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We have been playing Puerto Rico for on a regular basis. It's an excellent game, and one of the few well balanced games in buildup genre as:

  • There is almost no luck factor involved.
  • All of the Information about game and players buildup is revealed entirely. It makes the game highly strategic.
  • Not much of dirty tactics used by players. Say when player(s) tries to favor or screw certain other player, or delay other players winning.

We have been playing other resource management games like Le Havre, Agricola. Settlers of Catan has lots of player-to-player interaction, which makes the game more competitive. I was wondering if we could discuss and share some custom rules to modify the gameplay to have such player interactions; and would it be possible to introduce same new rules to create extra strategies.

Say by allowing other players to use production and service buildings for a fee. Player when in need of money or resources can mark only a building 'open for use' when selecting the role. Once open it can't be closed until her next turn. This fee could be really high 20%-30% of the service building cost, or one-third of production. Production building: Tobacco, Sugar, etc. Service: Harbor, Market, etc.

Many a times I find players getting blocked or waited to gather sufficient gold. Even when they have some of the good buildings. Please share your thoughts. Thanks.

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Nice to hear this from a good game. Lalan just make sure to keep an eye and edit this if other users think that your question "is open ended" or "subjective" –  quinestor Dec 11 '12 at 12:21
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Not sure what you mean by allow. Is this rental of buildings and colonists forced, or can either side object to the sharing/fee. Why would you want to help your opponents win. The point of many of the buildings is to deny your opponent a good or ability (at the cost of gold), so that you get an advantage during a certain phase. Why would I spend 5 of my own gold to allow an opponent to produce a tobacco the same turn as me and possibly beat me to the trading house or the boat. Why would I buy a Harbor for 8 just to allow opponents to get +1 VP for shipping at a reduced cost. –  user1873 Dec 11 '12 at 13:20
    
user1873: Nicely put, and your points are valid and justifies the absence of player-to-player interaction in the form of sharing buildings. And perhaps that's why designer didn't put it in the game. If you consider a player having choice of denying or letting someone use the building at 20-25% of the Harbor cost, or 1 tobacco for every time 3 tobacco barrels are produced. Player flags a building as 'open for business', when picking a role in her turn, if she needs extra gold and having trouble getting it, once open anyone can use it. At time I find lack of gold, even when I've good buildings. –  lalan Dec 14 '12 at 8:34
    
quinestor: thanks for suggestion. I like Settlers of Catan a lot. And young designer in me was wondering, if similar mechanics could be introduced to encourage such interaction in form of trading or renting. Even when building use is set to be at a high fee, someone might be desperate enough to use it, perhaps that player is in similar situation as the one who needs money. If harbor is used for 4-5 times, one can make enough money to get even larger building. Only production and service buildings can be marked 'open for business' for others to use. –  lalan Dec 14 '12 at 8:38
    
Have you tried these proposed rules? Rather than discussing them when nobody has any practical experience, it is often better to try them out, see how they work and then come here to ask specific questions about problems encountered. See this meta question for a more in depth discussion. –  Pat Ludwig Feb 6 '13 at 4:39
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1 Answer

Puerto Rico is mostly an open information game. The plantation tiles are randomized and hidden information, and VP points are hidden, although a player with good memory could count when each player earns victory points.

There is player interaction in Puerto Rico, but it isn't like Settlers of Catan wheeling and dealing, which allows multiple players who are losing to trade resources among themselves to help each other catch up to the leader. The other two games are very similar to Puerto Rico in their player interaction, in Agricola you can deny your opponents a particular role when you choose it, and in Le Harve you can get your goods to the ship first blocking the boat. (It is confusing that you mentioned them)

I almost never see a player waiting to use newly acquired buildings, any longer than the one round that would be necessary to choose the Mayor action to fill the building/plantation. Puerto Rico is designed as a resource management game. Nearly every turn, it feels like their are two things you need to do, but you can only choose one.

Can you modify the rules to allow trading coins for building use, sure but there will be added complications.

  • Do buildings "open for business" still require a colonist from your opponents to use?
  • Do your or other colonists "block" a open building for use by other players? (i.e. are the number of circles relevant on buildings)
  • How will players indicate they are using your building if colonists are required, how do you keep track of which colonist is which players?
  • If using a building doesn't require a colonist, when can a player decide when to use it? (i.e. Can I use a Factory right before/after crafting, a Storehouse/Harbor during shipping, etc?

If you think about adding this feature, realize what you are doing. You are allowing other players to trade coins to another player for Victory Points. How many players are going to leave their Guild House, City Hall, or other large building "open for business?" Why would I make my Harbor available to anyone else, when the point of getting it was so that when we ship, I get +1-2 extra VP? I am pretty sure you will find this rule rather pointless.

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