Exploring Strategy

Forum rules
Please DO NOT POST BUGS on this forum. Please report (and vote) bugs on : https://boardgamearena.com/#!bugs
Post Reply
Santa Maria
Posts: 27
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Exploring Strategy

Post by Santa Maria »

Intro: I play 4-player games exclusively, so it is meant for 4-player games

Note: 2, 3, 5 player games are different and the strategies vary

Note: I play 'classical' games only, cause I am convinced that 'balanced' option breaks the strategic depth of the game




Strategies
(for 4-player Base game without expansions)


The objective of the game is to have the highest score at game end.
As of these, there are 3 sources of points:

1. VP chips from shipping goods

2. building score from built Buildings in your building space (each building gives 1, 2, 3, 4 points depending of the tier of the building)

3. bonus points from manned Large buildings at game end


Then there are 3 main directions as strategies that can be labeled as what is being emphasized of:

Builder strategy as
Builder Orthodox

Shipping strategy as
Ferocious Shipper

Hybrid of these as
Hybrid Strategy

where, Hybrid Strategy can be
- Hybrid Builder oriented
- Hybrid Shipper oriented
- Hybrid Opportunistic

So will discuss these in future posts in this thread, you are welcome to post your own strategies and experiences.
Santa Maria
Posts: 27
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Exploring Strategy

Post by Santa Maria »

Builder Orthodox

so lets look at the builder strategy, what is it about?

The point of this strategy is to prioritize building and have high building score with aiming for 2 or 3 large buildings and have them manned for bonus points.
The VP chips for shipping are being neglected as building is being prioritized.

This translates to 20+ score for buildings with another ~15 bonus points for manned large buildings. So you get about 38+ points for buildings and bonus points total without the VP chip points. That means with some VP chip points the total will be somewhere from ~40 to ~50 points.

So it is clear this will only be enough for victory if the game ends before the high shipping score by other players will be atained.
Therefore the goal is to be fast with ending the game and do so by building out or by depleting colonists. (with building out being the better option). Never by the 100 VP chips depletion, if that happens the strategy went very south and the loss is certain.

The island can by usually build out in somewhere from 11 to 14 rounds, you almost never want 15+ rounds to hit cause the point total will not be competitive then.

The most common is to have 2 large buildings which means 10 builder actions in about 14 rounds being the aim.

Your favorite role will be the Builder and want to setup so that you are in position to be able to pick it often and with never skipping any building action.
Sometimes it is possible to skip 1 or even 2 building actions but it usually spells doom for this strategy.

The worst role for you to pick is captain and then craftsman. (Though sometimes blocking a ship with high end good is necessary)


How to achieve building out fast with 2 large buildings?

- is what this strategy is all about,

there are endless possibilities how to tackle it so lets see a few ideas:

There are two ways to achieve a purchase: db and discount

Discount comes through 1, 2, 3, 4 Quarries and 1 with selecting Builder.

db come from Trades, Factory or role


As large building costs 10 db, with all 5 discount still 5 db are needed for the purchase.
So discount can help a lot, still a fair amount of db is needed. It is possible to build without discount but not without db in hand.

Role db will not be enough to carry the game through, so that means you need either Trade db or Factory db.


It is all about setting up a position to be able to build 2 large buildings and fill the island.

How?

1. obtaining Quarries helps to turn the builder round
Example: with a 3db form Factory and a Tobacco trade you get 7 db and lets say you had 3 db in hand so now you have 10 db
without any discount you can build one large building
with 4 Quarries you are able to double build by selecting builder twice
so as you can see discount is important to speed up the builder turning round, but db income is the important part

- getting Quarry is through Construction Hut or by choosing Settler


2. obtaining db income
- Trades: developing trade good is needed and then enhance through Markets/Office
- Factory: developin good variety, so Corn+Sugar/Indigo+high end good, to net 2,3,5 db income from craftsman

To progress fast through the game Hospice helps with colonist shortage and having discounts setup and University with the buidling with speed to be able to omit Mayor.

Hacienda and Construction Hut helps to deveop production and Quarries with speed.

Warehouses, Harbour and Wharf are of low priority, cause they dont help to build which is the priority.


So to develop income should play either towards Large Market or Factory or having Coffee in mind.


As of Large buildings, Customs House you almost never want,
with Hospice and University -> Fortress will be strong
with Hacienda -> Residence will be 6-7 points
with more Commercial -> City Hall which is the prime play
and for spam cheap production buildings -> Guild Hall


From start you should aim to setup the double build with mixture of Hacienda-Construction Hut-Hospice-University
and Small-Large Market-Office-Factory
with some production, but you never aim for large shipping production like 5 corn and such.

You want to reach the setup point the fastest to secure the neccesary income + discount and have it all manned, so your build order is very important how to progress from start.
Some early production is definitely needed so you dont crash and burn with heavy early craftsman which usually spell trouble.

