Puerto Rico is a great game, one of the best I have ever played and certainly worthy of recommendation. The game is beautifully produced has a strong theme and offers deep strategy with many potential paths to victory.
Each player has an individual game board depicting the island of Puerto Rico and the city of San Juan. Players found plantations and quarries on the island and construct buildings in the city of San Juan. Plantations produce goods that can be traded for money or shipped for victory points. Quarries allow buildings to be constructed at a cheaper cost whilst the buildings themselves confer certain privileges that are crucial in the progression of the game. Buildings also carry victory points at game end. Quarries, plantations and buildings only become active after they have been occupied by settlers.
Progression in the game is determined by players taking turns at choosing various roles, Trader, Builder, Settler etc and taking the actions associated with those roles.
A nice feature of the game is that every player moves at every turn. So if player one chooses the Builder role everyone gets a chance to build. This increases involvement in the game and prevents any downtime waiting for other players to take their turn.
Puerto Rico allows a real wealth of strategy and provides many possible paths to victory. You can have one player basing a strategy on trading and building whilst another bases their strategy on production and shipping and each has an equal chance of victory. There is also constant competition for resources: limited numbers of buildings, limited opportunities to ship or trade and so on.