We had a very quiet weekend, just Rachel and I, and Nadine for lunch.
Rachel and I played after dinner. Buildings included my usual assortment, as well as Trade School (4/2, pay 1 extra doubloon for a building to be manned when purchasing) and Commodity Merchants (5/2, +1 VP when shipping either indigo or sugar).
Like many games, in Puerto Rico you can sometimes get caught up in fiddling around with the mechanics and lose sight of the fact that you're falling behind in points. As a result, Rachel got a good lead in both shipping and building points. By the time I was ready to start gaining on her, we both kind of expected it to be too late.
My biggest problem was Commodity Merchants; but let me tell you a little something about buildings like this (as well as, for instance, Civil Office (2/1, choose a phase; whenever you take that phase, you gain double the privilege)). The fact that they are limited versions of more general buildings is very interesting, both in assessing their strength and for the game play.
When these buildings come into operation, the other player(s) begin planning how to neutralize them. For the general buildings, you can only generally neutralize another player. For these buildings, you can do more specific damage.
In this case, it meant blocking the ships with slow moving barrels of tobacco and coffee, thus limiting her ability to ship both indigo and sugar.
I had numerous corns going but nowhere to ship them most of the time. However, I was producing money faster than Rachel was. I made a valiant effort to win the game on building points, acquiring three big buildings to her one, but it wasn't enough, and she won 58 to 57.
After lunch we played three player, with me first and Rachel third.
Once again I could see that I was losing the shipping point war. Rachel had Commodity Exporters again, and Nadine had Discretionary Hold. but this time I had a coffee monopoly and no trouble trading it five times. Combined with my flexible Large General Workhouse (8/3, 2 circles, each man produces any good along with a corresponding plantation), I could also ship a bit.
I once again pulled in three large buildings, to each of their one, and won the game 62 to 55 to 52.