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Subject: How hard is Puerto Rico to teach and learn? rss

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Jesse
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The game looks awesome, and the rules seem straightforward, albeit many and refined. I'm looking to add a new game to my collection. I play with several, varied groups. My most regular groups--adult siblings and my girlfriend--have experience with Eurogames. In my other groups, experience varies, as does patience. Everyone has had the patience to learn the basics: Carcassonne, TtR, Catan, Bohnanza, Dominion. Puerto Rico could be a stretch maybe. I think my core group would be fine. They've learned those, a few others, and even complex ones like Eclipse.

I'm also looking at Stone Age, which seems like it might better reach my entire audience and get more playtime as a result. I'm also looking to play whichever game as a 2 player game with my girlfriend. I think she'd be open to learning either. How is the 2 player variant to Puerto Rico? Is it fun and carry the same spirit as the normal version? Are the rules so different that it's like learning a new game?

Anyway, here is what I own already:
Carcassonne, TtR (original and Europe with each expansion), Catan, Bohnanza, and Forbidden Island.
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COLOSSUS
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The game is awesome. I highly recommend it. It may be a little harder than the ones you listed but it's worth it.

If it does seem harder and you can without offending anyone, try teaching just a couple of people at a time. When they have it move on to others or increase the group size. More people sometomes adds to the confusion.
 
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Mik Svellov
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Naurally PR will be harder to learn than the other games mentioned - simply due to the many different powers of the many buildings.

But PR is actually a very good game to teach new players because you can easily explain the options and consequences a player has in his turn. So people will learn as they play.
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Brad N
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atomheartmother wrote:
The game looks awesome, and the rules seem straightforward, albeit many and refined. I'm looking to add a new game to my collection. I play with several, varied groups. My most regular groups--adult siblings and my girlfriend--have experience with Eurogames. In my other groups, experience varies, as does patience. Everyone has had the patience to learn the basics: Carcassonne, TtR, Catan, Bohnanza, Dominion. Puerto Rico could be a stretch maybe. I think my core group would be fine. They've learned those, a few others, and even complex ones like Eclipse.
Puerto Rico is awesome, IMO and you should play it. It sounds like your core group will be fine and I think your regular groups will be okay with it too. When I first learned Puerto Rico about 5 years ago, it was from my dad who simply read the rule book and taught us. It was slow and took us a bit, but we made it and now I've played Puerto Rico over 60 times. If you can learn it the first time from an experienced player that will speed up the learning process, but we had a lot of fun learning it together because we all discovered the different possibilities in the game together. To me, that's invaluable.

atomheartmother wrote:
I'm also looking at Stone Age, which seems like it might better reach my entire audience and get more playtime as a result. I'm also looking to play whichever game as a 2 player game with my girlfriend. I think she'd be open to learning either. How is the 2 player variant to Puerto Rico? Is it fun and carry the same spirit as the normal version? Are the rules so different that it's like learning a new game?
I think Stone Age is a better 2 player game than Puerto Rico as it seems it was designed to work with 2 people while Puerto Rico was not. And, Stone Age might fit your varied groups better. But, Puerto Rico is my favorite game and I think it is a better game than Stone Age. I've not played two player Puerto Rico and I've heard mixed reviews, but I would suggest looking at San Juan if you want a two player Puerto Rico-like game. Stone Age is very good... I doubt you will be disappointed with either.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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bnordeng wrote:
atomheartmother wrote:
The game looks awesome, and the rules seem straightforward, albeit many and refined. I'm looking to add a new game to my collection. I play with several, varied groups. My most regular groups--adult siblings and my girlfriend--have experience with Eurogames. In my other groups, experience varies, as does patience. Everyone has had the patience to learn the basics: Carcassonne, TtR, Catan, Bohnanza, Dominion. Puerto Rico could be a stretch maybe. I think my core group would be fine. They've learned those, a few others, and even complex ones like Eclipse.
Puerto Rico is awesome, IMO and you should play it. It sounds like your core group will be fine and I think your regular groups will be okay with it too. When I first learned Puerto Rico about 5 years ago, it was from my dad who simply read the rule book and taught us. It was slow and took us a bit, but we made it and now I've played Puerto Rico over 60 times. If you can learn it the first time from an experienced player that will speed up the learning process, but we had a lot of fun learning it together because we all discovered the different possibilities in the game together. To me, that's invaluable.

atomheartmother wrote:
I'm also looking at Stone Age, which seems like it might better reach my entire audience and get more playtime as a result. I'm also looking to play whichever game as a 2 player game with my girlfriend. I think she'd be open to learning either. How is the 2 player variant to Puerto Rico? Is it fun and carry the same spirit as the normal version? Are the rules so different that it's like learning a new game?
I think Stone Age is a better 2 player game than Puerto Rico as it seems it was designed to work with 2 people while Puerto Rico was not. And, Stone Age might fit your varied groups better. But, Puerto Rico is my favorite game and I think it is a better game than Stone Age. I've not played two player Puerto Rico and I've heard mixed reviews, but I would suggest looking at San Juan if you want a two player Puerto Rico-like game. Stone Age is very good... I doubt you will be disappointed with either.


