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Grzegorz Kobiela
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I start this thread to no more hijack the previous thread that asked about a solo computer game: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/379587

This thread is all about the multiplayer computer game I wrote in Java.
It has been already released and can be found in the files section.

Just to make it clear in advance: I'm in no way involved with Lookout Games nor is Lookout Games involved in the development of the computer version. I'm doing everything on my own with the approval of Uwe Rosenberg (the designer) and Hanno Girke (the publisher). This said, I am and will be the only responsible person for this computer implementation. Please address any good or bad words to me and not to Lookout Games or Uwe.


DOWNLOAD THE GAME HERE: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/42763



About the Computer Game

You all have most probably already seen these teaser images I've uploaded on the Geek:

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/435942
http://boardgamegeek.com/image/437823
http://boardgamegeek.com/image/440223
http://boardgamegeek.com/image/443208
http://boardgamegeek.com/image/443209

They show some of the parts of the game during the development process. In this section of this article, I'll elaborate on what you'll find in the game. See it as some kind of text-only tutorial.

Main features

This computer game is playable solo or multiplayer. You can start multiplayer sessions on three different ways which even can be used altogether.

Same machine: Run multiple instances of the game (start it multiple times) to have multiple players join the game on the same machine. Each player will use their own set of game windows. Please note, this requires a rather greater screen to avoid messing up with the windows. Preferrably have two or more monitors or a great resolution (at least 1680x1050).

LAN: You can play this game via LAN (or WLAN, doesn't matter). Connect the machines with each other and start a game on each machine. The game automatically finds each other if everyone enters the same name of the game.
However, note that some machines connected to the internet or having other connections running at the same time, might cause problems with the IP address. If this happens, you'll need to enter your IP address of the LAN connection manually.
If you have more players than machines, just let some players play on the same machine. This is absolutely no problem.

Internet: YES! You can play this computer game through the internet! However, this is a little bit tricky as you need to run an extra program called Hamachi that establishes a VPN (virtual private network) and fools your machines to be connected with each other in a LAN. In this case, you obligatorily need to enter your Hamachi IP address to establish the connection. More information on Hamachi and installing it correctly can be found in the internet. Google is your friend.

PBEM: A last possibility to play Le Havre is via e-mail. As this isn't the recommended way to play, you'll need to be more tricky to setup a PBEM game. Just start a fake session on the same machine with the correct number of players and save the game after setup. Send the savegame file to the first player to act. This player opens the savegame file in the computer game and performs their move, saves again and sends it to the next player and so on. This might be still buggy, so I do not recommend this way.

Now that you know what ways there are to play the computer game, let me say a final word about the recommended screen resolution and operating systems.

The main game window is 820x788 pixels in size. It resizes automatically to a smaller size on smaller resolutions. However, it doesn't resize the game components themselves - you'll need to scroll within the window to see every component on smaller resolutions. All positions in the game are fixed. If you resize the window manually to a larger size than the default one, nothing will happen - you'll have some spare space in the window afterwards.

As this game is written in Java, it should run on any operating system as long as you've got the latest Java version (1.6!). However, my Mac playtesters have encountered problems with starting the game. It seems, Apple doesn't update Java to its latest 1.6 version, but stays at 1.5. This really is a problem as the game won't start on a machine with the wrong version number. Hopefully, there soon will be a 1.6 update for Mac computers.

Now, let us explore the computer game components.


The Login Window

Once you've started the computer game, the Login Window appears (you can see an older version of this in one of the images linked above). It asks you to enter the following information:

The name of the game: Each player needs to enter the same name here unless they want to play an independant session. This way you can run multiple session simultaneously, if you like, by just entering different names here.

The IP address: Leave this field blank unless you play via internet or encounter problems in your local area network (LAN). However, it doesn't hurt if there is an address in this field while playing on the same machine as long as this IP exists (ie. it's registered on your computer). Localhost (127.0.0.1) sometimes does not work, so better leave the field blank.

The username: Enter your name or any nickname you like. Multiple people might enter the same name here - you need to avoid this yourself.

Once you've entered the correct information, hit the button on the right side to start a new session. Hit the left button to open a savegame file and continue the game at the saved point.

