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Subject: Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2 rss

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Jim Campbell
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(cont. from "Large Warehouse of Puerto Rico Knowledge"

Building a harbor can be a mistake. There are times when the wharf is a much better choice, or when there is not enough time left in the game for harbor to generate many extra VPs. Consider carefully whether buying a 4-point building would be a better use of the money. If you don’t have enough for a 4-point building and the harbor is a questionable choice, consider using quarries to buy an inexpensive building, such as an indigo plant or a small sugar mill. The rest of the money can then be saved for purchasing a 4-point building.

Wharf: When producing a large number of one barrel type, the wharf ensures that all of those barrels will be converted into VPs. More than any other building, the wharf can make the craftsman a good choice. There is no longer the fear of discarding a large number of barrels.

There are some problems with the wharf. First, there is a less effective but much cheaper solution (small warehouse) to the same problem. Second, the wharf is very expensive and must be compared to similarly priced buildings. This comparison does not favor the wharf as much as most people think. Consider that most of the time, the wharf is purchased instead of a 4-point building. That saves 1 doubloon but is worth 5-7 fewer points (the wharf is worth 3, the large building will typically score 8-10). Thus the extra goods loaded on the wharf need to account for at least 5 additional VPs to make up for the building points the wharf did not score. Many players fail to notice this, especially as the game is nearing an end. I think that the wharf is the largest cause of wasted money in PR.

That said, the wharf offers a nifty technique that the small warehouse doesn’t. It is sometimes possible to load the ships such that there is no ship for your largest pile of barrels, instead saving those for the wharf. Usually, the largest stack of barrels is of a type that most or all of the other players produce, so leaving no ship of that type is damaging to the other players. The ships can also be left partially full and slow down the VP scoring rate for anyone who does not have a wharf. Loading most or all of the tradable goods may be helpful as well.

Something that many beginner or intermediate level players often claim is that owning both the harbor and the wharf is an extraordinarily powerful combination. This is often expressed as a warning that allowing someone to get both buildings ensures they will win the game. This is quite far from the truth, and I think I know from where this claim originates. Most people who learn PR play the game against a limited number of opponents, and those opponents have usually played a small number of games (less than 10). Understanding the techniques necessary to score a lot of points (and shorten the game) by trading and building is more difficult than learning to score VPs by loading goods. As beginners learn the game together, the first “strategy revolution” occurs when they discover the value of the harbor and wharf. For some time after that, each game becomes a competition for the available corn plantations, harbors and wharves. Until someone responds to that competition by attempting a more balanced strategy, the players who gain the most VPs will almost always win. When playing against opponents that pursue a more balanced strategy, it becomes clear that pursuing a narrow shipping strategy has serious disadvantages against a more balanced approach.

The problem with harbor/wharf is twofold: First, the two buildings are specialized for two different kinds of production. The wharf rewards making many of the same barrels, while the harbor rewards making a variety of barrels. It’s quite likely that one of the two buildings is not very appropriate for the current position. Second, there is nearly always a better way to spend the same number of doubloons. Depending upon the particular situation, harbor/small warehouse/5-6 doubloons, wharf/6-8 doubloons or harbor/7-9 doubloons will usually generate more points than harbor/wharf. The leftover doubloons cover most or all of the cost of a 4-point building worth 8-14 points. Note also that the 4-point building can be a customs house, which is uniquely suited to a strategy that will score a lot of VPs. The longer you wait to buy the customs house, the greater the chance that someone else will build it.

Guild Hall: In terms of sheer number of bonus points generated, the guild hall has scored more than any other 4-point building in PR. It is quite common to see the guild hall score 6-8 bonus points, and the maximum of 10 bonus points is not a rare event. There is often a race between two or more players to be the first to afford the guild hall.

The convenient thing about the guild hall is that the same quarries that make it easier to purchase also make the large production buildings ridiculously cheap. Once the guild hall is purchased, each builder offers the following option: If you can afford another 4-point building, then buy one. If not, then score 4-5 points by spending 1-3 doubloons to buy the cheapest available large production building. Judge the guild hall in terms of what you are likely to have at the end of the game, not by what you have when you are building it.

In the closing rounds, the guild hall can make it efficient to try to end the game quickly by purchasing large production buildings until all 12 building spaces are full. It’s a great tool for a player with two or more quarries.

Residence: This one is easy to evaluate. In most games, if you don’t have a hacienda this is worth 4 bonus points. If you have one, it’s worth 6-7 bonus points and was one of the reasons you bought the hacienda. The last few rounds of the game are not a time to be trying to settle repeatedly to increase your plantation total; the real action is usually elsewhere, and grubbing around to get 3 points is a distraction.

Fortress: Some really nice bonuses come out of this one. Unlike the residence, the buildings that lead to a big fortress bonus are mostly crap. Working diligently toward a large fortress bonus is thus not very effective. Sometimes it works out that there are a lot of colonists and/or you chose a few unbalanced mayors, and the fortress gives you a nice bonus. Failing that, it’s usually a consolation prize.

Sometimes, the fortress can set up a good move at the end of the game, when taking the mayor on the last turn can yield a large number of colonists. If you foresee that you will need to choose the mayor on the last turn, consider that when choosing a 4-point building.

Customs House: If you need this one, you know who you are. The more subtle issue is whether this is the correct purchase for a player who doesn’t have a lot of VPs. Sometimes, the customs house will offer such a large bonus to someone else that it is worth giving up a point or two to build it yourself. If you are left with a bunch of choices that all offer 4-5 bonus points, consider the customs house as a defensive move.

City Hall: This offers a low-powered version of the guild hall effect described above. Unfortunately, the violet buildings all occupy a higher price range then their respective production buildings and the bonuses are smaller. Still, it’s fairly common to end up with 6-7 violet buildings and get a nice bonus from this one.

It is possible to build toward city hall early in the game, and it can be convenient. If you have strong income but only have one quarry, buying the hacienda and construction hut is a cheap purchase when you don’t have enough money for the building you truly want. Late in the game, you’ll be ready for the city hall and probably in a better position to end the game using the builder. The money you make early in the game needs to be spent very prudently, however, so be careful when splurging on these non-essential buildings.


IV. The First Few Rounds

Puerto Rico is a game of expansion. A plantation and a handful of doubloons are gradually expanded into a large final score. Because of this, every small advantage you can gain early in the game tends to become a large advantage later. To properly evaluate moves early in the game, it is essential to understand how each move will affect each player’s long-term position. The earliest and most obvious sign of a weak player is poor play in the opening. There are, in fact, right and wrong moves available during the sequence, and failing to recognize them can make victory nearly inevitable for a competent opponent. Mastering the opening, on the other hand, can deliver advantages that make winning very easy.

The first thing to understand is that money grows, while VPs do not. Generally, the player who makes the most money in the early rounds will have the best chance of ultimately winning the game. It is also common for this player to have one of the lower scores early in the game, since they have converted their energy into doubloons rather than VPs.

