Launching the game
To start Tropic Euro, click the Launch button below - this may download a file called TropicEuro.jnlp, which is compatible with Java 6 or newer for Windows / Mac OS X / Linux.
Note: you may need to select the "Keep" or "Open" option if prompted in some web browsers, and the newly downloaded file has to be opened in order for Tropic Euro to start. If the file doesn't open correctly, then Java will probably need to be downloaded.
Learn to play the game
Tropic Euro has a simple, easy-to-use tutorial built into the game. It should take around 15 minutes to complete on average and is designed to cover all the main aspects of the game.
To start the guided tutorial, simply launch the application as described in the previous section above and then the first time you run the game, a question will be presented asking if you wish to proceed with the tutorial.
Initial plantations and cash
In order to create a more balanced game and one which gives each player an equal chance of winning, the amount of cash and plantations given at the start of the game varies according to the number of players and also the island position:
2 player game:
- Island 1: $300 + Cocoa plantation
- Island 2: $200 + Banana plantation
3 player game:
- Islands 1/2: $200 + Cocoa plantation
- Island 3: $100 + Banana plantation
4 player game:
- Islands 1/2: $300 + Cocoa plantation
- Islands 3/4: $200 + Banana plantation
5 player game:
- Islands 1/2/3: $400 + Cocoa plantation
- Islands 4/5: $300 + Banana plantation
Note: the built-in guided tutorial is a 3 player game, but with all players starting with no plantations and $200 cash - this is in order to keep the tutorial as easy to learn as possible.
The core structure of the game involves players growing crops that they exchange for points or cash. The money can then be used to buy buildings, which allow players to produce more crops or give them other abilities.
One of the key elements of Tropic Euro gameplay is the choosing of roles: on each turn, one player selects an available role (e.g. Builder), and then all players have the chance to apply the role (e.g. purchase a building). A "round" is completed when all players have chosen a role, after which the roles become available again to be selected during the next round.
The player who chose the role is always the first to apply the role, and they also get a small additional privilege (e.g. a discount when building). The right to start a round, to choose roles within a round, and to take the action for the chosen role, all rotate clockwise. Unused roles gain a $100 bonus at the end of each round, so the next player who chooses that role gets to keep any cash bonus associated with it.
Each player owns a separate island with spaces for city buildings and plantations - these only become operational once they are equipped with tools during the "Equipper" role. During the "Producer" role, one goods container is produced for each matching pair of tools across the plantations/buildings for that particular crop - e.g. if a "Coffee Roaster" has 2 tools, then two coffee goods containers can only be produced if at least two coffee plantations are also equipped with tools.
Players get Victory Points (VP) for owning buildings, for shipping goods, and for equipped "large buildings" (city buildings that occupy two spaces).
The game ends when any of the following conditions are met:
- "Shipper" role is selected and the last VP is given to a player. (Additional VP are to be used once the supply is exhausted)
- "Equipper" role is selected and there are not enough tools left from Europe to fill the tools ship.
- "Builder" role is selected and at least one player has built their 12th city space.
In each case, players finish the current round before the game ends. The winner is the player with the most Victory Points. In the event of a tie, the player with the most cash is given the tie-breaker (and then total quantity of goods if still tied).
Starting with the player who is the "governor" (the first person to choose a role in this round), each player must choose a role from among those not yet chosen. All actions happen first with the chooser, and then proceed clockwise until the action phase concludes.
At the end of each round, unused roles gain a $100 cash bonus and the governor advances to the next player. This results in a significant change of the previous role choosing order in that the player who was governor and had first role choice will have last role choice in the upcoming round.
The full details for each role are displayed below. Actions that are mandatory are phrased with "must" while optional actions or privileges use "may" in their descriptions. The player who chooses a role is also entitled to an optional privilege if available.
- Action: Starting with the chooser, each player may select a plantation if they have plantation space available.
- Privilege: The chooser may opt to select a quarry instead of a plantation, as long as quarries remain in the supply. Quarries which are equipped with tools provide a discount of $100 when building.
- Note: The revealing of plantations is the only random element of the game other than seating arrangement.
- Action: Starting with the chooser, each player may buy one building paying with cash and/or equipped quarries by proxy.
- Privilege: The chooser pays $100 less.
- Game Terminating Condition: If a 12th city space becomes occupied, the game will end once all players have selected roles.
- Note: Players cannot purchase a duplicate building of the type they already own.
- Note: If the cost of a building to a player becomes less than $0, the cost of a building shall be treated as $0.
- Note: Players may not build beyond their 12th city space.
- Action: Starting with the chooser, players receive a tool from the tools ship in clockwise order until the ship is empty. After which every tool controlled by the player can be rearranged to and from plantations, quarries, and buildings.
- Privilege: The chooser receives an extra tool from the supply if the supply is not depleted.
- After Equipper Role: After all tools have been rearranged, the tools ship is refilled with an amount either equal to the number of players or the number of unoccupied tool locations on buildings, whichever is greater.
