can start a new plantation to produce goods. There are several different goods to produce such as corn, indigo, and sugar, but only a handful to choose from. BONUS: You can chose to build a quarry over a plantation. Quarries allow you to build minus one less coin on the building phase.

Craftsman: Allows all plantations with a colonist to produce a good to be shipped home. BONUS: you get one extra good of your choice.

The game mechanic that watch out for is the number of ships. Each ship you can load your goods on can only take one type of good, and there are not a enough ships to load every good. If you don’t get your goods on the right ship they will spoil and you will lose them. Essentially losing victory points.

Once the round is over and everyone has selected a role, the governor is passed to the next player, all characters not selected gain a coin to make them more tempting next round, and all players with too many goods without the proper warehouse must discard their spoiled goods if they didn’t get them on the ship.

The game is quick and not too difficult to learn, both pluses. There are a number of different strategies that can result in a victory, also a plus. Affordable is a plus. Plays with more than four is a plus, but not two players is a minus. While I’m sure it’s not the hardest brain burner, there is a lot of trying to figure out what is the best possible move. It proves to be a challenge on multiple levels. All in all the game is a plus. I believe most people consider this a classic and I know it receives much love. I say it is rightfully earned.

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Advanced Reviewer Bronze Supporter
96 of 103 gamers found this helpful
“Just one more turn!...”

When you hear someone crying “Just one more turn!…” it’s quite probable that you hear someone playing a turn-based strategy game on a computer, or… that you hear a Puerto Rico player just after the game ended.

In Puerto Rico the players impersonate rich landowners during the colonial era. Their colony consists of a few islands and each of the players controls one of them. Landowners try to establish plantations and quarries on islands they control, to build towns there, to invite new colonists to work there… and ultimately they ship their freshly grown crops to the old world to gain victory points.

The problem the players must face is the lack of qualified workers. Builders, craftsmen and traders are not too numerous. So the landowners, in order to prosper, they must share the services of those skilled guys: when one of the players invites, let’s say, a builder to the colony, the others may also use the skills of that artisan.

The game mechanics that imitates the situation described above, it makes the game an interesting mix of cooperative and competitive elements. You – as a player – want your island to prosper, but in order to do that you have to help other players doing so. If you build, you allow them to build, if you trade the others also do. Of course the player who invites a certain artisan (“takes its role” in the in-game terms) gets some special privileges for doing so: that includes a possibility of preforming a special action connected with that role or even earning some extra money if the role was inactive during the previous turn or turns. The latest effect represents increased demand for that artisan’s services.

There are three independent triggers that cause the game end (no more colonists available, finished town, victory points limit reached). And they are well chosen: when the game ends most of the players have the feeling described in the title of this review: “Just one more turn!… Just one more turn and my island will really prosper!” This leaves the players not with the sense of accomplishment but with the strong urge to play more.

Along with a nice exotic theme and a well thought mechanics, the cleverly chosen way to end the game makes Puerto Rico one of the most successful board games. Although it is not perfectly balanced, I must admit it’s a game I really like to play, and a game that each and every boardgaming fan should try at least once.

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Professional Reviewer Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
81 of 88 gamers found this helpful
“The Perrenial Gamers Game!”

Just as Catan was a groundbreaking “gateway” game to designer games and gaming with family, Puerto Rico stands as a big favorite among gamers. It has the innovative role selection mechanic that inspired other games like San Juan, Galactic Emperor, and Race for the Galaxy.

In this game, you are a Puerto Rican plantation owner. Your goal is to have the most thriving plantation, best developed section of San Juan (the capital), and ship plenty of goods back to Spain. All that accounts for victory points and of course you win with the most.

Each player during their turn gets to pick a role that allows everyone to perform a specific action. The roles are Builder, Craftsman, Prospector, Trader, Captain, Mayor, and Settler. The person picking the role gets the action plus a useful bonus that no one else gets. As you develop your plantation by selecting specific items to grow and adding buildings to the capital to process plantation produce into goods, you’ll spend your time carefully watching your opponents moves. The buildings you select give you slight advantages over your opponents in certain areas such as role selection, selling goods or producing goods, and final score tallying.

The reason you need to pay attention to what your opponents are doing is because you can adversely affect them in several ways. Sometimes you want to deny them the bonus action on a role even though he or she still gets the same action. Other times, you need to block your opponent from trading a good by placing yours first in the trading section, or you can deny them the good they want to ship back by filling up a ship first causing that player to lose goods. Even though there is no direct interaction in this game, you can see there is a lot of indirect interaction that makes this game stand out.

