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Subject: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destablize? rss

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Here are the parameters:

5 Player game, I was player 1. I had indigo obviously, and you can say I made a mistake but I chose builder as my turn 1 governor ship. I purchased the Hospice.

The Second Player, also and indigo guy did the same. So the first two players ended up with Hospices.

Both of us were using them to our advantage early on, yet the second player was crunched for money early because he was a corn/indigo heavy producer, but he lacked cash. He went the Production route and amassed like 15 VPS before most of us had 3.

However being that we are all experienced players we shut him down, by avoiding the craftsman and taking the captain from him when there were other viable goods to be shipped and fill the ships. I had a small market and coffee working as well as some other means to make money. So the hospice was never a true finacial detriment, the low production values I had though forced me to go builder alot and thats where I got my points from. I adapted my strategy quickly due to the lack of quick start up production.

I was only producing 2 coffee, 1 Indigo, and 1 Sugar most of the game. But I was making alot of money and therefore was able to purchase a variety of buildings including City Hall and the (Residence?) * I had two big buildings, City Hall was one... The bonus for colonists and violet buidlings bonus was the other one.. I am at work right now so I cannot remember the names for sure)

Either way, I lost the game by one point, due to a mistake I made. However the player that won, he had 50 points and I had 49. He feels that Hospice unbalances the game. But I am unsure.

The second player by going the production route was really hampered by his inabilty to get cash. He ended up with several colonists on San Juan at the end so it seems like the Hospice stopped helping him around mid game.

I was able to manufacture cash with the coffee/warehouse/small market
and was able to manufacture just enough to get by all the while turning the cash into buildings via the opposite of prodcution and focusing on the builder role.


Despite that I did not win, does the Hospice provide an unfair/unbalance advantage, or is it only advantageous if your going to go builder?

I have a theory that it does not really help the mainly production based guys because they put themselves in a hole cash wise and its an early hole to dig out of unless they can get Tobbacco or Sugar up and running to suppliment their indigo or corn. (in Player 2's case he had both corn and indigo)

The winning player, Player 5 had boat loads of Corn & Tobbacco as well as some indigo and even a bit of sugar I think.



So like I said, my theory is that the Hospice is really only advantageous to the builder types and that it can be detrimental or harmful to the ones who are going to focus on production solely.

Or am I wrong and my friend is correct? is it and unbalanced and too powerful building?

Please, pontificate.
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Matt Davis
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I believe the hospice is usually considered one of the weaker buildings in the game. You've touched on its problems - it's only good if you get it early, and if you get it early, it really straps you for cash to start the game. I think the problem is that it's not really all that useful. Yes, it lets you get your production going a bit earlier, but that's usually only 2 or maybe 3 victory points that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise, which is usually not worth the early investment. Now, the hospice improves greatly with the Black Market (from the expansion) in the game, but I've found it's usually not worth it for a building that only does any good the first few turns.
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Eric Brosius
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The experts seem to agree that the Hospice is a strong building among newbies, but a weak building among experts. As you grow in skill, you'll become less attached to it.

One way to combat a Hospice buyer is with the Construction Hut.
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
Hospice is better with more players, but even with a full compliment of 5 it is still one of the weakest buildings.

The reason is that Hospice needs to be bought very early to be useful (as Settler gets chosen very little in the mid to late game), but buying it that early depletes early money that you should instead be investing in a way to get more money. To have no money and no means to get money (e.g. a coffee roaster) is a recipe for disaster, as other players who are able to generate income will purchase buildings that generate VP's faster than you can, and 95% of the time they will pass you before you can end the game.

Ever heard the parable of teaching a man how to fish? That's kind of what I'm talking about. You need to spend your early money in tools that will help you get more money. A Hospice is not such a tool, and therefore is a very tenuous buy in the early game when money is scarce. It is slightly better in 5 player for a couple reasons: players start with more cash in hand, there are less opportunities to choose mayor, and the Settler is slightly more likely to get chosen more often. But even in 5er, I would think long and hard before picking up a Hospice.

The reason that Hospice may do well with novices is because they play so inefficiently (i.e. they get their infrastructure going more slowly) that a player has more time to recuperate from poverty. Not so with experienced players. They will make you suffer.

Hope this makes some sense.
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
verandi wrote:
You need to spend your early money in tools that will help you get more money.


How about when paired with the Black Market?
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
I'd rather have a Tobacco Storage and a Small Market, personally.

