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Subject: 2p Production Ceased? rss

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Greg Byrd
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This was only my wife and I's second time playing, so maybe we got a rule wrong. We played 2p with the official variant modified so that the Gov took three actions and the other player took two. The benefit of this is that no one ever gets to take two actions in a row, but that may have lead to this problem...

The BW (beautiful wife) started as the Gov and thus had an Indigo planation, I started with a Corn. She quickly scooped the purple building that allowed her to take an extra plant with the Settler. In the beginning she started burying me with cheap production.

I was able to get more expensive resources and trade for a doubloon advantage. Meanwhile, she was raking in the vp's via the boat.

About mid-game a very strange situation occurred. I was producing every resource except Indigo (+factory), she was producing Corn and Indigo (a healthy amount of each). There was corn on one of the two boats. I selected produce, which she followed with Captain. She loaded indigo on the empty boat. I loaded one corn onto the other; then she loaded her corn, which didn't fill the boat. I then lost all but one of my resources.

At this point the situation remained the same, we realized that if either of us selected produce, the other would immediately take Captain and fill the empty boat with resources the other didn't have, raking in the points and then forcing that person to lose all the resources they had just produced. Because of this we just stopped producing. She concentrated on Settling (without getting the 10 cost purple that gave your bonus points for plantations, which was her downfall), while I concentrated on building. The game ended soon thereafter with colonists exhausting just after I bought the Wharf to try and break our production dam.

Evan though I was killed on VPs I won with building points.

Has anyone faced this situation in 2p? Were we doing something wrong?

Anyway, still a pretty fun game. I think we'll play it again, but it seems Castles of Burgandy and Agricola are better 2p Euros.
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David Debien
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Wharf would be a good way around this as well as warehouses. Every player has that critical aha! moment in PR when they realize playing the Craftsman typically benefits everyone else more than themselves. The trick is learning when it is ok to play it and a big pile of coins on the Craftsman tile will usually entice someone to go ahead and do the deed.

Edit: And another note. If you get factory and a bunch of platnations + production buildings running, be prepared to lose the resources after captain is played unless you also get warehouses. Still the money from Factory is nice and so is an end onto itself. If you get to ship some of the goods as well: bonus!
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Chris Geggus
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Yes, Warehouse(s) are vital for you in this circumstance. In fact, you have the opportunity to really hurt your opponent, unless she also invests in a Wharf or Warehouse. You aim to put products other than Corn or Indigo on each of the ships and try to ensure that the ships are not filled in one turn. Leave them out there half full and there is nothing she can do except use Wharf (if she has one and only one product per shipping phase anyway). When the cash is good on the Captain, you take it and fill your boots, er boats I mean.

Also she should only be producing a maximum of 4 Indigo a turn having bought both a Large and Small Indigo plant without any duplication. I am presuming you were playing with the normal rules about only 1 of each type of building per person. In a 2 player game a shipping strategy is easier to block as there is only one other party with a vested interest - not so easy with a 3, 4 or 5 player game.

A great game, but better with 3 or 4 players.
 
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Craig Liken
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I don't think what you describe is a problem. As another poster mentioned, Crafting is generally the most risky role in PR and timing of it is crucial. I believe that that modification to the 2-player rules was suggested because the other rule allows 2 roles back to back, which can substantially eliminate 'craftsman fear'. So that modification is trying to make 2-player PR more like the 3 to 5 player rules.

There is a good review of all the 2-player versions of PR, and I'm sure that will be well discussed.

The general rule of thumb with PR is that those producing cheaper goods and relying on shipping mainly (in this case your wife) are generally more in need of Crafting than those relying on high value goods/building/factory type strategies. So you normally let them craft (there will be exceptions at times).
 
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Wes Gray
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You should play it so that each player takes three roles. This method is better (in my opinion, tons of experience with each) because without it, building is almost always a superior strategy.
Try it out this way, and see if you like it better!
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Chris in Kansai
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Ahiksking wrote:
When the cash is good on the Captain, you take it and fill your boots, er boats I mean.



