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Subject: Buildings not worth building rss

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Ilia Snit
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After playing about 20 games this game, and after reading strategy guides, there are 2 buildings that i didn't see point building by anyone at any stage of the game.

1. Construction hut - the cost of 3 doublons is too high to build at the start of the game, and it's effectivness is really low as the game progresses.

2. Office - at such high cost, you better make really good money out of it to cover your losses. Also you have to build it early enough to make it work for you.

My questions are:

1. Are there any common scenarios these buildings worth it in 3 or 4 players?

2. What are the scenarios in which these buildings worth it in 5 players?
 
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David Goldfarb
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Construction Hut costs 2, not 3.
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Wes Gray
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First of all, the construction hut only costs 2 doublons. This may solve some of your problems with it right there. I would say, in my experience, the best time to buy it comes when you either take builder, or already have a manned quarry so that it only costs 1 doubloon to build. Obviously this changes drastically from game to game but that is a general idea.
The office is another situational build. The office is one I generally only buy for at LEAST one doubloon discount; that being said, the office can easily be valuable.
Hypothetical: You have a manned quarry and it is your turn. You take builder and buy the office for 3 doubloon. The office can now be used to do multiple things: break a stalemate at the trading house (eg only 3 goods sold and nobody else wants to/can sell, or, more importantly, alleviate the pressure of forcing YOU to take trader. If someone else has coffee, for example, when it comes to your turn, you will basically need to pick trader. If you have the office, you can rest easy knowing that you can still sell that valuable resource even if you take a different action.

I hope that helps a little bit..just my personal opinion. As I said, they are certainly not viable in every or even many games, but like every building (except the university, which is terrible ) when used correctly, they can allow you to win the game!
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Tobias Kriener
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construction hut can be quite good if built early - even better together with Hazienda: every settler phase gives you 1 plantation plus 1 quarry! (equally good with 3-4-5 players).

Office depends: In 4 player games, when every player sells 1 good in the Trader's phase, you don't need it - unless you want to sell coffee (or tobacco) and another player already has coffee.

In 5 player games, when the warehouse is filled every Trader phase, it's useless, too - unless there is another player selling the good you want to sell.

In 3 player games when there is often 1 empty spot in the warehouse at the end of the Trader's phase, if' very effective: you can sell q good in the next Trader's phase, and your opponents can't sell antything. I like this building.
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Ben Bateson
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You just named my two favourite buildings. cry
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Eric Greaves
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I have played this game probably 200 times, online and in person. I have found good uses for construction hut and office, but only when doing a strategy that focuses on the university and the hospice (especially the hospice + construction hut, and in 4 or 5 player games).

In a 3 player game, I agree that they aren't as good, but they do get better and more important with more players.

The one building I have never every purchased in all my plays of this game is the Large Warehouse and I have only purchased the small warehouse one time.

I have never been sold on a winning strategy that involves those buildings.
 
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George I.
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rarnom wrote:
The one building I have never every purchased in all my plays of this game is the Large Warehouse and I have only purchased the small warehouse one time.

I've never purchased the Lg. Warehouse either, but I know a single game where I had to and I didn't: 4-player game, where I had purchased a Union Hall, but both small warehouses were gone! It can still find use, in terms that it gives you points, indirectly, by not discarding goods after the captain phase.

For me, the worst buildings in the base game are:

6. Hacienda: you have to build it in the first 3 rounds to get an advantage over the other players, but there's a serious problem: the colonist shortage during these rounds. Hacienda tends to increase your colonist need by providing you indigo/sugar/tobacco/coffee, which need 2x colonists per plantation. If you get lucky enough and draw only Corn, then it's a good building, but the stars should be aligned...
The Hacienda can help you, though, if you're going to maximize the Residence bonus points... but if that's your primary strategy, you're on the wrong track anyway. By the way, the Hacienda-Forest House broken combo is a different story and you should not play with these together.

5. Large Warehouse: you'll rarely have two big piles of goods after a captain phase; a small warehouse can do the same job, pretty much. However, it may be useful (and maybe mandatory) in an expansion game, if the Union Hall is in the game (and possibly the Aqueduct as well), but somehow you managed to miss the two small warehouses/storehouses.

4. Large Market: you really don't need it. It costs $5 to build and only returns $2 and only if you manage to sell. Which means, you have to sell three (3x) times to get a profit! On the other hand, sm. market costs $1 and immediately returns its cost, if you sell. Building a Lg. Market with two quarries and a builder, i.e., by spending $2, is fine, as it will break even in a single sale. However, if you have two quarries, it probably means that you're currently in the mid-game and you should start focusing on VP-generating buildings, such as the Harbor or the Wharf.
The lg. market is usually bought by players who don't produce tobacco or coffee. For $2 more you can buy a factory, which also earns you $2 if you produce corn/indigo/sugar, but you don't have to sell! Building a lg. market signals to the other players that you'll be actively taking the Trader.