If anything is wrong with the data you've entered, you'll get an error message. Please note, names must not be longer than 20 characters and must not contain any special symbols (with some exceptions noted in the help). You'll get these error messages even if you tried to load a savegame file. In this game, the load button turns red to indicate that the saved game state was successfully loaded, but you first need to correct the information. After you've did so, hit the right button to open the previously loaded state (you need not to load it again).

However, if the game with the name you've entered already exists in your network, loading savegames will fail and you'll rather be logged in to the running game. In this case, restart the game, enter a different name and try again.

If for any reason you need to quit a game before it has ended, e. g. due to a connection loss, restart the game and login regularly. If you were the only player to leave the game, you'll be logged in automatically on your previous position and you'll be able to continue the game. If there is more than one player missing, you'll get to choose as which player you'd like to re-login. This is very handy in case you'd like to play a PBEM game.

Beware that if you need to change the language, do it now by selecting a language from the proper menu. Once you've logged in to the game, there is no way to change the language.


The Lobby Window

This is the window that opens after you've logged into the game. In a small list you'll se all the currently logged-in players. The topmost player is considered the game master. It's them who can change the game settings, the starting positions, bonuses or player colors. I'm currently re-thinking this last point and maybe there will be a way to enable each player to choose their color themselves in the final version.

As a regular player, ie. if you're not the game master, you can just hit the button at the bottom to tell the game master you're ready to start the game. As long as you don't, the game master cannot start the game. All players first need to hit this button before the game can begin. Use the Chat Window that opens simultaneously with the Lobby Window to agree upon the type of the game - short or long one. After all players have hit their buttons, the game master can hit the appropriate button to start the game type you've agreed upon.

As the game master you can change the settings prior to starting the game. You'll notice several elements in the list of logged-in players that help you to set the play order in advance, change the colors of the players' pieces or give any player some bonus goods at the start of the game, or on contrary setup handicaps (by denying them some goods). Any change made this way will be displayed immediately on every other player's machine and a text message in the Chat Window will notify all players on the changes made. The Chat Window, by the way, also will notify all players on any events during the whole game.

If you like, you can customize the game by opening the Settings Window. This is described in the next section.


The Settings Window

The Settings Window is your most powerful tool to customize the game. You can even make ill changes here the official rules do not allow. Every such change is on your own responsibility! Do not blame Lookout Games, the designer or me if you screw the game and have a bad experience. I highly recommend to not overdo this. During the development phase of the game logic itself I've needed such a tool to create special situations more easily without playing a full game. As this was implemented anyway, I've thought why not let it there to give you a chance to experiment a bit. However, the game was very well playtested by Uwe over years, so do not expect any major improvements by your experiments here. This said, let us explore the things you can change here.

Special buildings: The most obvious option is to exclude any special building you wish from the game. If you hate some of them or think they are broken or whatever, feel free to uncheck them and ban them from your next game. In solo games, the interactive ones will be banned automatically.

Moreover, you can setup the order the special buildings will appear in their stack. Another very profane option is to even set some special buildings as additional start buildings (that the town gets at the beginning of the game). However, this is not part of the official rules, so do it on your own responsibility.

In version 1.0, there is a checkbox at the bottom that allows you to check or un-check all of the special buildings at once. Please note, special buildings that were selected as start buildings will be included regardless of the checkbox state.

In version 1.1, there are now three checkboxes at the top, one for the special buildings that come with the base game, another one for the Essen 2009 bonus buildings, and a third one for the special buldings that come with the "Le Grand Hameau" expansion. If you want to check/un-check all of the buildings, you now must check/un-check all three boxes seperately.

Supply Chits: Another rather obvious option is to setup the order of the supply chits. Additionally, you can set some or all of them to be visible from the beginning of the game. Do it on your own resposibility.

Standard buildings: This section is very delicate. Any changes made here can really screw the game and the game experience. If you like, you can ban any standard building from the game, even crucial buildings like the Wharves or the Steel Mill. I cannot emphasize enough that this may really end up in a bad game experience, so do it on your own resposibility!

Like with the special buildings you can setup which building stack a building will appear in - however, you cannot influence the order as the buildings will be sorted by their number as per the rules.

There also is the profane option to use a building as an additional starting building or include buildings that are usually banned in games with less than 4 players. Once more, do this at your own risk!

Starting Goods: In this section you can change the amount of goods in the intial offers on the game board. As always, do this at your own risk.

