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Subject: Le Havre vs. Agricola rss

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Ron Olivier, Sr.
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I'm researching the two Uwe Rosenberg games mentioned above. I've played Le Havre once and never played Agricola. I'm looking to hear from people who have played BOTH of these games to tell me which one YOU like better and your reason for that. There's a good chance that my next purchase could be one of these two games.
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(ɹnʎʞ)
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Have you considered adding Caverna: The Cave Farmers aka "Agricola 2" to your options ?

Since I haven't played Le Havre yet, I guess there's nothing more I could contribute to here. ;P
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Chris Willett
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I have not played as much Le Havre as Agricola. I would like to play more, but I own one and not the other.

I prefer Agricola because of the cards. I enjoy plotting an active strategy and trying to use that throughout a game. Adapting when necessary is also a lot of fun. I feel that Agricola gives a bit more of the adaptation in it. I like some cards more than other, but I enjoy working with what I get in each game.

Le Havre is a very cool game, but I don't seem to like it as much as most. I prefer Ora et Labora and Agricola over it, but I want to give Le Havre some more time with me as I haven't been very fair.
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Michael Carter
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I have played both and I don't really like one more than the other. They are too different of games to be compared.
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river tam
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I'm played these two as well as cave farmers and ora et labora.

I like agricola and ora et labora best. Cave farmers and le havre to me have less tension than argicola and I like how the cards change the agricola a bit each time. I usually play with the e deck and the gamers deck together,

ora et labora adds a spatial component I really like. I traded my copy of le havre to get ora et labora
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Byron Campbell
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I have played Le Havre many times on iPad and Agricola a few times on boiteajeux. Hope that works for you.

I do not care for Agricola. There is too much forward planning necessary; it never feels like I am able to make big or impressive moves because I always need to plan 5 turns ahead. Also, I don't like the pure blockage of the worker placement--if you take the wood space, I can't get any wood this round, and I had better take the first player marker or I won't get any wood next round either.

Le Havre has resource offers that are constantly available and constantly being added to during a round. You can still grab that pile of 10 wood I wanted, but I will probably be able to pick up 2 or 3 on my turn, too. Also, the big difference in the worker placement is that you only have 1 worker to place. That means each player can block 1 building at a time, making more options free to all players every turn, but it also adds a tactical timing element to how long you want to sit on that building. Finally, I just find the variety of buildings and effects more freeform compared with Agricola, although there is definitely a single strong strategy that dominates the later half of the game. As somebody else explained to me, there will always be a ton of competition for a few specific buildings because those are the big point-generating resources, but it's what you do when those buildings are blocked that defines your strategy for the game.
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Jerry Martin
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Agricola way more than Le Havre.

I have played Le Havre a couple times face to face. And about 10 times on iPad.

I have played Agricola about 10 face to face and 30 times on the iPad.

I am not sure why exactly, but I vastly prefer Agricola. Maybe the theme of building a farm is more appealing? Maybe I feel there is a better connection with my choices to my results? Maybe it's because every time I have played Le Havre I feel like I don't know what I am doing, where as in Agricola I do understand how my actions benefit me.

Le Havre seems to punish me more, but that could be because I suck. Agricola CAN be punishing, but once I know how to play it hasn't been an issue.

Good Luck!
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Jon Peoble
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First off, both of these great games are available for iOS for relatively cheap if that is an option for you and you want to try them out before buying.

My two cents - both are great games but Agricola is the better game and has the longer staying power. Agricola requires you to be more flexible with your strategy than Le Havre due to the plethora of Occupation and Minor Improvement cards in the game. You never know which ones you will get and you have to be flexible enough to formulate an optimal strategy for the cards you are dealt.

Le Havre on the other hand, has much less randomness. The same basic buildings are available every game and the only thing that is random is the order in which they come out. So chances are, the killer strategy that you used last game, is still going to work well in the next game. Yes, you have to modify it some to make the best use of the card order, but overall, you can still follow the same basic formula.

Some people enjoy the "sameness" of Le Havre and while I think it is a great game and one that I am glad I own, I prefer the randomness and excitement of Agricola any day. Starting a new game and figuring out the strategy to use for the given set of cards is my favorite part. And for all of the people saying to try Caverna, don't trust them! Caverna turns Agricola into a more formulaic game like Le Havre, it takes away the fun randomness.

Hope that helps! Honestly, you can't go wrong with either game.
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Andy E
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I own both of these games, and also Caverna (which I'll say more about later). As I'm sure you're aware, both Agricola and Le Havre are essentially about optimizing the efficiency of your actions. But they feel very different to play.

Agricola is very tense and, some find, stressful. If you don't choose the most efficient actions, or if you don't plan a few rounds ahead properly, or if you don't leave yourself with backup plans and you get blocked by an opponent, then your meeples will starve costing you points.

By contrast, in Le Havre, there are always lots of good options for your actions. Getting the most points requires choosing more efficient actions, but there isn't the same stressful feeling as in Agricola. Even less efficient actions will net you a pile of goods. A good opponent can make you think carefully about the most efficient choices to make, but the game rarely feels stressful.

Which of these feelings ("stressful, just scraping by" vs. "lots of great options, but some are even better") is better for you is obviously a matter of your personal preference. I really enjoy both, and these are two of my favorite games.