First Corn/Indigo/Sugar trade is very important to help to develop, if able early Tobacco or Coffee is even better, but beware if you db starve and then dont get the trade or the trading house gets blocked, you want to turn the builder round so that is of paramount importance (aim discount),
also Hacienda-Construction Hut-Hospice-University allows to omit settler/mayor so that can be tremendous as well, but with these your early production and big trades will suffer.

After you are able to double build you pull the trigger but definitely need the support buildings so you get strong bonus from the large buildings.

And then build out and see where the strategy is worth at.
User avatar
euklid314
Posts: 372
Joined: 06 April 2020, 22:56

Re: Exploring Strategy

Post by euklid314 »

A very important point for the Builder strategy:

If you aim at the large building "Guild Hall" then at the end of the game you need almost no money for gaining quite a lot of additional points via the builder role. A large indigo/large sugar mill will be very cheap (probably even free with some discounts) but will net you 3 or 4 points, respectively.

Furthermore, building those large production buildings early, especially large indigo, large sugar, tobacco, will bring a lot of colonists into play (since these buildings will not be fully manned - having 3 spots for colonists) and the game will end very soon with depletion of colonists.

Thus, in the builder strategy it is often possible to end the game ultra-fast with depletion of colonists and *not* with a full board of buildings. One large building is usually enough, of course only if it is the Guild Hall.
Santa Maria
Posts: 27
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Exploring Strategy

Post by Santa Maria »

euklid314 wrote: 28 September 2023, 07:35 A very important point for the Builder strategy:

If you aim at the large building "Guild Hall" then at the end of the game you need almost no money for gaining quite a lot of additional points via the builder role. A large indigo/large sugar mill will be very cheap (probably even free with some discounts) but will net you 3 or 4 points, respectively.

Furthermore, building those large production buildings early, especially large indigo, large sugar, tobacco, will bring a lot of colonists into play (since these buildings will not be fully manned - having 3 spots for colonists) and the game will end very soon with depletion of colonists.

Thus, in the builder strategy it is often possible to end the game ultra-fast with depletion of colonists and *not* with a full board of buildings. One large building is usually enough, of course only if it is the Guild Hall.
The problem with that strategy I think is twofold:

1st - you still need a lot of db to build Guild Hall and early you either have to skip some builder actions (to hoard for Guild Hall), or if you build the production buildings you will have a non-trivial time to get enough for the Guild Hall and someone else might build it first

2nd - if you do get the Guild Hall you will be still quite a bit from bulding out, cause you need 11 builders total, and the colonist drain is not that trivial as well cause other players need to mayor (cause you need to be building large production buildings) and also have some large production buildings to help to speed the drain

So all in all it is a play but is not a particularly strong one, though it may be successful at times


EDIT 1: yea it is a dangerous play, build Guild Hall early and then build all four large production buildings back to back to threaten colonist drain in succession, usually ending the game around round 11 is the win most of the time.
Need to be quick though cause the 2 Large buildings player and Harbor / Wharf shipping player will roll over if they get more rounds to get their game up, so as every play depends on how well can it be put into being.
Last edited by Santa Maria on 03 May 2024, 16:24, edited 1 time in total.
Santa Maria
Posts: 27
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Exploring Strategy

Post by Santa Maria »

Builder Orthodox

so lets look at what each seat can do in this strategy

Seat 1

so starting with seat 1, there are many options but lets look at some ideas:

Opening with Settler Quarry is the main line,

but then you either pass on first build action to get your Quarry manned, this helps to develop, but passing a build action can spell the doom already

or you build and then have a dilemma where to put that lonely colonist - if you man the building your Quarry might get being inactive for even second build action, or you man the Quarry and then your building is inactive which can pose a problem

As of what to build - you can go with Small Indigo plant or Hacienda or Construction Hut, or Small Market (which is usualy gone though)

or
Opening with Builder, building Construction Hut or Hospice but this also can run into some serious problems


The biggest concern for seat 1 either way is tremendous production hindrance or colonist shortage which is often fatal.

The good things are you can have access to the highest amount of early db, but have to be careful how to use this db advantage

The usual play is go for Coffee Roaster, or Large Market, and go from there, but early production will suffer, you can get the first big (usually) 3 db Indigo trade with picking Trader with 1 role db, though maybe ohter seats can be trading high end goods already


So to sum up, seat 1 start is usually slow, though can get start to roll on the high end buildings first if successful, but is a tricky one and have to be carefull to develop colonists and production, db you should have a fair amount early, though on what to spend them is the trick


What I like to do as seat 1
- is either build Construction Hut straight
- or go with Quarry and build Hacienda with first build action, with the latter then man the Quarry and pick up a second Quarry in round 2 if able and then man Hacienda to get some plantations, problem is the colonist shortage and no production, only building Small Indigo plant with second build action, but that means a big colonist shortage troubles, so I might need to Mayor at cost of 2db on role, so dont know how to develop seat 1 properly, needs more setups to see