Extras: Finally, there are two more options you can set that have minor influence on the game experience. Firstly, you can set the maximum amount of goods you can get from the Marketplace in solo games. Please note that Uwe has updated the solo rules recently. The Marketplace now is limited to 4 goods in solo games regardless of Craft symbols (ie. you still need to have them to get more than 2 goods, but you're limited to 4 even if you own more than 2 Craft symbols). I highly recommend to play with this limitation. Otherwise the Marketplace plays to great a role in solo games.

The last option to set is whether you want to see the score of each player during the game or not. Usually, you don't see the scores in the board game and you don't count them - it's more fun to not know the actual scores. However, if you insist you can make them visible by setting this option. It makes sense in solo games, at least.

The Buttons: There are four buttons at the bottom of the window. The first one is to load previously saved settings. These will be read in and you can make further settings afterwards.

Another button is to save the settings you've currently made to re-use them later. Use this if you want to try different approaches on the same solo game (or create a savegame just at the start of it, alternatively). Saving the settings automatically applies them.

The third button is to apply the settings without saving them. They will be valid for this one game only. Regardless if you've saved the settings or just applied them, the Settings Window will open on each player's machine now, so that everyone can view the changes you've made. Please use the Chat Window to agree upon certain settings.

The last button just closes the window without applying the changes. Any changes made will be lost. You'll need to redo them if you open this window again.


Starting the Game

Once you've made any settings you wished and every player has hit their button, the game master can start the game by clicking on one of their buttons. One will start the long game and the other the short game. The game will now be setup on the game master's machine and sent to every player. From now on, the game master's machine will serve as the server and manage all communication between all involved computers. However, each machine will do the calculations on its own.


The Main Window

The Main Window opens once the game master has hit one of their two buttons. The starting player will be notified to do their move, now. But let us first see what elements we can find in the Main Window.

The Game Board: In the upper part of the Main Window you'll find the familiar game board. All buildings are stacked like in the board game and if you're playing the long game the back of a special building card can be seen in the appropriate place. The supply chits and round card are laid out.

Let us look at the offer spaces: you can see a good on each of the offer spaces and a number underneath. The number tells you how many goods of that type are lying on the offer space. If there are no goods of that type, thus you can see a 0, the whole space is greyed out.

You'll notice that the supply spaces are empty. They are not needed in the computer game as the game itself manages the flow of goods.

Additional Elements: On and above the game board you'll notice some buttons. Above and below the round card are the two buttons to finish your turn or completely redo it (if you've messed up your move). They are greyed out if you can't use them and turn light orange as soon as they are available (after you've performed an action, for instance).

Above the game board, you'll find 6 buttons on the right side and the Le Havre Logo on the left. Right-click the logo to open a special context menu with not so important options. The first one allows you to save the current game state. The next one opens the debug window (that you hopefully won't need!), and the third and last one opens the credits window.

Back to the 6 buttons on the right side, they are more important during the game. One of them opens the Help Window that will pretty much tell you the same I'm currently doing here. But in case you've forgot how to do something in the game, make sure you look it up there. Another button re-opens the Chat Window if you've closed it by accident. Please note that the Chat Window opens itself whenever a message was received, either from another player or a system alert.

Another button is quite useful during the game as it opens a window that lists all the buildings lying in the Building Stacks, so you can easily look them up with a quick glance. As everything in the window is rather tiny, you might want to check this information frequently before building. Usually, you need to drive the mouse over a card to open a tooltip window that shows a much greater image of the card that is easily readible. Also, this popup window shows you the overall building costs of all the remaining buildings and their added-up prices for quick reference.

The fourth button does the same as the previously described one, but for the ships within the Ship Stacks. It lists all the ships in the order they are lying in their stacks. As you can see just the topmost ship card on each stack during the game, it might be helpful to look here from time to time to know which other ships are lying in the stack underneath the topmost one.

The last two buttons are fake buttons that just show you information directly. One tells you the round you're currently in and how many rounds will be played in total, the other one tells you whose turn it is.

There are some few more things to mention about the game board that might be pretty useful during the game. If you right-click any card or chit in the game you can choose "details" from the displayed options to get all the information you need on the object in text format. If you drive the mouse over an element, a tooltip opens a greater image as mentioned above. The special buildings card, for instance, tells you how many special buildings are still in the stack, when the next one is due and whose turn it will be at the moment of construction.

