Saturday, April 22, 2006

Puerto.... Ricoooo.... Suave!

I have finally played the game Puerto Rico!! Hoop, hoop, hoop!

(and I came in last place) But that's not the point!! I had fun and so did all the wonderful players who decided to expend their evening with me. Namely, Ken Campbell, John and Audrey Petersen (I hope I spelled their surname correctly) and yours truly - the man with a thousand monikers - me.

So how did it go? All I remember was Ken talking and children screaming. Honest. This is all my Pentium brain can recollect. I discovered that a certain tile called The Governor was passed around the table. Whoever was The Governor got to choose what he/she wanted to do first whether that was Prospector, Craftsman, Mayor, Settler, Trader or whatever. Each choice has a benefit that only helps the chooser, but everyone else gets to do the same thing (sans benefit) in clockwise order. For example, (and boy we could use one), John is the current Governor and chooses the Mayor card. The Mayor card allows him to get two settlers (one from the colony ship and another from the supply) while everyone else gets only one (from the ship). This really cuts the downtime drastically since everyone is actively participating in the game even though it is 'someone else's turn'. I noticed (since I came from this angle backwards) that Twilight Imperium 3rd edition stole this idea wholesale. TI also has what they call 'Strategy Cards' and are used the same exact way as Puerto Rico's, even putting bonus chits on the unchosen cards to make them more desirable for the next round. (And I thought FFG really had something there... sheesh). The only difference being that the TI strategy cards also have the Governor card or as they call it, the Initiative card, as a choosable card not passed around in a clockwise fashion. However, the Initiative card cannot be picked twice in a row by the same person to avoid the obvious 'broken' state that would arise from such munchkinly endeavors.

"Ay Caramba Senor Perez! All these rules makes my gato scratch himself and pour tequila all over his wounds! Why are we in Puerto Rico in the first place? What the hell are we doing there? I would say for a fiesta, but I don't remember strategy cards at the Casa de San Juan, I only remember margaritas y chicas en la playa!"

Ah, yes. Good question...

Well, perhaps I should have mentioned that this is not modern Puerto Rico, this is Puerto Rico during its Spanish colonization...say around the late 16th century. And the point of this illustrious and oft-worshiped game is... (get ready for it...) Get 100 victory points (VP's again?? It's a eurogame, shut up). OR Run out of colonists in the supply area (there are 75 of them -- and they are brown... so what can brown do for you?) OR take up all the space on your building squares OR take up all the plantation spots on your island. If any of these conditions are met, the game ends and everyone tallies up their victory points. He who hath the mosteth... winneth.

Even with four players, a busy shop and two rambunctious children shooting silly string in my eyes the game lasted for two hours. Not bad for such a strategy rich game. What I took away from it was the plethora of options a player has in accomplishing his/her goal. One game you could go for doubloons (cash), another time concentrate on selling tobacco or sugar. Next time you may want to go the quarry route and reduce the costs on all your buildings so you can build cheaper though not necessarily faster. It has a lot of angles to work out and that makes it a fun game as far as I'm concerned.

My verdict: I give Puerto Rico 5 out of 5 indigo barrels. Great game! Must play it again, soon.

"Ay Caramba Senor Per... ahem... Sacrebleu Monsieur Perez! I have heard terrible rumours that you have seen a coup d'etat in Carcassonne! Tell me, M. Perez, is this verite?"

Indeed. When I initially entered the Hobbytown USA establishment I was jonesing to play Carcassonne. I met two teenagers, Ben and.... man, I am bad with names. Anyway, and they had their grandmother with them and her name was Jean. Now, don't you laugh at this dammit! I thought it was cool to be playing this game with another family. If only all families were thus. For those with more than a passing knowledge of English, you might have noticed that the previous sentence was a fragment. That is true, but I did that purposefully in order to emphasize my point. Your internal moral dilemma can now end.

So Ben, that other dude, and Jean and I all played a two hour game (or 90 minutes) of Carcassonne. (I was in last place) But THAT'S NOT THE POINT! You know, sometimes I just play to play. Actually, considering I haven't won any of these games thus far... I guess I would have to. But the fun is in the trying. The measure of a man is not in reaching the top of the mountain, but in climbing it. Not in the destination, but on the road toward it.

Oh, who am I bullshitting? It sucks to lose.

"Toulouse? Did someone say Toulouse?"

Shutup and eat your Freedom Fries!


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