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Subject: Can't seem to beat hacienda rss

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Adam Schwer
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Hello, I have been playing PR for about the past two months now, and others have been playing it before me. One of those others, and so far I would agree, thinks that if you get hacienda, most of the time you are going to win. I have tried getting hacienda, and when I do, I do win most of the time. I have not gotten hacienda, and other players have gotten it, and I win less than half the time (the one time I did win was when I did a corn/coffee strategy with harbor and small warehouse, got coffee on the large boat early, and the other two had to fight it out using the other boats while essentially I had my own boat)

It seems that hacienda doesn't seem very important on this forum, but I wanted to find out if anybody could elaborate on the hacienda's importance and any strategies known to work against hacienda. Maybe my friends and I are missing something..... Thanks.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Try a building strategy. Get tobacco or coffee early, get small and/or large marketplace, and preferrably Factory. Let others craft, build the large buildings fast and do just some little shipping (let others captain!). This will win you most of the time. It seems like your group is heavily pursueing a shipping strategy. I find Hacienda to be fairly weak. I love Construction Hut more.
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Adam Schwer
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Grzegorz, yes, that is the other thing I have noticed is that even when I focus more on building, I still try to ship more than I should. I will have to focus solely on building. Tanya farnuva, diola lle

Any other thoughts?
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Gil Hova
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When PR came out, a lot of people felt that Hacienda was too strong. Then those players started getting beaten by players who maximized their income, and the game's true depth started to emerge.

I played one game about four or five years ago with a group I'd never played with before. When one player bought the first Hacienda, all the other players grumbled about his huge advantage. I wound up getting a Factory/Harbor/Wharf/Customs House combo, and won the game easily.

This isn't to boast about my PR ability (which is decent, but hardly groundbreaking), but just to illustrate that once you get a feel for the powers of all the buildings, the Hacienda doesn't seem so bad.

The best advice I've heard isn't anything in specific. It's just the old saw to focus on income early, and switch to VP some time in the middle of the game. If you can find buildings that allow you to benefit from any role, especially Craftsman, you won't focus on the Hacienda as any specific threat.

Be sure to read up on some of the awesome PR strategy articles here...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/14044
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/13812
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James Faulkner
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Personally I wouldn't recommend you read the strategy articles unless you get in a very deep groupthink rut - as much of the enjoyment is in experimenting with the various approaches yourselves and learning together what works and doesn't work in different situations.

Rest assured though that the Hacienda isn't overpowered.

Other ruts that people have got into include:

The Hospice is overpowered
The Factory is overpowered
Multiple Quarries are overpowered
Lots of Corn and a Wharf is overpowered
Diverse Goods and a Harbour is overpowered (though it is a personal favourite)


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Ben Foy
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I learned PR 6 months after it came out. Everyone was focused on the Hacienda/Hospice strat. I easily won my first couple games against them. So I never understood the appeal. Later I lost to someone with a shipping strat and new horizons of the game opened up. Lately I've been experimenting with a nilist strat.
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Adam Schwer
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Awesome, all good comments and good things to try/look out for. Thanks.
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James Klemm
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Keep in mind that turn order has a tendency to nudge you in certain strategic directions. First Player "should" build and last player "should" ship.
 
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Ben Foy
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MisterBond wrote:
Keep in mind that turn order has a tendency to nudge you in certain strategic directions. First Player "should" build and last player "should" ship.


Huh? Last I heard, the first turn rule of thumb was 'first player should settle'. Note: I think building is fine but so is settling.

In a 3-4 player game, you aren't likely to ship in the first turn.
 
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Dan The Man
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BFoy wrote:
MisterBond wrote:
Keep in mind that turn order has a tendency to nudge you in certain strategic directions. First Player "should" build and last player "should" ship.


Huh? Last I heard, the first turn rule of thumb was 'first player should settle'. Note: I think building is fine but so is settling.

In a 3-4 player game, you aren't likely to ship in the first turn.


I do believe he was speaking in game trends, not first turn actions...

Cornholio players have a better chance to start a shipping strategy, while indigoers have the means to start a building strategy.

Not guaranteed, of course, but not a horrible observation.
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Matthew Barratt
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BFoy wrote:
MisterBond wrote:
Keep in mind that turn order has a tendency to nudge you in certain strategic directions. First Player "should" build and last player "should" ship.


Huh? Last I heard, the first turn rule of thumb was 'first player should settle'. Note: I think building is fine but so is settling.

In a 3-4 player game, you aren't likely to ship in the first turn.

I think he means that in the long run you should generally go for a builder strategy as 1st player, because you picked up the quarry on your turn 1 settle. Also, the later players should generally go for a shipping strategy because they start with a corn plantation.
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Ben Foy
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DnaDan56 wrote:
BFoy wrote:
MisterBond wrote:
Keep in mind that turn order has a tendency to nudge you in certain strategic directions. First Player "should" build and last player "should" ship.


