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Puerto Rico» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Game Named Puerto Rico rss

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Shane Brewer
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If you do a search for the best board games you will undoubtedly find a reference to a game called Puerto Rico. If you are already a gaming aficionado then you will already know PR. But, if you are a gaming noob like myself, you will not have any idea what all the fuss is about. It's my hope that this review can provide someone whose only experience is Monopoly, Risk, or Sorry with an idea of what PR can bring to the table. I'm hoping that not only will readers learn a little bit about PR but they will also feel inclined to search out some games at some real game stores. I feel I can write from this perspective because I am currently living it. I am currently discovering the wonderful world of "real" boardgames that aren't mass marketed. It's like the difference between chef-boy-ar-dee and the Macaroni Grill.

First of all, PR is a completely new experience from your typical board games available at Walmart. For one thing, PR doesn't make you want to throw the game through an open window half way through your first game. Remember those wonderful 6 hour long epics you experienced with Monopoly and Risk? Those are not part of PR. In fact, your typical game will last about 60-90 minutes, depending on your experience. My experience has been (every time, I might add) that the game ends what always seems to be too soon. Just as I am getting my system in place, the game enters the end stages. So when you pick up PR you can expect to want to play it again and again in order to refine and perfect your strategy. The game makes you want to come back to it and it has lots and lots of replayability (which is a fancy, board game geek, term for not getting so bored with the game that you play it once and then dread ever playing it again).

So a wonderful game like this, that makes you want to play it again and again and that makes you think about it even when you aren't playing it, must have some magnificent pieces and boards that make it magical. Uhhh....no. PR is a "real" board game remember, which means all the efforts of the designers have gone into gameplay instead of neat and cute little pieces. There are no top hats, little dogs, and small elf shoes. There is not a big beautiful board with a fancy world map. Basically you get some small boards that are supposed to represent the island of Puerto Rico and the city of San Juan. Also, you get lots of little pieces of text-covered, cardboard that are supposed to represent your buildings and plantations. The neatest pieces you get are some small wooden discs that represent colonists and hexagonal cylinders that represent goods. So how it the world can this be interesting? Basically, the game play sucks you in and your imagination takes over and fills in the holes.

So can a game like this be understandable to the average gamer? Absolutely! The rules are actually quite basic and can be picked up pretty quickly. I think that the rules really aren't much more complicated that Risk. I know what you're thinking: "the game Sorry also has pretty simple rules, and yet it is cardboard death." Well, while PR offers simple rules, it provides lots and lots of different ways to apply those rules and play the game. This is one of the greatest strengths of the game: you can play every game using a different strategy. And, often, you have to adjust your strategies on the fly. As you play, you find new and interesting combinations that can be used to win the game.

So what is the game all about? Well, there are some descriptions of the game that you might read that can be confusing: worker placement, variable phase order, and economic. What does that all mean? What can you expect the game to involve? Basically, during the course of the game you want to produce and sell things like corn, sugar, and coffee. When you do this you get points. The person with the most points wins. To produce the goods you must have colonists (workers) and you must have some plantations. Then when you have some goods to sell you either sell them in a local market for $$ or ship them off on a ships to get points. That being said, there are many ways to do this. You can purchase different "buildings" that make production and sales more profitable. For instance, you can buy a factory that gives you some extra cash for producing a variety of goods. Your task as a player is to find the most efficient combination of buildings and privileges.

A different aspect of the game which provides interesting twists and turns is the fact that on every turn you can only do certain things. For instance, on one turn you can build a building if you have enough $$ and, if you are the first person to do so, you can build your building cheaper. Other things you can do include produce goods, sell goods, and ship goods. Again, if you are the first to do each of these things you get special bonuses. So, the player has to decide when to take each action. These actions can be chosen to help your own position or to hinder your opponent's.

Finally, PR has a really cool theme. You are on a tropical island, trying to establish a small colony, and trying to make money and send goods back to the motherland. You can almost smell the jungle and feel the ocean breeze as you play the game. How cool is that? What do you feel when you play Monopoly? For me, it's mostly rage.

PR deserves to be played by more people. I believe that if Walmart were to start selling PR they would make a small fortune. The game would become a favorite. You should give it a look.



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Ron
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“It's all in the mind.” ― George Harrison
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Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
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DrBrewhaha wrote:
PR deserves to be played by more people. I believe that if Walmart were to start selling PR they would make a small fortune. The game would become a favorite. You should give it a look.

thumbsup I totally agree with you - but most of the people reading this wonderful review already own PR ... cool
Hmmm... maybe you should post this on the Monopoly or Risk forum
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Julio

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DrBrewhaha wrote:
What do you feel when you play Monopoly?


Boredom...
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Dylan Shakespeare
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jrescan wrote:
DrBrewhaha wrote:
What do you feel when you play Monopoly?


Boredom...

I'm sick of understatement. robot
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