Personally, the game falls a little flat for me. I mostly play the official 2-player variant with my daughter. The theme doesn’t grip me like other games where Agricola has the tension of keeping your family fed, making it more rewarding in the end. I prefer to play San Juan which is Puerto Rico made into a card game. It’s still a really good game.

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I'm a Real Person
80 of 87 gamers found this helpful
“A spherical look at the game”

All of the players have one single purpose in Puerto Rico; and that is to build a thriving colony. It will start out as a simple place, most likely with only a single crop and no colonists, but if you make shrewd decisions, you might be running a thriving colony with quite the collection of buildings and a very profitable crop yield. But this will only happen if you can perform your job well, whatever your role might be.

Game Materials
The materials for this box are all either hard cardboard cutouts or small wooden pieces. They are very durable and have stood up to the test of time since I got the game years ago, and this is despite the fact that this is one of the more popular games in my collection. The only damage or wear-and-tear I have seen is from when my cat managed to retrieve one of the tokens and chewed it. That being said, the materials are very simple and won’t win any awards for artistic representation. They are functional and durable, but that is all.

Play Summary
The game is played in a series of turns. Each turn one person is the governor. This is decided randomly at first and then rotates around the table. The governor gets to go first and picks a job. After the governor picks a job, each player performs the action associated with that job. Once it goes all the way around and everyone has had a chance to do something, the next person around the table picks one of the remaining jobs. Everyone gets a chance to perform the action associated with this second job, starting with the player who picked it. Play continues like this until everyone has picked a job and all players have had a chance to perform any actions.

At this point, three jobs will be unclaimed. Each of these jobs get one doubloon placed on it as a type of incentive. If a player picks a job with any number of doubloons on it, that player gets that money in addition to being able to gain the benefits of picking the job. After placing one doubloon on each remaining job, all of the jobs are returned, the governor position is rotated, and another turn begins.

If at any point in the game one of the ending conditions is met, play continues until that turn is over. This means that even if the ending conditions are met after the governor picks a job, each other player will still have a chance to pick a job before the game is over. When the game is over, the players count up victory points and whoever has the most is the winner.

This seems very simple on the surface, but there is a significant amount more to explain. First of all, whenever someone picks a job, that player gets a bonus ability. Each of the jobs has some type of bonus associated with it. For example, consider the Builder. This job enables each player to build one building as long as they pay the associated cost. Whoever picked the job gets the special bonus of needing to pay one less to build a building. It is convenient, and a good design decision, that each of the colony boards has all of the jobs listed on it as well as the special abilities.

There are three separate ways to get victory points. First of all, you gain victory points for shipping goods back to the motherland. For every barrel of goods that you ship back, you gain one victory point. The second way is by building buildings. Each building has a victory point value associated with it. At the end of the game, these values get added to your victory point tokens to provide you your score. The third and final way to get victory points is through the use of one of five special buildings. There are five buildings that provide bonus victory points at the end of the game based on special conditions. Those descriptions are provided on the buildings.

Buildings and crops by themselves do nothing. In order for a building or a crop to produce anything, it needs to be populated with at least one colonist. Some of the production buildings have multiple openings for colonists and can support more than one colonist at a time. In these cases, the building works once for each colonist working. The concept of production buildings brings up another interesting rule. The only crop that produces something by itself is corn. All of the other crops – indigo, coffee, tobacco, and sugar – require an associated production building in order to produce any goods. That means that you need to get the crop, build the production building, and populate both with one colonist before you will see any return on your investment.

As I said, the game seems simple at first and quickly becomes more complicated.

There are also several supplementary rules that need to be kept in mind, but those go beyond the scope of this review. Also, the description of each of the jobs is also beyond the scope. What I have currently written should give you a good approximation of how the game is played.

Play Experience
One of the things that you may have noticed in the previous section is that there is no dice rolling in this game. There is also very little random card drawing. The only random elements in this game are: who is the governor first; and which crops are currently available to plant. Everything else is determined by the jobs that people pick and what they decide to do on their action. This makes Puerto Rico a very popular game for the more strategy-minded people in our gaming group.

