Puerto Rico Review
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Players: 3-5 (ages 12+)
Playing Time: 90-120 minutes

With all the available board games out there, at times itís very difficult to find a truly unique game. Most modern games seem to be a combination of games, or variations on other games, or very similar to other games on the market. Puerto Rico, on the other hand, is very original in style, game play, and mechanics. Itís truly a refreshing treat to play something thatís so unlike anything that has come before it.

The object of Puerto Rico is to gain the most victory points. This is done by delivering the most goods, by counting the buildings youíve managed to build on your island (Puerto Rico), and by accomplishing tasks during each round. At the beginning of the game, each player is given a player board, which consists of space on which to add buildings, store your goods, and raise your crops, which will then turn into goods. In the middle of the table is placed a community board, where all the available buildings are stored, where the ships are kept, where trading occurs, and where the crops and coins are piled.

The game consists of rounds in which each player is given an opportunity to take a role in the society of Puerto Rico. Each player can take a turn at being the Mayor, Prospector, Captain, Trader, Settler, Craftsman, or Builder, and each has its own attributes and incentives. For example, the Builder erects the buildings on his Puerto Rico board by picking from the community pile, paying the fee, and selecting a type of building. The Settler creates a new crop, the Craftsman produces goods from those crops, the Trader can sell goods for coin, the Prospector mines for coin, the Captain can ship goods for victory points, and the Mayor adds new colonists to the buildings and crops to make them active.

As the rounds pass, players will be in different levels of accomplishment and, depending on how effectively a player manages his turns and predicts the turns of others, will slowly move ahead. The game ends when one of three things happen: when there are no victory points left to hand out, when there are no more colonists to place on the boards, or when someone fills in his entire building area. Once one of these things is done, the game is over, and the player with the most victory points wins.

Puerto Rico is a little difficult to learn, as itís different from anything Iíve played before. But once learned, the gameís replay value is huge, as there are so many different ways to win. Itís intriguing to try different strategies. I enjoyed the game a great dealóand I canít wait to play it again soon.

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