My second point is that the scoring in the early game is a very small percentage of the final totals. Loading 1 or 2 barrels is worth perhaps 2-3 VPs which, while significant, are tiny compared to the large scoring moves that are routine late in the game. Early buildings are worth 1 or 2 points each, also not very important in the overall scheme. Focusing on points early in the game is a fool’s errand. What is much more important is how strong a position you are making relative to the other players. Your current score has very little to do with that.

Combining these two observations, I’ve concluded that good opening strategy needs to be focused on money. This approach has a long-term and a short-term aspect. In the short term, every effort must be made to raise doubloons while denying them to your opponents. This will include making moves that would not typically be good moves later in the game, but are strong moves in the unique circumstances of the opening. In the long term, it is vital to establish a building or group of buildings that will ensure a steady source of income. Failure to accomplish this will make it difficult to take full advantage of all of the roles later in the game, limiting your final score. The earlier this is accomplished, the stronger your position will be due to the growth of your money.

First, let’s look at the long-term portion. What does it mean to “establish a building or group of buildings that will ensure a steady source of income?” The solution will be some combination selected from a narrow range of options: Quarries, factory, small market, large market, and the tobacco, sugar and coffee production buildings. Establishing coffee or tobacco production such that it is easy to trade is usually sufficient by itself. If you face competition in trading your high-value goods or if they end up loaded instead of traded, then more help will be necessary. A factory and at least three different goods in production are usually satisfactory, especially if supplemented with some convenient opportunities to trade. Sugar trade will not by itself produce enough income to stay competitive, but can be nearly enough in combination with one of the markets and/or some quarries. The large market and plenty of trading can provide a steady income, though I regard that as one of the least effective options due to its reliance on trader choices. Quarries are also very helpful in providing the buying power to build, but are not a standalone solution.

All of your building activity needs to be approached with this priority in mind. There are a wide variety of buildings available, and many of them have nothing to do with your primary goal. The hospice is the best example of this: It’s almost as expensive as the tobacco shed, coffee roaster or large market and does almost nothing to return the doubloons spent to buy it. Colonists don’t expand the way doubloons do. The construction hut and hacienda, especially if purchased at full price, can also be a problem if they are not very well suited to your position. Spending that diverts doubloons from establishing your steady source of income is potentially very dangerous. While everyone else makes money and watches it expand, you might be left behind.

The short-term aspect of my approach is pursued by paying close attention to how much money each player will gain each time you choose a role. It is also important to incorporate defensive moves that prevent large gains by your opponents. Doing this effectively requires an understanding of why the opening rounds are different from the rest of the game.

The most important difference is that most of the roles have much smaller effects early in the game. Production of goods is very limited, so the craftsman, trader and captain are not as powerful. The variety of buildings and plantations is still very limited, so the mayor is less dynamic. Lack of money makes the builder less interesting as well. Only the settler is more effective in the opening rounds, because a quarry acquired early is quite valuable. Because of the reduced effect of each role, the bonus doubloons take on greater importance. Often, a role that has no effect other than a bonus doubloon will be the best available choice.

The best example of this is using the captain to prevent other players from trading their goods. The trader is the fastest way to generate a large number of doubloons. Although it’s impossible to completely prevent trading, it is possible to delay it until you are ready to trade.
The first line of defense is to avoid the craftsman unless you can be sure that it will not cause a harmful trade to occur. Often (especially if you are producing corn) the craftsman will seem like the best available move, since the resulting goods can be loaded for VPs. VPs are nice, but if that sets up a big trader move for someone else then it’s not worth it. During this part of the game, staying at or above the other players in total cash is much more important than scoring points. If the craftsman has enough doubloons on it, then it may be worthwhile to craft even if it sets up a trade, especially if you also will get to make some money trading.

The second line of defense is the premature trader choice. If the trader has a bonus doubloon and no one has any tradable goods, then taking the trader early in the round will prevent trading for that round and clear the bonus doubloon off of the trader. It also means that if someone crafts later in the round, the only remaining option for those goods in that round is the captain; someone may be motivated to load all the goods before the round is over.

The third line of defense is the captain, which can force goods to load onto the ships instead of being traded. Many players overlook this move when they have no goods to load, which is a mistake. If the captain has a bonus doubloon and is the only way to prevent a trade, it’s probably the best option during the first 2 rounds. Once you are ready to trade your goods, the usefulness of the captain is not yet exhausted. Check to see if the captain can be used to force all the other goods onto the ships, leaving you with the only tradable barrel. Depending upon which roles offer bonus doubloons and how much each player will gain by trading, the captain might be a better move than the trader.

It’s also important to get every one of the bonus doubloons that you can, while denying them to your opponents. If a role with a bonus doubloon is not chosen by the end of the round, that role receives yet another doubloon and is available to the new governor. A role with two bonus doubloons is a fairly big move regardless of its other effects. Leaving those bonus doubloons on the table decreases your income while increasing someone else’s.

Giving some priority to the settler is also important, especially if it has a bonus doubloon. The settler is the only role that can improve your long-term income without giving up anything in return. Building requires money, and trading requires a series of moves to set up production, produce barrels and trade them. Settling and taking a quarry is a self-contained move that improves your income.

The benefit of settling for a quarry depends upon which plantations are available. If you are likely to get a useful plantation during someone else’s settler choice, then choosing something else may be the best move. If the available tiles are mostly useless to you, that makes settling for a quarry an even stronger move.

The opening phase of the game ends when one or more of the players establish a steady stream of income. From then on the money earned and points scored in each round tend to steadily increase, and the conditions that are unique to the early phase of the game no longer apply.

The First Few Moves

What is the best opening move? It’s impossible to answer this question without first understanding the special disadvantages peculiar to the #1 seat. #1 has a plantation (indigo) that requires a production building and 2 colonists to produce barrels. #1 is the first governor, which means they must immediately suffer the Governor Effect. Since there is almost no information about the intentions of the other players, any commitment by #1 to a particular strategy can be easily countered by the other players. Essentially, the #1 seat combines a disadvantageous plantation with a lack of control. The opening move needs to offer flexibility and a way to level the field.

It is for all these reasons that I give the settler-quarry move my 100% recommendation. First of all, taking the quarry is far superior to taking the builder. The builder offers an immediate 1-doubloon discount, while the quarry offers a 1-doubloon discount for the rest of the game. Since money is the highest priority early in the game, there’s just nothing you can build as #1 that will make up for the difference between those two choices. #1 doesn’t have enough information to make a wise building choice during the opening move in any case.

Secondly, there isn’t anything in the plantation draw, not even corn, which helps you as much as the quarry does. There’s a reason that quarries are harder to get than corn plantations—it’s because they are better than corn plantations. The quarry provides relief to your cash shortage throughout the game and offers the flexibility you need to react to the moves of your opponents. Remember that this is your last chance to settle for a quarry until the end of round 2, and it’s unlikely that the settler will be your best choice at that point. Taking a quarry at the beginning nearly guarantees that you will get at least 2 quarries by the middle of the game. None of the other available options is so solid.