As long as there are standard buildings to be built during the game, you'll notice a small red warning triangle on one of the buildings in the building stacks. This is the next building to be built by the town. Drive the mouse over this icon to get some further information like when this will happen and which player will be the first to be able to enter this building once it is built.

The Tabbed Sections: Below the game board there is a small area with tabs for the players and the town. You can switch here between the tabs to see the cards and goods owned by a specific player as well as a lot of information on their game progress. The tabs are sorted by play order with the town tab being the first one.

The town tab shows the overview card for the appropriate number of players and game type so that you can easily check out the next round cards to come. Next to the overview card are all the buildings and ships in the town's possession in the order of their appearance.

A player tab contains much more information. The next section describes in detail what you can find in any player's tab.

The Player Tab: The player tab consists of 6 main parts. You'll find 4 of them at the top of the tab and the last two at the bottom. Please note that each tab is painted in the player's color.

At the top of the player tab there are these four sections: the buttery, the goods panel, the information panel and the loan card. The buttery holds a ship token that shows the number of food you're getting from all of your ships at the end of a round. During the game you might notice a big yellow warning triangle here that indicates that you've got less food than needed at the end of the current round. This symbol disappears once you've got enough food and reappears whenever this state changes. Of course, it includes all available sources of food: food from your ships, food from your goods and your current cash.

Next to the buttery there is the goods panel. It shows all of the 16 available goods in the game, the 8 basic ones and their 8 upgraded versions. A number underneath a good tells you how many goods you own of that type. Good and number are greyed out if you don't own any chit of the specific type. You won't find your francs here. Cash is displayed in the next section.

The information panel gives you some useful information on your game progress. Firstly, it shows you how many ships of each type there are in your possession for a quick reference, and it sums up their shipping capacities (to ship goods on the Shipping Line). Next to it you'll find information on your overall cash (francs), food (sum of all food values of your goods) and energy (sum of all energy values of your goods).

If the option to view the victory points is set, you can see them below the information mentioned above. Regardless of this, the total number of turns you've got before the game ends is displayed. Please note, this number does not include your current turn if it's your turn. It does, however, include the final action.

At the right hand side of the information panel you'll finally find a Craft, Hammer and Fishing symbol and numbers next to them. They tell you, how many of these symbols you own. The game does not, however, count the other building symbols as they are only used on bonus buildings.

Finally, the top row of a player tab shows a loan card. It tells you how many loans you have and gives you information on payback and the penalty if you don't pay them back in its tooltip. Right-click the card to pay back some or all loans. This is, by the way, done automatically by the game at the end of it. If you have no loans, the card is greyed out.

Now, let us look at the final two sections of the player tab. Below the buttery card there is the ships panel that will hold all of your ship cards you'll own. They will be placed one on another like the buildings in the building stacks to save space. Their amounts will be displayed in the information panel anyway, so this doesn't hurt.

Finally, next to the ships panel, there is the buildings panel. It holds all of your buildings in a specific order. 8 buildings fit into one row, so if you own more than 8, you'll need to scroll down to see the other ones. The order they're sorted is the following: the starting buildings (B1, B2 and B3) will always be placed first. All enterable special buildings will be placed next to them in the order of their numbers (highest number first). Next to them, you'll find your enterable standard buildings in the order of their numbers. Finally, the non-enterable buildings are placed at the end of the list. This order will suite most purposes as you'll want to use higher numbered buildings later in the game, and preferrably the special buildings over the standard ones.


The Game Components in Detail

In this section I will talk about the various game components you know from the board game and what you can do with them in the computer game.

Supply Chits: Supply chits are placed on the appropriate spaces on the game board at the beginning of the game. They will be revealed during the first round and stay where they are unvealed during the rest of the game. Drive the most over one of them to view a bigger version of the image. Right-click the chit to open the context menu and choose the details option. It'll open a popup window that tells you what you can see on the supply chit. The players' ship tokens will be placed on the supply chits when the game progresses and moved automatically from turn to turn. Drive the mouse over a ship token to view its owner.

Good Chits: You can find good chits on various places in the game. They lay out on the offer spaces and in the goods panel of each player. But they may also appear in various dialog windows during the game. Drive the mouse over a chit to view a bigger version of it. Right-click the chit and choose "details" to get the information on the chit in text format. The goods on the offer spaces additionally show the "take" option in their context menus. Choose it if it's your turn and you wish to take an offer. Alternatively, double-click the offered good chit to take the offer.

