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It's fairly easy to choose between the different plantations when the settler phase comes around as you just have to evaluate which you have the production capacity for or which you would be able to buy the production capacity for, and take into account what other goods you can produce and what other players can. However, Quarries are a little different, and sometimes I find it difficult to choose if I should take one or not. Here's some rules I use:

  1. If I don't have 2 quarries yet and there's at least 4 builder phases left.

  2. If there's no plantations I want.

  3. If there aren't many left and I want to deny another player the privilege of having one.

  4. Only take a 3rd or 4th Quarry if it will make a big difference in being able to get a very valuable building, usually from the third or fourth tier.

What rules do you use when determining if you should take a Quarry? What are the most notable situations when you should NOT take a Quarry when you are able to?

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I edited your title by adding the name of the game. It's in the tags, but probably should be in the heading as well. –  Tom Au Aug 20 '11 at 22:43
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I have a suspicion that if everyone in your group loves quarries and wants to fight over them, then concentrating on different areas will pay dividends. I don't have a detailed cost-benefit analysis for you, but these worker placement type games almost invariably reward you for doing what a majority of the other players are forgetting to do, and I can't believe that doesn't extend to Puerto Rico and its quarry strategy. –  thesunneversets Aug 22 '11 at 16:45
    
@Tom You might want to check out the accepted answer at meta.gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/821/…. Its from the other Gaming site, but I think the reasoning applies here as well (and Grace is now an SE employee). –  bwarner Aug 22 '11 at 16:56
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The simple answer to this question, is how much value is the quarry going to gain you over and above the other options your have to choose from. This comes down to the stage of the game, the competing products of your competitors and the value the goods that are on offer as alternatives.

A quarry saves you money when building, but only a maximum of 1 coin per build.

  • You may already have all the buildings you want/need, without triggering an end of game scenario
  • You may have plenty of money so an extra coin is of little value to you
  • You may not be using a building strategy to win the game, but be cautious with this one, as balance is key
  • You may get an extra worker for building, if you have that specific tile with that function.

A good offers you the opportunity to sell / ship

  • There may already be too many plantations and not enough goods to go around, so this may not be a good option
  • You may need a factory to produce your good (with the exception of corn) and not have time to build this, so plantation has no value
  • You may already have a factory with a spare space, so another good of a particular type may allow maximum efficiency from your factory
  • A good may be of high value (like coffee/tobacco) that gives you far more money than you would hope to gain from a quarry, by someone visiting the Trader.

And needless to say, all of this depends on your opponents positions, and your future potential actions.

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Some strategies revolve around the tier 4 buildings, and for a strategy like that, quarries are invaluable.

However, if you're going after a more "captain" based strategy, then the tier 4 buildings don't work to your advantage as much as some others might, so more production (from a plantation) would behoove you more.

Usually, my decision to quarry or not to quarry is based on the current strategy i'm going after, and less about a set of rules i'm following. That being said though, taking up to 2 is almost always beneficial, so you should probably keep that rule no matter what =)

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In most cases, the decision to take a third quarry or not depends mainly on what ELSE you can do with your turn. Usually, you're playing against a "field," which is to say that you want to take the action that benefits you most compared to the field. That may or may not be taking the quarry, depending on what the rest of your strategy is. Basically, you should refuse to take quarry if you has something BETTER to do.

Taking one "if there aren't many left and I want to deny another player the privilege of having one," is an interesting strategy called "playing not to lose." I'm assuming that this "other player" is your main rival in the game, with the rest far behind. Then, it might be to your advantage to make a move that hurts you relative "to the field" if it hurts your main rival MORE. Even so, you might use some other strategy if you are also worried about a THIRD party.

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