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Subject: Session Report rss

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Jay Bloodworth
United States
Columbia
South Carolina
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Players: Michael, Jay

My first two player Puerto Rico. Michael had told me several times
that it's really good with two, but I was skeptical. But I really
like PR, and am not a big fan of most designed for two player games,
so I decided to give it a try.

Right away I saw a lot I liked. While much of the tension in PR comes
from not being able to do everything you want, and thus needing others
to choose the right roles at the right times, having three role
choices per round doesn't mitigate that tension. It does change it a
bit, as you can almost always do something constructive in a round,
and so can your opponent, the development of your economy is more
continious and less punctuated than in multiplayer PR. Consequently,
two player PR is very strategic and can be analyzed: "If I do this,
he'll do that, then I'll get this...." While most games require you
to do some thinking of this kind to choose the best move, I typically
find the process painful in two player games becaue the search space
tends to be large and abstract. The range of possible moves in PR is
smaller but still rich, and I really enjoyed the process of weighing
and choosing my moves.

I was start player, so Michael began with corn and started shipping
right away. I picked up some corn early, so I jumped on the bandwagon
too, but after about three rounds he had a healthy VP lead on me. I
can never seem to make a shipping strategy work anyway, so I
concentrated on money and building. I did pretty well, and managed to
have a working coffee roaster, wharf, and harbor (along with a few
other buildings) by the halfway point of the game. Still, Michael had
been shipping pretty regularly for four and five VPs per shipment,
while I was making at most two. But then I was able to choose Captain
at a time when he had no goods and both ships were empty, locking them
up with sugar and coffee, the two goods he was not producing. Letting
me do that more or less cost him the game, as it gave me three rounds
to ship for nine VPs each while he was completely shut out. He
adapted as well as he could, shifting into economic mode with tobacco
and a large market, and at the end of the game it was he not I who had
three large buildings. Given how devestating the shipping situation
was for him in the last third of the game, the scores were actually
pretty close.

Scores: Jay 73, Michael 60
 
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