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Subject: Our final two player rules for PR rss

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Bruce H
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Here are the following rules that my gaming group has finalized for a two player mode. We play elimination tournaments to a final two for a championship round. This has been play-tested over 100 times.

A. 3-5-7 number ships (use a 4 space ship with an extra colony chit)
B. 3 space trading post (again use extra colony chit to block space)
C. All small violet buildings 12 from regular set and 12 from expansion set are placed in a bag and 12 are drawn and placed in spaces on board in order by cost value. Forest/Hacienda & Trading Post/Office & Factory/Specialized Factory cannot be combined on same board only one can be used from each combo if picked. The seven large buildings are shuffled and the first 5 dealt are used. If you don't have the expansion set place all 24 small violet buildings in bag and draw 12. Some may double and some may not even come into play.
D. Library cost the same but can only be used once per round.
E. Starting player gets an indigo plantation and 2nd player gets a corn.
F. Turns are taken as usual with the Governor drawing three and the second drawing two per round. The left over two have 1 coin added after each round.
G. 70 V.P. Points.
H. 40 colonists with extra two on ship = 42 total.

Play and winning is as the rules state.

ENJOY!
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Cedric Davies
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I'm curious for what reasons do you prefer this than the official variant? How does it modify the game? Particularily items A and B seem interesting. I was actually surprised that the official 2-player variant only used 2-ships when games with hight levels of players all use 3 ships. Why in F do you decide to give the Governor an extra choice? Is it to combat the problem of a player getting two choices in a row in the official variant? If so, although it sounded wierd at first ,I like the idea as that seemed pretty powerful in my 2-player game and is an unavailable tactic with multiple players. I've never played with the expansion buildings myself and have never drafted buildings but C sounds interesting to add some variability to the game.
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Bruce H
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Our gamer's group has adapted this variant as our official two player rules. After playing and testing the official 2-player variant and other adaptations we have found these rules provide a challeging and balanced game play. Enjoy!
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J M
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I'm wondering if anyone else here has played with these rules.

I haven't given it a shot yet, but it does seem to address some of the problems that my wife and I have had in 10+ plays of the official 2-player variant.

Notably:
1) Trading: The Trading House is almost useless. Since there are only two players, the game can go half the game or more before there is enough diversity in occupied plantations to clear the trading house. This is especially dependent on which plantation tiles are turned over. A side effect is that the offices are not useful buildings, and the trading bonus of the library is often wasted.

2) Shipping: The Wharf (even the Small Wharf that we use) is way too powerful. The player only needs to block both ships as often as possible, and ease into victory as the only one with a working, unblockable ship. The fact that the Small Wharf only gives 0.5 VP/barrel doesn't matter when four times as many barrels are being shipped by the SW owner. You can still win without the wharf, but it's dependent on your opponent screwing something up.

Well, I'll try this version as soon as possible and report back.
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J M
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Okay, we played this version last night. Only once so far, but I'll give my first impressions.

The final score was 67VPs to 66VPs, so it appears to be well-balanced.

Shipping: The wharf was completely unnecessary. Neither of us even wanted it; there was always space on a boat (since there are 3). Although we had small and large warehouses, respectively, we really didn't need those either. The boats we used were 7, 5, and 3. I think we might try 6, 4, and 3 to add just a little bit more tension during the Captain phase.

Trading: Very much improved. Trading was a little slow at first, but that was by strategic decision. I took the plantation tile my wife needed to diversify her goods. In other words, I actually took a tile I didn't directly need because I was afraid of her trading ability. That simply doesn't happen in the Official variant.

Cash: With the trading house in operation and two unused roles per round instead of one, there was enough cash to go around. One interesting thing is that to counter my wife's trading w/ market strategy, I also had to diversify and get the Factory. There might be just a little too much cash floating around, but I'm not sure how to change that. The Official variant has way too little.

