Friday, February 22, 2013

Puerto Rico: Just Pick it Up


The Review Crew's Take on
Puerto Rico
# Players . . . 3-5
Game time . . . . . . . . 90-150 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 minutes
Luck . . . . . . . .8. . . Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Component Quality . .. . . . . 8
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 8
*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

Because of its lackluster box art, Puerto Rico is a game you might walk by in a game store and not give a second glance.
That would be a mistake.
Turn around. Pick it up. And buy it.
I was not paid to say that by the Puerto Rico game people. In fact, if I had any sway with the Puerto Rico game people I'd tell them to redo their box. Because of it, the game sat in our closet, (Leslie and Jared's, specifically) unplayed, for quite a while. Eventually, they were enticed to play by the friends who'd given it to them, and after just one go, they were hooked. Shortly thereafter the rest of the crew was, too. The only reason replayability is an 8, rather than a 9 or 10, is its longer playing time.
The premise of Puerto Rico takes you back to its colonial days of plantations and settlers and exports to foreign ports. You earn victory points by planting crops, building structures and exporting your goods. This is done as you take on various roles, such as builder, craftsman, captain, and others. If, for example, you choose to be the builder, you can build a structure at one less than the usual cost. Then everyone else takes a turn at building (if they so choose) at the regular cost.
Therein lies the brilliance of Puerto Rico--all players are involved in all the roles. There isn't a lot of sitting around, waiting for your turn to come, time, which is great for a longer game. Strategy is also a constant. Which role to choose, which crop to plant, whether to trade or export, all are decisions you must make over and over as the game progresses.
It's fun. Just take our word for it and walk by that box no longer. Pick it up and play.        

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