Puerto Rico Game Blender > PR Variants Based on Favorite Games
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I really like Puerto Rico, and have played dozens and dozens of times -- but invariably, within a certain group, predictable moves and strategies emerge... I started thinking about ways of spicing up PR while gazing upon my game collection.

Then it hit me -- just toss Puerto Rico into the "Game Blender" with another one of my favorite games and see what happens! Some of these variants could actually be put to the test to see how they work, and others just humorous daydreams.

What other game mechanics do you think would blend well with Puerto Rico?
What could give PR a little "boost" to make it fresh and new again?

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1. Board Game: History of the World [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:597]
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Last Place Picks First

Take the "catch up" mechanic from HotW - where the player in last place at the start of each epoch draws a civ card first and decides to keep or assign it to another player.

To do this in PR, you'd need to make VPs public knowledge. Once someone hits 5 VPs, you trigger this style. At the beginning of a new round, the person in last place (or who went earliest in that round if tied) selects one role at random and looks at it privately. He then decides if he wants to keep this role for the upcoming round or assign it to another player. The next person does likewise, and so on, until all players have a role.

The turn order then advances, as usual, from the rotating starting player position, but uses these new roles. Since this method would offer a bit more chaos and player control over their opponents, Doubloons would not be used to incentive passed-over roles.
 
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2. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:801]
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Set Powers, Role "Zaps" and Destiny Decks

Before the game, each person is assigned one role, which is their "power" for the duration of the game (set power portion).

At any time, a player can "zap" a player's role, preventing him from receiving the privilege, by spending 1 VP. Alternatively, a player can "zap" another player to prevent them from using a particular role's ability at all for 2 VP (the zap/edict part).

Finally, turn order is determined by a random card draw, like the destiny deck. When it's your "turn" in the turn order, flip over the top card and see which role is activated, and play clockwise from that role. If you flip over your own role, you are "unzappable" for the round.
 
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3. Board Game: Evo [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:756]
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Bidding on the Roles

Everyone would start with 10 VPs available to them, but roles would be bid on, like genes in Evo. At the end of each round, return all the roles, and set up the bidding. Each player, in the order of the previous turn, places a pawn on the role they wish to use for the next turn on the bidding track (as seen in the photo - far left). The next player can either outbid or bid on another role. Once all roles have a bid, players pay their VPs back to the bank, and then conduct the turn order as usual.
 
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4. Board Game: La Città [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:553]
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Colonists Move To Where The Jobs Are

Like the "sucking phase" -- er, population transfer phase -- of La Citta, if you have colonists sitting around in San Juan during your turn, they'll go off to find employment somewhere else.

After the entire turn has been conducted, return to the first player. He compares his chart to the player on his immediate LEFT. If the acting player has more open spaces on his plantations/buildings than the player to his left, and that player has a SPARE COLONIST in San Juan, the acting player takes one and immediately places it in a vacant space. However, if the player on the left has more vacancies among his plantations/buildings than the player on the right, then the player on the right must give the player to his left one colonist of his choice from anywhere on his display, to be played immediately.

Resolve in turn order before starting the next turn.

 
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5. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:596]
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Simplified Conflict: The Thug

Vinci uses superior numbers, rather than dice, to resolve conflicts. PR could stand for a little bit of sabotage from time to time, so my suggestion would be the creation of a new role, titled the "Thug" ...

As the Thug, you have the option to discard any two colonists from anywhere on your play sheet to remove a colonist of your choice from the play sheet of the player immediately to your left or right. The privilege for the "Thug" allows you to do this at the cost of only one of your own colonists.
 
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6. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
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Diminishing Options - Sinking Feeling

To capture the great flavor of Survive, where things quickly fall beyond your control and you need to struggle to make progress, I'd love to see some diminishing options in PR...

After finishing his turn, the last player of the round removes from play one of the following:
- 1 Quarry marker
- 1 Plantation of his choice from those remaining
- 1 Trade Barrel of the good of his choice
- 1 Building that has yet to be built

These items are removed from play and put back in the box.
 
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7. Board Game: Samurai [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:170]
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Majority in Several Areas

I love Samurai's compelling scoring system, where you need to have the majority in a single resource to even score. This could help provide some balance to PR, as you juggle your control over several different resources. Once the normal "end game" event is triggered, players compare the following. Whoever has the most of the most different categories is declared the winner. The areas you vie to control are:

1) Standard VPs
2) Doubloons
3) Occupied Plantation Spaces
4) Occupied Building Spaces

So if Allan, Beth and Charlie are playing and it ended up like this, Allan would be the winner, since he controls the most in 2 of the 4 categories:

1) Standard VPs (Allen 54, Beth 50, Charlie 49)
2) Doubloons (Beth 7, Allen 6, Charlie 3)
3) Occupied Plantation Spaces (Charlie 10, Allen 8, Beth 8)
4) Occupied Building Spaces (Allen 16, Charlie 14, Beth 11)


 
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8. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
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Lowest Common Denominator

Another greak mechanic to really force a player to diversify. This actually would use the same four categories as the Samurai variant above, but instead of needing the most in several categories, your final score would simply be whichever of the four resources is lowest.

Using the exact same scoring example from the previous item, the winner using Tigris/Euphrates scoring would actually be Beth instead of Allen.

1) Standard VPs (Allen 54, Beth 50, Charlie 49)
2) Doubloons (Beth 7, Allen 6, Charlie 3)
3) Occupied Plantation Spaces (Charlie 10, Allen 8, Beth 8)
4) Occupied Building Spaces (Allen 16, Charlie 14, Beth 11)
 
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