Edit: This post refers to the one above, which asks about pairing the Hospice with the Black Market. (Same Cost)
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
Doesn't the hospice mean I can take the mayor less often to get extra citizens, enabling me to take other actions (e.g. those with money on them) instead, and forcing other players to use the mayor instead of other actions they would also like to take?

And how can the construction hut combat the hospice?
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Daniel Corban
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Construction hut gives you quarries.

Quarries accomplish two things:
1) Give money (via builder savings)
2) Lower your colonist requirement, thus requiring less Mayors

Hospice does only the second item.
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
verandi wrote:
Hospice is better with more players, but even with a full compliment of 5 it is still one of the weakest buildings.

The reason is that Hospice needs to be bought very early to be useful (as Settler gets chosen very little in the mid to late game), but buying it that early depletes early money that you should instead be investing in a way to get more money. To have no money and no means to get money (e.g. a coffee roaster) is a recipe for disaster, as other players who are able to generate income will purchase buildings that generate VP's faster than you can, and 95% of the time they will pass you before you can end the game.

Ever heard the parable of teaching a man how to fish? That's kind of what I'm talking about. You need to spend your early money in tools that will help you get more money. A Hospice is not such a tool, and therefore is a very tenuous buy in the early game when money is scarce. It is slightly better in 5 player for a couple reasons: players start with more cash in hand, there are less opportunities to choose mayor, and the Settler is slightly more likely to get chosen more often. But even in 5er, I would think long and hard before picking up a Hospice.

The reason that Hospice may do well with novices is because they play so inefficiently (i.e. they get their infrastructure going more slowly) that a player has more time to recuperate from poverty. Not so with experienced players. They will make you suffer.

Hope this makes some sense.




Well what do you consider novices? I dont think our group constitues novice players. We aren't dedicated PR players in the sense that its the only game or main game we play. But we do play it often and many of us have played it competitivley at tournaments etc.

At this point I am trying out different strategies etc. for the game.
Thats why I went Hospice. But I also recognized early on that I had to go builder, because I was lacking quick start up production.
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
dcorban wrote:
Construction hut gives you quarries.

Quarries accomplish two things:
1) Give money (via builder savings)
2) Lower your colonist requirement, thus requiring less Mayors

Hospice does only the second item.


How do quarries lower colonist requirement? They need colonists to function, don't they? At least, they have the colonist-sized circle printed on.
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Asperamanca wrote:
How do quarries lower colonist requirement? They need colonists to function, don't they?

For most plantation types, you need two colonists to gain something from them (one on the plantation, one in the productin building). For corn plantations and quarries, you only need one colonist.
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Patrick Sullivan
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yes Hospice unbalances the game in that it moves the game into your favour if your opponent picks it.

I've been playing Puerto Rico for a while now and placed 3rd in a tournament a month ago. I really think that it is way too expensive for what it does. It is nice to have but there are far better ways to spend your money. The benefit just isn't big enough. You're going to get colonist(s) everytime someone picks Mayor and the only time you'd ever pick Mayor (with or without a Hospice) is if there is a large amount of money on him or if the ship is unbalanced. Even then, someone else ALWAYS seems to pick Mayor eventually so you'll be getting a steady stream of colonists even without the hospice (although not as many). Colonists are overvalued in this game. It's very rare (in my experience) that the person with the most colonists wins the game.

I think you should just avoid the temptation of getting the hospice and opt for a small market, small indigo, small sugar, small warehouse or MAYBE a construction hut. Otherwise, just save your money for coffee, tobacco, factory, harbour, wharf or large building.

That being said, I think the Hospice is a FUN building to have. If you play Puerto Rico for fun, it's a good one to build. If you play to win, avoid it. It's kinda like the Building track in Caylus in someways. A fun but less-optimal path to victory.
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
Black Barney wrote:
yes Hospice unbalances the game in that it moves the game into your favour if your opponent picks it.

I've been playing Puerto Rico for a while now and placed 3rd in a tournament a month ago. I really think that it is way too expensive for what it does. It is nice to have but there are far better ways to spend your money. The benefit just isn't big enough. You're going to get colonist(s) everytime someone picks Mayor and the only time you'd ever pick Mayor (with or without a Hospice) is if there is a large amount of money on him or if the ship is unbalanced. Even then, someone else ALWAYS seems to pick Mayor eventually so you'll be getting a steady stream of colonists even without the hospice (although not as many). Colonists are overvalued in this game. It's very rare (in my experience) that the person with the most colonists wins the game.

