For the rules of puerto rico, see GameHelpPuertoRico
- Money is very important near the start of the game, as early buildings can accrue a lot of advantage.
- Choosing the Trader or Prospector for 3 or even 2 total coins can be a powerful move early in the game.
- Try to pick roles that are better for you than everyone else.
- i.e. the Builder when you have the most money,
- The Trader when you are the only person who can sell,
- The Mayor when there's an uneven number of colonists, or
- The Captain when your opponents have goods they want to sell.
- The Large Warehouse is the least used building in the game, there is little merit in building it, at least in games where you can rely on the small warehouse instead.
- It would rather be more useful to build wharf with some more money instead of large warehouse.
- The University is effective in the last round, if you build a large building and there won't be a mayor to activate it.
- The Guild Hall is generally the best large building, it almost guarantees 7-8 points and 9-10 points are possible.
- The others can't reach more than 7-8.
General Approaches -- There are four main approaches / strategies that are typically used in the game. The best play incorporates elements from each, even flexing as needed, depending on what other players do.
1) "Corn is King", so named because the idea is to get a lot of corn and ship often. Settler often early and Captain are the frequent role selections. Make as much corn as feasible and ship, ship, ship. The trader and prospector are not frequently chosen with this approach. While conceptually simple, finances and boat availability can be a challenge. (And often requires a "helper" who crafts or ships to make it work.) The hospice is an early choice (need colonists to make corn). And small warehouse may provide protection. If the player can scrounge up enough cash, the harbor and customs house certainly are key.
2) "Big Builder". Get lots of quarries, making buildings cheaper then build, build, build. Frequent role choices are settler and builder with some prospector as needed to earn money. Shipping and crafting is not a focus. This approach starts slow but can pay off in the end as the large buildings become quite affordable. However, a shorter game is a problem.
3) "Trader". Generate cash flow by developing a high cash crop like tobacco or coffee and trade, trade, trade. Use that cash to buy buildings. The small market is key early and often the large as well. Sometimes the office is necessary as the trading house can be blocked frequently. This is a less direct way to get points since cash or crops are not points. However, it can straddle the two (which is both a strength and a weakness).
4) "Developer". Use the construction hut and hacienda to develop the island quickly, filling with quarries and plantations. This is somewhat a hybrid between the "Corn is King" and the "Big Builder" approaches. A downside is limited flexibility to adjust the mix based on other players choices. However, with some judicious production purchases, significant shipping can occur (not just in corn) with the reduction in cost due to the quarries. The factory is a key purchase here.