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Subject: Homesteaders vs Puerto Rico rss

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For people that have played both, which game do you think is more complex? I was looking at getting PR for my group, but after reading the rules and watching a tutorial, I feel like there may be a little too much going on.

Would you say Homesteaders is easier in terms of rules and number of things to keep track of? I have seen several people refer to PR as a "brain-burner", would you put Homesteaders in the same class?

I am not asking which is the better game, because I know that Puerto Rico is a classic, I am just trying to see which would be better for our particular group.


Thanks.
 
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Michael J
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I think Homesteaders feels more complex due to all the buildings, icons, resources, and conversions from one to the other. Puerto Rico, on the other hand, is at least as complex in terms of strategy, but it doesn't feel like it. Gameplay is smooth and elegant. Homesteaders can definitely be the more confusing game. I like both. A lot. But Puerto Rico is better for me.
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mjacobsca wrote:
I think Homesteaders feels more complex due to all the buildings, icons, resources, and conversions from one to the other. Puerto Rico, on the other hand, is at least as complex in terms of strategy, but it doesn't feel like it. Gameplay is smooth and elegant. Homesteaders can definitely be the more confusing game. I like both. A lot. But Puerto Rico is better for me.


This is surprising to me. Going only by the rules, I felt like I understood both games equally well, but also that PR seemed like it would be harder to teach and especially harder to play well.

Thank you for sharing your experience.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Homesteaders has more of a tendency for noobs to feel lost and overwhelmed. In PR they just tend to make poor plays without realizing it - the choices are more constrained so it's not overwhelming.
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Greg H.
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Count me in as agreeing with the others--Homesteaders is slightly more difficult that Puerto Rico.

With PR, on your turn, all you do really is pick a role. That's it! New players can get up to speed with the rules fairy easily, but that doesn't mean they will play well.

With Homesteaders, I've seen some greater confusion up front. There's a greater diversity of resources. Players can really get "hosed" if they find themselves short in food or gold. Because players acquire building rights through auctions, it's hard for players to know how to put a value on everything.

Both are great games. Puerto Rico, though, is easier to learn.
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Kevin B. Smith
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I guess I'll take the other side here, slightly.

If someone is already familiar with resource management games and/or tableau-building games (e.g. San Juan), then I don't think Homesteaders will feel complex. However, for me it has a brain-burner aspect as far as resource conversions, because unlike most games, you can freely trade goods for other goods IF you have trading chip available.

During your first game of Homesteaders, you'll be learning the buildings, of course, so you might not be competitive. But I don't understand the "short of food" comment, since you don't feed workers (you pay them), and you can always take debt if you need to. (Ending the game with 1-2 debt is often a good strategy).

I have only played Puerto Rico once, and we forgot one rule (putting money on unused roles). Having played a role game like San Juan (or Race for the Galaxy) will help a lot with this one. However, if you like San Juan, you might find PR's selling market and shipping system to be quite frustrating (I did). In the end, I felt like it added a bunch of stuff to PR that I didn't particularly like.

During your first game of PR, you'll be learning the buildings, of course. The tricky part here is trying to figure out how the role you choose will affect other players. In addition to choosing the role with the largest net benefit to you vs. others, you also have to look ahead to see what roles that leaves other people to choose, and you have to worry about the order the roles get chosen. I got mini-AP a few rounds on that. So with all that, you might be even less likely to be competitive than in Homesteaders. Hard to say.

In the end, I would say they are of roughly comparable complexity. If I had to give a "smooth and elegant" award, I would probably give it to Homesteaders over PR, by a small margin. If your group like Race (I see you have rated it), and they are interested in something just a bit deeper, then either game should work. I don't love Homesteaders or PR, but I prefer Homesteaders, mostly because of the nature of the interaction.

In Homesteaders, the primary interaction is through auctions, with a tiny bit of interaction in the form of grabbing a building someone else wanted. But at least in your early games, the game is tight enough that you'll pretty much be focusing on what you want, not denying others. Depending on your group, that might be good or might be terrible. Later, you can use the auctions to mess with your opponents.

In PR, the primary interaction is through roles, with some grabbing of quarries or buildings that others wanted. Plus of course the tight selling market and the nasty shipping system. The role effect is parasitic, where you want to try to avoid helping others, and to set yourself up where others can't avoid helping you. It's like SJ in that way, but FAR more so. Leaching is a mechanic I'm not fond of.


Neither game has direct attacks, but PR has more opportunities for screwage. I think both are deep and would benefit from many repeated plays. If you tell us what games your group loves (and hates), we might be able to give better guidance.
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Nolan Lichti
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SevenSpirits wrote:
Homesteaders has more of a tendency for noobs to feel lost and overwhelmed. In PR they just tend to make poor plays without realizing it - the choices are more constrained so it's not overwhelming.

I agree with this, and I'll add: Because it's easy to make poor plays without realizing it, it can be a little frustrating. I lost my first few games of PR, but I had no idea afterwards what I needed to do differently in order to do better the next time. I don't remember having this feeling with Homesteaders.

Actually, I'm not sure I've ever won a game of PR.
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Mathue Faulkner
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I completely agree with Kevin. Homesteaders is a really easy game to teach, and I feel like I can teach it in under 5 minutes without breaking a sweat. Players may (probably will) feel lost but it isn't because they don't understand the rules, it will be because they don't understand the strategy (especially since they won't know all of the rules). It will take a few games to learn the buildings and strategy....but the actual gameplay is easy.

Puerto Rico is not a ridiculously difficult game to play, but there definitely is more to it from a rule standpoint in my opinion, and the Captain phase can give a few hiccups. There are definitely more rules to explain if players aren't used to role selection mechanics. Having said that, players won't feel as lost from a strategy standpoint. The strategy is more subtle so they probably won't realize the mistakes that they're making initially.

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Thanks for all the feedback guys. My group mostly plays card games, since we come from a background of playing trading card games like Magic, VS System and WoW TCG. We enjoy 7 Wonders, Race for the Galaxy, San Juan, Nightfall, Thunderstone and the like. The only actual "board" games we played more than once until a few weeks ago are the Ticket to Ride games.

No one in my group had any real euros, so I bought Hansa Teutonica and Endeavor. I was hesitant because one particular friend likes his games to have theme, but surprisingly he enjoyed HT far more than TTR. We haven't played Endeavor yet, because I don't like introducing multiple new games at once, I much prefer we get the hang of a game before bringing a new one to the table.

Me and one other friend have tried Carcassonne and Pandemic, which we both liked. Pandemic will probably not be purchased due to our peculiar group dynamic, but Carcassonne is on my radar for sure. In fact, my local store has a big sale about once a year, usually in the summer, and I am hoping to wait until then to buy Carc.

My group heavily prefers games that can be played in an hour, but I am trying to stretch that ever so slightly so we can include some of the better games. Please note that we are usually three and only rarely four players, so certain games with 90m playtimes are an option as long as we can get a three player game done in roughly an hour once we have experience with it.

I don't know if all of this makes any difference in terms of Puerto Rico vs Homesteaders, but there you go.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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On my way out the door, but I will say that Puerto Rico probably has a slightly stronger theme. Neither game is particularly thematic, but Puerto Rico fakes it a little better...
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Chris Wood
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After playing both I would say PR is harder to teach, but easier to learn; if that makes sense. I had more frustration strategy-wise with Homesteaders. The worst part, even though there is compensation, is the denial of being able to build a building. Puerto Rico, at least, gives you the illusion that you could possibly still be doing well.
 
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Thanks for all the replies guys, I will consider them all before purchasing. Although to be perfectly honest, after the beatdown I suffered today, I may not be buying either game anytime soon.
 
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David B
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If a western theme is what you are after, you might take a peek at Carson City.
 
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don kaltenbach
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For me, Homesteaders is more complex as players have most of thier resources hiden behind thier personal screen. In Puerto Rico, players have thier resources in the open for all to see, so you have an idea what they will do.

just my 2 cents
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