Rollo Tomosi
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Stupendous game....have loved it for years-just another reason that Uwe is "the man" when it comes to Euros....
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Ron Ginther
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Thanks for the review. I have been eyeing this one and you have put me over the ledge I already had one foot off of!!

Ron
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Alvin Chen
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One thing I really like about Le Havre is that the decision space starts very small and grows over time, allowing new/less experienced players to adapt gradually.

At the beginning, the only buildings available have only one effect: build another building. Your first turns just consist of picking up resources, either to pay a building cost or to have enough food at the end of the round. Only as buildings appear do you have more options open up, and each early building has a pretty clear cost and effect.
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Armand
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Kyellan wrote:
One thing I really like about Le Havre is that the decision space starts very small and grows over time, allowing new/less experienced players to adapt gradually.

At the beginning, the only buildings available have only one effect: build another building. Your first turns just consist of picking up resources, either to pay a building cost or to have enough food at the end of the round. Only as buildings appear do you have more options open up, and each early building has a pretty clear cost and effect.


Yes, that's the brilliance of LH in a nutshell. Compare that to Agricola where you have to read and assess something like 18 cards prior to t1, then sort through all of the possible actions right after that... there's no question which game is more inviting to first-time players.

What's more, I've heard that when players get to a certain level with Agricola they don't even play out the game, just draft the cards and discuss how the game theoretically would have gone.

I gotta say, other than the fact that LH dwindles with every player added over 2, I have no idea why Agricola is so much more popular...
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Rollo Tomosi
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Similarly there is a movement....at the beginning the emphasis is all on getting wood, clay, food (clay, wood, and food in a Uwe game? NO WAY), but later its all on energy, coal, steel...so that in later rounds there can be like 7 cows lying on a space and its not even the best move to take it....
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gameon3948 wrote:
Replayability. The order the goods accumulate in the harbor is randomly determined each game (and then remains the same throughout the course of the game once revealed). Also, the buildings available to be built are ordered differently each game. As only the top building on each of three stacks can be built at any given time, this changes strategies as well. Finally, there are quite a number of Special Buildings (36 in the base game), of which only 6 are used (chosen randomly) in any given game. These provide quite a lot of variety to each game. All these aspects combine to mean you must reevalute each game when to take goods, when to let them accumulate, which buildings to build, and when.

This sounds like there's a lot of variability in the set up, not necessarily much replayability.

If you always used the same set up--same goods/buildings order, same special buildings, etc.--would the game still be worth playing over and over again?
 
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Jason W
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abdiel wrote:
This sounds like there's a lot of variability in the set up, not necessarily much replayability.

If you always used the same set up--same goods/buildings order, same special buildings, etc.--would the game still be worth playing over and over again?


I still have fewer than ten plays of LH under my belt, but my feeling is yes. Even if the goods/buildings order is the same, you (and your opponents) will make different decisions throughout the game, and so you will be presented with different opportunities each turn.

I feel like you can ask this question about a lot of games that don't have any luck (e.g. draw cards, roll dice) during the game play. But the board is changing constantly with each decision a player makes. So unless each player makes the exact same decisions in the same order, you have replayability.
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Michael Carter
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abdiel wrote:
gameon3948 wrote:
Replayability. The order the goods accumulate in the harbor is randomly determined each game (and then remains the same throughout the course of the game once revealed). Also, the buildings available to be built are ordered differently each game. As only the top building on each of three stacks can be built at any given time, this changes strategies as well. Finally, there are quite a number of Special Buildings (36 in the base game), of which only 6 are used (chosen randomly) in any given game. These provide quite a lot of variety to each game. All these aspects combine to mean you must reevalute each game when to take goods, when to let them accumulate, which buildings to build, and when.

This sounds like there's a lot of variability in the set up, not necessarily much replayability.

If you always used the same set up--same goods/buildings order, same special buildings, etc.--would the game still be worth playing over and over again?


If you did that, you wouldn't be playing the same game. You'd be playing a variant of the game.
 
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mlcarter815 wrote:
If you did that, you wouldn't be playing the same game. You'd be playing a variant of the game.