The #2 seat must react to what has happened during #1’s turn. "React", however, doesn't mean "react specifically to #1's new position" but rather "react to overall game conditions as altered by #1's move." This distinction is critical because in most games it is the #3 player who has the best chance to gain an early advantage.

If #1 chose the settler and a quarry, #2 had first choice from the available plantations. If there is corn available, there are several reasons why #2 should always take corn. There is a lot of demand for the available corn plantations, so passing up an opportunity to get one early is a bad idea. There is a shortage of colonists early in the game, and corn only needs one colonist to produce. Most importantly, having a corn plantation makes defensive moves against the other players much more profitable.
If #2 has corn and indigo after #1’s choice, they should choose the mayor. Most players conclude that the builder is the best choice here, and I used to agree with that. By building, #1 doesn’t get to use their new quarry and #2 gets the builder discount, which helps with the money problem. Unfortunately, this ignores something more subtle that is going on. When #2 builds, #3 also gets to build knowing that they can use the mayor to immediately get two colonists if they want them. Two colonists are enough to occupy a small market and a corn plantation, or a small sugar mill and a sugar plantation, or any of a variety of other nice combinations. On the following turn, the trader and captain (and probably the craftsman) will have bonus doubloons just as #3 is ready to begin production. The other players must then do an elaborate defensive dance to thwart #3’s attempts to trade, or #3 will jump out to a substantial lead in cash. Even if #3 fails to trade, if any of the other players leave a bonus role unclaimed during round 2, #3 will get to choose a role with 2 bonus doubloons at the start of round 3. Basically, #3 tends to be in a very strong position in the first 3 rounds, and giving them any more advantages can turn the game into a rout.

By taking the mayor instead of the builder, #2 guarantees that all the new buildings will be unoccupied until the next mayor. This removes most of the danger posed by #3 in this situation. It’s unfortunate that the mayor is a less dynamic play for #2 than the builder, but it’s important to take advantage of the defensive opportunity when it presents itself.

There is an additional long-term advantage to taking the mayor in this situation. #2 is going to need more colonists at some point, and will probably need to take the mayor once during the first few rounds. Although the extra colonist is useless in the short term (it just sits on the indigo plantation), by taking the mayor immediately #2 makes it unlikely that they will need to take it again for several rounds. Since the mayor is not a very dynamic choice, being able to avoid it later is valuable.

One move which I often see when #2 has corn and indigo is to build a small indigo plant. The idea is to take the mayor at the beginning of round 2, occupying everything. This plan commits you to choosing a non-bonus role in round 2, leaving more money on the table for everyone else. It also plays along with everything #3 is trying to do; anything #2 can do by producing goods #3 can probably do better. This plan is an impatient series of moves that delivers advantage to the players further down the line, and I think that overall it is relatively weak.

What if #2 does not get corn during #1’s settler? Without the ability to make corn, the mayor move is too weak to justify. The builder, with all of the problems it poses because of #3, is unfortunately the best move. This means that #2 will need to make some defensive moves to keep up with #3. Choose what to build carefully, remembering that you are probably going to have only 1 colonist for a while.

It’s important to know what to do as #2 if #1 chooses the builder. There are a variety of good options, but I personally favor building a small indigo plant and then choosing the mayor and occupying everything. This often put #2 in a position to trade after the first craftsman, which is a rare privilege for #2. It also includes the defensive value of the mayor move. One potential problem is that the available plantations might not be very good, so that the plantation #2 receives during the first settler is disappointing.

As #3, all that’s necessary in round 1 is to take advantage of your position. You have no need to make remedial buildings like the construction hut or hacienda in the first round. Get a small market or (if appropriate) a small sugar mill and spend the first 3-4 rounds threatening to sell your goods. Whether you sell them or not, your stack of cash will grow until you have enough to set up your long-term income sources.

So much can happen before #4 and #5 get to move in round 1 that it’s not really worth trying to explain here, with one exception. I want to emphasize that taking the craftsman during round 1 is almost always a bad move, because the prospector is also available. The prospector is a stronger move for two reasons. First, the doubloon from the prospector is much more valuable than a duplicate barrel. Secondly, leaving the prospector unclaimed causes it to gain a bonus doubloon, transforming it into a big move for one of the other players in round 2.


V. Closing

Throughout the game, the players are constantly making decisions that affect the length of the game. It is the players together that decide how long the game will be, but it is well within the ability of a single player to have a large impact on game length. Knowing how to intentionally shorten the game is essential for strong play.

As the game nears its end, conditions begin to change. Doubloons and stored goods are about to lose nearly all of their value, and the urgency to build and ship increases. The timing of the mayor becomes more critical than at any other point in the game. Some players are trying to quickly raise cash, build and then occupy a 4-point building before time expires. There are opportunities for big gains and losses, and some difficult choices to make.

In general, it’s not useful to worry about the endgame until after the midpoint of the game. There is one small exception. When I have at least one quarry, I try to fit as many inexpensive buildings into my budget as I can. There are several buildings that cost 0 or 1 with the quarry discount, and each of these occupies one building space. If I build something every single time the builder is chosen, I will have the most building spaces full and can be in a position to decide whether or not the game will end immediately. If it’s convenient, that’s a driver’s seat which I prefer to occupy. One side effect of all the cheap buildings is to increase the number of open spaces on the buildings, thus increasing the size of each colonist ship. It’s possible to force the end of the game from two directions at once.

One way to prepare for the endgame is to avoid leaving a 4-point building unoccupied, even with several rounds left to play. Even if you are sure that someone (including you) must eventually take the mayor, there is a particular reason to occupy it anyway. If you end up owning a second 4-point building and they are both unoccupied, the other players can refuse to choose the mayor and force you to do it. If one of your large buildings is already occupied then you may be able to avoid the mayor yourself, leaving that task to some other player who also needs to occupy a single large building.

It is vital to try to predict the exact number and type of bonus buildings which can be built and occupied before the game ends. This includes monitoring each player’s cash total and anticipating the various orders in which the roles might be chosen. Every role choice can potentially have some effect on this outcome, so it’s necessary to be extremely vigilant about this. How many bonus buildings you get, which ones you get and whether you occupy them can easily make a difference of 10 or more points to your final score.

There are several ways to dramatically reduce scoring in the late stage by making what would normally be a wasted move. One example of this is choosing the mayor to prevent 4-point buildings from being occupied after they are constructed. If one or more players are about to build 4-point buildings in the final round, choosing the mayor prevents these from being occupied. This can have a large effect on the final score.

Another such move is the premature captain. If you are trying to prevent a craftsman-captain sequence that will generate a large number of points for your opponents, consider taking the captain before the goods have been produced. Depending upon how many barrels are stored, this can drastically reduce the scoring in the final round.