I think that if we shrink the number of boat spaces, the shipping aspect will increase in importance, and that may slightly decrease the amount cash in the game by: 1) making it more valuable to purchase buildings that assist in shipping instead of dubloon generation, and 2) making it more valuable to take the captain instead of trader or prospector.
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Todd N.
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Medford
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After playing both the original Alea 2 player variant and this one, both me and my wife prefer this variant much better. I think having only 5 roles selected instead of the original six gives it more of that feel it has in a multiplayer game. We will definitly be using this variant in the future; thanks for posting it.
 
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sorry to ask here as well as the other thread, but just in case anyone else can answer.

what kind of play-time are you guys getting with this variant? i know it'll vary with experience/player type, it's just useful to get a reference.
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Adam K
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I haven't played PR in a long time, but this variant definitely sounds better than the original.
The randomisation of buildings will make all games different and you can't stick to a specific strategy that requires a special building.
I will try these rules if I play 2 player some day. The chance of that happening is unfortunately not that big though.
 
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Steve Bennett
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I have some simple questions. I tried the official 2-player variant last night and tried yours today.

You say, "Play and winning is as the rules state." I'm guessing you mean the multi-player rules in the box, rather than the rules from the official variant.

1) Do all the roles get placed on the table? That's what we did, but I want to make sure. The official variant has you pull 1 prospector.

2) Do any plantations and quarries get removed? We did remove 3 of each per the official variant, though it likely doesn't matter much except possibly in the case of the quarries.

3) Do any of the goods get removed? We didn't. The official variant has you pull out 2 of each. With 3 ships (instead of the official variant's 2) it seemed like the flow of goods could get really constipated if you have have fewer barrels available.

I just want to make sure I'm doing it as you intended. We enjoyed the official variant last night and enjoyed yours even more today. Thanks for posting this and thanks in advance for the help with my questions.
 
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Joel J
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I can't comment for fernori, but we always set up with the official variant but use these rules and it works well. The only thing we do differently is use ships of size 3,4,5 or sometimes 3,4,6. With smaller ships I don't notice the goods starving much more regularly than a real game.
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Steve Bennett
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Thanks Joel. To make sure I'm correct about what you do:

You indeed eliminate one of the prospectors, 2 each of the goods, and 3 each of the plantations and quarries.

We'll give it a go this way. Thanks again for turning me on to this variant. It's helped us resurrect a favorite that would otherwise languish on the shelf waiting for more players.
 
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Joel J
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Correct.
 
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Steve Duff
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ldsdbomber wrote:
OK we tried this, with the second guys version, and we loved the game, however, the missus ended the game quickly with a mayor cleaning out the colonists, leaving me with 6 unshipped coffee I was planning to put on the wharf next turn


This is the variant we play, and really like. Only suggestion I have is to re-read the actual rules, and double check for errors you made. It's quite easy to do.

For example, check the colonist rules, it's really easy to get those wrong. Make sure you're only counting the proper empty circles, and not all empty circles.
 
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Justus
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Verseboy wrote:
I have some simple questions. I tried the official 2-player variant last night and tried yours today.

You say, "Play and winning is as the rules state." I'm guessing you mean the multi-player rules in the box, rather than the rules from the official variant.


I was curious also, but I noticed in a another [thread=http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/128510/2-player-official...][/thread]that fernori wrote
fernori wrote:
I have played PR many times and with two players I set up the game as advised by the "offical alea variant" with the following exceptions:


BTW I just played it the first time (the fernori variant on the offical alea 2P variant) and it ran great. I think its a worthy 2P game...PR now on my want list.
 
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Gustavo Motta
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Bruce, I liked your idea, but I have doubts about:

- Victory Points: why 70 and not 65 vp?
- Cargo Ships: why not 3, 4, 5 spaces?
- Game Sequence: Governor draw three and the second player drawing two per round. Why this? And not 3 / 3 .

tks

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Steve Duff
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gusxokleng wrote:
- Victory Points: why 70 and not 65 vp?
- Cargo Ships: why not 3, 4, 5 spaces?
- Game Sequence: Governor draw three and the second player drawing two per round. Why this? And not 3 / 3 .