The safer play is not to build and man the Quarry but this can be potentially too slow with the build order
gavilanc29
Posts: 1
Joined: 28 November 2023, 05:36

Re: Exploring Strategy

Post by gavilanc29 »

Hello Santa Maria

I was expecting you to write about Ferocious Shipper. To me, that's the most common strategy on this game. Seems easy to follow but it's also easy to fail there.
Santa Maria
Posts: 27
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Exploring Strategy

Post by Santa Maria »

gavilanc29 wrote: 28 November 2023, 06:01 Hello Santa Maria

I was expecting you to write about Ferocious Shipper. To me, that's the most common strategy on this game. Seems easy to follow but it's also easy to fail there.
Hi

Eventually I will, but, I have only played the Ferocious Shipper a handfull of times and so don't really know how to play it.


As of general the boat control is of most importance, with developing mostly production and either warehouse is the key building.
Then probably Wharf, and if ever can afford then Customs House.


The strat is (for me) like walking the wire, so you have to craft a lot but even more important is to ship a lot (so captain). Always being aware what the ships will look like, also need a bunch of Corn and some other production, you never want more than 1 Quarry (generally).

The Warehouse gives you a lot of options so Large one is preferable, for bigger game, for faster and smaller game you go with Small Warehouse.

Most important is to develop the boats so you can flood them to turn the captain round as much as ever, if two boats are killed with what you don't have you usually are in trouble, though Warehouse and then Wharf can still see you through (that is if you could get it).

Your Building score will be in single digits even or maybe around 10 points, so you need 35+ VP chips to be competitive.

These are some thoughts but will write it more in detail later.


As of what is most played here are the Hybrid strategies either builder or shipper oriented, I dind't play against this strategy too often either, but a player who knows his stuff makes this strategy a real terror, usually with 4-5x Corn and Wharf as 3rd build with rolling Craftsman you can feel the power right there, but is by no means easy to carry through.
Santa Maria
Posts: 27
Joined: 24 July 2015, 18:55

Re: Exploring Strategy

Post by Santa Maria »

Seat 2 in Builder Orthodox

So there are many options and lines, but will talk just the 2 main lines which are after seat 1 opens with Quarry or Corn:

1. you can build Hospice

2. you can block pick Craftsman and build Construction Hut on first Builder


If Seat 1 opens with Builder probably the best is to build Small Indigo Plant and Quarry yourself with your pick and then begin Round 2 with a Mayor to have a manned Quarry and manned Indigo with 2 db to go in Round 2 after your Mayor pick (that is if Craftsman was not picked in Round 1).

That should be a solid position to play from.


So now the main line:

1. Builder Hospice

So if Seat 1 opened with Settler your best pick is Corn and 2nd best Sugar, you can play for Tobacco but then you have to skip some builder actions which might burry you.

For building, the play is to pick Quarry in Round 2 and then build Small Indigo Plant with Small Sugar Mill or Construction Hut or even Hacienda as follow up.

You want to pick Settler often and then follow up with either Large Market and/or Factory into University or straight 2 Large Buildings.
Fortress is usualy a 7-8 bonus point Large Building so you want that and you want to exploit your plenty of colonists into fast development of production.

You will be in a disadvantage early cause of Seat 2 deadly position, but if you manage to go unscattered into mid game you have the best power to develop because you will have colonists and can produce with speed, though the key is how fast can you put out your Factory or if you can get the trades, the Large Market play. (that is how fast can you have the db ready for the builds)

Your advantage is by getting Quarries out manned so to help you build and get them in play instantly so therefore your aim is 3-4 Quarries though even 2 might be playable.
This play is usualy about Sugar (Large Market) play so very important is if you can get a Sugar trade or not.

Another advantage is you can develop strong Indigo production with Large Indigo Plant and have no problem to produce 3-4 Indigo with your colonists.

So there are many options but the main goal is getting that 2nd and 3rd Quarry out with being able to Build your income (Factory or Large Market or High End good), but if you manage, you might be in the strongest position.


2. Block Craftsman

With this play usualy Seat 3 builds (which you should use for Construction Hut) and Seat 4 Mayors, which means you get 2 db Prospector in Round 2. In any case something solid will make it to you on the rebound.

So you have 3 db in hand with manned Construction Hut after your pick Round 2 which is solid though you will suffer from colonist shortage and are still not producing unless you got Corn and someone Mayors in Round 2 which is inprobable.
Though there is no db on Craftsman Round 2 so makes it an unatractive pick and generally you can develop solidly with obtaining some Quarries from Construction Hut.

As second build you should go for Indigo/Sugar and eyeing Large Market.


So to sum up Seat 2 is deadly for a reason but have some unique strengths, so not easy but surely powerful.

The new favorite?
Post Reply

Return to “Puerto Rico”