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Subject: Why isn't Ora et Labora more popular than Le Havre? rss

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Oscar Manrique
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I just played Le Havre last week and enjoyed it, even though I didn't win.

By that time I had been thinking on getting my hands on O&L, then posted a couple of questions on BGG trying to find out which Uwe game I should get first... and I got a lot of responses making interesting comments about Rosenberg's productions.

Now I wonder why is Le Havre more popular, considering that at some point O&L even went out of print?

I understand that O&L is newer and inherited some of LH mechanics and elements, however, it's not even as high on BGG's ranking, though.

What do you think?
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E Thomas
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OscarManrique wrote:
I just played Le Havre last week and enjoyed it, even though I didn't win.

By that time I had been thinking on getting my hands on O&L, then posted a couple of questions on BGG trying to find out which Uwe game I should get first... and I got a lot of responses making interesting comments about Rosenberg's productions.

Now I wonder why is Le Havre more popular, considering that at some point O&L even went out of print?

I understand that O&L is newer and inherited some of LH mechanics and elements, however, it's not even as high on BGG's ranking, though.

What do you think?

Don't over think the ratings.

Le Havre: Avg rating of 7.99 with over 15,614 votes
Ora: Avg rating of 7.82 with 6010 votes

The number of votes explains much of the difference in the BGG rating, but as you can see from the avg ratings, the difference is "in the noise" so to speak.

Both are great games. I think of Ora as an evolution in design philosophy from Le Havre, as Le Havre was from Agricola.

Agricola: Tight, tense game with fewer good options.

Le Havre: A little looser with more options and viable paths to victory.

Ora: Yet a little looser with even more options and viable paths to victory.

Do you like super tight, tense games with opportunities to block and cause major setbacks for your opponents, making each move extremely important? Agricola is a great choice.

Do you like a looser game with less direct interaction, where each player can explore multiple paths and viably change paths mid-stream while still having a chance to win, and where the sheer number of options available obscures the decision tree? Ora is a great choice.

Le Havre is in between.

But you can't really go wrong with any of these games. So like I said above, don't over think it.

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Jim Montanus
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I love both games. I think Le Havre hits the table more often (I consider Le Havre slightly simpler), but both games are very satisfying.
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Adrian Sperling
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While I own both, Le Havre is the one that I'll be keeping. Ora is a good game, but it's taken the resource conversions of Le Havre, and added levels of complexity. I would go so far as to say unnecessary complexity. Some of the conversions don't even make a lot of sense. Le Havre is the better experience overall, and when it comes right down to it, both are resource conversion games, and how many of those do I need? The resource wheel was an excellent innovation, but Le Havre is the better design, IMHO.
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Oscar Manrique
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I agree about the ranking aspect; difference is not that big.

However, it seems that the number of people owning and playing each one of them is quite different. I'm not sure if the fact that O&L went out of print was a sign of such popularity differences.

The question would be: what is it that seems to appeal to more people playing LH?

Would it be, like you say, a matter of LH being 'in between', or its apparent simplicity, or theme?


On the other hand, I have my mind kind of set: will get O&L. I just wonder, hence this post.
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Christian B.
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Because Le Havre is better.
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Daniel Nedeljkovic
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Le Havre is more simple and easier to get into, while Ora has absolutely no randomness and most people don't like that.
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Alexander Portland
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OeL getting easily the table full of cards with tiny text printings on them in a 4 player end game. There for me is difficult to remember all the options i could use with the buildings of my co-players.
In a 4 Player Le Havre game, that is easier to track the action-possibilties. And i like the card-size in Le Havre even more.
So in final, i suggest OeL as a good 2 to 3 Player game, where Le Havre shines from 2 up to 4 Players (5 pl. i wouldn´t play). I like them both.
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Pieter
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wavedog98 wrote:
I think of Ora as an evolution in design philosophy from Le Havre, as Le Havre was from Agricola.
Considering that Le Havre was designed before Agricola, that isn't quite how it happened.

That said, I think Le Havre is wonderful game, while Ora & Labora sucks.

One reason that Ora & Labora sucks is its physical design. If you cannot read small texts upside down from way across the table, it sucks. If you have a tendency to flip over by accident a couple of chits when you are surrounded by piles of them, it sucks. It's just a bad physical design. I may add that the resource wheel is okay to use, though for the owner of the game it sucks that he has to take it apart and reassemble it every time he wants to play it with a different number of players than last time. That can't be good on the components.

