Author: Andreas Seyfarth

Publisher: Alea 2002

Deutscher Spiele Preis

G@mebox Star



Puerto Rico takes the players back into the time of Colonialism, with the players becoming tradesmen on the Island Puerto Rico. While the Island and its Capital stand empty at the beginning, the players will slowly build big farms and new houses in the capital, increasing their trade power and gathering Victory Points by these actions.

As a startup, each player receives one of four different plantations for his farmland and a small amount of Gold. The game then is played in turns, and each turn the starting player is the player left to the player who was starting player in the last turn. During his turn, a player may now chose one of 6 different professions, determining which kind of activity he and the other players may now perform. He may chose...

  • The Colonist, bringing new workers to the island which can be assigned for working in houses or on plantations;
  • the Architect, so that the players may build a new building in the Capital;
  • the Farmer, allowing the placement of a new plantation or quarry at a player's farmland;
  • the Overseer, producing goods on all plantations with workers;
  • the Tradesman, selling goods for Gold;
  • the Captain, transporting goods back to Europe and gathering Victory Points for this;
  • the Digger, generating an income of some Gold through digging for it.

Basically, not only the player who chooses the profession gets to perform the associated action, but in his turn also all the other players are allowed to perform this action as well. However, as a special bonus the player who has chosen the profession gets some kind of special action: so the Architect may build for less costs, the Colonist receives more Population etc. When all players have performed this action, the phase of the active player ends and the next player becomes the active player, choosing one of the remaining professions in turn. Once all players had chosen a profession, a new turn begins with all professions becoming available once more and the starting player becoming the player left to the last starting player.

These basic playing mechanisms alone stand for a very entertaining gameplay with many possible variations and ample room for strategy, but the rules do not stop here. The buildings which the players may buy for the Capital do not only count for Victory Points once the game is over, but they also play an important role during gameplay. Each building gives its owner some special powers which he may use at his discretion during the game. So a Warehouse allows the storage of goods, a Market allows for better sale-prices etc. Depending on which strategy a player wants to follow, he must chose carefully which buildings he wants to erect, since building space and also the buildings are limited. Choosing to build a special building at the right time might bring a strategic advantage for a player, but nothing can be more unnerving that having a strategy depending on a special building and a competitor building that building and thus making it unavailable for others. In the end, it will be the player with the best timing and planning who will win the game.

I must confess that I take Puerto Rico to be the best Alea-game published so far. It combines very clever, interactive playing mechanisms with a good background story and very fitting graphics, not leaving any room for criticism. This game can be recommended without reservations to players of strategy-games of all kinds, and to my mind it is a hot candidate for one of the annual game awards.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany