In this episode, I start a series on playing Puerto Rico and I interview Andy Latto, an incredibly good player and a nice guy to play with.
I’ll present what I think every Puerto Rico player should understand right after they learn the rules. This episode is a strategic overview. I’m sure plenty of folks will have dissenting views and I hope they will present them in future episodes.
I apologize for the long interval between episodes. They will come out quicker, at least over the winter. I was having too much fun this summer. Some of it wasn’t even gaming, but a lot was.
This episode is aimed especially at new Puerto Rico players and folks who have only played with their usual gaming buddies. I hope other experienced players will enjoy it, too. You might hear something to think about or just disagree with me on some points. There are two things about Puerto Rico that are almost urban legends, except that they have some real elements:
1. A “newbie” can throw the game to another player by crafting at the “wrong” time. This is pretty much true, but if it happens to you (an experienced player) it is your own fault. You are responsible for educating new players. That’s what real expert players do. And you have to be prepared for the unexpected. Either way, no whining. Take responsibility for the outcome.
If you are the “newbie” make sure to get a few tips before playing your first few games. Perhaps by listening to this podcast! Then make sure you have an enjoyable learning experience. My big tips: Don’t craft (maybe once) just because you can AND no one will think you were wrong to take Prospector.
2. If you learn the game with your usual gaming buddies, early on you will all discover that there is only one winning strategy. You are suffering from a delusion caused by group think. You are probably not playing wrong and the game is not broken in any serious way (although 3rd seat has an slight advantage when good players are playing). You just need to play with or watch some other players. Once you open your mind, you will see vistas of strategic opportunity in every game of Puerto Rico. But you will still not have as much money in the game as you want.
I hope you enjoy this episode. Next up will be a report on the 2011 World Boardgaming Championship tournament for Yspahan. I’ll present the final game in detail (with pictures). After that it is back to Puerto Rico for part 2, where I will present a game played by very good players: the Euroquest 2010 final game.