Usually, when the opportunity to end the game by building presents itself, it’s a good idea to do it. Allowing your opponents to craft and load goods for an additional round can be disastrous. Don’t be a perfectionist about occupying every 4-point building you construct; if your last building is a 4-point building that you never occupy, it can still be the best available move if you are at a disadvantage on the ships and need to end the game as soon as possible.


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Alex Rockwell
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Regarding the harbor:

yes, it becomes bad late in the game, when you need to focus on building the large buildings. Generally, once you are past about turn 9 or so in the game, its too late for harbor. Up until that time, there are probably enough turns left to score as many points off of it as you would have received from a large building.

Basically, the harbor is good until a bit past the midpoint of the game, while the factory usually turns bad at about the midpoint. So harbor is often still a good choice a couple turns after the factory ceases to be.

Later in the game, its almost always better to buy a large building instead, of course.



Regarding the opening, and choosing mayor as player 2 instead of builder. This is a very controversial move, and I am still not sure whether or not it is better to build or mayor here. The mayor gives some advantages, in that it prevents player 3 from occupying a sugar mill and sugar plantation (or corn + small market, which is a lesser threat, but is still something).
It also gives you the advantage that you have 2 colonists, so that when you build the small indigo plant a bit later in the round, and then the mayor happens in turn 2, you now have 3 colonists, occupying corn and indigo/indigo plant, giving you two barrels of production.

The downside of course is that you lose 1 dubloon by not taking builder, and you give 1 dubloon to player 1.

Of course, as you say, if you didnt get corn, then dont mayor...

Whether to take mayor depends on several factors. First of all, in a 5 player game, player 3 does not have corn. Here, the only worry is if they took a sugar plantation. If they did not, I would not mayor. In a 4 player game, it becomes more attractive, and is yet more attractive in 3 player, where the advantage of being in the 3rd seat is greatest.

Generally, if player 3 doesnt have the sugar plantation, I wouldnt mayor. If they do, then there is a good chance that I will (if I have a corn, of course).


Regarding what to do as player 2 if player 1 chooses builder. The answer is simple: Cheer, and then choose Settler/Quarry.

Basically, Settler/Quarry is the best move for player 1 on turn 1. It wouldve been the best move for player 2, except that they never got a chance to do it. Now that player 1 built, you have the chance, and should take it. The builder provides you 1 dubloon now. The quarry provides 1 dubloon per builder for the rest of the GAME. The quarry is best on turn 1, regardless of your seat.

Think about what happens if they build, and you mayor? Then player 3 gets to settle for the quarry! This increases the player 3 advantage even more...

Also, if anyone else build a settler phase building (hacienda, con hut, hospice), then mayor from seat 2 becomes even worse, because it occupies this building before the first settler phase, increasing its effect.

If you buy an indigo plant and mayor, and occupy them, then you will produce indigo. You wont get to trade it in the first 3 rounds. It will go on a boat, I guarantee it, unless another player makes a big mistake. (like someone being stupid and crafting in turn 1, to produce corn, while giving you indigo)

If player 1 builds, player 2 then goes settler-quarry. If they dont, they will end up last on the settler, which is generally a poor pick.



Thanks for the article continuation, I especially liked the part about ending the game, which is something that many people ignore...to their own demise.

Whenever I hear someone say "The game seems to end just as it gets going" then I think: there is a person who doesnt understand the game. The endgame is a time of massive point swings and big scoring opportunities. For balance purposes, it must be short! The game is really about SETTING UP for that time....so that you can use it effectively. Or as a heavy builder strategy, avoiding most of that time altogether with a premature game end.
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Jim Campbell
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Alexfrog wrote:

Whether to take mayor [as #2 player with corn from #1's settler] depends on several factors. First of all, in a 5 player game, player 3 does not have corn. Here, the only worry is if they took a sugar plantation. If they did not, I would not mayor. In a 4 player game, it becomes more attractive, and is yet more attractive in 3 player, where the advantage of being in the 3rd seat is greatest.

Generally, if player 3 doesnt have the sugar plantation, I wouldnt mayor. If they do, then there is a good chance that I will (if I have a corn, of course).


I think that the mayor in the non-sugar situation is not clearly better, but offers a variety of subtle advantages, including the effect on the distribution of the bonus doubloons in later rounds (basically, some patsies are going to choose non-bonus mayors, leaving more doubloons for me). I also consider the plantation tiles, specifically whether I will be raising money for a tobacco shed or coffee roaster, and thus whether getting the small indigo plant for free is more important.

Regarding what to do as player 2 if player 1 chooses builder. The answer is simple: Cheer, and then choose Settler/Quarry.

Certainly. It seems that I allowed a widget that I have been experimenting with to creep into my strategy article. It's a cute sequence, and you actually get to craft and then trade the indigo in round 2 a bit more often than you would think. It's not settler-quarry in round 1, though. My claim is that I was really tired when I wrote that part, and I'll revise it in my copy of the article.

Whenever I hear someone say "The game seems to end just as it gets going" then I think: there is a person who doesnt understand the game.

True. That's the principle cause of the situation in which about 2/3 of wharves that people build are mistakes.

Thanks Alexfrog for what amounts to editorial help for this project. After writing it in relative isolation for quite a while, it's useful to hear some criticism. I think there's plenty of room to expand and refine this further in the coming months.

Jim
(BSW name: icetrey)
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Mike K
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Thoughts on Expansion buildings:
jimc (#18314),

Again, a superb article; I'm wondering about your thoughts on the expansion buildings. Here are some quick thoughts by me:

Aqueduct: Cheap and useful for the shipping strategist. One question I have is, does this justify starting with a large low-end production building (i.e., indigo & sugar)? I suspect not, but have seen many players start with those large ones.

Forest House: Given time, a useful alternative to the Quarry (need two to equal a Quarry, but unmanned). With the Hacienda, perhaps the most difficult combo in the game to defend against, as one with those buildings will settle, settle, settle until at optimum value. Also, watch for the FH/Library combo (more expensive to get, but just as powerful.

Black Market: The opportunity to exceed your cash total means you get an early crack at the high-end buildings. However, early on it's not as useful, as VPs are low and colonists are at a premium. Paired with the Church, another tough nut to crack.

Storehouse: The preferred storage building for the diversification strategy; a popular pick, but should this be grabbed before other, more monetary-oriented buildings are gotten?

Guesthouse: as good as a University, and half the cost, in terms of endgame strategy involving the lg buildings. IMHO, a definite improvement over the Hospice.

Trading Post: the 'Wharf' of the Trader. Allows you to block up the Trading House (by not trading to the house to clear the goods); extremely potent against would-be builders.

Church: another builders' building. Similar to the Harbor, in that it just keeps paying out VPs, but at a cheaper cost and without the hassle involved with blocked ships and spoilage.

Small Wharf: very flexible, as it takes all types of goods at once at a cost of half-price VPs. Combined with the Harbor, look out!

Lighthouse: again, similar to the Harbor; generates cash over VPs. In terms of the above strategies, useful early on, when cash is king. Also best with diversification (like the Factory, which it replaces).