I think you should just avoid the temptation of getting the hospice and opt for a small market, small indigo, small sugar, small warehouse or MAYBE a construction hut. Otherwise, just save your money for coffee, tobacco, factory, harbour, wharf or large building.

That being said, I think the Hospice is a FUN building to have. If you play Puerto Rico for fun, it's a good one to build. If you play to win, avoid it. It's kinda like the Building track in Caylus in someways. A fun but less-optimal path to victory.


Thats a solid and succient argument you have built there.
I appreciate your honesty.

As I stated to my friend, neither player who picked the Hospice won the game, so I certainly do not think its the key to victory.

But we were concerned that its a balance issue, perhaps it can be too powerful of a building choice. But in retrospect I see that it is not and there are checks and balances and better options for 4-5 dubloons on your first turn.
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Patrick Sullivan
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thedude05 wrote:


Thats a solid and succient argument you have built there.
I appreciate your honesty.

As I stated to my friend, neither player who picked the Hospice won the game, so I certainly do not think its the key to victory.

But we were concerned that its a balance issue, perhaps it can be too powerful of a building choice. But in retrospect I see that it is not and there are checks and balances and better options for 4-5 dubloons on your first turn.


Yeah, exactly. There are better options for 3-4 dubloons on your first turn. I'm very happy that when I play with my family, both my mom and my sister ALWAYS go Builder/Hospice as soon as they can (usually allowing me to go Settler/Quarry, or at the very least allowing me to get a Small Market which I find a superior building to the Hospice). There are just simply more optimal choices for 3-4 dubloons early in the game.

I have a few playgroups for Puerto Rico so I'm lucky in that I've come to see that the game is VERY well balanced. I don't find a single building nor strategy to be overly powerful although there are some buildings that are suboptimal (university and just about every building in the 2nd column). The reason I say I'm fortunate to have several playgroups is that many different strategies and tactics get used. If you play in one playgroup with the game people (more or less), you'll see fewer strategies emerge and will probably come to think that something is overpowered. For instance, I have a friend who plays alot with one playgroup and he is CONVINCED that the game is broken in that a Corn shipping strategy with a Wharf is UNBEATABLE. He says this because in his playgroup, the player that gets 4+corn with a Wharf has never lost a game.

This leads me to think that he has drawn false conclusions from a very limited sample size of strategies. What if a playgroup is big on corn and doesn't let one player get an overwhelming supply? What if a playgroup includes a VERY good builder who ends the game very quickly? I would think that his playgroup is lacking one of these two things which is allowing a corn shipper (with wharf) to do very well. I'm also thinking that there must be some dingus in that group that repeatedly is taking Craftsman without understanding the damage it may be doing.

I say all this just so that you can feel rest assured that the Hospice is a very balanced building that offers a nice little benefit for a moderate price. In my view (and many others), that price is too high. But you don't have to worry about it being 'broken' or anything like that.

Keep having fun playing Puerto Rico! It remains my favourite board game of all time!
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
Black Barney wrote:
thedude05 wrote:


Thats a solid and succient argument you have built there.
I appreciate your honesty.

As I stated to my friend, neither player who picked the Hospice won the game, so I certainly do not think its the key to victory.

But we were concerned that its a balance issue, perhaps it can be too powerful of a building choice. But in retrospect I see that it is not and there are checks and balances and better options for 4-5 dubloons on your first turn.


Yeah, exactly. There are better options for 3-4 dubloons on your first turn. I'm very happy that when I play with my family, both my mom and my sister ALWAYS go Builder/Hospice as soon as they can (usually allowing me to go Settler/Quarry, or at the very least allowing me to get a Small Market which I find a superior building to the Hospice). There are just simply more optimal choices for 3-4 dubloons early in the game.

I have a few playgroups for Puerto Rico so I'm lucky in that I've come to see that the game is VERY well balanced. I don't find a single building nor strategy to be overly powerful although there are some buildings that are suboptimal (university and just about every building in the 2nd column). The reason I say I'm fortunate to have several playgroups is that many different strategies and tactics get used. If you play in one playgroup with the game people (more or less), you'll see fewer strategies emerge and will probably come to think that something is overpowered. For instance, I have a friend who plays alot with one playgroup and he is CONVINCED that the game is broken in that a Corn shipping strategy with a Wharf is UNBEATABLE. He says this because in his playgroup, the player that gets 4+corn with a Wharf has never lost a game.