Stone Age is indeed a tighter game with 2 people since only 1 player can use a particular resource gathering spot. Stone Age is a good intro for worker placement games like Agricola, but Puerto Rico is NOT a worker placement game, and thus I agree that San Juan would be the better introduction for PR.
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Paul Oakes
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Awesome - indeed! It's one of my 3 favourite games (Outpost and Funkenschlag), I've been playing it since release and I'm still up for a game any time.

The rules are pretty simple, and to explain them all you really have to do is go through the jobs, starting with Prospector (easiest), then Builder, Settler, Craftsman, Mayor, Trader and Captain (the tricky one - lot of little rules about boat-filling). Then you introduce the idea that each job is done by everyone in turn (save Prospector) and everyone gets to pick from the remaining jobs each round until all have picked a job, add cash to unpicked jobs, return your jobs, start player moves along.

The difficult bit is why you should, and more importantly shouldn't pick certain actions at times, and what building combinations work best. I'd say part of the fun of starting is learning this, and if you're all new no-one gets a big advantage.

Finally some strategic tips (share them out - play nice!).

You can win with most of your points coming from shipping. Ship a lot of corn and don't bother with Coffee or Tobacco, buy a small Warehouse and later a Harbour. You won't have money often, so don't build for the sake of it.

You can win with most of your points coming from the buildings. Get a Tobacco or Coffee operation going, add a factory and look to build when other players are broke. An Office and the Markets help.

You can win with a mix of these, but it's not as common and usually happens when you can switch strategies mid-game, which can be caused by a helpful sequence of events.

A score in the 40s will win most games.

The 3 game-end conditions are similarly probable. Keep an eye on how long is left. Beware a Mayor action taking 10+ colonists late on to make the end imminent.

Golden Rule: always consider the effect of your action on others. you are better off accepting a small benefit from a job that helps no-one (e.g. Prospector with 1 cash bribe in the early stages) to building when everyone else has cash and the discount is not vital. Consider what jobs they will take, and how that affects you. The ultimate problem is Craftsman, when all the barrels you've helped produce get a trader selected on your left (no good slots left when it comes round) then Captain (boats filled or wrong goods placed for you). Equally Mayor can be too helpful unless you really need to man something now or you get bonus men (6 colonists on the Mayor in a 5-player game gets you 3 men, nice!).

It is strongly recommended by the designer that you swap the prices of Factory and University.

Can't help you with the 2-player question, but I really recommend this. San Juan is a cut-down, but loses a lot of the tactical decisions and can be infuriatingly luck-dependant. SJ is available free for Android as Condado, and is very good.
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DigitalMan
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Puerto Rico is great (and I highly recommend the Puerto Rico (with two expansions)... the components of the original version are lackluster by today's standards).

If your group can handle Catan and Forbidden Island, there's no reason to suspect that Puerto Rico will be out of reach.

The biggest issue is learning the different buildings. The production buildings are pretty straightforward, but for the others I'd suggest explaining all the roles first and then grouping the buildings next to the roles they modify. (For example, the Harbor building modifies the Captain role and the Factory building modifies the Craftsman role).

Good luck, Puerto Rico is definitely worth the effort!

EDIT: We also absolutely love Puerto Rico with just two players. See these threads...

Ender's Comprehensive Overview: An analysis of Puerto Rico as a two-player game, and a comparison of the most popular variants
Puerto Rico as a 2 player game, and which variants are best (POLL)
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David B
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The 2 player variant suggested above for PR is indeed fun and I have played that variant close to 400 times. That said, Stone Age is still better with 2. With PR, there are a few moves early that are scripted: you dont do X or Y early...game over. With Stone Age, a mistake early is not a deal breaker. Smart placement and a few good rolls and you are back in it. But I will say that between 2 skilled players, Stone Age is cutthroat.
 
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Trampas Johnson
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Scott does a great primer on the rules here

Should be enough to get you started.

The game is one of my favorites!
 
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Johan Haglert
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freddieyu wrote:
and thus I agree that San Juan would be the better introduction for PR.
I think Race for the Galaxy may be a better game than puerto rico

Likely harder to get people to play though.

