Gameday First Play – Puerto Rico

Posted on by Jesta

A classic game I hadn’t got around to playing yet…

…until now!

In Puerto Rico players assume the roles of colonial governors on the island of Puerto Rico. The aim of the game is to amass victory points by shipping goods to Europe or by constructing buildings.

So this is a very simple game really. There are 7 roles, on your turn you choose one and then everyone gets to do it in turn order. If it’s your turn you get a little bonus for the role you choose.

Puerto Rico Role Cards

So lets look at these roles…

The Prospector first as it’s the easiest. You get 1 Doubloon, no one else gets anything…

Now the interesting ones…

Builder, lets you build obviously with a 1 Doubloon discount if you selected the role. The Buildings you can pick from are on a chart and are limited in numbers, first come first served.

Puerto Rico Buildings

They have a cost and effect on them so it’s all very clear. Some are required to ‘Craft’ but we’ll look at this role later, first you need to know about getting Plantations.

The Settler lets you take Plantation tiles to add to your board which you can use later to produce resources. If you take the role you can take a Quarry instead of a Plantation which gives you a discount on buildings.

Puerto Rico Player Board

(As you can see all the roles are described on your player board, it’s a very easy game to learn/play)

Once you have a Plantation and matching Factory you can then Craft! Well, hang on a bit, not yet, you need ‘Workers’ for both.

Workers arrive on ships and are selected using the Mayor role. The ship is stocked each turn and they are drafted in order until everyone has filled their available slots or the ship runs out of colonists.

Puerto Rico Colonist Ship

Take the role first and you get an extra Colonist for your troubles.

Once you have a ‘staffed’ buildings and plantations, you can finally get a benefit from the Craftsman.

This lets you take resources for each pair of buildings/plantations you have which you can put on your board.

What can you do with these? Well, the 2 remaining roles let you get things for them.

The Trader lets you sell them for Doubloons to the trading house.

Puerto Rico Trading House

Here you can sell a good for Doubloons with a bonus extra Doubloon if you too the role. The value of each of the goods are on the tile and each good sold must be different so you can look to see if people can or can’t sell 🙂

The last one is the Captain which lets you load goods on a ship for points.

Puerto Rico Ships

The 3 ships hold one resources type so once someone puts something on one ship that’s all it can take. You get 1 point per good you load and a bonus point if you selected the role yourself.

After a round you put a Doubloon on each role card not taken so it’s more tempting next time and you start again with a new start player.

This continues until the end game is triggered with VP tokens and end game scoring on buildings counting towards your score.

So that’s it really. Build and Settle, Colonise then Craft and Ship/Trade.

It’s a very nice and easy game to play and it’s done very well. You can see why games like this and El Grande are often copied but rarely bettered.

There are a lot of these role selection games available now with Roll for the Galaxy being my  favourite, but this comes in second place I think.

I’m not sure I’d like to play this with experience players due to the issue of ‘expected moves’ where they know what you should do and will expect you to do it. But then again I wouldn’t like to play any game under those conditions. 🙂

So, while I won’t be rushing out to own it, I will happily play it more and will probably enjoy it. I’m very tempted to get it on iOS to be honest 😉

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