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Subject: Am I doing the market right? rss

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Asa Swain
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I played half a game and was confused by how to be able to afford my first building. All the buildings were $10, so in order to buy a building I would need 5 crates of the $5 good, 4 crates of the $4 good, and either 3 or 2 crates of another good, right?

We were playing with the basic characters and what confused me is that the starting building seemed like the best way to get goods. With no anchors, cards that give you goods for each anchor seem kind of useless. Cards to turn good A+B into good C are helpful for chasing the high cost goods, but are useless in terms of getting more goods.

I'm used to markets where the price per unit is variable. But in Harbour all goods sell for $1 a crate, they just have different levels of demand. It should like to make $10 you would need to ship at least 10 goods, and possibly waste extras if you don't have a warehouse because you have to ship all of a good. Almost like the markets controls how many goods you would waste due to low demand, instead of the price per unit. And collecting that many goods seems painfully slow in comparison to LeHavre where you can collect a whole stack of resources at once.

Am I reading the rules wrong? Am I missing something? Or is this just a case of my expectations making me not understand the strategy?
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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quartex wrote:
I played half a game and was confused by how to be able to afford my first building. All the buildings were $10, so in order to buy a building I would need 5 crates of the $5 good, 4 crates of the $4 good, and either 3 or 2 crates of another good, right?

Correct. Or 5 of the $5 good, 2 of the $2, and 3 of the $3.

Quote:
We were playing with the basic characters and what confused me is that the starting building seemed like the best way to get goods. With no anchors, cards that give you goods for each anchor seem kind of useless. Cards to turn good A+B into good C are helpful for chasing the high cost goods, but are useless in terms of getting more goods.

I'm used to markets where the price per unit is variable. But in Harbour all goods sell for $1 a crate, they just have different levels of demand. It should like to make $10 you would need to ship at least 10 goods, and possibly waste extras if you don't have a warehouse because you have to ship all of a good. Almost like the markets controls how many goods you would waste due to low demand, instead of the price per unit. And collecting that many goods seems painfully slow in comparison to LeHavre where you can collect a whole stack of resources at once.

Am I reading the rules wrong? Am I missing something? Or is this just a case of my expectations making me not understand the strategy?


Like many worker placement games, you're trying to take efficient actions. However, while most of the goods efficiency in Le Havre/Agricola/Lords of Waterdeep/etc is how much you get with each placement, this one is more about avoiding inefficiency with the Market.

"Collecting a whole stack of resources at once" is especially not relevant as a comparison, because Le Havre deals in larger numbers for everything, AND is a very different kind of engine. That's like comparing a diamond miner and a seashell collector. Very different jobs, very different costs and benefits, and the seashell collector will come home with a whole stack of seashells at once.
 
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Paul Wilson
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You had the unfortunate situation where you had high cost buildings to start with. There are cheaper ones in the mix that would make it a little easier.

I think you are understanding it correctly. They are one for one. The challenge is seeing what is going to happen. If you are chasing that $5 good but someone gets to it first, you will be stuck with a bunch of that good, but the demand for it will have dropped. The challenge from this game is foreseeing what others will do and try to have the right goods at the right time to be able to use it efficiently. If I see another player is in a better position to use ship in the next turn, I am not going to try to get more of that top good, but I will try to figure out what I will need when it comes around to my turn. If several players are good as this, you will have more difficulty being ready with the right goods at the right time.
 
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Asa Swain
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Thank you for the clarification. When you put it that way, it makes more sense.

Let's pretend that I have 5 of one resource, 4 of another resource, and 3 of a third resource. I need the market to be in correct order to maximize how much of my goods I will be able to sell, otherwise my goods will earn mess a lot less than $1 a good.

