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One of the disadvantages of corn is that it doesn't "trade" (sell) for as much money as other crops. This point became clear in this question:

On the other hand, corn is cheaper to produce than other crops, and you don't need to build a production facility for it. And corn can be shipped for as many victory points as other crops.

Does it make sense to go for higher yielding cash crops in the beginning, use the money to buy the buildings you need (or want), and then shift to producing corn (for the victory points) about mid-game?

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Yes, it makes huge amounts of sense to do such things. It can even make a lot of sense to seek after both corn and cash crops from the beginning of the game. You only need a single Coffee or Tobacco plantation for trading, so going for corn early, middle, and late (but being sure to snag a single cash crop early) is an extremely viable solution.

Yes, you need a production building (and maybe an office, and a small market, and a large market...) to take largest advantage from trading, but you only need one cash-crop plantation to match it. Go ahead and grab Corn for everything else. In the last game of Puerto Rico I played, that's exactly how the winner earned his victory.

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Basically, it seems that a "corn only" strategy doesn't quite work, but a corn "almost only" strategy can work. –  Tom Au Dec 28 '13 at 19:40
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It makes sense to take Corn at every point during the game.

As you point out, Corn requires fewer colonists to manufacture and is worth the same amount of VP tokens when shipped.

It actually doesn't make sense to go for the higher yielding cash crops in the beginning of the game, until you have one or two other crops to protect it. Imagine only having your cash crop, Coffee or Tabacco. If you choose Craftsman, many if not most of the other players are likely to choose Captain and force you to ship your cash crop, since you will benefit the most from a Trader phase. Taking an early Corn helps protect your cash crop from being shipped during the Captain phase, and usually it will require two other crops.

Mid-game, you should still be focused on setting up your economic engine. A Corn (or any other good) is helpful in emptying the Trading House so that you can still trade in your cash crop.

Late-Game, every Corn you can ship either before your opponents on a boat that will not empty (if you have Warehouse for storage), or on a boat that will fill before your opponents can place Corn is VPs gained on your opponents.

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