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Puerto Rico» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Building question... rss

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Sam Ives
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I'm new to the PR scene, but am already pretty addicted. All of my friends just started playing, so I feel like we're working our way through some early strategies(combining a lot of corn with a warehouse and a wharf). But a few of the buildings haven't really played into our games much, so I was curious if other people use these more. When do people usually invest in the office or university? I've found that these are usually leftover at the end of our games...also the hospice is only used sometimes and not to great effect. Any thoughts from the many more experienced PR players?

Thx,

Diego
 
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Colin Hunter
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hospice can be an awesome strategy, but it is foiled if the other players simply build large production plants. If you play 4 player try building a hospice early and see how it does.
 
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David Pugh
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I found that when I was new to the game, The Office was often a leftover building as well. However, as my group has played more and, I would argue, our theory of the game has developed, we found that The Office is an integral part of a coffeeoubloons:buildings strategy that has dominated our last couple of games.

It would seem to be a fact that in order to have a chance at winning Puerto Rico one must buy a large building that generates an new condition for winning VP. The easiest to get a building that costs 10 doubloons is to sell coffee to the market, as it is the most lucrative good one can sell. Selling coffee once can get you The Office; after you have The Office there is not much the other players can do to prevent you from selling coffee all the time. With a very large income you are likely to be the first to buy a 10 doubloon building and you will probably get the chance to buy a second. Also you will have the easiest time developing your infrastructure through the addition of buildings as you will have the most doubloons. Furthermore, if you purchase The Merchant Guild purchasing one large plantation earns you 5 VP. In this way you will be able to accumulate VP at an alarming rate and end the game while things are in your favor by filling your building area.

In my group as the above strategy has been developed and refined it appears to have the best winning chances. We haven't played in a while but as The Office is integral to such a powerful strategy we have considered playing with a different 5 doubloon building from the expansion instead: maybe The Church.

Take care.
 
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Patrick Sullivan
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hey man! Welcome to the game. Yeah, early on you'll have fun with buildings like University and especially Hospice. But as you get better, you'll quick find that all buildings in the 2nd column along with the University and to a lessor extent, Construction Hut and Hacienda, aren't so hot. You can get better bang for your buck elsewhere.

Like, why pay 3 extra for a Large Warehouse when the Small Warehouse does mostly the same thing or you can pay another 3 for the Wharf which is like 100 times better?

But yeah, the buildings in the 2nd column and the university are all pretty bad.
 
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Kevin Bourrillion
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The office is ass.

The best way to understand it is in comparison with the Large Market. The large market pays you $2 on every trade. The office pays the difference between the good you want to trade and the good you would have been able to trade without having the office -- which may be a $2 difference and could *maybe* *occassionally* be $3, but which will most of the time be zero! That is, any time the barrel you want to trade is not already in the trading house, your office is nothing but a waste of a colonist.

Also, there are the secondary effects. Suppose coffee is in the trading house and no one has any tobacco to trade. While trading sugar using your LM and trading coffee using your Office would both net you the same $4, in the former case you blocked the traders after you from trading sugar and in the latter you blocked nothing. Not only that but in the sugar+LM scenario you can hold onto that coffee and ship it and hopefully tie up a boat for a while.

I keep mentioning coffee, which reminds me that the office only even matters for you when you've got a nice rich cash crop barrel sitting around unshipped. The LM works all the time! -- as long as you have anything you can legally ship.

The amazing part is that once you start comparing the LM to the Factory it turns out that the LM is also, itself, a piece of crap! Which shows you how truly terrible the office is (helloooooo Church!) and what an amazing building the factory is.

Look at this: a staffed factory pays you on virtually EVERY craft phase. The LM pays you only on trade phases when you're able to trade something -- half of them maybe? And the factory will probably be churning out $3 per craft for you soon, *maybe* even $5 whereas the LM is just stuck at $2.

You almost certainly pay $2 more for the factory than for the LM, but even just the fact that you got an extra victory point for it already balances that out.

I'd only consider the LM when the factories are gone -- though by the time the factories are gone the race is on for the harbors and wharves, and once those are gone, the race is on for the 10ers, and once those are gone, there's hardly any point to buying a market anymore, is there.

Conclusion: LM is ass; Office makes LM look good; therefore Office is triple ass. Get that factory!!
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Patrick Sullivan
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lol, awesome post. And I agree with it 100%
 
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Dan Ryan
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how would you compare the factory with the lighthouse or specialty factory from the expansion? I can't really decide if I like the factory or lighthouse better....