The Round Card: The round card shows infomation on the next end of round. It tells you how many food you need to pay, if there is a harvest and which (if any) building will be built next. The appropriate line is marked with a thick black border to help you find it more easily (as I use the original cards). Drive the mouse over the card to see a bigger version or choose "details" from the context menu for the information in text format.

The Special Building Card: This card does not have any purpose. It just tells you how many special buildings are still in the stack. If you play the short game, you won't see this card.

Buildings and Ships: Buildings and ships both show bigger versions of their image if you drive the mouse over them. The "details" option from their context menu describes the card in text format. Another options from the context menu allow you to sell and buy them. You can sell cards you own at any time, even if it's not your turn.

To build the building or ship you need to enter the appropriate building. Afterwards a symbol appears on all the cards you can build. Double-click the card to build it or choose the appropriate context menu option.

Most buildings can be entered as your main action. Double-click the building you want to enter or choose the appropriate context menu option. If you can't use this building or pay the entry, an error message will notify you. In this case, choose another building to use. This implementation is the less messy one. I know, it might be better to let the game check earlier if you can enter the building, but it's more efficient to do it just in the moment you try to enter.

If you have a building that allows you to ban people from buildings, another option appears in the context menu of each building where there is another player. Choose it to perform the banition.

A last context menu option displays you the player who currently uses/blocks this building. Some special buildings do differently, like the Construction Site that shows you your handcards.

The Red Warning Triangle: I've described this triangle in the beggining of the tutorial. It is displayed as long as there are buildings in the building stacks that will be built by the town. Drive the mouse over the symbol to get further information on when this happens and who will be the first to profit from it.

The Buttery: The buttery is meaningless. The round ship token on it is more useful as it shows you the amount of food you get from your ships at the end of each round. If this number is greater than 0, a tooltip will explicitely give you this information.

The Yellow Warning Triangle: It appears whenever your overall food is lower than needed at the end of the current round and vanishes as soon as you've got enough food. Read the description of the player tabs to get further information.

Any other elements have been fully described in the first sections of this tutorial.


The Game Flow

If it's your turn, a popup window will appear and notify you unless you're playing solo. Now you can either take an offer by double-clicking it or enter a building by also double-clicking it. Navigate through the tabs to find the building you want to enter. In-between you're free to buy and sell your items.

Once you've done an action, the redo button above the round card is activated. Please be careful with performing your action and take the time you need to overthink it. Try to use the redo button as little as possible as it undoes your entire turn and any actions other players did simultaneously (paying back loans, selling buildings). Also, the interest payment needs to be redone if it was due this turn. However, of course, you won't pay the interest twice. It's more that the entire game state will be reset to the state before your turn and so anything that happend during your turn needs to be regularly redone.

After you've performed the main action of your turn, the continue button is activated. You need to press it to finish your turn and pass it to the next player. Whenever nothing happens during the game, make sure you've hit the continue button if it was your turn.

Everything you do in your turn will be displayed in the Chat Window to notify all players about your moves. This makes it much easier to follow the game. System messages like this will be displayed in blue whereas any messages you write will appear red in your Chat Window and black in any other player's window. So, it's no problem to follow the game and the chat between the players.

Interest Payment: Once in seven turns every player who owns one or more loans will need to pay the interest. The game halts at this moment and asks the involved players to do the payment. At this moment, you can minimize the payment window and sell items to get cash. Pay back all of your loans to avoid the interest payment or collect cash to pay it. Anyway, if you hit the button in the payment window, the game performs the payment if you still own at least one loan. If you don't have any money to pay, you'll get another loan automatically.

Round End: The current round ends after seven turns and each player needs to pay the food demand. Players who have enough food provided by their ships need not to do anything now. All the other players get a payment window and need to enter the goods they want to pay with. You can sell items prior to finalizing the payment like during interest payments. If you've got less food in goods than needed, you need not to enter anything if you want to pay the rest with francs. Just hit the button - the game asks you in this case if you like to pay all goods with food values and pay the rest with francs. Hit OK to do it or cancel if you want to pay differently (like saving some goods and paying more francs).