Adding to the popularity for this game is the fact that there are multiple routes to success. There is no one sure-fire way to win where everyone is trying the same strategy. Or if there is, we have not found it yet. In fact, one of the things that seems to work best is to do what no one else is doing. For example, if everyone is growing corn, it is not necessarily to your advantage to grow corn. There is a limit to how many goods can be produced at any time. This is determined by the number of tokens provided with the game. If you are the fifth player to produce corn, it might all be gone by the time it gets to you to claim your goods. Now, if you were producing something no one else was, you will find that you always have access to all of the goods available. This is a very powerful position to be in.

Because of these two elements, you need to pay close attention to what the other players are doing. If you can predict what jobs other people will pick when their turn comes around, you will be doing well. It also pays to consider where governor is. You will be surprised the number of times that knowing you will get to pick your job first NEXT turn is a key element to what you decide in THIS turn.

Picking jobs can sometimes be a tricky endeavor because there is a lot to consider. I often find myself considering what jobs other people will pick behind me, what I will gain out of this job now, what other people will benefit if I pick a certain job, etc. There are also numerous rules that you can use to your advantage, and this is particularly true with the trader or captain job. Both of these jobs have the potential to lock out other players so that you are the only one who can benefit, but you need to be paying attention for those opportunities to take advantage of them. If you get to pick a job and you are the only one who gets money or victory points, it means a lot in the game. Timing is the key.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into this game, and that is part of the reason for both its popularity and large variance in play time. With respect to the game time, it can happen where a very analytical player spends what feels like an eternity picking which job to take. Other times, every player is on the ball and picks jobs almost immediately as soon as it is permitted to do so. I would say that the majority of our games, when played with experience players, fall around the 75 minute mark.

Notable Praise
The almost complete lack of random elements makes this game extremely fun. If you are completely out of the running for the game, most of the time you have no one to blame but yourself. You need to be able to come up with a strategy, and be flexible with it because one single strategy is not going to always work. This game is too dependent on what other players do to make a single strategy always effective.

Which leads nicely into point two: the game continues to be fun to play because you rarely can play it the exact same way. Sure, you may have your preferred strategy, but it is too easy for other players to interfere with it if they realize what you are attempting. This encourages agile thinking and adds to the replay value.

There is very little dead time in this game. The most time you will spend waiting and doing nothing is while another player is debating which job to pick. Most of the time, those decisions do not last a long time, so there is not a lot of time waiting for it to be your turn. This is nice and helps to keep all of the players around the table.

Notable Gripes
The game can take a while to explain and can be a lot to swallow for someone new to it. Trying to explain all of the rules and all of nuances at once can be a bit overwhelming and make it difficult to get a player going. A lot of players catch on after a turn or two, but by it can still be a while longer before they start to realize an effective way to play in terms of maximizing opportunities. A very frequent question is “What strategy should I use?” or “How should I play?” Neither of these is an easy question to answer, and I would argue neither one has a consistent answer. In my mind, this marks it as a good strategy game because of all of the nuances in it, but it does mean it can have a steep learning curve for new players, especially if they are new gamers.

The other gripe I would have deals more with my OCD than anything else. I have not found a good way to store the game with the plastic holder that it comes with. I just have not found a way to sort the pieces to my satisfaction that makes it quick and easy to set up the game. But, this is a very minor gripe and should not keep anyone from enjoying this game. It is just something that comes to mind every time I put the game away so I felt it warranted mentioning.

Puerto Rico is an excellent game, and one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys any type of city-building game. There are very few random elements, and how the play goes is very dependent on other players. This gives the game a high replay value and also keeps all players engaged because there is very little downtime.

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Amateur Reviewer
80 of 88 gamers found this helpful
“A truly excellent game”

Puerto Rico is a fairly ugly game in a fairly ugly box, reminiscent of old Amstrad game titles. Thankfully, it is a joy to play – a true king of light strategy games. In Puerto Rico, the players assume the roles of landowners on the recently settled island of Puerto Rico, and are seeking prestige and glory by developing the city of San Juan and shipping goods back to Europe. They will do this by inviting various artisans to the island – the mayor, the captain, the settler, the builder, the prospector, the craftsman and the trader.

