(Firstly apologies if this query has been put before - but I couldn't see that it had)
There seem to be two contradictory statements in the rules.
Under "Colonists" it says:
"The first player to have three of their colonists in a region gets the trade good . . . Once this occurs the region is now eligible for VP scoring and remains so unless the population is reduced to less than three"
That seems pretty clear to me; "the population" implies the total number of people (colonists) there.
BUT when it comes to New World colony scoring it says something different. It says:
"At least one player must have three or more colonists or specialist in a colony for that colony to be scored."
This time it is not that the population mustn't be less than three but that one player's colonists must not be less than three.
One wonders what Glen Drover's intention was. Does anybody know???
If there are (at least) three colonist in one color, then that region is scored. If by some reason (warfare) a region falls below (3) of a single color then the region no longer gets scored until a third colonist (of a given color) is restored.
Hope that helps!
In order for a colony to be scored, one person must have at least three colonists in a region. Once it is eligible, then any player who has any number of colonists there may get in on the scoring.
But if no player has three colonists there, then no scoring takes place regardless of how many total colonists are there. So to get to the "3" you cannot have 3 colonists of differeing colors.
So in this example, Virginia has 3 Green and 1 Red colonists for a total of 4. One player has "3" so this colony scores. Green gets 6 pts for being first, Red gets 2 pts. New England has 2 Green, 2 Red, 1 Blue, 1 Yellow for a total of 6. Even though it has more colonists than Virginia, no single player has 3, therefore the region does not score.
The rules you quote are not contradicotry. Under colonies, the first player to get 3 colonists in aregion grab the free resource. And since one player has accumulated 3colonists, it is availble to be scored at the next opportunity. So if his population is reduced to under 3, then the scoring opprotunity is lost. So the wording could have been a bit better because it is not the total population. I think it is more there sayin, one guy has 3 and he could score immediately if there is a scoring action this round.