After all players are done, the next round begins. A new ship enters the game and is placed on top of the appropriate stack. If there was a harvest, each players matching the conditions get their harvested goods. If there is a building to be built, the town gets the appropriate building card.

The Final Action Phase: The final action phase begins after the last round card was evaluated. Each player now has one final action and can enter any building except the one they're already in. No goods are added to the offer spaces any more, but you can still take them as your final action. Items still can be sold, but not purchased as per the rules. After everybody's done with their final action, the game ends and the Scoring Window appears. This will be described later.


Entering Buildings

Whenever you enter a building the game checks if you're able to pay the entry fee. If yes, it then checks if you are able to perform the action. You can't enter a building unless you can use it.

Entry Dialogs: If you need to pay an entry fee, the game first checks if the payment is clear, ie. if there is just one way to pay it. In this case, the game performs the payment automatically. Otherwise, an entry payment dialog opens and you need to specify how to pay the entry fee. You can't overpay in the sense that you freely give more goods than needed, but, of course, you may overpay like 1 meat if only 1-2 food was asked.

After this, you enter the building. If the building has a unique function, it will be performed automatically, like getting 1 wood, 1 brick and 1 iron in the Hardware Store. Buildings that ask you to pay or choose goods will be described in the next sections. Finally, there are some very special buildings that work differently. These won't be described here as they are very intuitive.

Process Dialogs: Process dialogs show up if you enter a building like the Bakehouse, where you need to input some goods to get other goods as output. As there always is a unique way to process such goods, the dialog consists of the following elements: A description tells you which goods you need to put in and which ones you'll get out. It won't mention energy or other costs as they are shown on the card and you could've checked prior to entering the building. Below the description there is an input box and a number in brackets next to it. The number tells you how many "packages" of goods you can throw in. Enter the number of packages you want to put in or leave this box empty if you want to throw in as much as possible (the number in the brackets). Hit the button once you've entered the information (or not). The game now processes your goods. In case you can only process one package, the game won't popup the dialog, but process this one package, immediately.

Choice Dialogs: Choice dialogs appear whenever a building asks you to choose goods you want to get or discard, like in the Marketplace. Only the available goods are displayed and a number in brackets tells you how many of this type of good there is to choose from. The description informs you of how many goods you need to choose at least and how many at most. Please note, that the Marketplace lets you choose less goods than usually allowed (in case you don't care about additional goods like at the end of the game). Enter the numbers in the appropriate input boxes and hit the button. There is no way to speed up this process as in process dialogs.

Some special buildings rather use the choice dialog than a process dialog like the Coal Trader and Junkyard. Thus, it's not possible to get the full possible load by leaving the input boxes empty.

Energy Dialogs: An energy dialog pops up if you need to pay energy for the current action. Like in the food dialog at the end of the round, enter the goods you want to pay with and hit the button. If there is only one way to pay, the game does it itself and doens't pop up a dialog window.

Food Dialogs: Please do not mess these with those that pop up at the end of a round. Food dialogs may pop up like energy dialogs whenever an action requires you to pay food like a visit to the Coal Trader or Junkyard. Again, if there's only one way to pay, the game automatically pays this way and doesn't open the dialog.

The Marketplace: In the long game, if you enter the Marketplace you get to see the two topmost special buildings lying on the special buildings stack. These will be displayed only if the game still is to build any special buildings. In this case a special dialog window pops up that shows you the two buildings and lets you choose which one to place on top. It also informs you which players will be the first to use these buildings once they are built. Double-click on the building you want to be on top or hit the button if you're content with their order. The left one will be on top, the right one underneath.

The Shipping Line: Due to performance this building works slightly contra-intuitive, therefore I need to describe its functionality here. If you enter the Shipping Line you'll get a normal choice dialog first that asks you to choose the goods you want to ship. However, you'll notice it shows all of your goods, even those you might want to use to pay the energy cost. Yes, this needs to work this way as you might wish to ship less than overall possible to ship some of the resources that would be needed to pay the energy for a greater shipment. Therefore keep track on yourself which goods you may not ship as you need them to pay the energy cost.

However, the description gives you a hint, how many energy is needed for all possible shipments. Of course, once you've entered the numbers and hit the button, the game checks if you're able to pay this shipment. If not, you'll get an error message and need to correct your input. If everything is OK with your shipment, the energy dialog pops up if needed and you'll need to pay the energy cost, now.

