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Subject: First impressions (6 plays) review... rss

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Tim W
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It is time, time for me to post my first review on BoardGameGeek. Tasty Minstrel sent me a PoD early copy of Harbor so I felt obliged to share my thoughts.

Components
The game consists of a few cards, some "role" sheets, an market sheet, and tokens/bits. The cool thing is it is very small and tight. It packs down to an extremely small package that hides the depth of the game itself.

The cards represent buildings in the harbor that players can buy. These will be drawn, played in a central area, and ideally will be different every game.

The role sheets consist of a character that gives a special ability, a starting building, and your warehouse that keeps track of how many of the four resources the game uses you have.

The market sheet is a way of assessing demand for various goods and resetting the market after each shipping of goods.

My copy is an early test copy so I can't speak to the quality of the final components, but I will say that I am extremely impressed by the cards that where included in this copy. The art is top notch and very fun and whimsical. The theme is a bit silly and makes the entire game a little lite-hearted as a result.

Gameplay
The game plays very fast and there is little downtime between your turns. Each turn consists of taking an available action (paying a cost if necessary) and taking the resulting reward.

Thoughts
The game packs a ton of depth into a package this size. I can easily see if being very repayable depending on the role cards (each with a unique ability) and the building cards that are played in the common play area.

I do have a concern however. In every play we have had, the person who gets the most coin/warehouse bonuses wins. Every time the person with the most coins won. My playgroup and I are not super game geniuses, and we may have just stumbled on the easiest decent universal strategy while missing stronger more complicated ones. Here is the issue, my group has a perception that the game is a "race for the coin buildings" and has now lost interest due to a perceived single best strategy. I would love to test some more plays but my group is no longer interested.

Overall
I love the art, the idea, the mechanics and the game in general. I think it represents what will be a great value and a fast playing game with quite a bit of depth.

I do have concerns about balance and hope to see others post their thoughts, ideally refuting my own.

*Edit* I forget to mention most of my plays have been two player, but I did get a couple 4 player games in.

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Scott Almes
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Thanks for the review!

I'll make a note on the Coin strategy: it's certainly a legitimate one, but I would equate it to (ironically) the coin strategy in Dominion. It's an easy one to stumble upon and fairly universal, but... it's not always the best. For one, you'll notice that the Cost to VPs ratios is different for all the buildings. Coin buildings have the worst Cost to VP ratio, and you'll be paying more for less VPs. That said, you'll also get the coin for your troubles.

Things to look out for beyond the coin strategy (I don't want to go heavily into these - I'd rather you explore yourself - but here are some common ones):

Engine Builder (Good generator buildings that mesh with an existing converter building)

Shipping Specialist (If you get a few good generator buildings with a couple anchors you'll be a steamroller by the end - but, sometimes the Anchors are a bad gamble)

Real Estate Agent (Collecting and managing the "buy" buildings and exploiting them)

Warehouser (Remember that each warehouse symbol can only be used to hold back one good - but this is still a legit way to go)

Zerg Rush (End the game fast and cheap)


Thanks for your thoughts. And make sure you think beyond the symbol gained: getting good combos of buildings, and stopping others from getting combos, is a key part of the deeper level of Harbour.

Cheers and happy gaming,
Scott
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Tim W
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I was afraid it was something along the lines of the easiest to stumble upon and a pretty universal strategy type thing.

I could see some engines being stronger if the right cards came out. and will try to employ some others strategies when I get to play it again.


Bottom line the game packs a ton into a small package.
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Scott Almes
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It's still a good strategy. And, depending on what buildings come out, it can be the best one. It changes from game to game. I just won with the coin strategy last night because the other player's anchor engine didn't pan out.

Thanks for the compliment! I'm glad you like it
 
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