However my underlying problem about a slow start still remains. If the player starts with $3 and buildings cost $9 to $10 then they need to collect around 9-12 cubes. I'm not familiar with every card, but I remember a lot of cards allows you to turn one resource into another, or collect resources based on how many anchors you have. Can you give some examples of what cards you might use to quickly get a lot of resources at the start of the game? (I understand that there's no guarantee those cards will be available) I'm curious what options in the gamespace there are to get lots of resouces, or if this game intends the player to spend a series of turns collecting resources 1-2 at a time.
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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The average building cost is something like 8.5. Yes, you're definitely expected to spend a few turns accruing resources (3 to 6 turns, depending on building cost). Median turn length being measured in single-digit seconds, this shouldn't take a particularly long time, and it's important to see people's "trajectory" so that you can adjust what you're grabbing if you think they're going to beat you to the next purchase. Without a few turns of granularity, there is no ability to adjust.
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Jason
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This is one of the reasons the instructions suggest you start with the Lighthouse ($10), Canal Lock (9$) and Shipbuilder's Guild ($9) along with one other building per player. While the Lighthouse is no help, the other two are both possible with a combination of $2+$3+$4 and $4+$5 along with the other combinations that give you $10+. It helps put more things in reach.

Also, yes, your starter building is one of the most powerful in the game. You can surpass it by building up anchors and using per anchor cards if they come out. But otherwise, expect to play on it quite a bit.
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Asa Swain
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Thanks for the explanation. I assumed the starter building was a weak option which would soon be surpassed by better buildings from the common pool. I'm still thinking of Le Havre where the buildings got better and better throughout the game.
 
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Jason
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Since Harbour is intended to be a much shorter game, there's not as much of that. Your starter is powerful, but it comes with limitations. It never lets you go up very FAR in any particular good. Plus you can't play on any spot twice in a row, so you're still using your starter in combination with other buildings. Example:

You choose to start the game with 1F, 1S, 1W, 0L
Use your starter building to move to 2F, 1S, 1W, 1L
Use Woodworker's to move to 3F, 1S, 0W, 2L
Use starter to move to 4F, 1S, 1W, 2L
Use Masoner's to move to 5F, 0S, 2W, 3L
Use starter to Buy, selling 5F, 2W and 3L for $10

Granted, this is kind of a best case scenario where you're using other buildings to gain a net of 2 resources as well. If you have mostly buildings that only put you up by one resource, it will take longer to build and the starter building will seem even better. But the other buildings are the ones that you SHIFT goods. This is crucial due to the way the market works. To be the most efficient, you need just the right amount of good and NO MORE. Wasted goods on shipping usually means some of your actions weren't optimal. Some times this is avoidable, some times not.
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Mike Cooper
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Remember that warehouses on your buildings (as well as the bookkeeper and wholesailer) allow you to keep some or all excess goods you ship.
 
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Jason
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Yep. But I'm unconvinced they are worthwhile to pursue. Even if you do nothing but get warehouse buildings, with The Wharfs you are only going to save 3 useful goods in a normal game (no craziness like 5+ buildings built). You'll save one on your second buy (using the warehouse on your first building). Then two on your third buy (using the warehouses on your first two buildings). In a vanilla game, saving goods on your fourth buy doesn't really matter because leftover goods are only tiebreakers.

To me, three goods are incredibly underwhelming. I'm much more likely to pursue coins, one top hat and/or anchors (especially if there are per anchor buildings).
 
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Mike Cooper
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jepmn wrote:
Yep. But I'm unconvinced they are worthwhile to pursue. Even if you do nothing but get warehouse buildings, with The Wharfs you are only going to save 3 useful goods in a normal game (no craziness like 5+ buildings built). You'll save one on your second buy (using the warehouse on your first building). Then two on your third buy (using the warehouses on your first two buildings). In a vanilla game, saving goods on your fourth buy doesn't really matter because leftover goods are only tiebreakers.

To me, three goods are incredibly underwhelming. I'm much more likely to pursue coins, one top hat and/or anchors (especially if there are per anchor buildings).


I haven't given this enough thought yet (which I will do after I post this, natch), but what if each anchor allowed you to save 2 goods each? Might be a little overpowered, maybe.
 
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Jason
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Perhaps. But honestly I'm always a bit wary of quick-fixes like this because you know TMG has playtested this FAR more than the sum total of games I'll probably ever play. If it's a simple fix that really "fixed" a "problem", I think they would have already arrived at it.
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