Puerto 20Rico

Puerto Rico is one of the best games in existence. We play it a lot at Seattle Cosmic.

In Puerto Rico, you play an entrepreneur building up your part of Puerto Rico to maximize the glory of your empire. The game has different phases, during which each player plays different roles. During the Settler phase, everyone founds plantations; during the Mayor phase, everyone gets colonists to distribute around his plantations, quarries, and buildings; during the Craftsman phase, manned plantations produce goods; during the Trader phase, people sell goods to obtain doubloons; during the Builder phase, players pay doubloons to buy buildings, which give victory points at the end of the game and also provide special abilities to their owners during the game; during the Captain phase, people ship their goods to the Old World and score victory points for them; finally, during the Prospector phase, people hunt for free doubloons.

The beautiful key to this game is that what phase comes next is decided not by a static order but rather by the players themselves. Each round, one player is the governor. That player picks the first phase of the round and that phase happens immediately. Then, the next player clockwise picks what the second phase will be and that phase occurs. Once everyone has picked a phase, the phases that haven't been chosen are seeded with a doubloon each; this doubloon is awarded to the next player to pick this phase, and thus it encourages people to select the phases that have been unpopular in previous rounds.