Huh? Last I heard, the first turn rule of thumb was 'first player should settle'. Note: I think building is fine but so is settling.

In a 3-4 player game, you aren't likely to ship in the first turn.


I do believe he was speaking in game trends, not first turn actions...

Cornholio players have a better chance to start a shipping strategy, while indigoers have the means to start a building strategy.

Not guaranteed, of course, but not a horrible observation.


Yes, I realized what he was saying too late.

I don't see PR games in those simple terms anymore.

If a player tries a shipping strat, the next player lets them produce then ships (or trades). The benefit for shipping first is usually the same as the producer got for shipping last. Eventually, no one wants to be the one to produce. People aren't going to let one person get all the corn anyway.

Building is the same way. The players don't take the builder unless they are going to grab something important. Like the Guild Hall.

So someone who tries to run a vanilla strat gets eaten alive. What other players are doing affects your strat far more than turn order.
 
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Jared Heng
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One of those others, and so far I would agree, thinks that if you get hacienda, most of the time you are going to win.

It's easy to think a building is overpowered when it's actually the group that plays into that person's strategy of using that building effectively. I don't think any building is overpowered in PR, though I agree that some are overpriced. Certain building combinations can be overpowered, like having both hacienda and forest house included in the game,resulting in a builder blitz. But even then, it may only work in a three player game where there are less people competing for the trading house. If someone is shipping heavily with the hacienda, block the ships with goods that person lacks or create a situation where the person is forced to forgo a big trade if he ships.
 
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Travis Cooper
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Although my group never had this problem with the hacienda, we went through this with a bunch of different buildings. We played at work for almost 2 months every day (now we only break it out every once in a while), and somebody would buy a building that nobody was really utilizing and then win. Then everybody would talk about how we should have been using that building more often because it is so strong and whoever gets it first will win, etc., etc. It was interesting to see our journey as a group, and thankfully, people were willing to try out all sorts of different things to show that there really are other ways of winning.

In fact in our group, the guy who had played it the most, always talked about how the hacienda was a worthless building. So we never bought it. Occasionally when somebody did, they would never win. That encouraged me to find a way to win with it. It took me a few tries, but I finally did, and it opened up our eyes to the importance of the factory, which up until that point wasn't being utilized much.

There are several things that can beat the hacienda, in fact I think the hacienda is a rather weak building. Try finding a way to make the harbor effective, or the wharf, or maybe both. Use the trading post and factory a lot to get enough money to end the game quickly on buildings (small and/or large markets really help out in this). There are several things I can think of that I would try against a hacienda player, but part of the fun is discovering them for yourself. Find a building that your group mostly ignores and think of a way to make it help you win.

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Jim Campbell
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Adschwer wrote:
One of those others, and so far I would agree, thinks that if you get hacienda, most of the time you are going to win. I have tried getting hacienda, and when I do, I do win most of the time. I have not gotten hacienda, and other players have gotten it, and I win less than half the time...


A couple of the very strongest PR players on the Brettspielwelt server used to use the hacienda as a balancing mechanism when playing weaker opponents. If they drew any seat except #2 (which is already a disadvantage) they'd take hacienda as their first building, to give the other players a head start.

The hacienda needs to be purchased early to really be effective, but it's not an advantageous building to buy early, so it's worth avoiding.
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Eric Nielsen
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jimc wrote:
A couple of the very strongest PR players on the Brettspielwelt server used to use the hacienda as a balancing mechanism when playing weaker opponents. If they drew any seat except #2 (which is already a disadvantage) they'd take hacienda as their first building, to give the other players a head start.


...and there was also coolala, who regularly used the Hazi against strong opponents with great success.

There is a trap many players fall into when using the Hazienda: taking Settler too often. Getting a quarry and a plantation may seem neat, but it's easy to overvalue this and end up choosing a weak role too often.

With the hacienda, you do want an extra settler role to be chosen in the early-mid game to get a 2-plantation lead while it still matters, but there are other ways to make this happen than taking the role yourself. Use the interaction of the roles to tweak the order and pressure someone else to do your work for you. Settler is still a weak role and worth avoiding.

The other place where people run into trouble with the Hazienda is colonist management. You'll need extra colonists to take advantage of the extra plantations, but Mayor is also a weak role. There are other ways to fix this problem, such as buying an early Lg. Indigo plant to get an early unbalanced boat. Try to pressure your RHO to take mayor.

The Hazi requires quite a bit of extra work and planning to provide a real advantage, but for players that can do that, I'd say the Hazi outranks the Small Market in strength.
 
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