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Puerto Rico: Expansion I – New Buildings» Forums » Sessions

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Golden Lotus
United States
North Carolina
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Wednesday: Puerto Rico

Rick, David, King, Mike

We haven't played Puerto Rico in quite a while. I had tried to get it to
the lunch table before, but other games had been preferred. Partly a “we’ve
played that enough” and partly a result of the set-up and break-down
factors, although I don't really accept such excuses! Anyway, I thought
that the expansion might re-inject the game with some interest and sure
enough, it made the list.

It was our first time with the expansion, but we opted not to use the
drafting rules but just pick buildings we liked the look of. The ones we
lined up were:
Aqueduct, Hacienda, Forest House, Small Warehouse (aqueduct just to replace
small market, which is an auto-buy, forest house to play around with
forests. Note we were playing that forest house and hacienda did not
interact - you couldn't convert your random pick into a forest)
Guest House, Office, Large Market, Small Wharf (guest house to replace
hospice mainly, but it looked interesting, small wharf to replace large
Factory, Harbor, Library, Wharf (the 3 old standbys and the library to
replace the useless university)

We had to have a small refresher on the rules (it has been a while) plus I
went over the new buildings, then we were underway. Mike in seat 1 took
Mayor. I explained that it would in no way benefit him and that King (seat
4) and myself (seat 3) would now be able to produce corn and he would still
sit there with nothing, but he persisted. A turn or two later he realized
it! As I said, it had been a while! I embarked on a trial of a couple of buildings, picking up the Guest
House and Aqueduct early, building up indigo plantations. I also got the
coffee plantations, though it was a bit slow for me to get the roaster. I
had also got the Hacienda and it was not kind to me, giving me a 3rd coffee
plantation and tobacco after the 3 tobacco storage had gone. Meanwhile,
Mike was going his usual diverse goods with the Factory route, Rick was
trying out the forest building line and King was King of the Corn and
shipping like crazy as he always does. Rick said afterwards he had wanted to
get at least 4 big buildings but his build-up to being able to do that was
too slow. It was not until he got the Library that he picked up a bit
(being able to Quarry then take a forest) and he built the residence and
City Hall. Mike achieved the all 5 goods produced when he finally got hold
of a Corn plantation. However, the game ended before he got to big building
status, probably a consequence of trying to get that perfect factory running
instead of grabbing the big building. Both King and myself did manage that,
saving enough to grab them before Rick's building machine ate them up. I
ended with excellent Indigo production, too much coffee and a little corn
and sugar. The Library was very useful for me too, though I probably should
have just bought the Harbor. I got the Guild Hall. King as always shipped
liked a demon. However, this game he managed his resources very well
(something that was lacking in some of his previous games),
building little but building the right things. He had 4 corn by the end,
but also had a tobacco plant at full steam (and provided the necessary funds
to build the Customs House) and Sugar going well too. By the end of our
lunch hour, we were not quite done, but it was clear that one person had
done considerably better than the rest of us, so Rick Mayored when he didn't
really need to and it ended the game. Final scores:

Mike: 16 building + 21 shipping + 0 special = 37
Rick: 16 + 10 + (4+4) = 34
David: 18 + 15 + 6 = 39
King: 11 + 39 + 9 = 59 !!!

I have never lost at PR by 20 points before; it was humbling. That he beat
everyone but me on shipping alone was galling! When I mentioned it to my
wife, she commented that the one who ignores the expansion buildings and
just does what they know always wins! This is probably only true for the first
game or two with the new buildings in this case - once you know how to use them
better, some of them are quite as effective as the basic set.

But anyway, hats off to King, he played it very very well.
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Yehuda Berlinger
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There's a lot to what she says. The most important buildings in the game are still small indigo, small sugar, tobacco, and coffee. With Factory, Harbor, and Guild Hall in the game, there is not much reason to look elsewhere.

Some of the expansion buildings can be used to good effect. Aqueduct and Union Hall are game breakers, especially in combination. Actually, that about wraps up the useful stuff from the expansion. Storehouse is about equivalent to Small Warehouse. You have to remove Factory, Guild Hall and Harbor to get any real effect on the winning strategy.

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