We played Puerto Rico at Book Realm again tonight. I was feeling good and invincible. We had 5 players, 3 of whom were newbies. I was selected as first player so the newbies could see what happened a bit before they had a turn, so with an indigo plant to work with I chose Settler and took a quarry. The game soon developed with player 4 (Ness) and player 5 (Pat) developing shipping strategies based on corn and sugar, and Brett and Mark diversifying their production over tobacco, indigo and something else.
By the time I had a couple of quarries and a hacienda (to make up for all the quarries I was taking), everyone was producing except me. I was way behind in production. As I had a few empty plantations and needed to catch up on production, I took a hospice as well. I eventually started producing indigo and even managed to ship it once, to finally get a VP. Ness probably had more than 10VPs at the time, and Mark and Pat were doing well as well. Eventually I got a good role choice, maybe Prospector with 3 doubloons or something, and became cashed up. Someone chose Builder, and I took a coffee roaster. I'd accumulated a couple of coffee plantations, so soon I was producing coffee as well.
That was the turning point. One of the shippers blithely took Captain and I put coffee in the biggest ship. It was mine and mine alone, mwahahaha! I managed to trade coffee a couple of times as well, earning myself 4 or 5 doubloons and sometimes even a bonus that was sitting on the role. With that much cash and 4 working quarries, I built a wharf, a harbour, and the residence. At this stage I was producing 2 coffee, 1 indigo and 1 corn. However I could ship those for 7VPs, whereas the shippers who had to share 2 ships between them were getting only 3 or 4 VPs. I made lots of progress very fast. The hacienda (known in our game as "the gay bar" after a well-known hotel) had filled up my island, so the residence provided 11VPs for me, and I paid 6 doubloons for it. I also paid 1 doubloon for a large indigo plant which was worth 3 VPs. The quarries had at last paid off.
The shippers stopped shipping. Pat had most of the corn in one of his warehouses, and a lot of sugar in the other. They started talking about ending the game while they were ahead. At the time, I had 48 VPs and doubted that they were ahead. One last round of shipping ended the game, and the scores were me 55, Ness 52, Pat 46, Brett and Mark 30-something. My quarry strategy had come through just in time.
Although I get this game, and really enjoy it, I don't think I am very good at it yet. I'd like some comments from experienced players on what I did right and wrong, and what should have been done to stop me.