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San Juan is a card game focused on Puerto Rico. The deck of 110 cards has production buildings (indigo, sugar, tobacco, coffee, and silver) and "violet" buildings that give special powers or extra victory points. Cards from the hand can be either built or used as money to create something else; cards from the deck are used to represent goods produced by the production buildings, in which case they are left face-down. A 7 card hand limit is in place once per round.
In each round (or governorship), each player in picks from one of the available roles, triggering an event that usually affects all players, such as producing goods or constructing buildings. The person who selects the role gets a privilege, such as producing more goods or building more cheaply.
Though similar in concept to Puerto Rico, the game has lots different mechanisms. Specifically, the game includes no colonists and no shipping of goods; goods production and trading are normally limited to one card per phase; and trades cannot be blocked. Victory points are earned exclusively by building, and the game ends as soon as one player has put up 12 buildings.
This second edition of San Juan has all the cards of the original game and he additional building cards from the alea Treasure Chest but not the event cards from that expansion. This edition also offers a new building card not previously available : "The Hut", a building that gives a card when nothing is sold in the trader phase.