Rachel, my brother Ben, and I played Puerto Rico on Friday evening. We used the basic building set with the following changes:
- Assembly Line instead of Small Market
- You mys move one of your colonists onto Hospice when you buy it
- Factory was 8 instead of 7 and replaced University
- Library was in the 7 slot
What do you know, the first third column buildings that either Ben or Rachel bought were Library. Mine was Harbor. No one bought Factory. I'll say that the decision as to which of the four three column buildings to buy was a lot tougher. Library did quite well, and I'm not sure if it should be bumped back to 8 or left at 7. On the other hand, I won without it, so there you go.
I was first player, followed by Rachel and Ben. On the first round, I took Settler/corn, Rachel took sugar, and Ben took coffee (instead of indigo). That set the stage for the rest of the game:
Since Ben took the first trade good, I was bound to go for tobacco while Rachel was bound to go for coffee. I took tobacco, but Rachel never got a trade good, which is a tough position to play, even with a Large Market. She bought one, but it didn't do her much good.
Rachel had a sugar monopoly for much of the game, but I forced her to ship it at a crucial time. Until about mid-game, we thought she might be winning, but after that I passed her in money, and my Harbor caught up to her early victory point lead.
Ben traded coffee a few times, but he waited for far too long to lock a coffee boat. Which means that the Harbor that he took didn't do him much good.
Ben and I both ended with two large buildings, but Ben had little else on his board. Final scores: me 60, Ben 53, Rachel 51.
I taught my cousin's two teenage girls (15, 17) to play this, and Ben played as well. I had previously gotten them hooked on Bohnanza, and I think they had tried Settlers. Their father (my cousin) was holding discussions with my brother David about starting them on a D&D campaign.
Kingdoms: Chapel, Cellar, Moat, Workshop, Village, Militia, Moneylender, Council Room, Festival, Market.
Festival is nice, but it must be combined with card drawing. My most annoying hands was when I had the card drawing (but not the Festivals) and then I drew the Festivals but couldn't play them. Festivals are not exactly the same as money, after all.
Ben and I both Chapel's away from Estates early. He also took Militia, which he played often but never affected me in the least (either I had Moat, or I didn't care about tossing down cards). Surprisingly, I only took one Village; maybe I should have taken more.
The girls asked, round after round, nearly the same questions again and again: What can I do? What does this mean? What should I do? When I asked them back the same questions, they knew what they could do and what it meant; they just didn't want to decide what to do. Things finally began to flow smoother near the end.
Ben won 27 to my 26, and the girls each had in the high teens.
Princes of Florence
We stayed at a neighbor's apt, and, while looking around the room, I noticed that they had a copy of Ticket to Ride: Europe on the shelf. I thought that this would be a good second intro game for the girls, but David somehow convinced them, and Ben, to learn Princes of Florence.
Given the girls' lack of enthusiasm for making decisions in Dominion, I didn't think this would go over that well. But David sat beside them and helped them make nearly every decision as the game went on. In the end, the girls said that they liked both of the games equally well.
I won with three Jesters (one on the last round). I just squeaked to victory. One of the girls ended round 7 with the same score as me, and then we both played our prestige cards mine was half value at 4, while hers was half value at 3.
Final scores: me 60, cousin 59, Ben 54, cousin 51. The lower scoring cousin was unable to play her last profession.
I dropped this on the table for my aunt, sis-in-laws, mom, cousins, and other non-gamers to play with, and they all love it.