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Subject: OK, we'll settle that island . . . again. rss

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Stephen Smith
United States
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Fourth Game: Puerto Rico

Becky had been wanting to play Puerto Rico since they arrived on Friday. Jared finally gave in and allowed her to choose a game, so this is what we ended up playing. Since I am not overly fond of the game, I was perfectly happy to have avoided playing it for so long. I decided before the game to try something a little bit different. I decided to try and fill up the building spaces as quickly as possible. Needless to say, Jared picked up on what I was doing fairly quickly. I'm not sure if he made much of an effort to change his strategy, though.

Early on, I began building every chance I had. This meant that pretty quickly I had a lot of spots filled in. One interesting side-effect in this game is that only one player purchased the hospice. Normally when I play, it seems as though these get snatched up fairly quickly. As it turned out, there were several times I was wishing I had purchased this. So far, I'm not convinced that avoiding this early is an optimal strategy. At any rate, I did get the construction hut early so that I could get the quarries I needed to help me build. Ultimately, I ended up with three of them. The small market also helped out several times throughout the game. Because of all of this, it took a little while before I was actually producing much. By the time I was producing much of consequence, it was pretty late in the game.

As I started building more, there were a lot more spaces available when the mayor came up. Two different times, there were nine colonists on the ship. I took one of them just because I desperately needed them to fill some of my spaces -- one of the reasons I am unsure about passing up the hospice. As the game continued, both Christine and Becky were doing a lot of shipping. However, only Becky was ever able to get a harbor and actually use it. Christine bought one, but she never manned it and never used it. Jared was busy diversifying and, along with his standard coffee production, had started up a factory. This gave him lots of money to buy buildings and keep up with me. I finally got a factory up, but it was really too late to do much good. Still, I was able to buy the guild hall, which was going to be the most help to me. Jared got the Fortress and one other, but he never manned it. Becky managed to get the victory point building. The game came to an end during the round Jared bought his second building because I was able to fill my last space. Fortunately for me, Jared never got that building filled.

Final Result:

Stephen -- 44
Christine -- 42 (wins tie-breaker)
Becky -- 42
Jared -- 40

As you can see, the scores were really close. With all of the shipping going on, I was quite surprised that I managed to end the game in the lead. On the last turn, Christine produced goods hoping Becky would ship. I chose to ship instead because it would give me more points that way. Interestingly, even though it was very much to her benefit, Becky had no intentions of shipping on her turn. Actually, after the game, we determined that it really was not in Christine's best interest to produce goods. The primary reason is that Becky would be getting points from her large building. In fact, she ended up getting more points than Christine out of the shipping. Fortunately for Christine, it was not quite enough. Of course, if anyone had mayored and allowed Jared to populate his last building, this would all be moot. The game took a total of about 90 minutes.

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