Puerto Rico is quite possibly my favorite board game, so it’s no wonder why I want to review it first. This Rio Grande - City Builder is a great game for anyone looking to take a decent next step out of beginner strategy games. It’s got great decision making opportunities, mixed with a lot of planning ahead to make a perfect combination for a good game.
The game takes place over many phases, where, on their turn, a player will pick an occupation, and thusly achieve that occupation’s ability as well as a special ability for his one turn. Once he is done performing that occupation’s special action, each other player also gets to perform that occupation (but without the special ability), until all players have performed that single occupation. From there it is the next player’s turn to repeat the steps until all players have done so. This ends the phase and with a little bit of prep work, the next phase will then begin.
This game takes precision timing on when to farm goods, produce them, trade/sell them, ship them, and purchase buildings in order to do all of the above. One who master’s this skill of excellent timing is awarded the victory.
The game offers pretty decent replay ability, because each player will often pick a different occupation every turn because they are attempting to achieve a particular goal, and that occupation offers the perfect special ability for that turn. However, although the above is true, you could get into a situation where the table is full of similarly experienced players, and therefore take the same occupations, purchase the same buildings, and farm/produce the same goods every time they play the game which lowers the replay ability, but this will result in the same victor, which previous losers will not stand for.
The game is tons of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to purchase their next game. At $30, and only 90-120 minutes, it’s a blast to play in a group of serious gamers desiring a shorter game. It is a little difficult to understand the rules the first time, and the game’s artwork is nothing special, but the game is fantastic.
Don’t believe me? Then trust Board Game Geek, where it holds the #6 spot on geek ratings of all board games. You will not be disappointed.
• Overall rating - 9
• Non-gamer – 4
• Ease of rules – 5
• Replay ability - 7
• Length 90-120 minutes
You can follow Jason on Twitter: @mckelveyj37