I’ve been playing a lot more Puerto Rico recently. I’m ranked on the online leaderboards as 23rd in the world. I’ve been trying to work on my tactics (I’m not that great tactically)
Currently, my opening strategy is to follow the mainline (settler/builder/mayor/(prospector)) t1 but deviate on turn 2, taking settler as p2 turn 2, if I am player 4 I take mayor if player 3 didn’t build an indigo/sugar turn 1 and you got indigo/sugar. I have the actual opening tree I use mostly memorized, there are some weird lines I don’t actually know how to play, but I’ve never seen them over the board.
One thing that surprises me is that the majority of games are ended via victory points, Almost none of them end because we run out of colonists. Buildings sometimes end the game, and sometimes you get buildings and VP ending, but that’s less common than just running out of victory points. In the past 50 games, it has only happened a few times. Once I got a colonist ending, but those seem extremely rare.
The modern Puerto Rico metagame is based around 3 buildings, the Small Warehouse, the Harbor, and the Guild Hall. The vast majority of games are won via a combination of those 3 buildings. The factory has been falling in importance, at this point I don’t even know why people thought it was top tier, never mind overpowered. The factory takes 6 colonists to get up and running. By that point, we are firmly in the midgame, and I want to transition into victory point production and try to buy the harbor/small warehouse. I really want my main income source to be operational at 4 Colonists, since that’s the point in the game where money really matters, a position like indigo+coffee production allows you to have a strong trader phase income.
My current building tier list is something like
Tier A - Cut in line to get these buildings, don’t wait for them otherwise you’ll be cut out.
Guild Hall (a fully powered guild hall gives a total of 26 victory points, 16 for the buildings and 10 for the hall, most other 10 spots don’t come close
Tier B- I view these buildings as role players, they don’t win you the game but they do get you to won positions a lot
Small Warehouse(is really strong but needs a lot of support to be good)
Small indigo plant
Small Sugar Mill
Tier C - Niche buildings
Large Market (has strong results but the cases when you buy it are somewhat niche)
Other 10 cost developments
Wharf(way weaker than many people think, frequently can get the same results with a small warehouse)
Tier D (only worth it for the top right corner VP)
Every other building (though the large indigo plant is notable for costing 3 doubloons and being worth 2 VP, it’s actually underrated with how efficient it is at making VP)
I find it kinda strange how frequently the game comes down to spamming captain like there’s no tomorrow. It’s also weird how fast the game ends once you get your 2-3 production facilities+a harbor. Your first 4 buildings define the game, after that, you’re mostly turning the crank to score as many victory points as fast as possible.