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Under page 6 of the rules it states.

Loading/shipping rules: When shipping, players must follow these rules:

  • Each cargo ship will carry goods on only one kind.
  • Players may not load goods on a cargo ship if goods of that same kind are on one of the other two cargo ships.

  • Players may not load goods on a full ship.

  • On a player's turn, he must load goods if he can. However, he may only load one kind of goods.

  • When a players loads good of a kind, he must load as many of that kind as he can. A player cannot hold back goods where there is space on a cargo ship carrying the kind of goods he has. If a player has a kind of goods that can be loaded on several empty ships, he must choose the ship where he can load the most goods, leaving none behind, if possible.

  • If a player has several kinds of goods that he can load, he may choose freely, which goods to load. He need not choose the goods that would allow him to load the most barrels.

The bolded part above is what is confusing me. So say you only had 1 corn and all the ships are empty. Does this mean you are free to choose any ship? Or is this rule saying you must choose the largest ship?

I read the rule as saying you cannot choose a ship that is smaller than the amount of goods you have to ship, unless it's the largest of the only available ships.

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Wow, I've played Puerto Rico probably close to 100 times, and I've never noticed this rule! It's probably not come up very often at all, but I always thought that if there wasn't a ship with your type of good already, you could choose any empty ship. –  GendoIkari Jan 23 '13 at 13:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The rule what you stated, but your wording is awkward. I would say:

If a player has a kind of goods that can be loaded on several empty ships, he must choose a ship at least as large as the number of goods of that kind, leaving no goods behind. If no ships are large enough, that player must choose the largest ship.

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That wasn't my wording, its written as such in the rulebook. I agree you rewording is much clearer. –  grom Jan 23 '13 at 3:42
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I meant that this isn't how I would word it (I don't like the official version either), "you cannot choose a ship that is smaller than the amount of goods you have to ship, unless it's the largest of the only available ships." It would make more sense to say, "You cannot choose a ship that is smaller than the amount of goods you have to ship. If no large enough ship exists, you must choose the largest empty ship, leaving the fewest unshipped goods behind." –  user1873 Jan 23 '13 at 5:10

Yep, there's no restriction about which ship you load the corn onto if all the ships are empty. It's often a good idea to load onto a ship that makes other players' loading decisions most inconvenient.

The restriction does exactly what you assumed it does: stops you from loading a few of your goods into a small ship, if you could load all of them into a big ship. You must ship if you can, and you must ship as much of the resource that you choose to ship as you can, each time.

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