Each player has their own board, with a representation of the things they own on the island. The area at the top of the board shows the buildings the player has built, while the area at the bottom of the board is the player’s plantations – fields which produce the game’s 5 goods: corn, indigo, sugar, tobacco and coffee. At the top right of each player’s board is a compass rose, which the game suggests players display their assets on (money, goods, victory points), though it doesn’t really serve much purpose. This board is pretty. The other cards, less so. The wooden components are nice – each good is represented by painted wooden ‘barrels’, which is very pleasing. The ship cards (used to ship workers to the island and transport goods from the island) are pretty dull looking, and the buildings have no visual representation at all – they are simply chits with the words like ‘Factory’ and ‘Office’ on them. There is a market board too, which stores the money and buildings the players can access.

Really though, it is the gameplay that has made Puerto Rico one of the most acclaimed games of all time. In each round, one player is the ‘governor’, meaning they take action first. Each of the 7 artisans begin in the middle of the table in the form of ‘role cards’. The governor takes a role card, essentially meaning he or she has invited that specialist onto the island. This now means that, in clockwise order, all players can take the action allowed by that card. For instance, if a player selects the builder card, all players get the opportunity to build a new building. The player who selected the card also gets an extra, related bonus for choosing it. To use the builder example again, the player who actually selects that card gets a discount on buildings for that turn.

After that, the next player chooses a role from the remaining cards and everyone takes that action. This continues until the turn arrives back at the governor, at which point there will be 3 roles that have not been chosen (the prospector role is duplicated when there are more than 4 players). The governor then places a coin on each unused role card as an added incentive to choose that card next time round. The less popular cards can pile up a small fortune of coins before someone decides to take them. The roles are returned to the middle of the table, the governor card then passes on, and the next round begins.

To explain all the roles would be boring and long, but to really understand the game, you need to know what each role does – everything that is done in the game relates to one of the roles. An overview however, would be something like: the settler grows plantations which produce goods to be harvested by the craftsmen. They won’t produce goods without the right buildings built by the builder. Building requires money, which is acquired through the skills of the trader, who sells goods and the prospector, who guarantees a small cash return. Buildings and plantations are worth nothing without workers, who are managed by the mayor. Goods can then be shipped back to Europe with the assistance of the captain in exchange for victory points. All goods are worth equal victory points, but trade for different values in the trader phase, and conversely some are easier to produce than others.

As you can see, every role is linked to every other role, and the design of this is practically perfect. The captain phase, in fact, is like a mini-game in itself, as players attempt to load all their goods and limit opponent’s options.

This is essentially the spirit of Puerto Rico – you are attempting to study the current situations of all of your opponents and select a role which will benefit you without benefiting your opponents too much. Taking some roles can be risky – if you select the craftsman to harvest goods, is the next player from you going to get a more lucrative harvest and then select trader and capitalise on the harvest you’ve just given them?

The game has a perfect blend of strategy and tactics. There are two main ways to gain victory points: shipping goods and buildings, which each have a victory point value. Which will you choose? To build a great city, or become a great farmer? What about a blend of the two? If you choose to farm the land, will you specialise in a couple of goods, or try to get a wide variety? If you choose to build many buildings, which ones will you choose to benefit you the most, as each building has unique abilities? The other main tactical point is, if you think you are ahead, you could try to bring the game to a speedy close by either filling your city or using up the last of the game’s worker supply.

The tactical part of the game, however, comes from the timing of each role. Can you spot a shrewd move which will allow you to ship all of your goods, but allow your opponent’s produce to perish? Are you the only person who can exploit the trading house to its maximum potential this turn? Do you really need to take this role now, or could you choose a different one because you know one of your opponents will probably choose this role next anyway? Do you leave a role until next turn because it will hopefully have acquired some money on it? There are many interesting decisions to be made throughout the game, and every one has an instant effect on all the players.

My only real criticism of the game is that in a group of varied skill and experience levels, the winner will almost without fail be the player sitting to the left of the least experienced player – the less experienced player probably won’t be thinking ahead, and the more experienced player will be able to take advantage of every move made by the newbie. The game truly does encourage strategic thought, and there is only one random element in the entire game – the plantations that are available during each settler phase, but even then, if the plantation tiles aren’t in your favour, you can opt not to play that phase. You will always be comparing the situation of you and your opponents, but because you cannot see your opponents victory point chips (and because some buildings allow bonus victory points at the end of the game on top of the normal points for buildings), you never know who has actually won until the end.

Puerto Rico is a truly excellent game, a modern classic. If this game gets reprinted with more attractive graphics (and possibly a few minor adjustments to building effects and costs), I would honestly buy it again. The game lasts just the right length of time, and, while there is no actual negotiation, the level between the roles and players is huge. I imagine myself playing Puerto Rico in many years to come.

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Gamer - Level 1
69 of 76 gamers found this helpful
“From the Mouth of Jormi - Puerto Rico”

I had played this game a couple of times before buying my own copy, and then that copy sat in the box for quite a while. It is now out and punched and seeing frenzied play as it should.

Gameplay- Puerto Rico has a very unique gameplay that really sets itself apart from other games.

In Puerto Rico, players are loosely simulating the colonization of Puerto Rico. They do this buy assuming different roles that change the turn structure. One person is the designated governor for the turn. They then get first pick of the roles and then go clockwise around the table. The governor passes to the next person each turn, so everyone gets a fair shot at picking the role they want first.

The goal of the game is to get the most victory points. This can be achieved in several ways. The main way is by sending goods back to the old world on ships during the Captain phase. Another way is by constructing buildings during the Builder phase.

Another aspect of the game is generating revenue in the form of doubloons. Some people get caught up in the money making aspect and lose sight of the true goal of gaining victory points.

The game offers a lot of strategy and little monotony with its turn structure. Not knowing what phases are actually going to occur each turn requires one to make decisions with limited information and try to guess what the opponents are going to do. One also has to be careful when choosing his or her role, because the role that might be the most helpful, may also help an opponent more.

I feel that the gameplay deserves 9 out of 10 doubloons.

Look and Feel- The art for the game is good. Nothing outstanding, but it works well with the theme and time period.

I have to say that when I play this game, I do not feel like I am really colonizing Puerto Rico. I feel like I am in a race for victory points.

Also be ready to do some punching when you get this game. There are a lot of pieces to punch, but lots of bits are cool.

I also like how each player is playing on their own board with the community board in the middle to buy and trade from.

The look and feel of this game earns it a 7 out of 10 doubloons.

Overall Score- 8 doubloons out of 10

Final word- If you are a fan of Euro style games, this game is already in your collection. If it isn’t, what are you doing reading this. Go get it now.

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Intermediate Reviewer
Gamer - Level 3
74 of 82 gamers found this helpful
“Deep Strategic Play; No Luck Required”

Puerto Rico is a game with deep strategic play offering more than one path to victory due to the abstract method employed to gain points. Each turn players select a role from the pool which gives each player an action, but the chooser gains a bonus. The roles vary from adding a plantation, adding workers, building, producing goods, shipping goods, selling goods, and being greedy and taking money. Shipping is the only role with an action that grants points, while two roles grant money which is used to build buildings which are worth points at the end of the game. Production only works if you have a plantation and a production building of the same kind and they are both staffed. Players will find they need to carefully balance what roles they pick at what times, and have a few backup plans as someone may choose a role at a disadvantageous time.

Players do not directly interact, however after shipping goods players may find themselves with spoilage causing all but one of their goods to be discarded. The plantations and buildings in the game are finite, not every player will get what they want, so players must choose the right time to act or else lose out. There are three end-game triggers, so it is difficult to delay the game, and if you are not paying close attention the game may end before you realize it. There are a few good strategies for winning the game, but not all of them will work for each play, so players need to maintain a Plan B while also doing some form of damage control.

Puerto Rico offers depth of play and rewards careful planning and adaptability. There is no luck in the game, though the forces at play cannot always be predicted.

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Gamer - Level 2
70 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Excellent game for the whole family”

Components: The boards and building / plantation chits are simply thin cardboard with very basic or no art, so the overall appearance is rather plain. Still, each component gets its point across clearly, which in the end is what really matters.

Setup: It’d be unfair to not mention this, as setting up the game is rather tedious, having to count out several pieces based on the number of players… Not only does it take a while to get done, but is also difficult to memorize.

Learning the Game: Learning to actually play the game is pretty straight forward. Each of the possible actions that you can take are very well explained in the rulebook and the text on the individual buildings is mostly easy to understand. My wifey and daughters were able to catch on early in the first game and scored well their first tries.

Game Play: The game play itself moves along very quickly as each player usually has something to do on every turn of the game. There’s plenty of time to explore lots of the available buildings and really build up your player board. The game ends just where it should, not too eary nor too late.

Interaction: How much players are able to mess with each other is an important aspect of game play to me and while Puerto Rico doesn’t have a ton of interaction, it still has plenty to work well for my tastes. The majority of the interaction here is in denying your opponents the actions and buildings that they would prefer, but also comes with timing actions to force them into less then favorable positions.

