This has been my favourite board game for years (only very recently was it dethroned). I grew up playing the usual fare (Game of Life, Monopoly, Risk) and got introduced to Euros with Settlers of Catan which I really liked at the time (I don't enjoy it as much nowadays). I then discover BoardGameGeek and am obviously drawn to Puerto Rico out of curiousity. I get it as a gift and the rest is history. It's become the number one game we play when we get together with my family on vacations/holidays, etc. It's the first game I teach new non-gamers and gamers alike. I think in the dozens of people I've taught this game, only one has not liked it.
I personally LOVE tactical/strategic gameplay and this obviously delivers this in spades. NO LUCK! What an amazing concept. I can barely play Battlelore anymore because of that awful feeling I get after several key bad rolls.
The mechanics in this game are truly unique and unlike anything I had ever seen. The selection of roles really adds something special. There is an insane amount of depth (not to the amount of Caylus but enough for me to never get bored) and I'm always amazingly surprised at how different each game is. My mom and sister seem addicted to the Hospice (as was I in the beginning) where my fiancee and I love the Small Market. She loves indigo, I love coffee.
Although an effective strategy is important, it is completely dwarfed by how much tactics are important. And I think that's why the game is such a great fit. You can have little to no long-term thinking in this game and you can very well win just on that.
I suffer from immense Analysis Elbow and I find I don't get jammed in this game too much. I even played in the Canadian Puerto Rico Finals (I got 3rd :( and still didn't suffer from overthinking.
It's a great game to talk about after each match. You can really dig into which plays were key and which were obviously a mistake.
I grew up sometimes playing 5-6 hour board games which is something I hate now. I think 90 minutes is a perfect amount of time and I always finish games of this in under two hours. Perfect.
An insanely terrific game which after dozens upon dozens of games, I'm still nowhere close to getting sick of. I loves it.