I don't think Puerto rico is hard to understand and if you want to make it easier I guess you could play one round with build only with production buildings, settle and craft so everyone get to have some goods and then play the captain, craft and trade so everyone get to see how those work, then explain quarrys and start a new game where people for instance just read through the left column of buildings (though that likely not good for combo building) too not get information overload and play a game like that (people can read more columns once they can afford them.)

For game three go all out. Or something =p

Maybe this is just more confusing?

Edit: Reason for Race for the galaxy? Well, I have only played Puerto Rico two (?) times and I understand now after game two that I should probably start looking for combinations of buildings which make them more powerful together than just look for single buildings which offer something useful (most don't feel very powerful considering money imho is somewhat hard to get (at least without said combo building.))

Regardless the starting setup in Puerto Rico is the same. The buildings in each game is the same (you can mix them up with the anniversary edition but the English Rio Grande Games one are very expensive, the German edition is much more reasonable priced) and I doubt there are that strong combo building in it. Whereas Race for the galaxy give you different cards each game with lots of different options and possibilities of making your machine (and different paths to victory/points as well.)

I also wonder if you doesn't get to play at least as many "buildings" in RFTG before the game is over. PR may be seen as somewhat more interactive since you don't have your own market and ships whereas you do in RFTG, but timing plays a role in RFTG to. In RFTG I think you have many more "oh this combo is cool / would be sweet" than you will have in PR due to the massive amount of different cards vs limited range of buildings.
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Emma
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aliquis wrote:
I think Race for the Galaxy may be a better game than puerto rico

Likely harder to get people to play though.


Seconded on both counts, but the second depends on your group. Race might look a little more daunting because of the iconography, but its footprint is much smaller. It's also got a more palatable theme (not because it's sci-fi, but because it ISN'T about possible slave labour on plantations).
 
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Ryan S
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It isn't too hard to teach. Took me two or three tries to finally develop a good strategy. It's pretty easy with the role cards and buildings having all details of them you need to know.
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Jon Anderson
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I find that while Puerto Rico is lots of fun and not really difficult to learn that the rule book makes the game seem a lot more confusing than reality.

Absolutely the best way to teach this game is to play out a round or two, ensuring that all of the roles are taken and explained in context. I find that newer gamers don't really care so much about why or why not to Produce, Prospect, etc. unless they see a concrete example of the action effect in front of them and how it changes the game state for their neighbors.
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Julian Wasson
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PR is a great bridge game, IMO. You've been playing some great gateways like TtR and Carcassonne, and for people who want to step up to a slightly more complicated game PR is a shoo-in. The mechanics of the game are relatively simple once you get comfortable with all the different buildings and I find people pick it up pretty quickly, but the strategy of what to choose when is deeper and will probably take people several plays to really grok. Teaching the mechanics of the game is fairly easy, and if your friends can handle learning the cards in Dominion they should be able to handle learning the buildings in PR.
 
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Seth Brown
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Your group should have little trouble learning Puerto Rico from you, given the other games they've played through. As others have said, it's more complex than Stone Age, but I find if you just go through each role in order, it's not too hard to teach.
 
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Josh Lozano
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Im still pretty new to it, but its awesome. I would definitely recommend getting it! Having not played Stone Age (I'm still new to this...) I cant really give you a comparison. I can however, tell you that the two player variant is a blast. I taught my wife just the other night how to play via 2 player rules, and she beat me. She is good, watch out.

I would say I have preference for the craftsman angst variant, which I learned about from an amazing explanation of the variants for 2 player rules, which someone linked to here. This makes picking craftsman a tougher decision, like it should be!

Also, after posting a picture of the game I played with my wife, I learned several people I know love this game who I wouldnt have pegged as board gamers at all! So it seems like its a good gateway, and not as tough as other to teach!

Summary: Get the game.
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Jason Hall
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I've yet to have a problem introducing PR to new people. Even people that haven't really played any board games at all. It is easy to digest and easy to explain imo. Now they will likely add a lot of chaos and unpredictability to the game and probably get crushed, but that should be expected in a low luck/randomness game. Regardless it has been a hit pretty frequently for us. New players seem to enjoy finding synergies in the buildings while in the learning phase.
 
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Paul Oakes
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aliquis wrote:
I think Race for the Galaxy may be a better game than puerto rico


Puerto ranked 4th in the games list with a Geek rating of 8.149.

RFTG ranked 16th, rated 7.782.


There's a reason for these ratings, and while everyone's entitled to their preferences (I loathe RFTG, Brass and Eclipse for a start while rating Outpost as one of the best games ever) we're talking about a recomendation to a stranger based on very limited information, so the ranking shouldn't be ignored in such a cavalier fashion, unless there's something they've said which indicates this is not the game for them.

