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Subject: Playing the SoloPlay rules rss

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Rolf
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This was my second solo-game of Puerto Rico according to the SoloPlay rules by
SoloPlayGames
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all of which can be found in this geeklist. I've played maybe a handful of normal (multiplayer) Puerto Rico games before so am comfortable with the rules but a novice regarding strategy.

I started with an indigo plantation, the hospice and the large warehouse were not available. Given that in SoloPlay the number of available colonists seem to be the limiting factor, not having the hospice is just fine. The large warehouse can provide some nice bonus-points, but I again don't see its overwhelming power. Initial order of roles were settler, mayor, captain, trader, craftsman and builder with sugar, sugar and tobacco available as plantations.

In the first turn I chose mayor, captain and trader (all without doing anything) to get these roles to the back of the pack. Then I settled the tobacco, built the large indigo plant discarding the small warehouse (in hindsight, the small one might have been better) and distributed the colonists using the mayor. When finally forced to choose trader in round four I failed the role, paying one colonist from the supply. Otherwise it was building the tobacco plant as quickly as possible in turn 5 (picking up a quarry and another tobacco plantation in the meantime).
The office (turn 7) followed, so that from then on I could sell all my tobacco for money. To make sure that I wouldn't have to ship it, I invested in both corn and sugar production, so that together with my initial indigo I had three types of goods to ship and one to sell. I think this combination of having a working tobacco production (so that the produced tobacco does not need to be shipped) together with the office is quite powerful, as it means that the trader almost never is in risk of failing and a good income stream is guaranteed.
Harbor (to speed up collection of victory points before the colonists ran out) was the next building. Then it was onto the big buildings: I built the residence and the city hall. I intended to build the guild hall as well so constructed a coffee roaster. In turn 16 I failed the mayor paying 3 doubloons. This fushed the game end out by two turns but meant that I didn't get the money for the guild hall (I couldn't even pay for the university).
In the last round I used up the vp chips (and in fact got some extra vp for which no chips were available), filled all building spaces (I had filled all the island spaces a round or two earlier) and emptied the colonist supply. This gave me a total of more than 70.

I think I could have improved my score by replacing the coffee roaster with a university (and possibly not building some other cheap building). Also, instead of discarding the warehouse, maybe I should have discarded something else to be able to build the warehouse later for vp.
I only ever manned two quarries (although I got the third one) and avoided the mayor in the late game. I also tried to make sure that the second to last time I took the captain I almost, but not quite, used up all the vp.

The SoloPlay rules work well, but I'm not yet sure that there's enough randomness in the game to provide variety beyond playing them a dozen times or so. Especially the end-game (once you have the plantations/quarries you need) becomes very deterministic.
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SoloPlayGames
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nessi wrote:
The SoloPlay rules work well, but I'm not yet sure that there's enough randomness in the game to provide variety beyond playing them a dozen times or so. Especially the end-game (once you have the plantations/quarries you need) becomes very deterministic.

Comment:
Nice report thanks for posting it.

To your point, the expansion greatly contribute to the replayability even if you only use it for SoloPlay. I have a tough time trying to get the "veterans" to use the expansion. It adds a number of different angles to go and consider.

You can get it through the Alea treasure chest or it may still be sold seperate. I have not tried playing with the nobles expansion. When I do, I will look to see if it can be incorporated into the SoloPlay rules.

Rarely do I ever get the island full without building help. Unless I have some incentive, I don't go for that because once you get the island full the settler role fails every time. And generally at that point I need every colonist and doubloon to try to max the buildings.

It sounds like you are pushing the role failure to get to your goal (which has a cost in colonists or doubloons 3 or half your current holdings whichever is greater). This sounds to have worked in your case. If you develop a strong economy you should be able to get away from the colonist ending. Getting the production variety is key and you did achieve this.

Good game and report. Give the expansion(s) a try.
 
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Rolf
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GameRulesforOne wrote:

Rarely do I ever get the island full without building help. Unless I have some incentive, I don't go for that because once you get the island full the settler role fails every time. And generally at that point I need every colonist and doubloon to try to max the buildings.

I didn't especially try for this. It happened like this: by the mid-game I like to have my diversified production up (say 1 corn, 1 indigo, 1 sugar, 2 tobacco) and get two quarries for a total of 7 spaces. From then on Settler is a 'safe' role, so I like to use it to pace the others. And once I bought my second bonus building (the first one being customs house) I was up to 9 or 10 filled spaces, with the other buildings unlikely to return more than 6 bonus vp (well, I probably should have tried the University and just stash the money).

GameRulesforOne wrote:

It sounds like you are pushing the role failure to get to your goal (which has a cost in colonists or doubloons 3 or half your current holdings whichever is greater). This sounds to have worked in your case. If you develop a strong economy you should be able to get away from the colonist ending. Getting the production variety is key and you did achieve this.

I actually only failed two roles (apart from turn 1 of course) during the game. But failing the mayor once allows another 3 turns during which one can ship/build a lot of vp. I'd say failing the mayor once (and ensuring that all ending conditions happen in the same round) is critical to achieve a complete victory.
In my first game, I had overlooked the rule that you could pay 3 doubloons [or half your holdings, but that means you just have to manage your money slightly] and didn't fail the mayor. I think I got 59 points in that one.

GameRulesforOne wrote:

Give the expansion(s) a try.

Unfortunately I don't have any expansion, but I'll have a look next time I visit my FLGS. If the SoloPlay base game goes stale before then, I'll look into making them myself. But there are a few things I'd like to try, like getting both the Hospice and the University fairly early and then completely forgoing the mayor.

Anyway, thanks again for a good couple of evening hours with the SoloPlay rules (I've just printed the Agricola resource cards and will try them in the next couple of days).
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