I recently began my review of the top 10 board games every family should play. This is the list so far:
Top 10 Board Games for Families:
5. Puerto Rico
Designer: Andreas Seyfarth
Publisher: Rio Grande Games
Players: 3 – 5
Time: 90 to 150 min.
Age: 12+ (My recommendation: 10+ if motivated)
Fun to Age Ratio: 5
Puerto Rico is a high strategy, low chance game of wealth building through changing roles and the special abilities ascribed to each. I’ve included it on this list because its game play (if not its theme) is an interesting departure from most of the other games on my list, and it has been incredibly popular since being introduced about 10 years ago. Puerto Rico is a reasonable entry into heavier strategic gaming and, as with Railways of the World, might not be the best choice for those new to board games.
The game is played over multiple rounds; during each round, players assume one of several roles such as settler, trader, builder, etc. Each role has its own special ability which the player utilizes for that round. Roles change from round to round so the players will be exposed to different abilities and privileges as the game progresses. Each player has his own board on which buildings and plantations are constructed and resources are processed into goods. Goods are sold for doubloons which may be used to purchase more buildings, giving the player the ability to produce more goods and earn other abilities. Victory points are earned through goods production and building construction and are maintained with victory point chips. When one of several conditions is satisfied, the game ends and victory points are tallied.
Puerto Rico is a dice-less game with very little random chance. One of the intriguing aspects of the game that gives it re-playability is that there are various winning strategies that can be applied. If you’re tired of rolling dice, please give this a shot. An expansion is available which introduces extra buildings.
There is also an iPad version of this game, but I don’t consider it the best way to learn the game.