Date: November 5th, 2005
Game: Puerto Rico
Players: Carole, François, Paulo and Valdir (myself)
In the week leading to our November meetup session I sent a message to the other players with the same subject header that I used for this session report and asked them if they were willing to help me right this wrong. The response was enthusiastic.
As soon as I got to our meeting place at Concordia University I started setting up the game. This is the one thing you can say against PR: it takes a damn long time to set up!
Paulo is a veteran of the game, but François and Carole had never played it before, so I explained the game to them while we waited for Jean-François (our fifth player) to arrive. Fortunately Paulo was there to help me out with the rules explanation, he remembered a lot of small details that I had already forgotten and was able to get the message across much better than I would be able if I were alone.
While we were going through the rules, Johnny and Ray on the other table were playing one of the scenarios of Memoir 44. By 2 pm we had finally finished going through the rules and as Jean-François had not yet arrived, we decided to start the game without him.
In the first round or two, we went through the "scripted" role selections and were still explaining once more the effects of each one to François and Carole but after that they were mostly playing by themselves, with some eventual strategy tips from Paulo.
I won't go through the blow by blow of the game but in general lines, it went more or less like this: François and Carole were fighting for the monopoly on coffee, Carole and myself were fighting for sugar, Paulo had a free hand on tobacco and everybody was going for both indigo and corn. Paulo went for a textbook wharf + harbour strategy that was worth a lot to him as you can see in the final standings below.
Once in the game I did the big mistake of crafting without having enough storage space to survive the next captaining phase. Bad, bad move, I lost a lot of sugar, corn and indigo when Paulo, who was sitting next to me, captained right away. At the end of the game he explained that he did it not to mess with me specifically, but to avoid someone else doing it to him. It hurt anyway... In my next round I chose the builder and built the large warehouse in order to avoid such a disaster from happening again. François also lost a few barrels in two different captain phases and made the same decision as I did: large warehouse.
Money was very tight for me and François, we were always counting coins to see if we could buy anything; on the other hand Paulo and Carole were swimming in cash, they could buy whatever they want. That's why he (Paulo) was able to buy wharf and harbour while she bought the factory (which by the way, gives you money almost every round) and one of the big violet buildings.
Player: VP chips + Buildings = Totals
Paul: 37 + 17 = 54
Carole: 24 + 19 = 43
Valdir: 27 + 12 = 39
François: 18 + 13 = 31
Carole was the only one to buy one of the double buildings, but didn't have the chance to man it, so she didn't get the bonus. It wouldn't have changed the standings anyway, because she would only get six points, getting her closer to Paulo, but still in second place. In the end we all agreed that this is a great game that deserves other outings in our group.