3. Hospice: it's fun to use, but very expensive. In order to use it properly, you have to buy it within the 3 first rounds and only take quarries and/or corn during Settler; this is where Hospice actually shines. However, buying a Hospice at $4 in the first rounds, means that you won't get Tobacco/Coffee, so you're handling to another player the advantage of producing an early high-valued good. It's a big more useful in a 5-player game, as you start out with more cash.
New players tend to overvalue the Hospice and regard it as a game-winning combination. As said, the problem with the Hospice is that you go broke; however, if all players are newbies, then the game tends to advance much slower, since most of them buy useless stuff, so cashless players have much more time to recover and if the Hospice is properly used on taking Quarries, it can indeed help them. But, you won't get away with a Hospice if playing with experienced people.

2. Office: you will either build it either (a) to re-sell your tobacco/coffee or (b) because the player to the right of you produces the same good. Problem (a) is simply solved by diversifying and selling corn/indigo/sugar to "unblock" the trading post. You earn the same money, taking into account the cost of the Office, you gain tempo by not needing builder + mayor, and by diversifying you get the chance to earn more points during captain. As for (b), your problem. Just accept that you'll almost never sale if you try to compete with the player to the right of you.
To understand why the Office is useless, one should comprehend that you don't have to sell on every trader to win the game! It's much preferable to sell once or twice in the early rounds than 5 times in the rest of the game, since doubloons are worth more than VPs in the early rounds and are useless at the end of the game. I've won a fair share of games where I had sold only once or twice in the whole game. But, I hadn't spent my money on useless stuff.

1. University: grossly overpriced and only returns colonists. For $8, you could had bought a Harbor. For $2 more, you could had bought a large building. Like in the Hospice case, you have to learn on living with a colonist shortage in the opening rounds of the game.

--------------------------

For me, this is the most serious weakness of the game. While it's almost perfectly designed and there are no overpowered individual buildings, compared to their cost (but there are powerful combos), a couple of buildings are "studs", seriously limiting the number of strategies/tactics that you could follow. It's like the Chancellor/Spy/Woodcutter/etc in Dominion...
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Rajam Bop
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I have played this game over 1000 times, and have reached expert and master status in boardgamearena, so I think I can speak with authority in this regard:

At least in 3-players mode, balanced version, Office and Construction Hut are indeed kinda meh, but they're not the worst. That title goes to Hospice and Large Warehouse. imho, Hospice is by far the worst and almost 99% of the time you can either build something better or save the money for later. Large Warehouse is totally outclassed by Small Warehouse and Wharf. The Large Warehouse is better when you produce a lot of goods of several kinds, but usually a Small Warehouse will work just as fine, and also when you're already producing lots of goods of several kinds is usually near the end of the game when your focus should be put on large buildings or saving money for them.

Just a quick "tier list" of buildings in 3-p mode according to my own experience:

TOP
Harbor
Small Warehouse
Small Market

HIGH
Guild Hall
Customs House
Wharf
Large Market
Factory

MID
City Hall
Fortress
Residence
Hacienda

LOW
Construction Hut
University

BOTTOM
Office
Large Warehouse
Hospice

Again, this is for 3P mode. For larger games, Construction Hut, Office, Guild Hall and Factory (at least) should raise, meanwhile the captain-oriented buildings such as Harbor, Wharf, and Small Warehouse fall lower, since larger games have a bigger tendency to go the builder route. No idea for 2P mode since i've never played that.
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Rajam Bop
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drunkg wrote:
1. Are there any common scenarios these buildings worth it in 3 or 4 players?


Hospice: Just never. Forget about it in 3P mode.

Office: It's rare, but it would be a good buy in this scenario: The 3 players around either have no barrels or they have sugar, tobacco or coffee, which are already in the trade house. The trade house also has only 1 empty space left. ships are semi-full and no one wants to craftsman (high craftsman-fear around). If you in particular have a high-value barrel (tobacco or coffee), can't get it shipped but can't get it into the trade house, building office could be a really good buy if you predict builder > mayor > trade before a craftsman happens. It gets better if there is someone else producing your high-value barrel, because they'll often pick trade fearing to lose their high-income good (meanwhile you dont have that fear), and by picking trade they lose some other valuable roles, like captain, builder, or roles with several doublons on them.
 
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Peter de Boer
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drunkg wrote:
After playing about 20 games this game, and after reading strategy guides, there are 2 buildings that i didn't see point building by anyone at any stage of the game.

1. Construction hut - the cost of 3 doublons is too high to build at the start of the game, and it's effectivness is really low as the game progresses.

2. Office - at such high cost, you better make really good money out of it to cover your losses. Also you have to build it early enough to make it work for you.

