I always remove Small Market and Construction Hut from our three player Puerto Rico games. Small Market is always bought first and gives too great an advantage at the early game for its cost. Construction Hut is never bought at all; who really needs a bunch of quarries at the expense of developing production? Especially since, in a three player game, you have ample opportunity to grab a quarry on your turn, if you really want to.
I usually replace them with two other buildings, but this time I thought to include them with switched prices to see what would happen.
It worked out very well.
Small Market was the second, not the first, building bought by two of the players (Rachel and Nadine), since the loss of an extra early coin meant that getting either indigo or sugar up quickly would be that much harder. It was agonized over and bought anyway, just a little bit later than usual. And it helped them, but didn't dominate the game.
Construction Huts were bought early, since the one cost buildings are always bought, if, for nothing else, by someone who has a quarry and doesn't really want to buy anything else. I took it on my first buy in second position, because it didn't cost me any cash at all. Nadine eventually got the other. Again they helped, but didn't dominate the game. I'm not sure if I would buy it early again in another game.
I had first coffee while Nadine to my right started working on tobacco; I expected Rachel on my left to take tobacco ahead of Nadine, but she took coffee. She traded it once when she needed to. She also bought an early Commodity Exporters (5/2 like a Harbor, but only for indigo and sugar) and gained a few VPs from that, but the boats quickly got blocked to slow that down (and I also got a CE a few rounds later).
Nadine had Factory, but ended with only one big building to our two each, partly because she shipped her tobacco to slow down the boats. I think. I don't really know why. She rightfully should have ended with two big buildings, but I scraped enough together to buy it in front of her by sacrificing sente for shipping to Rachel twice.
As a result of that, Rachel ended with a few more shipping points than me and we had about even boards. Nadine had about the same shipping points and slightly less on the board.
It was a close game. Rachel won 61 to my 58 to Nadine's 52 (or 54).
Friday night I played Scrabble with Rachel and beat her by a scant five points 306 to 301. I hate having seven letter words and nowhere to put them (two turns in a row at the very end of the game).
My step-daughter played Jungle Speed On Saturday afternoon with her friends (loudly).
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