All the other buildings work rather intuitive. Read their descriptions carefully to properly use them.


The Scoring Window

Once the game is over, the Scoring Window pops up to show you the final scores. It names the winner(s) and their winning score and lists all players and a complete summary of their achivements divided in: victory points through cash, ships, buildings and their bonuses, and minuses through unpaid loans.

The window shows two buttons. One quits the game, the other one will restart another session. However, I'm not sure if I'll implement the restart option now or in a later version of the game.


What about Computer Players?

NO, there are no computer players in this game. You can only play against yourself or real players for now. However, Uwe and I will work on an artificial intelligence (AI) once this first version is released. I'm getting help here from some other geeks and am very thankful for their help. I'll contact you (again), once we start the work on the AI.


Other stuff

Currently, there are about 12 playtesters testing the latest version. An English translation is under way, partially done by myself and another geek (which I all will name in the credits of the game). A Polish translation is also planned as this is my native language. However, I've asked another Polish geek to help me with this as I've got enough work to do programming.

You'll be able to easily translate the game to any other language by simply copying the language file of the language you understand and translate all the stuff there. There is some help on this in the files.

Finally, you can change some display settings (like the colors) by editing the appropriate text file. However, it'll be better you won't mess with the coordinates.


Rules FAQ


During the development process I had a lot of questions with weird issues you will probably never have in any real game, but which needed to be implemented correctly in the computer game in case this situation occurs. Here are the questions and answers:

Q: Am I allowed to discard my goods (for whatever reason)?

A: No. The corollary to this is, you may not overpay food with additional goods. Example: You have 3 fish, 1 meat and 1 franc, and you'd like to enter the Marketplace ([01], entry: 2 food/1 franc). You are allowed to pay the entry as follows: EITHER 2 fish OR 1 meat OR 1 franc. You're not allowed to pay 3 fish or 1 fish and 1 franc as this would result in paying additional goods. To pay 1 meat, however, is OK, as you're not forced to pay exactly and there is no change in food.

Q: If it's clear I can't pay the food at the end of the round and need to take a loan, do I have to discard all my food first or do I get as many loans as needed and can then decide how to pay the food demand?

A: You need to discard all your food first.

Q: Am I allowed to modernise the Wharf even if I build a wooden ship?

A: No.

Q: Does a Wharf need to be modernised in order to get the Luxury Yacht (023) in exchange for an own iron ship?

A: No, you can do the exchange on an unmodernised Wharf.

Q: Is it allowed to enter the Haulage Firm (029) if there are no two neighbouring offers (with at least 1 good) to take?

A: No.

Q: Where do I take the handcards for the Construction Site (037) from?

A: You take them from the stack of cards removed from game during setup.

Q: What happens if I enter the Construction Site (037) to play the Dunny ([00]) or the Football Stadium ([31])?

A: Neither the Dunny nor the Footbal Stadium may be played. Remove them from the stack of cards prior to dealing handcards.

Q: Can I enter a Wharf to get the MS Dagmar (039) and modernise it myself or needs it to be modernised earlier?

A: You may modernise it at the moment you want to get the MS Dagmar.

Q: Am I allowed to redeem goods from the Pawnbroker's (040) if it's not my turn or during the final action phase?

A: Yes, you can redeem them at any time.

Q: Will the Picket Line (044) be removed from play after usage even if a player owns it?

A: Yes, always remove it.

Q: Is it legal to convert bricks to bricks in the Brickworks and similar buildings?

A: Yes. Bricks can always be substitutes for Clay, not only when building.

Q: There's a bug with the Marketplace! I have 3 Craft symbols, but still get only 4 goods!

A: This is the new rule for solo play. The Marketplace is limited to 4 goods.


Distribution

The game without AI will be totally free once I release it. However, I currently don't know if I'll upload the files here or maintain them on the webspace of my email account. We'll see.

However, I have the approval from Uwe to take money for the game. As I've promised to distribute it freely in one of my earlier posts in the old thread, I won't change this decision now. I'll simply ask everybody who enjoys the computer game and wants to honor my work for a donation. In no way you'll have any disadvantages if you wish not to donate. There will be no reminders or any such (sorry) bullshit. Everyone of you will be free to decide on their own if you want to donate or not.