Conclusion: While the game is a bit plain to look at and tedious to setup, playing the game is a joy and offers plenty of strategic choices that I and my family greatly enjoy.

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Scorpion Clan-Legend of the Five Rings
62 of 70 gamers found this helpful
“Easy to learn, Hard to master”

Puerto Rico is one of my favorite games, and probably one of the most challenging, when playing with others of your same level.

While this game is not hard to learn, there are many different strategies for winning (and learning to play and counter those strategies) can be a steep curve.

The Role Selection machanism might be new to some, but after a few turns it is easily understood.

The games state is always visible, meaning, with the exception of a player’s current victory point total, there are no hidden factors.

The only thing that is randomly determined in the game is the play order (and starting player), leaving the game on a mental level with Chess, where you are always trying to think a turn or two ahead.

The fact that other players also have the ability to use the role abilities at the same time is a huge factor in game play and can be used to effectively lock out other players moves. Understanding of these roles and the ability to estimate an opponents next choice of roles is a major part of the learning curve of this game.

If you are into games that require mental accuity, this game is for you. This game can be unforgiving of mistakes and you need to be able to pay attention to other players actions as well as your own.
Definitely not a game for everyone, but a game that I will pay over and over when given a chance.

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Gamer - Level 6
Asmodee fan
Count / Countess
63 of 75 gamers found this helpful
“The refreshing game feeling”

Puerto Rico was one of the first games – after my recollection – that introduces asynchronous game turns. What I mean about this, is that when one player chooses an action, every other play is directly affected by this. And the one to choose the action gets a boon in form of extra bonus the action provides.

There are many actions to do, as well, but one action may only be selected once per game round. You can select to get more colonists, build, produce a new plant, produce goods, trade or ship your goods back to the mother country. The order of which these actions are played are very important, depending on where in line you are. If someone ships the goods away, and there’s no room for your goods on the ships, you might lose everything you have.

It opens for a new way of thinking, and it’s important to mind what the other players have avaliable. You want to earn points, but you don’t want your opponents to benefit on behalf of your actions.

It’s a great game, and it’s quite easy to learn. No game is the same, and there are many ways to optmize your point machine. 3 or 4 players is the best in this game.

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Reviewed My First Game
28 of 34 gamers found this helpful
“Elegant Simplicity”

This is the first economy game I remember playing. Someone brought it out after our D&D session as a kind of palate cleanser and I was hooked.

What I liked:
1)I was able to pick up on the basics quickly, and refining an actual strategy was a matter of a couple of games. I didn’t tire of it before I was able to hold my own.
2)There are enough elements to encourage a variety of play styles, but it remains fairly simple. I find games where you have to constantly refer to the rules to interfere with my enjoyment.

What I didn’t like:
1)The length is a turn off for casual gamers. Especially if they are likely to lose the first time or two.
2)Although it is simple, the number of possible choices each round can overwhelm new players. You can explain it in a few minutes, but players that aren’t strategically minded might be easily frustrated.

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Novice Reviewer
I play red
80 of 99 gamers found this helpful
“This one will grow on you”

When I first played this game I didn’t really like it that much. This was partly because I lost very badly and could not understand why and partly because of the seemingly non-existing player interaction. But this is where I was wrong.

The theme of the game is to build buildings, produce goods and ship the goods for either money or points. By selecting roles like (not the real names here) Builder, Producer, Shipping etc. you achieve these goals. The person who picks the role gets the first action and a added benefit. After that the rest of the players get the same action but not a added benefit.

The key of the game, or the basic key at least, is to pick the right role at the right time. Asking yourself “What role benefits me more then the other players” is a crucial starting point for understanding the subtle dynamic of this game. From there the real fun of choosing strategy begins. It is never easy, but always fun.

In addition to the genius tactics of the game the theme is great, the production value is great (even in the regular edition) and the game is a joy to simply play where you always feel some satisfaction when you produce some sugar and ship it off to get some points.

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57 of 71 gamers found this helpful
“One of my Top Games”

This is my review of the game Puerto Rico, and while the game has been out for some time now, it is new to me. While there are many reviews out for this game already, It has had a big an impact on me, and I feel that reviewing it felt oddly necessary.

