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Andreas Seyfarth


No. of Players:
2 - 5

G@mebox Star



With hundreds of games released each year, many older titles quickly fall into oblivion. However, the one or other outstanding title manages to win a place for itself in the limited ranks of immortal evergreens, and one of the most deserving games which has managed this feat is Andreas Seyfarth's great strategy game Puerto Rico. Being released as one of the early titles of ALEA, RAVENSBURGER's special brand for sophisticated boardgames, Puerto Rico was able to convince gamers with its multi-layered playing mechanism which challenges the players to develop their own Caribbean plantation and settlement. As a matter of fact, some of the mechanisms found in Puerto Rico were milestones for the development of later generations of boardgames, and 10 years after its initial release the game still fascinates players all around the globe.

Compared with the average lifespan of a boardgame, a period of 10 years is almost an eternity, and to honour the great success of Puerto Rico ALEA has decided to produce a special limited anniversary edition of the game. Containing not only the two expansions which were released in the SPIELBOX-magazine and the Alea Treasure Chest some years ago, but also a fully redesigned game, the Puerto Rico Anniversary Edition is one of the most beautiful and collectible games which should not be missed by any fan of Puerto Rico!


The redesign of the playing pieces starts the with player boards, plantations and the buildings, since the artwork on all of these pieces has seen a major overhaul. Especially the buildings now feature small images of all buildings, so that the players now can see their own miniature city instead of just reading the text printed on the tiles. As a next step, the old cardboard coins had been replaced with specially minted golden metal doubloons, and the shape of all wooden markers for the different kinds of goods now resembles small crates. In addition, the wooden colonist tokens always were a bit fiddly, and so these tokens had been enlarged to a size which can be handled a bit better. All in all, the new game components look simply fantastic!

However, whilst all improvements which have been mentioned so far fall into the category of eye-candy, the two expansions which are included in the anniversary edition also include interesting new playing variants. In essence, both of these expansions contain new buildings, and at the beginning of the game these new buildings either replace some buildings of the standard game (1st expansion) or they are added to the buildings of the main game (2nd expansion). The major difference between both expansions is the fact that the 2nd expansion comes with a new kind of colonists - the noblemen. Now one colonist on every colonist ship is replaced by a nobleman, and whilst a nobleman in essence functions like a normal colonist, there are some additional rules which apply only to noblemen. Thus, every nobleman in possession of a player will count for one additional victory point at the end of the game, and this is coupled with the fact that the game's end will not be triggered by a consumption of all colonists anymore. In addition, the new buildings introduced with this 2nd expansion have specially "enhanced" functions which become available if they are occupied by a nobleman, and in effect this opens up a whole new approach to creating victory points. Due to these changes, the rules associated with the noblemen result in a sustainable change of the game's playing sequence, since the limitation of colonists was a major factor which needed to be taken into account in the basic game. Now this limitation is gone, and with it comes a major shift in the players' strategy.

The 1st expansion on the other hand is a true variation of the basic game, since the players draft the buildings to be used in their upcoming game from a stockpile containing both the basic and the expansion buildings. The buildings are drafted on the basis of their costs, so that the cost distribution of the buildings is the same in every game, whereas the choice of available buildings may differ from game to game. Thus, this expansion is especially useful when playing with people who have managed to hone their playing skills to a very high degree, since the exchange of some buildings from the basic game means that these players will have to rethink their traditional strategy in order to take the new buildings into account.

Over the years some criticism on the pricing of buildings in the basic game had been issued, and a discussion between Andreas Seyfarth and Uwe Rosenberg about the prices of the factory and the university can be found at the website of Cliquenabend. This happened in 2008, and during the discussion Andreas Seyfarth admitted that he would probably change the prices of these buildings if he was to release the game anew. These thoughts have not found their way into the new Puerto Rico Anniversary Edition, but it remains questionable whether such a change would have been really necessary. As with most complex boardgames, some aspects of finetuning always are a matter of taste and individual playing style, and so it seems reasonable that Andreas Seyfarth did not rearrange some aspects of the popular basic game for the release of this new edition.

To sum it up, the Puerto Rico Anniversary Edition is a real gem for every gamer's collection, and whilst the limitation of this edition is not yet felt on the market, it will surely become a highly wanted item once it goes out of print!

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Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany