Opening Theory

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Joined: 08 July 2016, 15:57

Opening Theory

Postby RobertBr » 27 June 2017, 20:43

I thought I would open a thread for players to offer their opinions, ask questions, or discuss, the opening strategy for Puerto Rico.

For those unfamiliar Puerto Rico has received a fair amount, but not a huge amount, of in depth analysis, That includes a fairly detailed analysis of the opening moves by the BoardGameGeek user Alexfrog. This is more than ten years old now so is fairly well known, but if you are unfamiliar his analysis suggest players should broadly prefer what he called the Main Line (and in fact they do), which runs as follows in the first round:

1: Settler (1: Quarry, 2/3, Corn/Coffee, 3/4/5: Coffee/Tobacco)
2: Builder (2: Small Market, 3: Small Market, 4/5: Construction Hut, 1: Pass)
3: Mayor
4/5: Prospector

The strength of the Main Line is that it is relatively easy to learn and remember. If a player breaks order earlier later players just take the earlier role. The most common deviations from the Main Line on this site are players who take Builder (Small Market) as first player rather than settler, and 4/5 players who take Craftsman/Captain for early VPs.

There is no similar detailed analysis for the second round, which in any case is likely to diverge based on player count. By extension of the logic that underpins Alexfrog's analysis the three player continuation of the main line should probably proceed:

2: Settler (2: Quarry)
3: Craftsman
1: Captain

Though I frequently see this (in my opinion) mis-played by even fairly experience players with the second player opening Trader.

I leave it open for others to comment.

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Re: Opening Theory

Postby alextingle » 19 August 2017, 11:12

The "standard" second round is: Trader -> Craftsman -> Captain.

You want to prevent someone from trading their corn on round 2, as that extra 2-3 dbl is incredibly valuable to them this early in the game. That's why you Trade early, and why Captain is obligatory before the round is over. The player who *have* corn want to Craft - everyone else's goal is to prevent them from benefitting too much from it.

In a 4 player game, someone will probably want to choose Settler:Quarry on round 2.

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