Rachel, Nadine, and I played our shabbat afternoon Puerto Rico game with the usual substitute buildings.
Rachel opened with Settler/corn, I took sugar, and Nadine took tobacco. As Rachel didn't have a quarry, and we don't play with Small Market, I decided to use this opportunity to try Mayor instead of the usual Builder. This prompted Nadine to take a round 1 Craftsman. And already I was losing.
I decided to continue the trend with a turn two Builder/Hospice. We play that you can immediately move one of your colonists onto Hospice when you buy it, which didn't make much difference in this game, but can help, sometimes. Throughout the game, I used Hospice rigorously, taking several corns and quarries, and preparing myself for coffee.
Let me tell you a little bit about coffee in this game. By round five, we had seen no coffee plantations. No one else was preparing to buy coffee, and in fact both of them appeared to be committing to tobacco, so I took a plunge and decided to buy a Coffee Roaster, even though I had a tobacco plantation already. With my Hospice, I figured on being able to use a coffee plantation the minute it appeared.
There are 9 coffee plantations in the game. There are some 55 plantation tiles. Not a single coffee plantation appeared until there were only 15 remaining plantation tiles. By the time I actually got coffee going, I was able to trade it once or twice, but by then I had lost so much in the waiting that I was too far behind to catch up. Sometimes, that's just how it goes.
Nadine was the only one who bought Factory, and she ended up buying three large buildings. She ended with 63 points. Rachel had Discretionary Hold, and good production, and ended with 53 points. I had good production and a Small Warehouse. At one point, I had every single corn barrel, preventing Nadine from fully utilizing her Factory. But I couldn't get them all shipped. I ended the game with seven corn barrels on my board, and 47 points.
Ah, well. It's always fun to try something new, even if it doesn't quite end up working.