This leads me to think that he has drawn false conclusions from a very limited sample size of strategies. What if a playgroup is big on corn and doesn't let one player get an overwhelming supply? What if a playgroup includes a VERY good builder who ends the game very quickly? I would think that his playgroup is lacking one of these two things which is allowing a corn shipper (with wharf) to do very well. I'm also thinking that there must be some dingus in that group that repeatedly is taking Craftsman without understanding the damage it may be doing.

I say all this just so that you can feel rest assured that the Hospice is a very balanced building that offers a nice little benefit for a moderate price. In my view (and many others), that price is too high. But you don't have to worry about it being 'broken' or anything like that.

Keep having fun playing Puerto Rico! It remains my favourite board game of all time!



Its a great game. I love it. Its the highest rated game I have as well and continue to want to play every opportunity I get.

Thanks again for your input. Hopefully my friend is reading this, I sent him a link and he is a member here.
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
The more I think about it, the more I think the Hospice is only viable for the person who thinks and or is going to focus on the builder/income path.

The person who is going to go the opposite route of corn.
Mainly because they will be purchasing more buildings and will be focusing on income generating properties like the small market and the office.
They want to make alot of $$$ so they can purchase 1-2 of the big buildings... especially the fortress.


If you have indigo, and you take the Hospice first turn, you need to be prepared to be flexible and change your strategy when its apparent that your being out produced or you lack quick start up production.
Knowing when to shift to the builder role is key for the person being out produced or in danger of being out produced.
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I dunno. I'd think the builder would be focusing more on the small market / sugar mill / coffee and/or tobacco / factory and stuff like that.

I think the hospice would be more for someone that maybe wants to also get the hacienda and then get Fortress and/or Residence. They could end the game rather quickly by emptying the colonist supply. The problem with that strategy is how do you make money?
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Jeff Warrender
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I wonder how much groupthink plays a role in the usefulness of the Hospice. Particularly, if players are building large production buildings very early, the colonist ship will have more colonists on it and it will be more feasible to get multiple colonists per Mayor phase. If people are instead building the smaller buildings, the colony ship will have the minimum number of colonists, and you'll generally only get one colonist per Mayor phase. If that's the case, then the Hospice can be very helpful to getting your production infrastructure off and running in half as many Mayor phases as you'd otherwise need. So, like so many other buildings in PR, I think the usefulness of the Hospice is situational.

-Jeff
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Like I mentionned once, in one of my playgroups (the one that includes my mom and sister), the hospice is chosen often (not be me!). So I tend to focus on a builder strategy that includes getting the Guild Hall as soon as possible and buying all the product buildings (I get harbour or factory if I have time, but it's rare). By buying these production buildings, I am completely overloading the colonist ship and encouraging a fast game which works really well for the builder/guild hall strategy.

I think it would be slightly less effective if the Hospice wasn't being bought on round one in EVERY game we play.

That's one of the coolest things about Puerto Rico is how some buildings (bought by your opponents) lend themselves to helping/hurting some specific strategies in the game.

The same way that an early Mason in Caylus hurts the player focusing on the Building Track. Or an early wood mktplace hurts a money track placer.
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
Black Barney wrote:
I dunno. I'd think the builder would be focusing more on the small market / sugar mill / coffee and/or tobacco / factory and stuff like that.

I think the hospice would be more for someone that maybe wants to also get the hacienda and then get Fortress and/or Residence. They could end the game rather quickly by emptying the colonist supply. The problem with that strategy is how do you make money?


But thats what I was getting at. Perhaps I am using inccorrect terms. I thought the Builder path was someone that shied away from quick mass production and focused on income and money generation to purchase buildings and the like to support thier need for Victory Points?
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Patrick Sullivan
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thedude05 wrote:


But thats what I was getting at. Perhaps I am using inccorrect terms. I thought the Builder path was someone that shied away from quick mass production and focused on income and money generation to purchase buildings and the like to support thier need for Victory Points?


Yeah, that's definately what the builder is after. But they wouldn't have any need for the Hospice. A Hospice would support someone going for Residence or Fortress. A typical builder would bypass the Hospice in favour of one of those superior buildings I mentionned earlier. Those buildings help his strategy of income generation (and ending the game quickly) more than the Hospice.

