One of the most successful board games finally makes it way to the iPad. Board game enthusiasts everywhere have nothing to fear because the transition could not have gone smoother. Puerto Rico is a victory point strategy game that is perfect for casual and hardcore gamers alike. Puerto Rico is a 2-5 person game that challenges players to fight over the most sought-out position in Puerto Rico, Governor. In order to obtain such a coveted position, you must ship goods back to your home country of Spain and purchase buildings. To send home crops, you must utilize your land and people wisely. You have the option to take on 5 different roles that will help you make the most out of your resources. You can choose between the mayor, settler, trader, captain and craftsman. Each role will offer you a certain advantage to help you earn victory points. I am a big fan of role-playing so this feature of the game is a huge plus. The different roles will allow you to construct buildings, harvest crops, trade goods, obtain colonists and sail the ships back to your home-base.
Like this, only more convenient on an iPad
I have to admit this game is extremely intimidating at first, especially for ADHD people like me who can’t even make it through a 30-second demo. However, Puerto Rico has excellent tutorials and the game is completely worth a quick lesson. The tutorial is extremely helpful and explains every aspect of the game. There is even an option during the actual game for you to receive a strategy tip for your next move. You can use this feature or go solo and build your empire completely on your own. There are multiple ways to play the game. You can play against the computer and select the level of difficulty. You can play with people in your vicinity and pass the iPad around or you can play online via Game Center. Playing online against real people simulates the true board game experience. The computer is definitely quicker when it comes to decision making but playing against actual people is way more exciting. The online alternative allows you to play with the toughest competitors out there. There is occasionally the issue of finding opponents online but then again it’s also hard to find people to sit down and play board games with you (unless there is a drinking component involved.)
Every choice you make needs to be a strategic one. You must always be thinking one step ahead to stay in front of your competitors. Every decision depends on the availability of another resource. For example, all crops except corn require a matching production building in order for you to obtain goods to sell or ship. However, a plantation or building with no colonist does not function so it’s important to place people in your establishments. This game is a little more complex than most but should be perceived as challenging not daunting. It’s not a game that people can just pick up and immediately understand how to play but it’s not geometry either (I still have no idea how to use a protractor.) Trust me, I figured it out after the tutorial and one trial game. Every time you play you will learn something new and change your strategy for the next round.
The graphics match the look of the board game and the creators really took into account every detail. The iPad adaptation truly captures the essence of settling a new land on board game form. From the crop choices to the different building options, you really feel like you are claiming this new territory. While there are plenty of buildings to choose from I did notice that a local bar was missing. I strongly suggest the developers add this to future editions if they are serious about this colony surviving.
The game is a bit on the expensive side, but it is definitely cheaper than its physical counterpart, if you don’t factor in the cost of an iPad. Family board-game night will at least be a little less lame with the edition of an iPad to the mix. Overall, Puerto Rico is an excellent game that was adapted beautifully to the iPad.