The theme here is one that I was a little unsure of, being a settler in the early years of Puerto Rico did not necessarily sound like my cup of tea, however; the theme is very rich and fits well into the mechanics of the game. Puerto Rico really makes you feel like you are starting a colony from scratch so I have to give it high marks here. As it turns out, producing goods and shipping them to Spain is a lot more fun that it sounds. The game is played by selecting one of the different roles, the craftsman, the trader, the builder, the captain, the mayor, the settler and the prospector. Each role lets the players perform a certain task such as building buildings, producing goods, or simply receiving a gold doubloon. The way to win the game is by earning victory points by either owning buildings, or producing and shipping goods back to Spain. While the victory conditions may seem easy to achieve, there are many different strategies to accomplish them and this gives the game an amazing level of depth.

The price of Puerto Rico falls into the sweet spot of around 30 dollars, and with the high level of quality of the components you are definitely getting your moneys worth.

From the moment I cracked the box open, I was impressed by the level of quality. The individual player boards are thick glossy card stock, and have held up well over the course of many games. The wooden pieces and cardboard chits included are all well designed, and fit well into the plastic compartmented liner that comes with the box. The game comes included with several bags to contain the many small pieces, and Rio Grande even threw in a couple of spares which I thought was a wonderful touch.

The artwork of Puerto Rico is really not its strong point, and while the art looks good and serves its purpose, it is nothing to write home about. Although the art is nothing spectacular, it functions well to drive the theme along, and does not detract from the overall quality of the game.

Puerto Rico is a simple game to play, however it can be quite difficult to explain to others what is going on. The manual is well written, and will be an invaluable tool in teaching new players the ropes of the game. It might take a 5-6 turns before you can get a grasp on what is really going on, and it might take a game or two before you start to develop your own strategies.

This game has a lot going on, and there are tons of strategies. There are a couple of main strategies that will be very apparent from game one or two, and several that will take much more experience to develop. There is NO LUCK involved in this game, victory depends completely on your strategy and how well you manage or mismanage your resources. While Puerto Rico is a very complex game, the overall rules are very simple. The complexity in this game comes from the many varieties of options available. Players who suffer from Analysis Paralysis will definitely have a hard time choosing their roles and other options.

While there isn’t much direct player interaction, the various roles that you chose will definitely affect the other players. It is very important to pick a role that benefits you the most, and your opponents the least. While each player has his own turn, the different roles affect all players at the same time, and only offer a small bonus to the player that picked it. Picking the craftsman for example (the role that produces goods), can set the next player up to ship all of those goods back to Spain scoring points if you are not careful.

Waiting your turn in this game is a non issue, as you get to take an action on every players turn. The pace of the game is great, and the mechanics are absolutely ingenious.

The game lasts around an hour, to an hour and a half depending on the level of player skill. The more experience players have the faster the game will move along, and I have had games play as quickly as 45 minutes.

Puerto Rico is insanely re playable, I have played it over fifty times since purchasing it, and feel like I am never going to get sick of it.

Puerto Rico has become one of my favorites, if not my favorite game. I am always down to play a game, and think about the games I have played long after they are completed. What did I do right? What could I have done better? Like I said earlier, this game involves a ton of strategy, and discovering new ones is half of the fun. This game is like trying to build a machine, and then watching as it comes to life. I would highly recommend this Puerto Rico, and am truly glad to have purchased it.

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28 of 35 gamers found this helpful
“Economic Strategy at it's best!”

Puerto Rico is a game where you control agricultural production on an island of Puerto Rico. You can specialize in five major crop productions; Corn, Indigo, Sugar, Tobacco, and Coffee. If running a series of crop plantations sounds kind of lame, you will be surprised at just how fun this game is to play.

The game features a worker phase mechanic, where you choose one of the eight phases to be completed by everyone that round. For instance, if there are three players, then there will be three phases completed. Player one chooses Mayor, which brings workers to place in your fields. Player two chooses Craftsman, which gathers product from the plantations. Finally, player three chooses trader, for a chance to sell their products for doubloons. The phases are then completed by each player in that order.

The game really does require the perfect amount of thought. You have to wisely impact the order that worker phases are completed and balance yourself properly as you seek doubloons and victory points. Puerto Rico comes highly recommended by myself and my colleagues.

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Knight-errant Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
60 of 76 gamers found this helpful
“There is a theme, but is it one that sticks?”

To me this game maintains an interesting position. The game has excellent strategy and gameplay. There is little to no downtime. There is no randomness, it is all about strategy.