Variable set ups are nice in order to provide some spice and variety. But they can also act as a smoke screen for poor game design if the replayability is dependent on them.
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Dave Why
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I agree ... this is one of my favorite games ... especially 2-player. We've played over 50 games (mostly 2-player) and our highest score so far was 263.
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David Tolin
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doctoryes0 wrote:


What's more, I've heard that when players get to a certain level with Agricola they don't even play out the game, just draft the cards and discuss how the game theoretically would have gone.



This can't possibly be true. Can it?
 
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Christian B.
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Thanks for the review. I agree that it's a great game!

My only concern is the (strategic) replayability; yes, there is definitely some variety, but most games tend to be about getting a lot of coke and steel and ship those goods. It's hard to win without doing that, at least that's my experience after playing Le Havre ~20 times.

Also, I don't like that getting a loan (or several) is not that bad; I think the penalty for getting those should be increased.
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Salim Khoury
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ChrB wrote:
Thanks for the review. I agree that it's a great game!

My only concern is the (strategic) replayability; yes, there is definitely some variety, but most games tend to be about getting a lot of coke and steel and ship those goods. It's hard to win without doing that, at least that's my experience after playing Le Havre ~20 times.

Also, I don't like that getting a loan (or several) is not that bad; I think the penalty for getting those should be increased.


Both of these issues are highlighted when one plays the iPad implementation a few times...it really makes the game feel very repetitive.
 
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gameon3948 wrote:
Salimo wrote:
ChrB wrote:
Thanks for the review. I agree that it's a great game!

My only concern is the (strategic) replayability; yes, there is definitely some variety, but most games tend to be about getting a lot of coke and steel and ship those goods. It's hard to win without doing that, at least that's my experience after playing Le Havre ~20 times.

Also, I don't like that getting a loan (or several) is not that bad; I think the penalty for getting those should be increased.


Both of these issues are highlighted when one plays the iPad implementation a few times...it really makes the game feel very repetitive.


As for the iPad version, like nearly all iPad boardgames, the AI is terrible and only really good for learning the rules. If you aren't playing against yourself (trying to get higher scores each time), I think it would definitely get boring quickly.


My plays were against a human opponent.
 
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Armand
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DavidT wrote:
doctoryes0 wrote:


What's more, I've heard that when players get to a certain level with Agricola they don't even play out the game, just draft the cards and discuss how the game theoretically would have gone.



This can't possibly be true. Can it?


I'm afraid so. Granted, you have to have seen every card come out several times to be able to read opening hands that well - which takes probably a couple hundred sessions - so it isn't something to worry about in terms of replayability.

My problem with Agricola is simply that it completely lacks the slow build of LH. You're hit t1 with a couple dozen possible options, which makes for a pretty unpleasant first game.
 
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Raymond Ganancial
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Where is the review btw. What happened to it?
 
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Jorge
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razzmonid wrote:
Where is the review btw. What happened to it?
As usual, the user deleted his account taking everything with him. But, once in the Internet, always in the Internet. Here is the original review:

gameon3948 wrote:
Le Havre is my favorite Uwe Rosenberg game, the board game I have probably played the most, and one of my all time favorite games. Aside from a handful of 3, 4, or 5-player games, nearly all my (likely 300+) plays have been 2-player.


Rules Overview

The object of the game is to have the most money at the end of a variable number of rounds determined by the number of players. Your end game money will be a total of your cash on hand, the value of your ships, and the value of your buildings. As goods are not worth anything at the end of the game, a popular last move (or second-to-last move) is to use the Shipping Line to sell as many high priced goods as you can for money.

Goods accumulate each turn on offer spaces in the harbor. On your turn you can claim all the goods on one of these spaces or you can let them accumulate further (and risk your opponents taking them) and use a building instead. At the beginning of the game there are only a few buildings available (so harbor offers are frequently claimed); but as players build more buildings, there are more choices available, the building actions are more efficient, the harbor offers are claimed less, and they accumulate to larger quantities. Buildings are owned by the player who built them, or by the city, and you usually must pay an entry fee to use them. In addition to the entry fee, some have usage fees as well.

After 7 turns the round ends, and you have to feed your workers. The amount you have to feed your workers increases throughout the game and, while you can always substitute money for food, if you still cannot afford to feed them, you must take a loan. Loans cost interest and points at the end of the game if not repaid.

