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Tabletop Game / Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico is a Eurogame by Andreas Seyfarth. Published in 2002, it was once considered the pinnacle of Eurogames. Players assume the roles of colonial governors on the island of Puerto Rico during 17th century. The aim of the game is to amass victory points in two ways: by exporting goods and by constructing buildings.

Puerto Rico can be played by three, four or five players, although an official two-player variant also exists. There is an official expansion released in 2004, which adds new buildings with different abilities that can replace or be used alongside those in the original game. A second, smaller expansion became available in 2009. Additionally, a couple of changes to the rules have been suggested that serve to balance the game.

There is also a card game variant, with complete overhaul of rules. It is officially named San Juan, but on many markets, it's still sold as Puerto Rico.

Tropes occurring in the game

  • Anti-Hoarding: If you don't have a warehouse, you can't stock remaining barrels once ships are loaded. And even if you have one, you can stock a very limited amount.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Unless a very specific set of plantations happens early on, big processing building for sugar is this.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • If you start with indigo plantation and didn't get second one in the very first Plantator phase, small processing building for indigo becomes this. It can process your starting output just fine, while cheap (or even free if you buy it with the Builder bonus).
    • One of the most potent and easy strategies is to amass as much corn fields as only possible. Corn doesn't need to be processed in any way and earns you lots of points. You might not make big money on trading (since it's worthless without being the one who picked Trader role), but you don't exactly need it anyway.
  • Cool, but Inefficient:
    • Coffee. It's expensive when sold to merchant, but requires equally expensive building to process it — and it can only generate two barrels of coffee, rather than regular three you get from big processing buildings.
    • In the expansion, planting forest instead of building plantation is this. You need two forest tiles to get benefit equal to a single quarry.
  • Griefer: A whole lot of strategies aren't as much about winning, but to deny other players maximum benefits.
    • The game is decided roughly by mid-game. If you aren't winning or going head-to-head with the leader, your best bet isn't as much to chase after them, but make their life miserable and picking roles in order that will hurt them. It will hurt you too, but the current leader will be screwed and someone close to lead can catch up.
    • Another denial strategy is about getting the big buildings, despite not getting their full benefits. Someone exporting like crazy? Buy Custom House to deny them extra points. Someone is most populous? Build the Fortress.
  • Money Is Not Power: Despite doublons being needed to buy buildings, they are not accounted for points - you might be sitting on a literal pile of money and still end up with the worst score of all players. It doesn't matter how well you are doing economically, if you can't supply Europe.
  • Prospector: One of the roles to pick. It instantly gives whoever uses it 1 doublon and whatever amount that might be stacked on it.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Getting ahead with money in early game pretty much wins it for you in the long run.