I agree that the office is bad, and the university just seems absurdly bad to me. In fact, I bought the expansion just so I could replace the university with something else.

Speaking of which, what are your thoughts on the library. I have yet to see someone buy it, so I'm not sure if it any good. It seems to me that I would never have 8 doubloons to build and want to build the library instead of something else, even though it seems like it might be nice.
 
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David T.
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As for the 'worthless' office - I disagree. The large market will only be more effective if players allow it to be used, and in larger games, that won't happen.

I have found repeatedly in my group that players will 'gum up' the trading house with goods matching those held by the owners of markets. The thought is that it is better to sell your sugar over the tobacco if it prevents the player on your left from selling HIS sugar and getting the the 2 coin bonus. You can stop a player with a market from trading; you can't stop the player with an office. One bonus coin from the small market is survivable, but two extra coins from a large market can be a killer.

In a five player game, the power of office may be more profound - it's a guaranteed means of trading, barring a full trading house. Participating in the trading phase is extremely important.

As a side note - I used to be a factory junkie and bought one all the time. However, I found that the seven coins is a large outlay early in the game that might better used on other buildings, and that rarely - if ever - do I have three produced goods that allow me to get two coins. There is something to be said for receiving coins 'out of phase' - that is, money during production when no one else is getting money. However, later in the game, people are producing so many goods that even if you have the buildings to produce four goods, there aren't enough in the supply and even then you still get but a coin or two. It's better than nothing, but not always enough to justify the opporunity cost of other buildings you could have had in the beginning of the game.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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danryanfl wrote:
how would you compare the factory with the lighthouse or specialty factory from the expansion? I can't really decide if I like the factory or lighthouse better....
factory and lighthouse are very different from a game-flow perspective. Both are fun, and knowing when to go with which is important.

Lighthouse is powerful if you get it very early. It can legitmately replace Coffee or Tobacco in the early build order. This is because the early ships are likely to fill with Corn, Indigo, and Sugar, and fill slowly too. That means a Lighthouse + Corn + Indigo + Sugar player can potentially rake in up to 1db 1db 1db 1db per captain phase, all of which makes trading Tobacco look somewhat lame by comparison. Not to mention that early, trading house is easier to block than captaining low-end goods. On the other hand, Lighthouse depends on you picking captain. The soundness of picking captain depends on the goods production of the other players, not to mention their shippingn buildings. If you've got lighthouse, and the other players have harbor/wharf/aqueduct, then the lighthouse is so much obsolete junk. Overall Lighthouse can be devastating, but its imperitive you get it functional EARLY, and you have to maintain boat superiority all game for it to continue to pay out.

Factory is more reliable late game, and it produces out-of-tempo doubloons, but it does have the weakness that early on it produces less, not more, money. Also, in games with large numbers of players, the factory is more susceptible to having the supply run out of goods. We play with factory costing $8 in 3-4 player, and $7 in 5 player.

Library is incredibly overpriced at 1db 1db 1db 5db. I'm not sure what Andreas was thinking. Think of it this way: with it you get 1vp 1vp 1vp, but you then have to put a colonist on it. Using the rough equation colonist = 1vp = 1db = corn, you see that you'll have to use it 6 times during the game to break even, and that's not even counting the opportunity cost of that big hunk of early change. I'd rather have a Large Market and change. We play with Library at 1db 5db 1vp 1vp. That makes it sometimes (rarely) preferable to early Coffee.

We do have a secret strategy that makes full-price library viable, but it requires a very specific combination of buildings that almost never come up.
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Marco Grubert
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How can you win a game with the factory ?
Just like University it seems to be greatly overpriced. By the time I have saved up enough money to buy the factory plus production facilities for 3-4 goods (not to mention all those colonists required to man them!) other players with 1-2 goods will have easily outshipped me or get a consistent stream of VPs from harbor/wharf. It seems to me that the factory only gets powerful in the late midgame by which time money is already losing its value to VP. Now if the factory was only $5 I could see it being a very poweful building but as it stands I don't see how you can get a good ROI from it.
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Patrick Sullivan
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If you are making three different goods pretty early in the mid-game, factory can be great purchase when matched with Guild Hall. I used to win all the time with factory but then my playgroup caught on to me and bought the guild hall before me. Now I have to buy the Guild Hall before the Factory and by the time I have enough money for the Factory, it isn't really worth it anymore and I'd rather get the Harbour.

I still think Factory is a fantastic building though cuz it gives you money at the weirdest time possible, Craftsman phase. It punishes shipping strategies and helps you end the game quicker being a builder. It's a really fun building.
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