Last one is easy. Way too many roles used otherwise, not enough cash enters the game, and you get one player with back to back roles rolls (last turn this round, first turn next round).

3/2 fixes all that.

edit: can't believe I had that error sitting there for months. shake
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Ender Wiggins
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I'm appreciative of this variant, but like others I have some questions. As far as I can tell, it is identical to the official Alea variant for two players, with the following changes:
1. use 3 & 5 & 7 capacity ships, instead of 4 & 6 capacity ships
2. 3 space trading house, instead of 4 space trading house
3. 70 VPs, instead of 65 VPs
4. Governor chooses 3 roles and opponent 2 roles per round (remaining 2 each get a doubloon), instead of 3 roles each (remaining 1 gets a doubloon)

I'd love to hear what some of the reasons are for the first three changes:
1. Does using 3 & 5 & 7 capacity ships make shipping too easy? Any comments on adjusting this to 3 & 4 & 5 capacity ships, for example?
2. Scaling back the trading house to 3 instead of 4 seems to be a logical move. Are there any reasons not to do this?
3. Why the need to increase the number of VPs available?

As for the fourth change:
4. Having the opponent choose only 2 roles instead of 3 seems to be a fairly common adjustment to the official rules, as a way of avoiding the "Governor effect" where a player gets to choose back-to-back roles from end of one round to the start of the next. On the other hand one big disadvantage of this tweak is that it adds a lot more money into the game from an early stage, and this could detract from the tight gameplay. An alternative adjustment I've seen suggested is to remove both prospectors (i.e. you play with only 6 roles total), and choose 2 roles each. It also results in 2 unpicked roles and hence adds 2 doubloons at the end of a round. Any thoughts on that?
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Bruce H
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Before finalizing this variant, we tested many combinations of capacities and points that applied to the original rules and the Alea official variant. These final rules are the only extensive playtested 2 player variant that showed us a consistent balance in playability and point rationing.
 
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Bruce H
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Please see this thread. 2 player variant: recapped This may answer some of your questions or clarify our rules. 2 player variant: recapped
 
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Ender Wiggins
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fernori wrote:
Before finalizing this variant, we tested many combinations of capacities and points that applied to the original rules and the Alea official variant. These final rules are the only extensive playtested 2 player variant that showed us a consistent balance in playability and point rationing.
fernori wrote:
Please see this thread. 2 player variant: recapped This may answer some of your questions or clarify our rules. 2 player variant: recapped

Bruce, I've already seen that thread, but it's essentially the same as your original post in this one - it simply repeats what your variant is without explaining the rationale behind any of the changes you've made from the Alea variant. In fact, over the last week I've read through virtually every single BGG thread and post about two player variants for Puerto Rico, and I discovered that you have posted your variant at least ten times or more in different places.

That's fine, and I and others really appreciate you sharing with us a variant that has been heavily play-tested by your group. However, when folks ask questions for the reasons behind some of the changes, and what effect they have on game-play, it's not enough to give a general answer by saying this is "the only extensive playtested 2 player variant that showed us a consistent balance in playability and point rationing." Maybe this is true, but we'd like to understand why, and we're asking for more specifics.

For example, consider some of the questions raised in the above thread (most of which you have never answered either here or in the other threads), such as: why 70 VPs instead the Alea variant's 65 VPs? What is the effect on gameplay of changing from 2 ships to 3 ships? And why 3 & 5 & 7 capacity ships and not 3 & 4 & 5 capacity ships - doesn't this make shipping too easy?

If you're able to share more concrete reasons behind some of these changes, and why/how they improve the official Alea variant, that would be really helpful. Thanks for considering this!