Library: useful for every phase, regardless of strategy. Powerful combined with the FH. Also useful when paired with the Aqueduct & Spec. Factory.

Spec. Factory: The shipper's factory, as it rewards a one-good (or two-good) strategy. Again, best with Aqueduct; I can't see anyone taking this without one.

Union Hall: GRAB IT!!! Easily the single-most powerful non-large building in the game. Paired with a Warehouse, nearly unstoppable once you get it going. I'd like to know how to stop a UH person (short of getting one myself).

Statue: good for a quick-4 at the end without a colonist. (In essence, a flat payment of 4 at the end, as the building itself is worth 8 compared to the base value of 4 for the others).

Cloister: If you want the 10 VPs for this, plan early. I've gotten 6 out of it, but overall far from my first choice.


Again, I only give quick comments. I consider myself above amateur status but far below the authors of the recent articles. I'd like to get your feedback about these buildings. What should be bought, what's a waste, how can certain combos be prevented or stalled?

(And I'm still waiting for all this to come out in book form, say for $14.95 at the local bookstore.)
 
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joe Wan
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
jimc (#18314),


When discussing expansion set building, there has a little surpise that: kl. werft better than gr. lager? lighthouse better than factory? storehouse better than kl. lager? library is good?

First comparaing with storehouse and kl. lager. It is sure, for me, kl. lager is muchmuch powerful than storehouse. maximum of storehouse can only keep 4 goods. while kl. lager is all of a kind + 1 another. Do you feel which is good? The only points for storehouse better than kl. lager is after captain there has 2-1-1 or 1-1-1-1 goods left. Please think that there has 3 boat and 3 kind of goods shipped, it is rather difficult to leave 1-1-1-1 goods, even 2-1-1. If it happen , it is must in late stage( last 2-3 rounds), in this case, keeping goods is not useful for the game. I hate storehouse, just it can only keep 4 goods, which cannot be combined the powerful union hall and habour, and the massive corn production.

Second, comparaing with gr. lager and kl. werft. I am glad if I need to discard with gr. lager, that means I load many goods. So discard from gr. lager is rarely happened. Why I not keeping goods for next round shipping, but shipping goods in half rate in current round? There has 2 obivous points for gr.lager > kl. werft:
1. Keeping goods after shipping to next round is advantages, while other player has only 1 goods or 1 kind of goods, you can trade, ship or just keeping it without any loss, but kl. werft can only produce points in current round.
2. Reward. Picking captain always good. I can get the VP with normal VP instead of half VP in current round. Someone suggest it is powerful with hafen and lighthouse, I disagree. With habour? get the little extra VP cannot overcome the lose in half rate of kl.werft. With lighthouse? much worst, can get only 1 more gold, but cannot recover the half rate lose. So I decide kl. werft is much less useful than gr. lager.

With lighthouse and factory, most say lighthouse is well for factory, I disagree. I think 2 is equal. Why? if tempo is not poor, I can immediately get cash from factory, but I cannot immediately get cash from lighthouse in craftmans phase. You can think that if I have no goods, how to get cash? waiting another to craftman then ship? it need 1-2 rounds. effect of factory is immediately, but lighthouse is not.

Library is too expansive, I agree it is better than university, but still not to worth to build it. If i can build it in first 3-4 building, it is ok, but just ok. If I can have 8 golds in 3-4 building, I should try to habour or even factory/lighthouse.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Regarding some of the expansion buildings:

Library is terrible. Its better than university, but that isnt saying much. I think the only place where library is great is when you have Hacienda/Forest House, and that is a broken situation already...
Library isnt bad in the same way that office is. i.e. office is rarely useful, but when it is, it is very good. Library is just always bad. In a way its a worse building than University. University has times when it is ok, and has endgame advantages. Library is just always a poor choice (excepting haci/forest). Its like a poor version of the factory that provides only one coin per turn...
You need a much higher rate of return than that to have it be any good.

Specialty Factory is similarly terrible. Without the -1 in the formula, it could be ok.


Lighthouse is AMAZING. Beyond amazing even. Its the most broken building that isnt broken. Well, maybe Church is the most broken building that isnt broken, but the two are close.

Lighthouse IS the superfactory, and I have to disagree on coolala here. (Who otherwise, I agree with on almost everything, as he is a very strong player, and a master of the Hacienda)

Granted, lighthouse in the midgame is only equal to the factory in value, but the key is that lighthouse in the early game (turn 4-5) is unbelievably strong. At that time, there is no way to have factory be great yet, but lighthouse can be providing you 3 coins. (1 for shipping indigo, one for corn, one for taking captain). Factory that early will only make 1 coin, and will prohibit you from getting an income trade good going. Lighthouse takes the place of that trade good, with even more efficiency, becasue then instead of needing to trade to get your money, you choose CAPTIAN to get your money, and thus gain income AND boat control, AND shipping point bonuses simultaneously. When you use the money to buy a harbor, and then a small wharf, and then a customs house, it only gets better...


 
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jbrier
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
i agree with alexfrog on most things for the same reason that he agrees with coolala, but i've got to say that although i used to agree with alex's opinion on spec. factory, i've recently changed my mind about this building.

with spec. factory you only need aqueduct + large indigo or sugar plant to make 3 doubloons which is the same you can make with factory by having at least small sugar, small indigo, and tobacco or coffee, not to mention a corn which in some games requires effort to come by. of course for either building to work you also need certain plantations, but the advantage of spec. factory's requirements is that not only are sugar and indigo plantations the most abundant, but they are also the least desired by other players. of course, if you also have the small sugar or indigo plant you will make 4 doubloons, and if you are the craftsman you make 5!

in theory, it seems that specialty factory is a great building, as it appears to be somewhat superior to factory and costs only one doubloon more, and we all agree that factory is a very good building; so why is specialty factory seen as so horrible? there are several reasons. 1. people think that there are better uses for $8. one of these people is alexfrog, whose favorite building is the harbor. while i personally think that harbor is a very strong building, it does not make money; and for the same reason that a player buys factory before or instead of buying harbor, they are equally justified in buying the specialty factory if it fits their situation. 2. the game rewards diversity more than specialization. i agree that this is particularly true of the original set, unless the player manages to get 4 or more corn. firstly, it is easier to sell when one has different goods, and secondly, one is less vulnerable to getting blocked from shipping goods during the captain. moreover, the harbor and factory both support the diversification strategy, and they are definitely the best 2 buildings in the original set. 3. how the hell is one supposed to pay for the specialty factory itself? i.e. strategy takes too long to get off the ground. unlike paying for factory, which is easy since one is usually producing a cash crop first (or has only had to buy sm indigo and sm sugar), saving up the money early enough to buy a useful specialty factory seems difficult. i think this is the biggest reason why specialty factory is not a 'great' building, but simply a good one. i personally always use sugar with my spec. factory so as long as i am the one selling that first and hopefully second sugar, getting the factory itself isn't that hard. however, i recognise that this is a legit problem with the building and that in addition the vulnerability of needing aqueduct and probably a warehouse to be fully functional is also a disadvantage. yet, i think the most important thing that can be said in defense of spec. factory is that with simply the production of 4 goods of one type, which just isn't that difficult, one makes $3 which is what one typically aspires to make with the factory anyways. so why shouldn't spec. factory be a good purchase?
i figured i'd just put in my two cents for the hell of it, as i'm bored this week before i go back to college.

laugh

much respect to alexfrog, and i agree that harbor kicks ass and makes spec. factory look like a less cool buy sometimes.
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Alexfrog (#18618),

<<Library is terrible>>.

