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Puerto Rico» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Vintage aged wine circa 2002 - I'm no connoisseur but I like it rss

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David Wishart
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What can be said about Puerto Rico that hasn't already been expressed by others here on BoardGameGeek. I will give my opinion why I feel that Puerto Rico is like the vintage wine of my board game collection that keeps tasting better. I realize it's number 1 here on the site and I feel the position is well deserved.

The Rulebook - Puerto Rico's rulebook is nothing fancy. It's full color and describes the rules in an easy to learn way. It's a bit winded at times, but overall it's effective enough at getting your first game started. I would have liked to see the use of more pictures as a visual example to reinforce the rules. It's not the nicest rulebook in the world but it gets the job done.

The Components - The insert inside the Puerto Rico box is a godsend and despite still using baggies, the insert is a great way to keep the components organized and makes putting the game away very easy. Set up is also relatively painless and a game can be ready in 5 minutes if the player's cooperate setting it up... or don't get in your way. All of the pieces are high quality and durable, although the artwork on the boards isn't quite as vibrant as some other board games, so at first glance, the game doesn't jump out at you. Overall my best description of the components would be to use the word "solid".

The Gameplay - Puerto Rico is almost completely free of any kind of randomness other than flipping over new settlement tiles and never does the randomness completely wreck someone's strategy. Speaking of strategy, for a game with no randomness I never feel like the game is scripted. Certainly on the first turn you need to be careful to not give another player an early advantage so the choices are a bit more scripted but otherwise every game offers the players a number of different strategic routes to victory. Whether I win or lose I enjoy trying out new strategies to see when and where they work and how to adjust my play based on the decisions of those around me. I love agonizing over whether or not to pick the craftsman and how the other players will respond after my choice. It's rewarding when you can accurately predict your opponents moves. Playing this game against other top notch players is helpful as well since a weak player at the table affords the player to his or her right some advantages. However, overcoming this problem, which I have done, makes a victory all the more rewarding. The game plays well with 3 players and is fantastic with 4 but I wouldn't recommend it with 5. You get a sense that the game is already over before it's over and hence goes on a little longer than it should. It's still a lot of fun but 4 players is definitely its sweet spot.

Overall Puerto Rico is a game I will never turn down. Every time we look at my game shelf trying to decide what to play, Puerto Rico always jumps out at us. Don't get me wrong I still continue to buy plenty of other games, but as my first real introduction to Euros, Puerto Rico continues to shine, even after playing it regularly for 3 years. I like Agricola almost as much but it takes a lot more time to set up and feels more fiddly than Puerto Rico. In my opinion Puerto Rico is a game that no one's collection should be without.

Now if only the island made grapes...
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