- Game Terminating Condition: If the ship cannot be refilled in full, the game will end once all players have selected roles.
- Note: If players have more tools than places to allocate them, they must house their additional tools on their island until they can be moved.
- Action: Starting with the chooser, plantations and production buildings may produce goods.
- Privilege: If supplies remain after all players have produced goods, the chooser may produce one extra good. The extra good produced by the chooser must be of a type that they produced during this Producer role.
- Note: With the exception of banana, all equipped plantations require an accompanied equipped production building to produce a good.
- Note: Because each player produces goods in order, it is possible for later players to not receive any or all goods if production exceeds supply.
- Action: Starting with the chooser, players may sell one good not already present at the trading house for cash, if the trading house is not full.
- Privilege: The chooser gains $100 extra if they make a trade.
- Note: If full, the trading house empties once the Trader role ends, returning its contents to the supply.
- Note: Players are permitted to sell a good to the trading house that does not result in any cash awarded, which is possible with the banana good.
- Action: Starting with the chooser, players must load goods onto the ships for Victory Points (VP). Loading continues in clockwise order indefinitely until no player can make further shipments. Each player must load goods if possible and must load only one type of goods on each turn. A ship can only accept loading if:
- The ship is empty and the other two ships do not already have this good type present.
- The ship has at least one empty slot and the goods being loaded are of the same type as the goods already on the ship.
- Privilege: The chooser earns an extra Victory Point if they make a shipment (for the first shipment only).
- After Shipper Role: After all loading, goods that were not shipped are "spoiled" and returned to the supply. Players are allowed to protect one individual good from spoiling, in addition to other protections afforded by the warehouse buildings. The ships that have reached capacity are emptied and the goods returned to the supply.
- Game Terminating Condition: If the Victory Point supply is exhausted, the game will end once all players have selected roles.
- Note: After electing the good and which ship to use, a player must load as many goods of that type as possible.
- Note: When the wharf is selected instead of one of the three ships, it can accept goods already present on a ship.
- Note: If no Victory Points are available to award from the supply, extra VP are used in order for proper calculation of total VP received from shipping.
- Note: After electing the good to ship, if there is a choice of empty boats then the one which can hold the most of that good must be chosen (i.e. the most "effective" ship must be used).
- Action: No action.
- Privilege: The chooser receives $100 cash.
- Note: Not used with three players. One Investor role used with two and four players. Two Investor roles used with five players.
Tropic Euro can be played with various building configurations:
- Standard: the fixed set of buildings included in the original Puerto Rico board game.
- Random: a random selection of buildings from the full set of buildings (standard buildings plus the buildings added in the Puerto Rico expansion released in 2004).
- Expansion: all of the expansion buildings plus three random "large" buildings from the standard set of buildings.
- Custom: each player takes it in to select an available building for the game (right-click / ctrl-click on the building spaces in the main window to choose a building).
Full details on each building are available in-game as a tooltip - place your mouse over the corresponding building and a message will popup describing its purpose.
Differences from the Puerto Rico board game
For those of you who have previously played the board game - Tropic Euro has very similar game mechanics to Puerto Rico, but some of the concepts, roles, resources and buildings have been renamed to match the new theme:
- 1 doubloon -> $100 cash
- Colonists -> Tools
- Settler -> Planter
- Mayor -> Equipper
- Craftsman -> Producer
- Captain -> Shipper
- Prospector -> Investor
- Corn -> Banana
- Indigo -> Cocoa
- Tobacco -> Rubber
- Hospice building -> Planter Toolmaker building
- Fortress building -> Toolbank building
- (Expansion) Guesthouse building -> Toolshed building
The names of several buildings have also been changed to make them simpler and easier to understand for new users, including omitting "small" from the left column of buildings and renaming cocoa "plant" to cocoa "dryer" to avoid potential confusion with the concept of plantations:
- Small Cocoa Plant -> Cocoa Dryer
- Cocoa Plant -> Large Cocoa Dryer
- Small Sugar Mill -> Sugar Mill
- Sugar Mill -> Large Sugar Mill
- Small Market -> Market
- Small Warehouse -> Warehouse
The original board game rules state that the Victory Points acquired from shipping should be hidden from other players until the end of the game, whereas Tropic Euro adds an option for these VP to be shown or hidden on a per-game basis.
The cost of the factory and university buildings have been swapped, as recommended by the Puerto Rico creator Andreas Seyfarth.
All players that start with a banana plantation start with $100 less than the players that start with a cocoa plantation, to improve the balance of the game. This was confirmed during testing over a very large number of games for the hard difficulty AI player, and a fuller discussion on this is available at the BoardGameGeek forums.
The tie-break condition has been modified more in favour of cash with Tropic Euro: in the event of a tie, the player with the most cash is given the tie-breaker (and then total quantity of goods if still tied).
Note: this will download a file called TropicEuro.jnlp, which is compatible with Java 6 or newer for Windows / Mac OS X / Linux.