An expert analysis by a veteran of 2 games might leave something to be desired, and while the buildings stay the same, it doesn't make every game the same. Or is Chess identical each time it's played?

The expansion buildings only get worthwhile when you've played a lot, and my initial set were a download from a BGG file which I expect to still be there.
 
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Paul Oakes
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This thread is an excellent list of things not to do in PR.

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/11197559#11197559
 
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Paul Oakes
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Othila wrote:
aliquis wrote:
I think Race for the Galaxy may be a better game than puerto rico

Likely harder to get people to play though.


Seconded on both counts, but the second depends on your group. Race might look a little more daunting because of the iconography, but its footprint is much smaller. It's also got a more palatable theme (not because it's sci-fi, but because it ISN'T about possible slave labour on plantations).

If we stop playing games because of the theme (however pasted-on they might be) we lose Goa and Macao straight away because they are exactly the same theme. And never mind playing the Nazis in wargames, all wargames are out!

Going down the ranking list top 20 we lose Twilight Struggle, Through The Ages (lots of fighting), Puerto, Eclipse, Power Grid (global warming or nuclear pollution - your choice), Mage Knight, Dominion, Brass (a celebration of capitalist exploitation), 7 Wonders (slave labour and huge death tolls to build a tomb), posh Puerto and RFTG, with some others on a warning (is it fighting or politics in El Grande? Royals fighting over a poor country anyway, another one to avoid).

We get left with a bit of farming (tricky for the vegetarians) and a game about evolution (flat earth evolution-deniers must avoid, and a lot of dead animals). Perhaps a nice game involving Zombies is best.
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Julian Wasson
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PaulinTheLion wrote:
Othila wrote:
aliquis wrote:
I think Race for the Galaxy may be a better game than puerto rico

Likely harder to get people to play though.


Seconded on both counts, but the second depends on your group. Race might look a little more daunting because of the iconography, but its footprint is much smaller. It's also got a more palatable theme (not because it's sci-fi, but because it ISN'T about possible slave labour on plantations).

If we stop playing games because of the theme (however pasted-on they might be) we lose Goa and Macao straight away because they are exactly the same theme. And never mind playing the Nazis in wargames, all wargames are out!

Going down the ranking list top 20 we lose Twilight Struggle, Through The Ages (lots of fighting), Puerto, Eclipse, Power Grid (global warming or nuclear pollution - your choice), Mage Knight, Dominion, Brass (a celebration of capitalist exploitation), 7 Wonders (slave labour and huge death tolls to build a tomb), posh Puerto and RFTG, with some others on a warning (is it fighting or politics in El Grande? Royals fighting over a poor country anyway, another one to avoid).

We get left with a bit of farming (tricky for the vegetarians) and a game about evolution (flat earth evolution-deniers must avoid, and a lot of dead animals). Perhaps a nice game involving Zombies is best.


This only with if you have ALL THE HANGUPS. Usually people only have a couple.
 
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Matt Bowles
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DigitalMan wrote:
...
If your group can handle Catan and Forbidden Island, there's no reason to suspect that Puerto Rico will be out of reach.
...


I've never heard someone say that being able to "handle" Forbidden Island qualifies you for anything
Are you implying what I think you're implying? ninja
 
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My wife recently had some friends over and she wanted to play something with them. She suggested Settlers of Catan or Puerto Rico, I was a bit worried to introduce Puerto Rico to people that had only experience with monopoly. But I rather play Puerto Rico than Settlers for some personal reasons.

They picked up the game really fast and I was actually very surprised. So I wouldn't worried too much about it since your gaming group already plays some of these Euro games. Yes, it is a bit more complex than what you currently play but they should be able to pick it up.

I would suggest that you make yourself very familiar with the rules, maybe play a solo game or something. That would make it much easier to teach and make the flow of the game better since you are not constantly looking up rules.
 
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Jesse
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Thanks for all the help everyone. I found out that a friend of my sister owns Puerto Rico and will at least bring it to a game night, if not loan it to me. So, I ended up buying Stone Age, as I know no one who has it. After playing 2 games, we're definitely not disappointed. It is a fantastic game. Very fun and easily the most strategic of the games I own. The quality of the components is top notch. The quality of the components in the demo Puerto Rico kit at the game shop seemed pretty lackluster and disappointing. I suppose that matters very little, though, if the game is as good as purported. Regardless, it's the next game on my list to buy.
 
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Paul Oakes
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So pleased that it's all gone well with Puerto. When you buy a set remember there is the original in a tan colour box and the 10th Anniversary Edition with far better components and the expansion buildings. The anniversary ed. is reasonably priced with a few shops. Not many games I'd pay £60 for when I already have a set.
 
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