Puerto Rico was first published 12 years ago and it remains among my favorite euro games despite its age and a variety of newcomers that have been vying for my attention. Component and art-wise, it isn’t much to look at. There are some games that are beautiful to look at, Puerto Rico is not such a game. What it does have is strategy.
It is a simple and thoughtful game that forces you to really examine not only your own position, but that of your opponents and adapt to what they are planning to do because in Puerto Rico, your actions give your opponents an opportunity to perform the action you chose. With this, there is a constant attempt to both maximize the value of the actions you take and to minimize what your opponents will get out of it.
It is not a kind game, by any means. With a limited supply of resources available, getting what you went will often involve taking what other players need. The conflict in the game, while not nearly on the same level as Tigris and Euphrates, is much more present than your standard game in this genre and that is offset of what I enjoy about my experiences playing this game. If taking an action just to screw over the other players does not appeal to you, this is not your game.
That being said, it is not a game solely defined by the conflict it generates. At its heart, Puerto Rico is a game about producing and shipping goods and creating your machine to do that efficiently is a large part of this game.
All in all, it’s a lot of game in a reasonably sized and priced box. Within this game, you can see the inspiration behind many ideas and mechanics used in popular games that have been released over the past decade. This old new game deserves a place in everyone’s collection. And, unlike Tigris and Euphrates, it is still readily available from your friendly local game shop (FLGS)