Friday, February 18, 2011
Review: Puerto Rico
CSN, an extensive network of online stores, (and a good place to look if you are in the market for a swing set right now) recently gave me the opportunity to review one of their board games, Puerto Rico. I was pretty excited to do the review because Puerto Rico belongs to the same genre of German board games as Settlers of Catan- a huge favorite with my family and me.
Basic Idea: The players go from round to round, choosing different roles for themselves and intiating the associated actions. Players build plantations and buildings. They produce goods and sell or ship them. Points are added up at the end to determine the winner.
For ages 12 and up. 3-5 players
What we liked:
1. Like Settlers, there is very little down time. Each person's turn still leaves all the other players involved and interested.
2. Choosing a role for yourself each time it is your turn is FUN! The choice makes such a a difference in the outplay of the game that it kind of feels like a choose-your-own-adventure story. :-)
3. It is a fun game even when you are not winning because you can work toward little goals. Also, a person can come from behind at the beginning of the game and still win with a little careful strategizing.
4. There are multiple winning strategies. It's interesting to see what strategies different personalities gravitate toward.
What we didn't like as much:
1. The game takes a loooong time to learn, (longer than Settlers) and the game lasts awhile too. (Generally 1 1/2- 2 hours)
2. Each game is different because people make different choices, but the board varies very little from game to game (unlike Settlers).
3. Because it lacks any trading element, Puerto Rico involves less psychological manipulation and teamwork than Settlers. (Some people might consider than a good thing, but I always liked the interpersonal elements of Settlers)
Bottom Line: Puerto Rico is great for a group of adults (or teenagers) who are willing to invest 2 or 3 hours several times within a few days in order to really learn the game. For our family, this kind of game is a really good fit for our holiday get-togethers. It becomes really fun once you understand the strategies and makes for great bonding.