It is certainly not a great building, but it uauslly gets you a VP or a coin every turn. If you are at the point in a game where you are just buying buildings for VP's and there are enough turns left (5 at a minimum I think) then Library is a good buy.

<<Specialty Factory is similarly terrible.>> It can be very good when combined with an aqueduct.

<<Lighthouse is AMAZING. Beyond amazing even. Its the most broken building that isnt broken. Well, maybe Church is the most broken building that isnt broken, but the two are close.>>

Lighthouse is not that good. Church is better - Union hall + whse is WAY better as is Haz/Forest House.
 
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Jim Campbell
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Platnick wrote:
It is certainly not a great building, but it uauslly gets you a VP or a coin every turn. If you are at the point in a game where you are just buying buildings for VP's and there are enough turns left (5 at a minimum I think) then Library is a good buy.


I think the problem with Library in the second half of the game is the same as the problem with University in the second half of the game: It isn't worth 80% as many points as a large building. In the second half, every non-large building needs to be judged by this standard of point efficiency.

<<Specialty Factory is similarly terrible.>> It can be very good when combined with an aqueduct.

My theory is that the designers thought that they slightly underpriced the factory and so were afraid to make the spec. factory very useful. Further, I think that they didn't realize how useful the early lighthouse is, and thus underpriced it. I think the two would be much better balanced if their prices were switched.

Lighthouse is not that good. Church is better - Union hall + whse is WAY better as is Haz/Forest House.

Lighthouse is very strong, but exploiting it fully requires the adoption of a tactical approach that really doesn't work well in any other situation. It is similar to the factory, in that it gives you income at an unusual time. We've discussed above why this property of the factory is one of its strongest effects. With a lighthouse and at least two low-end goods, it's easy to net 3 doubloons while you are taking the captain. You thus can establish and keep boat control while raising the money to keep up in the other phases of the game. It essentially creates a condition in which, for you, the captain always has a bonus doubloon on it. You can thus afford to take it nearly every time it's avaiable, which amounts to a bonus VP nearly every turn. If someone else takes it then you still get money from loading, and it's likely you have some boat control left over from the last time you took the captain.

The lighthouse basically lets a player focus about 2/3 of their role choices on one of the most powerful roles in the game, yet still play a balanced strategy. Unlike a builder-heavy strategy which will need a lot of income and trading to support its building habit, the lighthouse needs only some cheap prodcution buildings and a small warehouse to enable someone to take the captain nearly every time it is offered to them. To do this, you must first understand that it's possible to win while taking the captain 2/3 of the time, which in any other situation is not really a good idea.

As far as comparisons with other expansion buildings, I agree that the church is about as strong as the lighthouse (each in their specialties). Comparing lighthouse with the union hall/small warehouse or the hacienda/foresthouse combination is not so interesting. Naturally, the broken combinations are better than the lighthouse.

Jim (icetrey)
 
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jbrier
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
now that icetrey has mentioned it, i also have some ideas for switching the prices of some buildings.

i would switch factory with university. although uni would still be weak, at $7 it would join the ranks of buildings that actually get bought occasionally instead of basically never. the factory at $8 would still be good, as at $7 it is a little underpriced.

i would also switch lighthouse with library lighthouse is so close to being broken because at $7 it is too accessible too early. at $8 it would probably take a player without a cash crop an extra turn to get it, which makes it more balanced. similarly, at $7 the library might take a player a turn less to purchase, which would make it that much more worthwhile. at $8, the library is just not worth buying unless a player gets heavy early income in a 3 player game.

making the factory and lighthouse worth $8 would also make the spec. factory a little stronger by comparison, and in general balance the strategic gap between diversification and specialization. i think if the above two changes were made, and forest house was replaced by some new building, the pr catalogue of buildings would be nearly perfect.

i think forest house should be removed because it is virtually useless on its own and quite broken with hazienda. as far as uhall in combo with a warehouse, although it is probably on the verge of being broken, i wouldn't change it because it's a very cool building and after all it is worth $9 folks! i think if other players defend well against uhall, it can be controlled most of the time.

p.s. oh whoops, i forgot, hospice is pretty bad too. aw shit this whole thing has no remedy!

 
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Alex Rockwell
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Regarding the library:

If you are early in the game, there are better things to buy, or at least things that help as much, but are cheaper (large market)....tor hings that generate more income, like factory or lighthouse, coffee or tobacco)

If you are in the middle of the game, there are better things to buy (things that generate better income or points, like factory or harbor.

If you are in the end of the game, there are better things to buy, that generate more points, like large buildings.


Regarding the lighthouse: I think Jim said it well. It not only provides income, it provides extra income for focusing on the most powerful roles in the game.

Captain is powerful. It can give you boat control. Its not always good, because if its not paying you, then you are just getting points, and so you can miss out on income. The lighthouse makes it always a good choice (not always the best, but always good), becasue it is paying you.

I stand by my thought that lighthouse is exceptional in the early game (turn 4-5), with corn and indigo or corn and sugar (since thats all you can get going and still afford it that early). In the midgame, its about as good as factory, which is a good building. (Provided you have some level of boat control).


The church: Yes, church is also exceptional. Both church and lightohuse are amazing for their strategies. Bot hare near broken when used for optimal effect, but not completely broken. Comparing the church and lighhouse is difficult, becasue they are based on ddifferent strategies. Both are very good. One interesting thing: often, I will get lighthouse, and then use the money from that to set up a third good and get a church. Then I will ship like mad, for money! And use that money to buy buildings for points, and more points off the church. (Buying buildings which also make even more points, like warehouse, small wharf, or harbor, makes it even more incredible).

So then I am shipping well, getting good income, building well ,and getting shipping vps for building!


One note with the lighthouse: you want to create a locked trader situation, where its partially full, and no one can manage to empty it, unless they waste a lot of time and put a corn on or something. You do this my constantly shipping everyone's goods that they wanted to trade, by not trading yourself (since you'll get the money for the good anyway by shipping, and so on). Its not quite as good when you have tobacco or coffee, since then you are torn between tradingand shipping. (In this case, I'll generally trade it once, and then try to lock the trader and just ship it). You want the locked trader to kill everyone else's income, while you make loads of money from the lighthouse.



