San Juan

San Juan is an attractive and faithful conversion of Ravensburger's original San Juan
strategy card game.

The game itself is a version of the board game Puerto Rico (also available for iPad). The aim is to expand your province with buildings and resource-producing factories so that it is worth more points than the other players' provinces by the end of the game.

As in the board game, the card game centers around a number of "roles". In a given round, each player will take it in turns to chose a role from those still available. All players get the opportunity to carry out the action of that role (building, producing goods from factories etc), but the player to chose that role gets an additional "privilege", such as a lower building cost. Thus a key part of the strategy in playing San Juan (and indeed Puerto Rico) is to time your actions so that you take the actions involved at the most strategic juncture for you, while attempting to avoid leaving key roles available to the other players at the moment when it will most advantage them.

Players of the original San Juan card game will be aware that an interesting twist over the original board game is that in San Juan, cards that players collect in their hand function both as buildings and also as money. Thus, you will often be faced with the tough decision of foregoing a potentially desirable building from your hand because you need to use the corresponding card as money.

The iOS version provides both local play (against computer players and/or human opponents) and networked play. A minor inconvenience of the local multiplayer mode is that San Juan is a game that naturally involves passing the device from player to player a little more than with implementations of other games such as Settlers of Catan for iPad/iPhone also reviewed on this site. However, it is overall a faithful, enjoyable and attractively presented implementation of the original. Highly recommended if you enjoy the original San Juan card game.

Board game
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