Someone's going to pick Mayor eventually. You'll either pick it when it's very advantageous to you (unbalanced ship, dubloon bribe) or you'll just let someone else pick it and you'll get your colonists anyway. The cost of the Hospiece is too high considering you're going to be getting the colonists anyway. The few times that the Hospice allows you to craft before mayor is picked isn't enough to overcome the cost (and DEFINATELY not enough to overcome the opportunity cost).
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Although I agree with most of the posts above that the hospice is not a strong building there is times when strong players will take it. I’ve seen the following situations in which a hospice was advantageous and where it may not have been the “perfect call”, it was a strong play:

The corn/wharf strategy is strong. With the use of a hospice, you can almost pull this off with indigo. The reason it works so well for corn is the low colonists and no building requirements of corn. With the hospice, the low colonist requirements are avoided and you may be making enough off the indigo to offset the hospice.

I’ve seen strong Builders (capitol “B” for the strategy) use the hospice to a couple of ends. First off, it when a Builder selects settler to grab a quarry BAM! It’s staffed, so they already save a doubloon when some one picks builder before someone mayors. This will probably happen at least once maybe twice during the game. Then it has the added benefit of sucking off colonists. This results in the possibility of the game ending sooner; which is usually the goal of the Builder strategy. (Well that is a whole separate discussion actually, but we really don’t need to discuss it here.) Additionally it allows the Builder to never have to pick mayor, freeing him up for other income generating role selections. And lastly the Builder with a hospice will invariably end up with many colonists making the fortress an attractive option. The four advantages I listed above add up to quite a bit. As I said, it may not always be the best play, but it can help a strong player to victory.
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Re: HOSPICE: Is this buidling unbalanced, or does it destabl
Spacehulk wrote:
Although I agree with most of the posts above that the hospice is not a strong building there is times when strong players will take it. I’ve seen the following situations in which a hospice was advantageous and where it may not have been the “perfect call”, it was a strong play:

The corn/wharf strategy is strong. With the use of a hospice, you can almost pull this off with indigo. The reason it works so well for corn is the low colonists and no building requirements of corn. With the hospice, the low colonist requirements are avoided and you may be making enough off the indigo to offset the hospice.

I’ve seen strong Builders (capitol “B” for the strategy) use the hospice to a couple of ends. First off, it when a Builder selects settler to grab a quarry BAM! It’s staffed, so they already save a doubloon when some one picks builder before someone mayors. This will probably happen at least once maybe twice during the game. Then it has the added benefit of sucking off colonists. This results in the possibility of the game ending sooner; which is usually the goal of the Builder strategy. (Well that is a whole separate discussion actually, but we really don’t need to discuss it here.) Additionally it allows the Builder to never have to pick mayor, freeing him up for other income generating role selections. And lastly the Builder with a hospice will invariably end up with many colonists making the fortress an attractive option. The four advantages I listed above add up to quite a bit. As I said, it may not always be the best play, but it can help a strong player to victory.


Yep, thats exactly what has happend in our group when the player chose Hospice. Getting the quarries already staffed is huge, as well as not needing the mayor phase. Thats how I almost won in the game detailed above, missing our by one point due to a mistake I made on the final turn.

There are some strong assets to choosing the Hospice with a strong player playing it and a non quick start up good like sugar or tobacco etc.
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jwarrend wrote:
I wonder how much groupthink plays a role in the usefulness of the Hospice. Particularly, if players are building large production buildings very early, the colonist ship will have more colonists on it and it will be more feasible to get multiple colonists per Mayor phase. If people are instead building the smaller buildings, the colony ship will have the minimum number of colonists, and you'll generally only get one colonist per Mayor phase. If that's the case, then the Hospice can be very helpful to getting your production infrastructure off and running in half as many Mayor phases as you'd otherwise need.


If players are building large production buildings very early, strategy won't need much fine-tuning. One can just avoid mistakes and win by default. That situation does make the hospice even less valuable than it otherwise would be, I agree. The hospice is a good build in one situation: If you have only enough buying power to buy a 2-point violet building and you own the City Hall but not the Guild Hall *and* it's nearly the end of the game, then it's a reasonable purchase (*if* you can't save money and pull off another manned 4-point building before the game ends). Other than that, it's safe to completely ignore it, like the university. Ultimately, about 30% of the buildings are nearly useless; knowing which ones those are is one of the most important things to know about Puerto Rico.

Jim
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Well. Nearly useless at the cost they are. Hospice would be great if it cost $2.

Makes me wonder if anyone has tried playing Puerto Rico with, say, Small Market changed to $2, Hospice to $3, Office to $4, Large Warehouse to $5, and University to $6. Something like that.

Fewer no-brainers seem like they would make a better game.

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