The people that I initially played this game with, explained how some of the buildings were miss-priced for what they do. They explained that in many tournaments, there are changes to a couple of the values. It would be nice to see them fixed in reprints.

This game does have a strong theme, and it can be felt during game play. It’s just hard to get all of my friends and even myself to get excited about the concept. And don’t take this comment too seriuosly, but a friend of mine did bring up a good point. The worker pieces are all brown. We wondered if the developers were doing that because the workers were probably slaves. We laughed, but at the same time (not that racism is funny, it was just an ironic idea) had to stop and think about it. Was that a good move on the designer’s part?

There is something to be said for some randomness. Randomness adds that edge of your seat element. There is always that moment in a game with dice or a card draw where you are crossing your fingers and looking for that last chance at victory. Puerto Rice is really missing that exciting element. It is this fact actually that makes me enjoy a little known game, Constantinopolis (made by FFG) over this one. In that game, you could draw a couple of really good contracts at the end of the game to throw you over the top and send your opponents home tearing out their hair.

It is a good game that deserves accoloades, I just don’t think it lives up to all the hype. I’m still glad that I have had the chance to experience this game. I would play it again.

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Hockey Fan
My First Game Tip
70 of 92 gamers found this helpful
“thoughts on the iPad version”

So I bought the iPad version of Puerto Rico before going on vacation- wanting a portable game to play and this is one my boyfriend had wanted to try out. The iPad version comes with a tutorial that you can play essentially a shortened version of the game as it tries to teach you the game. I will admit, I didn’t get all the strategy it takes to win at first- when playing computer players, they move so quickly that its hard to try and learn the “why” behind the move part of the game.
As luck would have it, the ship we were on had a physical copy of the game which we checked out and attempted to play a two person version of the game. And although we discovered later that we played several things wrong- playing the actual game at the slower pace helped us both understand the game and made the next few attempts on the iPad much more enjoyable- the combination of having the rule book and trying to figure it out on our own (when we were both novices) and the computer version setting up the game right/proper amounts/turns/coins made it now a joy to play.
The obvious pros to the computer version is that the physical game has a lot of little playing pieces- and the computer version you don’t have to keep up with all those little pieces. thats helpful- especially when traveling or if you have cats like we do that like to jump on tables. It also sets up everything and controls play/order of turns/which role you took which is helpful.
I’d say, the iPad version is pretty solid- the cons would be for me it helps to talk out whats going on in other peoples turns as well to learn how to play- cant do that here.
Puerto Rico is a fun game once you get the hang of it. I’m still learning but enjoying the challenge of it.

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Gamer - Level 1
28 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“A Classic board game that still holds up”

This game is from way back in 2002 by Andreas ******** and rio grande games. Despite the massive incline in quality of euro games in the past 3-5 years Puerto Rico still holds up as one of the best. Lots of strategic decision forcing you to watch your opponents and adjust your game to get the greatest benefit from there actions. So much fun, especially if you can get your hands on one it’s 2 expansions, adding some variety to the buildings. Even without that this game, though not perfect, still holds up today.

Timeless classic 8/10

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Gamer - Level 2
61 of 82 gamers found this helpful
“Abstract Gaming Gold”

This is nearly pure strategy gaming. The only thing that keeps it from being a pure strategy game is the fact that there are the random plantation tiles. Otherwise, you’d have all the information you need laid out in front of you. Do you want to ship some goods that you’re now able to produce? Well, if you choose to produce the goods, then maybe the player two spots to your left will take shipping. They have a lot of corn there, and you’re sure that you’ll be able to ship all of your sugar if they take it.

They did what you thought they’d do?

Pure gaming gold.

I’ll take this game over Race For the Galaxy simply because it is so easy to repeat strategies. It’s great when you can actually plan out your next three turns, and it all works as you had planned it. That is why this game deserves a 10/10.

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Treasure Map
27 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Great "Heavier" Game”

This is a review not a description of play.

I have loved this game since I have played it.
I would not recommend it for those new to gaming.

What I like:

1: I love games where you might have to adjust your strategy depending on what is happening each game.
2: Has multiple methods of winning the game.
3: Game is very interactive heavy throughout all stages of the game.

1: Hard to always know what to do if you are new to the game.
2: Game will be too long with over thinkers.

TIP: Decide what you want to do on your turn before it is your time, and have a couple of back of plans in case those options are not available.



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