Regarding the specialty factory:

Here is a setup to get 3 off of it:

Large indigo mill, Spec. Factory, 3 sugar plants.

Cost: 11 dubloons, 3 plants of one type, 6 colonists used in production. This gives 2 dubloons when you dont choose craft, 3 when you do. (It upgrade to 3/4 later when you manage a 4th indigo. (Alternately, do sugar, it costs 1 more, but you'll make up the 1 sometime in a sugar trade vs indigo trade probably).

Now the factory setup: sm indigo, sm sugar, factory. Cost: 10 (a bit less), 3 plants of DIFFERENT types (easier to get), 5 colonists (a bit less). This gives 2 dubloons ,and upgrades to 3 when you get tobacco or coffee.

Ok, those are roughly even, but look at what you produce! With the spec factory setup, its all one type. This gives you very poor trading prospects, and your boat situation is all or nothing. harbor is worthless to you, and you need a warehouse or wharf.


With factory, you can upgrade your income from it by getting coffee or tobacco going, which also improves your trade income. Your goods versatility gives you better trading prospects, and better shipping chances. You are set up well for harbor, which is a very strong building.

Basically, factory is much stronger, due to the fact that versatility of goods production is very strong.








 
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Alex Rockwell
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Regarding verandi's proposed building swiches:

Lighthouse and Library: I agree. Lighthouse is more balanced at 8 (harder to get very early). Library at 7 is better, but still not good enough. I think it would become useful at 6 (2vps)

Factory with Uni: I think factory should be 7, though the change isnt too huge. Uni would be better costed at 5, worth 2 vps. It is then a useful building, whose effect is similar to guesthouse, but a bit stronger.

Actually, I wish Uni could be 6...
Heck, Uni at 6, 2vps, Large warehouse at 5 would be great. This would be a good balance change.

remove Forest House: good

hospice sucks: yeah. The best remedy is to replace it with Guesthouse entirely. However, there are some cases in 5 player where hospice can be good.

I think that office at 4 would be a good change too. Trading post from the expansion is certainly worth 5, and in many positions it can be exceptional, allowing you to keep the trader from clearing while still selling valuable goods, while no one else can.
 
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joe Wan
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
jimc (#18314) and all,

Just have a talk in comparaing with lighthouse and factory. I will have another view to do so.

Lighthouse can generate money, control the boat, yeah it is advantages than factory. However, I want to point out its disadvantages.

With your perivous experience, in average, how many craftman was picked in whole game? and how many craftmans you picked in whole game? Besides some crazy shipping suitation ( or in this suitation, money maybe not most concern), it is 2-3 turns per craftman, in my experience. I agree that if I have lighthouse, I should intend to pick captain, no doubt. But where I can get goods? It is my points.

The weakness of lighthouse is how can I get goods?
Waiting someone pick craftman and ship? then you can get only 2-4 dollars per 4 turn. You pick craftman your self? Then you will lost the tempo of shipping.

Alexfrog and icetrey point out that with present of goods, lighthouse is powerful, both on cash and control of boat. Yeah, I agree the obivous point. But Before I have goods, what can I do? When the boat is not favour for me, what can I do?

Let's comparaing when factory and lighthouse co-exists win 2 players' town, where then farily have 1 mais, 2 minors and 1 major production in mid of game. NO matter which one pick craftman, factory 's one get 3 dollars first. He then can gain the tempo to build early than lighthouse, before someone pick captain ,in which, it is important when in mid of game. The lighthouse one should wait for captain phase, and will face the risk of blocking of ship, and then collect money for building. You would find the factory still has advantages here.

I would not repeat the advantages on early lighthouse, as alexfrog and icetrey stated. I agree their points on early lighthouse, but I disagree lighthouse always better than factory, especially in middle of game. I also disagree that lighthouse break the game, even church. yeah they are useful, but not breaking the game. Church can provide 4-6 points in average. But if I use the 5 db to build anothers, I also can gain it back ( small warehouse or guest house or even great market). Lighthouse maybe some, trading post can also gain money if I have goods on hand. In the other hand, no building is breaking the game, with all is experienced player, besides the combination of small warehouse and union hall.

On my oponion, lighthouse is EQUAL with factory. If I have cash early ( maybe in 3-4 building), I would build. But when it is the 5-6 building, factory is seens a good choice then lighthouse. I feel regret that they cannot co - exists in a game .

I think building in PR game is ok, even university or gr. lager, it depends you how to use it. If I want to make changes, that is only union hall and guildhall. For union hall, no mais is counted or change to 3 goods 1 VP is fair. For guildhall, the gr. indigo& suagr mills change to 1 VP bonus is ok.

I will discuss the special factory in next text.

I want to join WBC, but I need parttime work and parttime study ........................ really want to play with good ftf player.




joe ( coolala )



 
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Alex Rockwell
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Its true that lighthouse can be weaker if the craftsman isnt be taken much, and you have poor boat control. I tend to see craft happening every 2 turns, as long as there are people who have reduced their craftsman fear in some way, so that they are more able to take it.

However, if you play with a focus on maintaining boat control, then you will be able to ship your goods and get your lighthouse bonuses frequently. Also, since you wont be as afraid of being locked out of shipping (since the boats are good for you), then YOU can choose craftsman. Controlling the boats eliminates one aspect of craftsman fear. The other aspect is the fear that it gives out more money to others (through trading) than to you. Lighthouse elimiates that as well. In effect, with lighthouse and boat control, you eliminate basically all your craftsman fear.

How do you get boat control? You choose captain often. Lighthouse rewards this as well! So with a lighthouse, you will be spending a huge amount of your focus of the game on the captain role, and on the boats.

Normally, this doesnt work, because you then ignore income, which is key to the game. But with a lighthouse, your shipping is your income as well, so by focusing on the captain and boat control, you are focusing on both your income AND your point scoring at once. This is highly effective.

The greatest strength of lighthouse is when it is bought VERY early (turn 5 or so). Here, othes do not WANT their trade goods o nthe boats, so its easy to set up boats of corn and indigo, which are your production at the time (in order to afford the lighthouse this early, thats all you can have...or maybe corn/sugar)

Early on, there is almost no struggle getting boat control, and you can then easily craft and captain every other turn, and get lots of money, until the boats start to get more difficult (once your indigo/corn/sugar boats are finished, and others might want to make tobacco or coffee).

Thats why lighthouse is so good early....
Lighthouse at turn 7 is about as good as factory at turn 7.

Lighthouse at turn 5 is FAR FAR better than factory at turn 7, or factory at turn 5. Thats why lighthouse is stronger overall, is that it can be absolutely dominating if purchased early enough. Lighthouse is effectively a super-powered opening game building....the struggle is to afford it while still early in the game.
Factory is a strong midgame building.
 