Caverna, despite often being called Agricola 2, feels much more like Le Havre to me. There are lots of options, and while some are better than others, you'll almost always grab a pile of goods from every action. You spend the whole game feeling like you're doing lots of things, and I've never starved in Caverna. The feeding usually is an afterthought.

Le Havre has somewhat more complex chains of goods than Caverna, so I think there's a bit more long term planning in Le Havre. And Caverna generally gives you more actions than Le Havre, so you get to do more over the course of the game. So even though I consider Caverna vs. Le Havre to be the appropriate comparison, I don't think I would say that one is clearly better than the other. I own all three games, and I don't consider any of them to be redundant.

So I'm going to sort of cheat and not give a single recommendation. I think there's a place for all three in a game collection, but if you're only going to buy one game, which one you buy will really depend on your personal preference.
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Ron Olivier, Sr.
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andye wrote:
So I'm going to sort of cheat and not give a single recommendation.


CHEATER!!!!!
Actually, your elaborate reasoning behind why you like each game is really the kind of info that I'm looking for. Excellent post.
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Byron Campbell
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hippiephysicschick wrote:
Cave farmers and le havre to me have less tension than argicola...


I agree with that, except for me it's a positive thing, as I wrote above.
 
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I've played both, and I prefer Agricola.

I like building my player board in Agricola. I like the cards that change the feeling of the game. I don't care for having to read other people's cards in Le Havre. I don't like the Le Havre setup (ordering the columns of cards). I like the wooden bits in Agricola better.
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Byron Campbell
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peoblej wrote:
Le Havre on the other hand, has much less randomness. The same basic buildings are available every game and the only thing that is random is the order in which they come out. So chances are, the killer strategy that you used last game, is still going to work well in the next game. Yes, you have to modify it some to make the best use of the card order, but overall, you can still follow the same basic formula.


Just wanted to point out that the same basic buildings are in every game, but different special buildings will come out. Still less randomness than Agricola's occupation cards, but there will be a few buildings that are different in every play. Especially if you get the expansion, which I think comes packaged in the game now.
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Darryl with one "R"
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My simple take:

Agricola stresses me out.

Le Havre does not.

I am weak.

Therefore, I prefer Le Havre.
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Aaron Edwards
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My personal preference is Agricola. Le Havre is a good game, but I like the theme of Agricola better--building a farm and family as opposed to some ships and properties along a harbor. With Agricola I get a much more satisfying sense of "I built this" at the end of the game. I know that's a bit nebulous, but there you have it.
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ICONOCLAST

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nbread wrote:


Agricola stresses me out.

Le Havre does not.



I recommend both games. Le Havre has less of s sense of urgency in each turn, so it is less stressful, but both worthwhile and very enjoyable.
 
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Jonathan Coulombe
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Kyur wrote:
Have you considered adding Caverna: The Cave Farmers aka "Agricola 2" to your options ?

Since I haven't played Le Havre yet, I guess there's nothing more I could contribute to here. ;P


+1 for Caverna
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Ron Olivier, Sr.
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Kyur wrote:
Have you considered adding Caverna: The Cave Farmers aka "Agricola 2" to your options ?



At first I did, but quickly dismissed it. The regular price tag was too high, and right now it's in short supply, making it even worse.
 
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C H
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I own Le Havre and a friend owns Agricola and while I want to recommend the game I own more I think Agricola is more fun. However, I feel that Le Havre is the tighter game and less subject to drawing lucky cards. Going to be getting caverna soon.
 
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Steve B
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For me Caverna takes away the planning aspect that Agricola has.

I recommend Le Havre and then Agricola. Le Havre doesn't have one of the main Agricola problems - someone takes all the wood/clay/whatever and your entire turn is ruined.

In Le Havre, if someone takes what you want, oh well! Take something else, you can definitely do something great with it!
 
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J T
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In my experience, Le Havre is great with three, good with two and declines from there. I know from BGG I'm not alone in feeling this way.

Agricola is great, but feeding can be as evil as anyone says. Every time I put a baker occupation card in my hand, which allows you to produce food without using a turn, it feels like a completely different game.

Still waiting to find a copy of Caverna. Still waiting for announcements of expansions.
 
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Gregg Saruwatari
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Agricola and Le Havre are decent, but you may want to explore other WP options, as well. For my wife and playgroup, none of those games has been played since we got The Manhattan Project. You may enjoy that one, or perhaps another fits your style more than Agricola or Le Havre.
 
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Joe
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I prefer Agricola because of the cards and overall game design; I enjoy building a tableau of Occupations and Improvements and working strategy around them. The variability is enough in Agricola to keep coming back to it. I slightly prefer Le Havre's theme and art to Agricola. I prefer the final move of Le Havre where there is no blocking - I wish Agricola had that.

Based on the 2P and 3P games of Le Havre I have played (especially 2P), if you're not busting past 200 points you have no chance in my experience. And there seems to be pretty much one primary way to do this, although there is some variability within that.

EDIT: I have not played the Le Havre expansion. I have also played Caverna maybe three or four times and like it but still prefer Agricola because of the cards. If/When Caverna is expanded with similar (in terms of depth/variability/player-specific abilities) cards and/or tiles, Caverna will probably be the better game.
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