As far as gameplay is concerned: Le Havre is much tighter than Ora & Labora. Your choices in Le Havre are much more limited. A first-time player of Le Havre can do well, if he has a strategic mind. Ora & Labora, on the other hand, is a game that requires you to have studied the myriad of components before you start your first game, if you want to have a chance at doing well, because there are only a few strategies really capable of winning against players with some experience, and you have to set up those well in advance. Sure, you can always DO something, but there are only a few GOOD things to do.

Ora & Labora, for me, is the pinnacle of bad designs in point salads.

I am not saying that you will dislike it. Evidently, many people think this game is great. Usually people who think that Le Havre is too dry. It definitely comes over as much drier than Ora & Labora.

But for me, Le Havre all the way.
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Pieter
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Floating World wrote:
Le Havre is more simple and easier to get into, while Ora has absolutely no randomness and most people don't like that.
Le Havre only has a TINY bit of randomness in the setup, but since everything is visible from the start (okay, the order of the refill commands comes out during the first six moves, but I see no reason at all not to simply place these open from the start), there are no surprises during the game.
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Martin Bradley
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I love both of these games. The puzzle aspect of arranging you're settlements and buildings in OeL I really enjoy so I think I slightly prefer it.
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Daniel Nedeljkovic
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
wavedog98 wrote:
I think of Ora as an evolution in design philosophy from Le Havre, as Le Havre was from Agricola.
Considering that Le Havre was designed before Agricola, that isn't quite how it happened.

That said, I think Le Havre is wonderful game, while Ora & Labora sucks.

One reason that Ora & Labora sucks is its physical design. If you cannot read small texts upside down from way across the table, it sucks. If you have a tendency to flip over by accident a couple of chits when you are surrounded by piles of them, it sucks. It's just a bad physical design. I may add that the resource wheel is okay to use, though for the owner of the game it sucks that he has to take it apart and reassemble it every time he wants to play it with a different number of players than last time. That can't be good on the components.

As far as gameplay is concerned: Le Havre is much tighter than Ora & Labora. Your choices in Le Havre are much more limited. A first-time player of Le Havre can do well, if he has a strategic mind. Ora & Labora, on the other hand, is a game that requires you to have studied the myriad of components before you start your first game, if you want to have a chance at doing well, because there are only a few strategies really capable of winning against players with some experience, and you have to set up those well in advance. Sure, you can always DO something, but there are only a few GOOD things to do.

Ora & Labora, for me, is the pinnacle of bad designs in point salads.

I am not saying that you will dislike it. Evidently, many people think this game is great. Usually people who think that Le Havre is too dry. It definitely comes over as much drier than Ora & Labora.

But for me, Le Havre all the way.

My gaming group never had problems seeing what other people have in their tableau. Also, I never assemble the wheel fully, and I have no problems changing the number of players.

On the game play, while it is true that Ora rewards multiple plays, in Le Havre you cannot do what you want because of the feeding. You take one move towards your strategy, then foood, another move, foood and on and on ad infinitum.

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Clyde W
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I played LH once then sold. I've played Ora many times and love it.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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LeHavre was great at first, and then stratified into two very dominant strategies fueled by the loan strategy. Then the game became about who could use razor sharp decision making to make these strategies work the best. I have found that Ora just has wider strategic choices. I sold LeHavre and never looked back.
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Jason Arnold
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Le Havre is one of my top five games...absolutely love it. I didn't care as much about OeL though for some reason. I think it was the non-random nature of every game for me, but that's just personal preference.
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Ed Sherman
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
If you have a tendency to flip over by accident a couple of chits when you are surrounded by piles of them, it sucks. It's just a bad physical design.

Le Havre has the exact same problem.
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Jason Arnold
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
Floating World wrote:
Le Havre is more simple and easier to get into, while Ora has absolutely no randomness and most people don't like that.
Le Havre only has a TINY bit of randomness in the setup, but since everything is visible from the start (okay, the order of the refill commands comes out during the first six moves, but I see no reason at all not to simply place these open from the start), there are no surprises during the game.
The level of randomness is far greater than zero, but not something on par with Agricola. The buildings are all randomized within their three stacks and you also get a random selection and order of special buildings as well.
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Alex Gerace
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I believe Ora et Labora suffered greatly from its perceived lack of quality components. It didn't help that the second highest thumbed post in the forum is an incredibly negative review of the game. The reprint is trying to address this issue, but the damage in ranking may have already been done.