My questions are:

1. Are there any common scenarios these buildings worth it in 3 or 4 players?

2. What are the scenarios in which these buildings worth it in 5 players?


1. I never build the construction hut with 3 or 4 players. Occasionaly the office in a four-player game, if the player to my right has screwed me by building the same big production building (coffee, tobacco) as me.
In a 3-player game, I think the office is bad. If an opponent buys it just in order to fill the fourth slot in the trading house, I am happy to trade an indigo for 2 doubloons.

2. With five players, I frequently build the construction hut as my first building when I am the fourth or fifth player. The reason is that quarries are limited. With five players, there is often a battle for the quarries in the first few rounds. Without construction hut, if you do not choose Settler-quarry by the first time that you get that option as the fourth or fifth player (often when you are the governor for the first time), chances are high that you will not get any quarry at all.
Regarding the office, same as for 4 players.
 
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Brad Keusch
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I am no expert but construction hut is pretty incredible in my opinion. If you want to go with a building heavy strategy, ideally ending the game by finishing your city, it will allow you to buy on almost every single builder action, often without having to spend money. On turns where others aren't doing as much because no one wants to take craftsman, you can buy and keep racking up points. When I take it as my turn one buy I very often end up with at least 2 large buildings, often winning.
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Hans Moleman
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Yeah -- I love the construction hut in a big group, not so much in a small setting. Especially if I start out with corn, I want cheaper buildings.

I love the hacienda -- last game I got really lucky with my hacienda grabs which propelled me to successfully set up a factory [and I didn't even have 1 quarry! but got some timely trading]. I love the factory strategy, but I always feel there is never enough time to successfully pull it off.

Ones I never go for -- warehouses. I'm usually never in a position that I desperately need one; and I'm rarely in position to ever lose more than 1 good via spoilage. But my expertise on the game is limited [only like ~15 games under my belt]
 
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Chris Hawks
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Picon wrote:
1. University: grossly overpriced and only returns colonists. For $8, you could had bought a Harbor.

I love the University, but I generally go for a building strategy. It's nice to be able to grab two large buildings (like Fortress and City Hall) near the end of the game and not have to worry about acquiring colonists. Then again, we generally play with the BGG-recommended Factory/University swap, which makes it that much more attractive; but I was always a big University fan anyway.
 
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George I.
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Salt-Man Z wrote:
I love the University, but I generally go for a building strategy.
Fair enough, you are welcome for a game then. With the uni costing $7. meeple
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Dan The Man
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anatana wrote:
I am no expert but construction hut is pretty incredible in my opinion. If you want to go with a building heavy strategy, ideally ending the game by finishing your city, it will allow you to buy on almost every single builder action, often without having to spend money. On turns where others aren't doing as much because no one wants to take craftsman, you can buy and keep racking up points. When I take it as my turn one buy I very often end up with at least 2 large buildings, often winning.

Interestingly, I rarely have quarries, and win decently as builder. I find Settler to be one of the weakest plays on the board (exc. first player with 0-1 corn) and Con Hut a waste of valuable doubloons.
 
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Game Guy
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Construction Hut- As Peter De Boer said, only in 5 player games where I am player #4 or 5. I consider using a Quarry to help buy the CH ludicrous because you really do not need more than one Quarry. When I take a second Quarry, it is usually a defensive move when there is more than $1 on Settler and no good (for me) Plantations in the draw.

Office- Rarely do I buy the Office. Sometimes in 5p because it helps reduce Craftsman fear. Even if the player on my right has my cash crop, Office costs more than one coffee sale. Often work-arounds such as taking Trader myself on the subsequent round are better than investing $5 in Office space.

These are not the worst buildings, however. The worst is University. Buying this building is not a winning strategy. If you are using it to buy and man 2 big buildings right at the end of the game you are not using it to win, you are using it to take a victory lap. You won when you generated 28 dubloons to waste spend on three buildings and two colonists which have no effect on game-play. Please write up your strategy for THAT!

Large Warehouse is your punishment for not buying a Small Warehouse. The latter is an excellent but not indispensable building. The former is an ungainly waste of money.

Your game will tell you if you should buy Large Market. It is rare, but there are scenarios.

For a building which is generally popular, but which I do not especially like, try the Wharf. Yeah, I know, your own boat, never shut out of the Captain phase... True, all true. But some part of me feels that Wharf is a very expensive cop-out. High level PR strategy is all about things like boat control and anticipating your best opportunity in the Trade House. If you manipulate turn order to get the best spots on the boats you are scoring points and denying them to your opponents. If you make a bunch of Corn and sell it from your Wharf, you are giving all of your opponents free reign on the boats. Because I have these thoughts about the game, I really love Harbor and the Small Market. These buildings work with the boat control and trade house opportunism which are the hallmarks of good play.
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