Reassessing Puerto Rico

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There was a time when Puerto Rico was the undisputed king of hobby board gaming. Roughly ten years ago, there was no design so well-loved and analyzed by board gamers. One of those fans was myself. Puerto Rico was among the first hobby games I purchased, and I played it many times with my friends. We learned about the strategies and grappled with the circuitous mechanics that make the game so interesting. But something happened after a couple of years: I discovered my love for more high-luck, high-narrative games. The chess-like structure of Andreas Seyfarth’s classic design didn’t hold as much interest for me, and I traded it away without looking back. Continue reading

It’s Full Of Stars

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That's no moon, it's a space station. Why would you think it looks like a moon?

Race for the Galaxy and I have a strange history. It came out just as I was about a year into the hobby, to rave reviews of course. I got caught up in the reverie and bought myself a copy in anticipation of the first expansion. My first item of business was to try it with my wife, as I commonly did with games at the time. And she hated it. Hated hated hated hated hated it. No problem, I thought. I’ll just play it with other people. Well I tried to teach it to them too. And that didn’t take too well either. Oh, other people played it. But no one wanted to get around to teaching it to the inevitable new player who would wander to the table every time. I only ever found one regular opponent, and that put it squarely in the category of two-player games that I don’t play as often as I’d like to. I thought the expansion might inspire me to play more, but it just made the game less accessible. So Race for the Galaxy eventually found itself in the trade pile. A couple of years passed, but I always kind of regretted getting rid of the ol’ girl. Despite the difficulties I had getting it played, I genuinely enjoyed it. Trading it was a purely pragmatic move. It was then that a friend generously donated his unplayed copy to my collection, knowing my regret and enjoyment of the game. Since having it back…I still don’t play it very much.

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