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Oscar Manrique
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I do agree. Even though I haven't played it yet, it seems that regardless of the obvious comparison with other Rosenberg games its a good game.

The off-register prints are a fatal thing, though, I wouln't be happy to spend 60-200 dollars just to find out something misprinted.

I just bought the Spanish version from Homoludicus, waiting for delivery, hoping this edition will be error-free.
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Pieter
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Monkeyman wrote:
The level of randomness is far greater than zero, but not something on par with Agricola. The buildings are all randomized within their three stacks and you also get a random selection and order of special buildings as well.
I have no idea what "far greater than zero" means (from a mathematical perspective, any positive number is "far greater than zero"). But it seems you are incorrect about the buildings. The buildings are always the same, and are distributed over three stacks. The stacks, however, are sorted according to building numbers, so you will always have access to more or less the same buildings at the same stage in the game. And you can SEE all the buildings from the start, so there is no hidden information in this respect.

As for the special buildings, they are optional. I never play with them, because I don't think they make the game any better.
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Pieter
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1agerace1 wrote:
It didn't help that the second highest thumbed post in the forum is an incredibly negative review of the game. The reprint is trying to address this issue, but the damage in ranking may have already been done.
I wonder how a reprint is going to deal with a negative review
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Floating World wrote:
On the game play, while it is true that Ora rewards multiple plays, in Le Havre you cannot do what you want because of the feeding. You take one move towards your strategy, then foood, another move, foood and on and on ad infinitum.
I assume you are one of the people who prefers Caverna over Agricola? For me it is the other way around.

I like it that the game is trying to restrict you. I like it that the game deals out punishments to players who fail to live up to the harsh requirements that they set. I do not enjoy games that tell me "you can do whatever you want, I'll give you points regardless". Not saying that such games are objectively bad, only that I personally am averse to them. Different games for different people.
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Jason Arnold
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
Monkeyman wrote:
The level of randomness is far greater than zero, but not something on par with Agricola. The buildings are all randomized within their three stacks and you also get a random selection and order of special buildings as well.
I have no idea what "far greater than zero" means (from a mathematical perspective, any positive number is "far greater than zero"). But it seems you are incorrect about the buildings. The buildings are always the same, and are distributed over three stacks. The stacks, however, are sorted according to building numbers, so you will always have access to more or less the same buildings at the same stage in the game. And you can SEE all the buildings from the start, so there is no hidden information in this respect.

As for the special buildings, they are optional. I never play with them, because I don't think they make the game any better.

You seem to be arguing for the sake of argument. The randomness of the setup is not none (as in OeL), but not as much as Agricola with the cards.

I am not incorrect about the buildings, you shuffle them all and randomize the three stacks, then sort them based on their number. This can cause very different games to be played. I didn't say that you use random buildings.

As for your special building preference....to each his own. However, if you want a game with more variety, it's better to use them.
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that Matt
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
As for the special buildings, they are optional. I never play with them, because I don't think they make the game any better.
The special buildings aren't optional in my copy of the rulebook. They are included in the full version of the game, and excluded in the shortened version of the game.
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Daniel Nedeljkovic
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
Floating World wrote:
On the game play, while it is true that Ora rewards multiple plays, in Le Havre you cannot do what you want because of the feeding. You take one move towards your strategy, then foood, another move, foood and on and on ad infinitum.
I assume you are one of the people who prefers Caverna over Agricola? For me it is the other way around.

I like it that the game is trying to restrict you. I like it that the game deals out punishments to players who fail to live up to the harsh requirements that they set. I do not enjoy games that tell me "you can do whatever you want, I'll give you points regardless". Not saying that such games are objectively bad, only that I personally am averse to them. Different games for different people.

COuld be, but I haven't played Caverna. As for the restrictions - you feed 6 times (if I remember correctly) in Agricola and you feed 15+ times in Le Havre so it's a lot more difficult in Le Havre than in Agricola (dor example) to do a strategy correctly enough.
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