Lucky they don't ship in punts...
 
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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In two player there is this risk that you are both producing separate resources.

My wife and I found in a two player game some time ago I was producing three resources and she was producing the other two. I would take Captain to shut her out of the ships as much as possible, i.e. I tried to not fill them where possible, i.e. wasn't producing much, or went trader first when the two ships had my goods in them, choosing my wharf first devil


Warehouses help alleviate this as does making sure you both produce similar goods.

We have played it quite a bit two player and it was only ever an issue once.
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Greg Byrd
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Thanks for the great replies everyone! These are some good strategy tips, I don't know why I didn't think of warehouse, I used one the first time we played and they are much cheaper than the wharf. I will definitely give this game another play and report the results (if they are interesting).
 
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Duncan P
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byrdru wrote:
We played 2p with the official variant modified so that the Gov took three actions and the other player took two. The benefit of this is that no one ever gets to take two actions in a row...

About mid-game a very strange situation occurred. I was producing every resource except Indigo (+factory), she was producing Corn and Indigo (a healthy amount of each). There was corn on one of the two boats. I selected produce, which she followed with Captain. She loaded indigo on the empty boat. I loaded one corn onto the other; then she loaded her corn, which didn't fill the boat. I then lost all but one of my resources.

At this point the situation remained the same, we realized that if either of us selected produce, the other would immediately take Captain and fill the empty boat with resources the other didn't have, raking in the points and then forcing that person to lose all the resources they had just produced. Because of this we just stopped producing.

Has anyone faced this situation in 2p? Were we doing something wrong?


Congratulations on discovering this for yourself so quickly.

The situation you described is precisely why the 2 player variant requires the "double turn" (governor effect) to function properly. Without it most 2 player games reach a point where both players have zero incentive to select craftsman because you simply hand a captain/trader advantage to your opponent. It's no longer about "craftsman fear" but creating a multi turn deadlock in the mid game where it is simply not a good idea to craft until there is an overwhelming stack of doubloons or you can produce so much that your opponent receives no goods. As so much of the game revolves around the production of goods the game effectively stalls while the colonist supply exhausts and the game ends prematurely.

The double turn allows both players opportunities to select craftsman and optimally manage the outcome of the following role selection (usually captain/trader). I can only imagine people try to remove the double turn because it "feels" too powerful. However both players are equally affected so it does not unbalance the game. It also maintains production momentum and provides for satisfying strategic opportunities. The double turn actually occurs in games with 3 or more players too, but many people don't perceive it because it's very subtle (next time you play 3-5 players notice how when you are governor every other player at the table then makes two role choices before you get to make your next one). The solution is not to try and "fix" the game by removing the double turn but accept it as an additional strategic overlay to the decisions on role choice.

When you are governor in 2 player you should feel a different kind of tension—knowledge that with every role your opponent is zeroing in on a big craftsman/trader or craftsman/captain move. Is it better to lance the boil now and pick craftsman early, for instance before your opponent is able to man a new production facility this turn. This also creates some interesting multi-turn strategies where it's in your interest to take a short term loss (purposefully not trade a valued good so you can later ship it) to lock down one, or both, boats with good(s) your opponent isn't producing. That kind of forecasting and investment in future gains is what makes Puerto Rico so great.
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Steve Duff
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Alphaeus wrote:
The double turn actually occurs in games with 3 or more players too, but many people don't perceive it because it's very subtle (next time you play 3-5 players notice how when you are governor every other player at the table then makes two role choices before you get to make your next one).


That's not the same thing at all, no single player gets two role choices in a row in a 3-5 player game. That's what folks have a problem with. As long as there's at least one intervening choice, it's fine.

I think the problem here was in only using 2 ships. It's just not enough given all the different possible resources.

I really like the fernori variant, with Larry Levy's "governor places 1 doubloon on one of the two left over roles" mod. Haven't seen this issue with it (not that we're experts or anything).
Ender's Comprehensive Overview: An analysis of Puerto Rico as a two-player game, and a comparison of the most popular variants
 
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