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Subject: Mixing the game up for veterans rss

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Bob Marso
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
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I am brand new at Puerto Rico. In fact, I just placed an order
for this game at my friendly local gaming store and look forward to
playing it.

The owner of the store I go to talks about how he played the original
Puerto Rico so many times when it first came out that he "Broke the Game" and can't play again because it has lost any newness since his
group would play the same optimum strategy each time.

My question is whether the expansion breaths new life into this game for Veterans? Are there other suggested ways to vary gameplay?


Bob
 
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Nick Case
England
Epsom
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Thats a new observation on me. I've played quite a few games now but would not call myself a veteran. In my usual gaming group I can honestly say we have never had two games even vaguely similar as seating position and the random plantation draw always shake things up.

The expansion gives a new dimension but get used to the basic game before adding this in.
 
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jbrier
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the game's not solved. I personally find the game still interesting. the expansion buildings are cool at first but some of them are unbalanced, although there are some so so replacements available for the nearly useless buildings in the original set.
 
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Eric Nielsen
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After 1500 games, Puerto Rico hasn't gone stale yet. However, the feelings the gentleman you spoke to are not uncommon, especially among those who usually play with the same opponents.

There are a few strategies, like quarry->tobacco/coffee->second quarry->factory->sugar/indigo->Guild Hall->large production plants->drain colonists, that can seem nearly unbeatable. The trick is recognizing when someone else is heading that direction and stopping it early. If you wait, you will lose.

Every strategy can be countered, but doing so can be non-obvious, and can occasionally violate the Basic Principles. Get creative, throw a monkey in the wrench, and enjoy the puzzled looks from your gaming buddies that thought they had solved Puerto Rico.

 
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William Tan
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Hi Eric,

Would you be able to give examples of how you would more specifically stop those usual starts? Would you be putting yourself in a particularly bad position against the other players if you did so?
 
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Eric Nielsen
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The general response to factory->Guild Hall is fast and furious shipping right from the start. If your group is stuck in the factory rut, it's probably time to try to playing a game buying only small indigo, small sugar, and harbor, and then whatever you can afford on a pittance. If you are working them right from the start, those three buildings can rack up a ton of points.

For this to work, Craftsman needs to be selected at least 6-7 times in the first 10 rounds or so, which is a pretty frightening prospect when the group's regular winner has their cash crop running and is happy to keep trading it. The trick is to keep the plan rolling full steam...don't give them time to convert that cash to points. With good boat management, you can blindside a factory->Guild Hall player with a massive VP differential...25-5 partway through the game is quite feasible. They will quickly start catching up in total points, but it's too late.

It basically comes down to noticing what direction the game is taking as soon as possible and steering it elsewhere if you aren't going to be in contention. Look for moves that make your opponents react to you instead of the other way around.
 
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