Opening Theory

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RobertBr
Posts: 48
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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alextingle
Posts: 2
Joined: 02 April 2016, 19:37

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.

ArthurMF
Posts: 1
Joined: 09 December 2017, 23:23

Re: Opening Theory

Postby ArthurMF » 09 December 2017, 23:28

Settler as opening move is extremely attractive if there is no corn available to be taken. That leaves other players in worse position.

In general, for analysis of all subsequent moves, one should always begin with the concept of taking one of the items that has the bonus $ on it and then argue out of them to other moves. Mayor is almost always weak unless it has the magic # of n+1 more than everyone else. IMHO

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Pedros
Posts: 34
Joined: 07 January 2015, 17:03

Re: Opening Theory

Postby Pedros » 11 December 2017, 17:44

I've read Alexfrog's excellent strategy articles (on Board Game Geek) and found them invaluable. But he says himself that he played mostly 3-players and it seems more and more to me that some of his points may not be as strong in 4- and (especially) 5-player games. This is partly because all of the resources are more scarce and also because you have longer gaps between your turns to select role.

I still consider myself a novice, although I've played a lot of games, and so I can't be too specific yet. But to any new players I'd say without hesitation "Go to the Geek and study those two articles as fully as you can" There are several other very useful ones as well

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Pedros
Posts: 34
Joined: 07 January 2015, 17:03

Re: Opening Theory

Postby Pedros » 11 December 2017, 17:49

> ArthurMF:

I ALWAYS take the settler first off, even if there's corn there; over the course of the game it's worth a lot of money and therefore VPs, and it will be a long time before you get the chance again. I do sometimes wonder in bigger games whether that's right because often somebody (especially 3rd player) will get ahead quickly using the corn, but so far I haven't seen a good enough reason to change.

But I'd say "show a preference to taking a role with doubloons" rather than always do it. When you're unsure, go through all available roles one by one thinking "how much good does it do me" but also "how much does it hurt/help the others"? Craftsman especially is usually a huge help to the players coming soon after you.

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Pedros
Posts: 34
Joined: 07 January 2015, 17:03

Re: Opening Theory

Postby Pedros » 29 January 2018, 17:27

Addition to previous post - RexGoodheart ( a regular, high ELO, player here has posted some very useful stuff at the Geek over the last few months, relating exclusively to the 4 player balanced game

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Pedros
Posts: 34
Joined: 07 January 2015, 17:03

Re: Opening Theory

Postby Pedros » 29 January 2018, 17:30

alextingle wrote: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.

Another advantage of player 2 taking the trader at the start of round 2, especially if player 1 is inexperienced, is that after player 3 takes the craftsman, the on;y bonus doubloon left is on the captain. If #1 hasn't thought of it already, that encourages him to take the Captain!!


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