Building ships (using the Wharf building) allows you to automatically feed X number of workers each round, lessening the amount of actions you have to waste on feeding your workers each round. Additionally, ships are required to ship goods at the Shipping Line--which makes up a large portion of your final money. The game is rarely won without ships, so do not ignore them!


What I like about Le Havre

Replayability. The order the goods accumulate in the harbor is randomly determined each game (and then remains the same throughout the course of the game once revealed). Also, the buildings available to be built are ordered differently each game. As only the top building on each of three stacks can be built at any given time, this changes strategies as well. Finally, there are quite a number of Special Buildings (36 in the base game), of which only 6 are used (chosen randomly) in any given game. These provide quite a lot of variety to each game. All these aspects combine to mean you must reevalute each game when to take goods, when to let them accumulate, which buildings to build, and when.

Careful, tight balance. This is not a game about specialization or about mutual exclusive paths to victory. This is a game about using your limited number of actions as efficiently as possible. You have one goal, to make money, and more often than not that means getting ships, getting valuable goods, and shipping them! As such it's not a game of devising an overarching strategy (the game provides that to you); instead it's about constantly reevaluating fluctuating markets, knowing when it's too risky not to take something, knowing when your opponent is being too greedy and leaving something to accumulate that they really need, knowing when it's okay to take a loan if it means being able to build that truly critical building a turn early, and knowing when it's best to wait and make sure everyone gets fed this round.

Interaction. When you use a building you block other players from using that building until either you use another building or that building is bought or sold. Since you don't need to move each turn (if you claim an offer in the harbor you stay in your current building), blocking the Wharf when you know your opponent needs to build a ship is a real (and frequent) possibility. Similarly, you are constantly watching what your opponent does, how many resources they have, what actions they could do next turn and which ones are most likely, so that you don't get blocked out of something or an offer you want doesn't get snatched out from under you.

Art. It is no secret I love Klemens Franz's work--and this is no exception. Bright colors, high contrast, all with ample space and clarity, the game is fun to look at AND easy to understand at a glance. Furthermore, the language independent symbology on the cards is clear and easy to understand.

Game Length. My wife and I play 2-player games in just a little over an hour. There is a little setup time (10-15 minutes) and more players will add time to this. But a 2-hour 3-player game or 2 to 3-hour 4-player game is the norm and I find that's a good length for most groups.

No individual luck. The randomization of the setup is done before the game starts and affects all players equally. The special buildings are revealed throughout the course of the game, but you can preview and reorder them by using the Marketplace, to have a little more control and forewarning. And even then, these buildings are still available to everyone.

Open information. The game is not perfect information because at the start of the game you do not know the special buildings nor the order they will be revealed. Similarly, the order of goods' accumulation is revealed once per turn throughout the first round, so only in the second round is this order known. That said, the game is 100% open information among players. There are no shields, no hand of cards, nothing kept face down in front of players. You can always see exactly which resources and in which quantities each player possesses, as well as their current relative score.

Easy to learn, difficult to master. The game is much easier to teach than Agricola and the concepts of getting goods, building buildings, shipping goods are readily understood. As long as you emphasize the importance of ships and shipping high value goods at the end of the game, new players also tend to do well. That said, you will soon find yourself addicted to the nuances and the desire to maximize, striving not only to win, but to get more and more money each game. 250? 270? 300? How high can you go?

(That said, the randomization of the buildings and interaction means not every game is the same. You are playing against the game as well as your opponent. In this way you cannot really compare scores between games. Typically games where ONE player has a high score, ALL players have relatively high scores and vice-versa. Still it is fun not only to try and score higher and higher, but also to see how low you can get your opponents' scores to be


Conclusion

One of my all time favorites. It is amazing how tight and well-crafted it is. All the building entry costs that may seem arbitrary become so critical when you are trying to squeeze out extra points. The seemingly minor differences in the order of goods accumulations, or the order of building availability, has a dramatic impact on each game. And as someone who judges games by how often I am looking at my opponents' resources or trying to guess my opponents' next moves--this game fires on all cylinders.


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