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Bruce H
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My recent posts was a response to the recent email you've sent me regarding a review you were doing on 2 player variants for the game: Puerto Rico. I am not an avid "boardgame geeker" and between by business and family, I still find the time to game with our club on a weekly bases. This original post was over 4 years ago and my updated thread is titled just that- "Recapped" And,it does contain additional information to the original 4 year post.
After reviewing your recent responses "to the posts you emailed me to respond to" I can see where this is going. It's almost like you are trying to open a heated debate and micro-analyze this variant.
Before you come back with the retorical response of "If you can't explain why you do this you shouldn't post it" I would like to say I was only sharing "OUR" 2 player variant version. I never stated it was better then any other version. I thought this was the section on this website to do this. I apologize for not being able to respond to everyone's questions about the variant.

Can you refresh my memory and post where I've posted our variant "ten or more times in different places" and are you insinuating that I did not post this in response to someone seeking a 2 player variant and 10 or more original posts? How old are these suppose posts?

I received alot of positive emails from people who tried it and enjoyed it. To those I say, thank you and I'm glad to be obliged in sharing this with you and hope it provided a VARIANT to your 2 player gaming experience.

As a matter-of-fact, EndersGame, you don't have to take the time in responding to my request because I will not be responding to any more posts or threads pertaining to this 4 year variant.

Thank you for the experience.
 
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Ender Wiggins
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fernori wrote:
After reviewing your recent responses "to the posts you emailed me to respond to" I can see where this is going. It's almost like you are trying to open a heated debate and micro-analyze this variant.

Can you refresh my memory and post where I've posted our variant "ten or more times in different places" and are you insinuating that I did not post this in response to someone seeking a 2 player variant and 10 or more original posts? How old are these suppose posts?

As a matter-of-fact, EndersGame, you don't have to take the time in responding to my request because I will not be responding to any more posts or threads pertaining to this 4 year variant.

Hello Bruce, and thank you for responding, although I'm sorry to hear that what I wrote made you wonder if I was trying to open "a heated debate" or that I was "insinuating" anything about your posts. Be assured that I had no such thoughts in mind whatsoever. If you give me the benefit of the doubt and charitably re-read what I wrote, you'll see that this is why I didn't say as much either. I meant what I said, and I said what I meant - including the fact that I was grateful for you posting your variant! My post was not intended as a harsh criticism, but simply an expression of genuine interest, interaction with it, and a request for further elaboration.

You mention that you're not an avid "boardgame geeker", and perhaps this accounts for some of the misunderstanding. Those of us who are avid BGGers enjoy analyzing different ways to play games, so the questions like the ones that I and others have asked in this thread aren't personal criticisms, but are simply our way of analyzing and discussing game rules and figuring out the best way to play. If you're going to post a variant like this as often as you did, you should expect to receive questions about it, and it's perfectly reasonable for those asking such questions to expect a response. (For the record, I'll state that I was wrong about how often you posted it, because it was actually only nine times, not ten: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.) It's quite normal for keen gamers to ask and answer such questions here, and given that you've playtested your variant as much as you have, there was good reason to believe you've considered some of the questions we raised, and along with others I was looking forward to benefit from your insights, and have some meaningful discussion about it.

With that in mind, I hope you'll reconsider your decision not to respond further. If you don't have time or inclination to reply, I won't hold that against you - just like I hope you won't hold it against us to ask questions about your variant, and that you'll consider such questions as genuine interest rather than negative criticism. Meanwhile I kindly invite you to explore some of the discussions here on boardgamegeek, and perhaps contribute to them - the rest of us can only benefit from input and dialogue with fellow-gamers like you, and you'll likely find it to be rewarding and enriching yourself as well!


Edit: Subsequent to making the post above, I've written up a couple of articles with a more detailed analysis of the official Alea variant and how it compares with other variants including Bruce's. The fernori variant is effectively one version of the popular Craftsman Angst variant:

mb Ender's Comprehensive Overview: An analysis of Puerto Rico as a two-player game, and a comparison of the most popular variants
mb The Craftsman Angst variant (the most popular revision of the Alea two-player variant)
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