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
i actually had an experience on bsw recently where someone saved up his money and bought the lighthouse as his first building. i think he missed the first two building rounds. although i think this strategy is a little extreme, the fact that he actually came out just fine (i think he played two consecutive games doing this and won one of them) underscores the outstanding effect of an early lighthouse. one important point that was implicitly stated in this thread is that the lighthouse gets worse after the early part of the game because a greater variety of goods are being produced and it is more difficult to optimize the $ that can be obtained
 
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joe Wan
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
Dear all,

I will response for Alexfrog's comment on my opinion.

Alexfrog stated that with lighthouse and getting boat control, lighthouse is powerful. And if lighthouse is built in turn 5, it is powerful with turn 5 factory. I agree his points, but I still have another opiion. I am not comparaing turn 5 's lighthouse / factory, but comparaing with turn 5 's lighthouse and a major building.

If I can build a lighthouse in turn 5, most likely I should give up first 2 rounds building, or a free small indigo plants with quarry. Let 's consider Alexfrog, icetrey , verandi , and coolala are playing a 4P game. Besides sitting in *2, I think I can build a major mills together with farm, when someone build lighthouse with produce mais and indigo in turn 5. And most likely, the other 2 player can easily produce sugar or another major . Now there has at least 4 kind of goods exists, is it easy that the lighthouse get the boat control?

It depends on who being impatient to pick craftmans. No matter who pick the craftman, most likely, other players can easily trade the goods except the lighthouse one. It is lucky that if lighthouse one can ship before other selling, but under this lucky, there has no more advantages because after shipping, trading still happen if other can guard their major, or only 1 kind of goods is shipped of the lighthouse player. In this stages, boat are often not full in one shipping. So my opinion is that, trying to build lighthouse in turn 5, doesnot gain benefits in trying to build a major mill in turn 4-5.

Moreover, after selling my major, I then can build the remaining lighthouse, which doesnot get worse than the lighthouse one. So even if someone build lighthouse in turn 5, it doesnot mean its advantages is better than somone build major mills in turn 5. After turn 5 to 7, factory advantages will be obivous than lighthouse.

I am trying lighthouse stragregy when the expansion buildings are released in early stage. It is good in early, but I find its weak points that I cannot produce many goods as I always concern on shipping and little craftmans, because I always lack of colonists and suitable farms!!!! I always produce 3-4 goods maximum when I use lighthouse, even if I can build habour later, I still lose the competition on shipping, when other player easy to produce 6-7 goods. Even I can control the 2 boat on my favour, lack of goods is fatal on this stragregy.

After give up using the lighthouse, I focus on union hall, and it success!!!!! On many 4Pgame, I get over 50 shipping points with union hall and small warehouse, even
I produce only 4-5 goods each craftmans!!! This let me know that the great different between basic and expansion is: no. of goods produce and suitable storeage in expansion is most important concerning, while the cash flow in basic is the most important.

Many of you know that before expansion, I almost like hazienda ( what!! no hazienda??? ), and in expansion, I almost try to build union hall. But in most expansion game, I almost concern is how many goods I can produce in each craftman, and How much goods I should discard after captain. Aqueduct is useful in early stage, as I have advantages on no. of goods produce with same no. of colonists. Small warehouse is also important, for keeping no. goods greater than other.

Blackmarket is a powerful building, almostly it can change the shipping points to db in early stages. In my point of view, I seldom pitch colonist and goods, becaues they can generate more SP . Almost I should pitch the VP, and I also confuse why other players likely to pitch goods instead of VP in early and mid stage of game.

Guesthouse is also good, it gains the tempo of production and usage of building. 4 db is underprice for it.

Usage of trading post is a deep problem in expansion. I find that many players build trading and sell the sugar, and building trading post without a major production. Many players build trading posts always step behind me, but I find a fact that, about 33% player who beat me when they have trading post!!!!! So does it is a good building or my skill is not good or I cannot find the max usage of it? I have no time to try it out, but can leave you to discuss.

joe ( coolala )
 
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
coolala (#18758),

If I build factory instead of a major production building, it's because I need to solve a money problem caused by my lack of a high-value trade good. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's exactly the situation when I attempt to buy the lighthouse.

Of course I will take a coffee monopoly if that's available, but if neither that nor tobacco are going to generate much income for me, then I will need a factory or lighthouse. The point is not that lighthouse replaces all other strategies when it is available, but that it is better than factory in the situation where one doesn't get a major production building.

Jim (icetrey)
 
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jbrier
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
to continue the discussion regarding pricing of buildings;

i think switching hospice with small warehouse would work, as then hospice would be stronger, large warehouse would be stronger by comparison, and small warehouse really wouldn't be overpriced at $4.

so... if i had the basic set my way, it would be

small market small warehouse university
hacienda office factory
construction hut large market harbor
hospice large warehouse wharf

here the office would still be weak, but that's ok since the office, like the construction hut, are acceptable in their positions as buildings that are situationally useful.
with the warehouse at $4 the union hall might be a little less broken, which would be a good thing. i agree that the university is still almost a joke at $7, but i would definitely buy it once in a while, maybe with a builder strategy.

regarding the trading post which has been mentioned in the last few threads, i think it can become nearly broken when there is not enough incentive on part of the other players to make the trading house cycle. although the rules advise against it, the office seems like a good building to counter the efect of the trading post and keep it in check.



 
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Alex Rockwell
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Re:Large Warehouse of PR Knowledge, part 2
jimc wrote:

If I build factory instead of a major production building, it's because I need to solve a money problem caused by my lack of a high-value trade good. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's exactly the situation when I attempt to buy the lighthouse.

Of course I will take a coffee monopoly if that's available, but if neither that nor tobacco are going to generate much income for me, then I will need a factory or lighthouse. The point is not that lighthouse replaces all other strategies when it is available, but that it is better than factory in the situation where one doesn't get a major production building.


Right. Also, if 4 goods are produced early, its still easy to get boat control. Why? Because whoever is producing tobacco or coffee doesnt WANT it on the boat at first, and thus lets you claim the boats with indigo, corn and sugar.

Also, at the point you buy lighthouse at turn 5, you have only 2 goods. Corn + Indigo or Corn + Sugar. Its basically guaranteed you will get boats of both types.

Certainly, I would go for a coffee monopoly if possible.

Coolala loves Union Hall, which is understandable. Union Hall is an amazing building, and generates huge amounts of points in a good setup. U Hall and lighthouse serve different purposes. Lighthouse is an early game building, which provides income (focus of the early game). U Hall is a midgame building, which takes you money and converts it into many points (purpose of the mid and late game).


Regarding swapping hospice and sm warehouse: Hospice might actually be too cheap at 3. Being able to take occupied quarreis and solve your colonist problems completely is strong....its just not strong at the cost of all your early money. At 3, you'll be left with a dubloon (assuming either 5 player, or that you cchose builder in 4 player), which allows the purchase of a small indigo plant, or small sugar if you have had a chance to settle for an occupied quarry.

Sm Warehouse at 4 would be fine. Though obviously its a bit better at 3, it certainly wouldnt be too expensive at 4. It is not an early game building, so the exact amount of money it costs is not as critical.
 
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