Puerto Rico: The PC Game
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Puerto Rico is the the most critically acclaimed board game of the last twenty years, yet even with its immense popularity sometimes it's simply hard to bring to the table or find opponents. Fortunately, with Puerto Rico: the Computer Game, one never needs to find opponents, as the game will supply up to four willing computer players. Having both the basic game and the official expansion included, Puerto Rico has great graphics and an enjoyable, melodic soundtrack. Games can be played quickly, in less than twenty minutes; and multiplayer is possible, allowing one to play with opponents all over the world! Smooth play, strategic options, and a classic game are now available on your PC!
I played this game at a friends house and thouroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure if I played it more I'd get hooked. He bought it for me and since I came home (1000 miles away) I have not been able to install it on my computer.
When I first got home and played the PC version of Puerto Rico I was disappointed. I won my first game on the Professional (hardest) level of AI in a 5 player game. In fact the 55 victory points earned in that game still displays as an all time second place on my PC. However, I decided not to immediately write a review and give it a chance and I'm glad that I did. The AI in Professional mode is solid and while I win my share of games I don't win them all (as I do about 95% of the time in the PC version of Settlers of Catan).
But there's more... they have included the expansion tile set (something my game group hasn't used much) and there's also the 3 and 4 player versions to toy with which, as seasoned players know, changes the game a fair amount.
I agree with the first reviewer that the 3D mode is USELESS. Why they would include this is beyond me. It's also quite different not being able to do a quick scan of the table to see what the other players have. I don't feel as in tune with the game as I do when playing the board game version. Yes, I can scan and see what everyone has done.. it's just a bit more tedious. But in all fairness I'm not sure the developers could have done much with that... there's limited screen space and I'd prefer them not to have to include a magnifying glass with the game.
Finally, the Internet mode is lacking. Yes, you can play over the Internet... but to make it *really* fun they need a player matching service other than a Forum on the Eagle Games online bulletin board (much like Settlers Online or Blokus Online).
If you enjoy Puerto Rico then you'll probably enjoy this adaptation. I'm not a beginner and win a good share of Puerto Rico games against other live opponents including a first round game at DragonCon 2005 (coming in 2nd place in the finals) and the AI is solid for a PC game. In all honesty, though, I'd rather be playing people... however, I'm glad I purchased this solo adaptation.
Hey, just wanted to let you know, we got it running under Vista by applying the patch at the following link:
Note, DO NOT ATTEMPT to unzip the file in the installation directory under Vista, as it will be blocked by security settings. Good luck!
This is a serviceable computer version of Puerto Rico (weak AI) that is a decent platform for learning the game and developing strategies. When I upgraded to Vista, the game wouldn't even load. There is no help on the maker's site. If someone discovers a way to get it to load under Vista, please post it here, otherwise, it's a pointless purchase. Otherwise, hey, it's Puerto Rico... a decent way to play when no one else is around. Another advantage... you can play the game in 20 minutes. Good luck doing that with real people.
I find the computer version of this well recieved board game lacking in one certain area and that is the rules/tutorial. As someone who has never played the board game I was looking forward to playing and then envolve others and yet there are no rules for the game itself. The entire gaming process is placed in a terrible tutorial which omits certain crucial areas of the game, such as the funtions of the quarry, vp, and dubloons on the building screen. It seems as if that the designers of the game assume a working knowledge of the gaming system and what this will eventually do is frighten off potential customers of other euro-games in general. It took me 10 to 15 games to have a working grasp of the gameplay and I am a rabid game player. Imagine what a non-gamer will do. I think in the future companies should make the computer versions much more approachable so they can be a gateway to the world of boardgames.
When I first heard about a PC version of Puerto Rico I thought, great, now I can practice at home or play online against other players. The installation was very easy and when I started the program for the first time the graphics really impressed me. The information (number of colonists, VP points available, goods available, buildings owned, etc.) were easy to read and lay out nicely on the screen. However, when I started to play the game I had to click on each players icon to determine what buildings and goods each player had. This started to become a real inconvenience. I must admit that I haven't played online yet, but could only image how slow decision making can be if each person playing has to click on each opponent to determine board status. As far as the AI is concerned, I was very disappointed. I'm a decent player but don't consider myself a great player. Even so, I beat the game regularly on the Professional AI setting. I think for beginners the AI would be adequate. I found two features of the game to be worthless. The first is the 3-D mode, which allows you to view your island in 3-D with all your buildings and crops laid out with impressive graphics. It doesn’t add anything to the game. The second is the amateur level AI. Even beginners would have no problem beating this level. For example, while playing with two computer opponents I started with corn and they started with indigo. During the first building phase they selected sugar mills instead of indigo plants. Why? I understand it’s a lower AI setting, but even a beginner wouldn’t make that mistake and if he/she did a more experienced player would probably correct them and explain why.
As indicated in my review title, Puerto Rico PC is great for beginners. As I said before, I haven’t played online, but with the problem of viewing multiple opponents; I’ll stick with a certain free site that I’ll leave unmentioned. I still plan on using the game to keep in practice when I don't have anyone around to play and also to try new strategies, but this game didn't live up to par.
This game has many several significant issues that you should be aware of before you buy the computer game. Please keep in mind that I am a huge fan of Puerto Rico. I just don't recommend the computer version.
MULTI PLAYER. I bought this game to play against friends online. However, I have come to find out that you can NOT play against another player online unless your opponents are on the same network. And even if your friends are on the same network you cannot see the game play text at the same time that you instant message. You can only choose one or the other.
SINGLE PLAYER. The computer AI is poor. The computer makes the same opening moves each time without ever changing its strategy. You can play the game knowing what the computer is going to do (especially early in the game). This makes most games follow the same general pattern so it is very EASY to win and it gets repetitive very quickly. In addition to the poor computer AI, it can be difficult to follow the action because the computer turns fly by so quickly and you can only view one computer's board at a time.