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Puerto Rico variant: Open Holdings

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sedjtroll
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Has anyone here played Puerto Rico with Victory Point totals open instead of hidden?

When I first learned to play my friends were incorrectly playing that way, and I thought the game was something of a drag with everyone counting and recounting each other's points every couple of turns. Our gameslasted longer than the advertised limit, and when I heard games online finished in 30 minutes or less I was amazed!

When we found out that holdings were supposed to be secret, and started playing that way, our games went a lot faster.

Has anyone else had this experience? Does anyone like the game better with perfect information? Has anyone gone through the trouble (or been bothered to think about) keeping track of how much everyone ships?

I know one friend upon hearing the VPs were supposed to be hidden thought it was silly. He said "If the VPs are face down, I can still keep track what everyone has. It's obnoxious, but I'll do it." It turns out that when we played, he never bothered to keep track.

A similar thing happened with Princes of Florence (different group)... they tought me how to play but used open holdings so you could see everyone's money situation. The game is a lot different if you don't know how much money everyone has.

- Seth

Scurra
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Puerto Rico variant: Open Holdings

I imagine that this whole debate started with "open vs closed holdings" in Acquire, and has arisen everytime a game came out in which there was some hidden information and scores weren't assessed until the very end (rather than going down a track.)
Some players are capable of tracking everyone's relative positions without trouble. Some can do it but generally at the cost of not being able to pay proper attention to the rest of the game. Some can't do it at all (me, for one!, which has had a disastrous effect on my ability to play E&T at all competently!)

As for whether it has an effect on gameplay: I'm not sure. There's certainly a good case for suggesting that it promotes AP as players count up their rivals positions. And it can help foster a "hit the leader" environment as people can see who the perceived leader is. On the other hand, it helps prevent cheating (not that I'm suggesting that happens ;-) and it can add an interesting spin to a game without necessarily slowing it down: I'm certainly an advocate of open holdings in Acquire.

And I do think it's a good idea for the first time you play something new and relatively complex that includes hidden information simply to ensure that everyone has grasped everything properly - I know I played with open holdings the first time I played PR and PoF, and I do if I'm introducing either of them to new players (not if they are experienced gamers though!) Likewise, I'll even play a few rounds of Settlers with open holdings, although people generally get the hang of that very quickly and it rarely lasts for the whole game.

[edit: having now caught up on the Gheos thread, which evidently triggered this, I see that you obviously play with a group that has more than an inordinate number of "counters" - although I can't tell if you are one yourself!) As a non-counter myself, I would probably go insane if a counter joined our regular group. But obfuscation is generally introduced into a game to try and thwart the counters to some extent. This won't help with the perfect-memory players but they are generally not counters anyway...]

Zzzzz
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Puerto Rico variant: Open Holdings

I have been watching the various posts, and I honestly dont understand the problem. Closed vs Open VP, does it really matter? Either way you are just tracking your current status in a game. One way available to all players, one not.

So if you have it closed, end of story, ppl who can keep track in their heads might have a benefit over others, but I doubt much advantage. If they do a good job of keeping track, hurray for them! If you play with ppl that actually sit there trying to figure our your points for N days, maybe you should make a house rule of no longer then X minute(s) per turn.

If you have it open, if someone sits there trying to add up your counters, or vp or whatever, HELP THEM, by telling them your current total(s)! If you choose to sit there and force your opponent to count up your VP, you are helping to lengthen the game. And it should not be that hard for you to inform your opponent of your total(s) since you should already know since you probably need this knowledge to declare victory in the game.

In the end, its a game! Are you and the players having fun? If not, stop playing the game or make your own home rules. There are tons of games out there have have "home rules", its just part of life. You cannot please everyone, because ppl are just that different.

I hope no one takes offense to this post, I am not trying to be an A$$. Though I tend to come off as one, often. :)

I guess I just dont truely understand what the issue is. It a choice for a game mechanic, close or open, end of story. Decide which one you like for any given game and use it.

sedjtroll
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Puerto Rico variant: Open Holdings

Zzzzz wrote:
I have been watching the various posts, and I honestly dont understand the problem. Closed vs Open VP, does it really matter? Either way you are just tracking your current status in a game. One way available to all players, one not.

So the reason it matters is this:

If the VPs in PR are open, then it's silly not to keep track of people's score or check it before doing certain actions. If it's hidden, then you can't. In PR it's not easily obvious how many points you have, since you have to add up all the buildings and all the VP chits each time. And if you forget, or if they change, then you have to do it again. Then you have to do it 5 times each time you are interested.

If VPs are hidden then it's much quicker to simply see if they have a big stack or not, and maybe if you paid attention, remember how many might be 5's. It doesn't take nearly as long.

Also, in PR knowing VPs exactly means that almost every game there is a distinct Kingmaker aspect. With hidden VPs there is still this aspect, but at least you don't know who you're crowning king.

Quote:
If you have it open, if someone sits there trying to add up your counters, or vp or whatever, HELP THEM, by telling them your current total(s)!

We would help each other. It's not like I have a running total of my points in a game of PR, weather I add it up or an oppoennt does, it takes time and effort that (evidently) the designer of the game didn't intend. I say he didn't intend it because he hid the VPs. I contend that he did so for a reason, and that reason was either to quell the kingmaker thing, or put a cap on analysis, or both.

Quote:
If you choose to sit there and force your opponent to count up your VP, you are helping to lengthen the game.

I don't know anyone that does this.

Quote:
And it should not be that hard for you to inform your opponent of your total(s) since you should already know since you probably need this knowledge to declare victory in the game.

I don't know what game you're playing, but in Puerto Rico you don't declare victory to end the gae, you wait until the game ends then you count your points and declare victory.

Quote:
In the end, its a game! Are you and the players having fun? If not, stop playing the game or make your own home rules. There are tons of games out there have have "home rules", its just part of life. You cannot please everyone, because ppl are just that different.

Right, hence this thread. I'm trying to see what other people think about this particular topic. Clearly we were playing by a 'house rule' (weather we knew it or not) with open VP info. Since then we have been playing without that house rule, by the 'standard' rules. As it turns out, the 'standard' rule is more fun (for everyone I know).

The actual point was entirely different... that hiding the VPs makes a big difference in the game, even though it's trackable information.

- Seth

Zzzzz
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Puerto Rico variant: Open Holdings

Seth,

Thx for the clarification, I now understand what you are getting at.

:) Sorry if I was annoying

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Puerto Rico variant: Open Holdings

We've discussed the pros and cons of open and closed VPs in depth many times before on this forum.

Some links that might be interesting if you have missed these discussions:

Euphrat & Tigris chat transcript

El Grande chat transcript

Puerto Rico chat transcript (at the end)

TiGD: VP acquisition games

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