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Subject: San Juan or Puerto Rico - Which to Learn First? rss

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Swood
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I have both of these games. I've never played either one.

I expect that learning one will ease learning for the other. Which one should I start with?

 
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Nairb Attobas
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Skadar wrote:
I have both of these games. I've never played either one.

I expect that learning one will ease learning for the other. Which one should I start with?



San Juan is pretty ridiculously easy to learn. Just need to figure out how all the buildings work together, and even that's relatively simple to get down after a game or two.

The base mechanics behind Puerto Rico are probably about as easy to learn, since they're so similar to San Juan, except that figuring out how all the phases/buildings work together is quite a bit more challenging, especially as there are more phases and different buildings to learn.

I learned San Juan first, played the hell out of it, and still had no idea what I should have been doing during my first game of Puerto Rico. Not entirely sure learning San Juan really helps one's understanding of Puerto Rico. Maybe a teeny bit in drafting roles, but that's about it.

I say this: pick the one you want to play more. If that's a tie, pick Puerto Rico. By the time you play San Juan, all the heavy lifting will already be done.
 
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Matt K
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I have played both. Knowing one will help you learn the other but I would recommend learning San Juan first. The rules are less complex, set up time is much shorter, and it incorporates about 50% of Puerto Rico. So, when you do learn P.R., you will already know how half of it works.
 
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Alfonzo Smith
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Either is fine but Puerto Rico isn't a two-player game and San Juan isn't a five-player game. So if you have either extreme number of people on hand the choice is clear.
 
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Mike Adams
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I learned San Juan first. Puerto Rico was easy to pick up when I first played it. I'm sure I could have understood Puerto Rico fine first, but it would have taken a lot longer to wrap my head around as the game went on. As it was, I was actually in the game the first time because I didn't have to think a lot about the basic mechanics.


 
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Michael Jordal
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I think technically Puerto Rico is a 2 player game, just not in the US release. I actually like it pretty well with just 2.
 
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James Allaire
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I own both games and like to play them both. I learned to play San Juan first, which eased my learning of the more involved Puerto Rico. My wife and some of her friends, however, like the easier and faster San Juan than Puerto Rico.
 
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Paul King
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If you're a reasonably experienced gamer I'd say that there is no strong reason to pick one over the other. San Juan is a bit simpler, has a shorter set-up time and the two-player rules are in the box. But it's a lot lighter with more of a random element, so if you're in the mood for something a bit meatier there's no reason not to start with Puerto Rico.
 
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Laurence Parsons
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I learned PR first. SJ was dead easy after that.
One thing I will say, if you have the opportunity to have PR explained to you, rather than ploughing through the rules, then that's definately better. SJ can be picked up easily from reading the rules.
 
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1603-1714
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freduk wrote:
I learned PR first. SJ was dead easy after that.
One thing I will say, if you have the opportunity to have PR explained to you, rather than ploughing through the rules, then that's definately better. SJ can be picked up easily from reading the rules.


I agree - this is how I did it as well. Learning Puerto Rico from other gamers first and then teaching myself San Juan. Knowing how to play Puerto Rico is more beneficial for learning San Juan than vice versa, at least from my experience.
 
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leftfield
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I learned PR first. If I could do it over again, I'd prefer to learn PR first. The learning curve is a little steeper than if you learn SJ first, but I think it would somehow take a little away from the gee whiz factor upon learning the game.

I love them both. Once you get to know the cards in SJ, try playing two-player speed SJ (under 10 minutes ). What a blast!
 
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David G.
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For a total newbie, I'd say SJ is easier to learn just because SJ is a more 'typical' card game than PR is a 'typical' board game.
 
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Myke Madsen
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alfonzos wrote:
Either is fine but Puerto Rico isn't a two-player game and San Juan isn't a five-player game.


Puerto Rico's not really a 5-player game either. IMHO San Juan is a 2-player game and Puerto Rico is a 3- or 4-player game. Alea just felt like being accommodating.

I would say learn Puerto Rico first. A lot of the concepts in it are visually represented more literally than they are in San Juan. In Puerto Rico you have spots for plantations and buildings; when you craft you get little barrels of goods that match the color of the plantation; you pay for buildings with money chits; when you sell a good you physically place that good on the trade house and so on.

You do some of the same things in San Juan but they're all represented by cards. It's a little more abstract.

Of course no one has the experience of learning in both orders so you won't get a perfectly-informed opinion...

 
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Dan Rosewater
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Because these two games are related you typically would learn the lighter one before the heavier.
Because San Juan is the dumbed down version of Puerto Rico I see rather the problem that you will never put your hands again on San Juan after having played Puerto Rico (except for reasons of amount of players as others mentioned above).
 
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Swood
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I'm reporting back to let you know that I played my first two games of San Juan. Pure pleasure. What a fantastic little game!

Now I'm actually eager to get to know Puerto Rico in that I want more of what San Juan gave me a taste of. Therefore, for me at least, this was definitely the right order in which to learn the games.

Cheers.
 
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