I once read that the main regret in the design of Puerto Rico was over-pricing the University. Anyone have any guesses (or statistical analysis) as to the "correct" price?

  • Do you have a link where you read that? Would be useful context. – ire_and_curses Jan 29 '12 at 17:09
  • Where I read that. Still, not the original source :-( – Ryan Jan 29 '12 at 17:19
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    Here's a quote from Andreas Seyfarth, the designer: Andreas confessed to me that today, he would indeed decrease the cost of the university by 1 doubloon and increase the cost of the factory by 1 doubloon. Hence, he would exchange the positions of both buildings on the Puerto Rico board. Also linked under "balance fixes" at BGG-Peurto Rico. Perhaps that was the original source? – ire_and_curses Jan 29 '12 at 17:49
  • Wow, thanks for that. My guess is that it might still be overpriced at 7! – Ryan Jan 29 '12 at 17:55
  • Having been a big PR enthusiast, and having played 75+ games, it is good to know that the designer and I came to the same conclusion. After playing 10+ games or so, our group decided to make the university cost 7, and finally 6. Only then would people buy it, and only for the VP when they couldn't afford a big building. – user1873 Jan 30 '12 at 1:54

I've read many people saying the same thing - the university is overpriced. I read one group who attempted to find the true value of the buildings by playing for two years and varying prices based on whether they were bought, and how well the people who bought them did. The write up contains a downloadable copy of their results and final prices for all the buildings.

In their games, most of the prices have seemed to stay fairly close to the original prices. A rough summary of the exceptions from the base game:

Small Market ~ 2 gold
Small Warehouse ~ 4 gold (with 3 players)
Office ~ 3/4 gold
Large Warehouse ~ 5 gold (with 4 players)
Factory ~ 8 gold
University ~ 7 gold
Harbor ~ 9/10 gold (with 3 players)

There's plenty more that could be drawn from their results too, I'd recommend giving it a read.

The results aren't perfect for a number of reasons. Firstly they changed the rules to allow all buildings from the base game and first expansion to be available to them every game. Secondly (as noted above) the power of some buildings vary with the number of players. There are hardly any games played with two or five players, and not many more with four. Thirdly, the same people play many of the games, and their preferences bias the results.

To go back to your question though. If you're interested from a theoretical point of view then this data suggests the university should be about seven gold. Personally I think that seems about right.

However if you're interested because you want to play with different prices then I suggest trying it! I read somewhere of a variant where before the start of a game a few buildings are increased/decreased in price by players putting red/green counters on them. If your group thinks the university is too expensive then it will get more green counters, and you should end up with more interesting in-game decisions.

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  • Wow, many thanks for that. Someday I'm hoping to write up some code that will simulate thousands of games and see which buildings most frequently win. Then vary the building prices to see how that changes things. This will probably take a while, I might be in over my head! :-) – Ryan Jan 30 '12 at 3:02
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    No need to code something - check this: boardgamegeek.com/filepage/8766/pr_030205-zip?. It runs in Excel. There are a few little bugs in it, but it'll get you in the ballpark. – VolcanoLotus Jan 30 '12 at 16:39

Regrading whether the factory should cost eight coins and the university seven, according to the wiki page "The designer Andreas Seyfarth has said that he would make this change if he were creating the game today."

Based on other things I've read, I agree with ths.

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    This seems more like a comment than an answer... – The Chaz 2.0 Sep 19 '13 at 4:14
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    @TheChaz2.0: I consider this an answer and a fairly authoritative one. The designer himself says so. I would attach at least as much weight to this as a third party calculation. No one else cited this. And the (edited) answer may not be the worst answer in the group. – Tom Au Sep 19 '13 at 12:59
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    It may be better to cite the source directly, rather than the wiki page. – goldPseudo Sep 20 '13 at 5:00

I think the university might be a reasonable strategy, but you have to save for it and buy it early. I've tried this a couple of times, and never won with it though :(

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