If we'll manage to write a good AI for the game, I will take money for it. It's easy: writing a game like Le Havre is a lot of work and I've done everything on my own (except parts of the translations which I pay with GeekGold for). Writing a good AI is even more work. Of course, I'll share the profit with the people who help me to write the AI, now worries here that you'll help and I'll collect the money.


Last but not least, any thumbs or GeekGold tips for my work are welcome. Many of you have thumbed my previous posts or tipped me in advance and I want to say Thank You on this occasion.

Most probably, you'll need to wait until End of March as Uwe has not so much time and I will and want to meet him another time before release. That said, please have a little more patience.



Edit history:

- Added information on operating systems at the beginning.
- Added information on the special buildings card.
- Added some questions and answers on some rules.
- Updated infomation on the save and load game option.
- Updated information on buildings order in player tab.
- Updated information on building stacks button (new feature).
- Added two more questions to the FAQ.
- Added some more info on the Settings Window.
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Corin A. Friesen
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Mac? Windows? Both?
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Matthew Giglia
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The images look great, you're doing excellent work! Based on this informational post, it's obvious that creating this computer version has been a true labor of love for you. We're all waiting patienty for it's release and grateful to you for taking the time to do it and do it right.
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Hi,

Ambrose wrote:
Mac? Windows? Both?

it's written in java so it should be runnable under mac, windows, linux...
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d0gb0t wrote:
Hi,

Ambrose wrote:
Mac? Windows? Both?

it's written in java so it should be runnable under mac, windows, linux...

Yes, it should run on both machines, but my only mac playtester has problems to run this game. Maybe there is no updated Java version for the Mac or whatever. If there is anybody who wants to try, please contact me.
 
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Ingo Griebsch
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Hi,

Ponton wrote:
d0gb0t wrote:
Hi,

Ambrose wrote:
Mac? Windows? Both?

it's written in java so it should be runnable under mac, windows, linux...

Yes, it should run on both machines, but my only mac playtester has problems to run this game. Maybe there is no updated Java version for the Mac or whatever. If there is anybody who wants to try, please contact me.

sorry, i don't want to ignore you! blush
 
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Marshall Miller
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Awesome! Just awesome.

I am trying to learn a simple programming language right now and you have my respect regarding the amount of work it takes to write even simple programs.
 
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Jan B.
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Wow, Great!!

I will definitely try it out.
 
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I'm ready with everything that still needed to be coded. I'll now be testing this with my playtesters to death until I meet Uwe again and we'll do the final test.

I've edited the tutorial to add the information on the new elements. In short, these are:

- You can now save and load a game state.
- You can rejoin the game after a connection loss.

The only thing to do are still the translations. If you have any suggestions or can think of any additonal (useful) features, let me know, although I'm very aware that this might be difficult as you don't know the game except what I've written and from the images.
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One thing that came to my mind:

What about a highscore list?
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kent_bro wrote:
One thing that came to my mind:

What about a highscore list?

As you're German, I'll explain you why not in German: Ich hab was gegen Schwanzvergleich.

For all English speakers a little more decently: I hate highscores showing-off.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestion. Any suggestion is welcome.
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Jan B.
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:D understood

Obviously those decisions are up to the designer. I just thought that Le Havre, which has a very wide margin of victory points, would benefit from a highscore list. Thanks for clarifying and keep up the good work!
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Ponton wrote:
It seems, Apple doesn't update Java to its latest 1.6 version, but stays at 1.5. This really is a problem as the game won't start on a machine with the wrong version number. Hopefully, there will be a 1.6 update soon for Mac computers.

FYI: I've been running 1.6 on my Mac for quite some time. (Tell your friends to get with it already).


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At the end of some games, fun statistics are shown. Maybe something similar can be done here:

How many total of each goods were produced?
How many times was each building visited?
How many times was someone kicked off a building?
Player that went furthest in debt?
Player with the most ships?
Player with the most buildings?
Number of times resources are picked from Dock vs using a Building


It's not that these were be "goals" like a highscore list, but that it's sometimes a useful summary as a review of the finished game.

Yeah, getting these done is a later version as "eye candy" is fine... I'd rather have it finished enough to start playing online with friends. The more we play the more ideas we'll probably have as neat things to see.

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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Cool idea. Maybe I'll include this now or in a later version.

Please think of other categories and let me know what else you'd like to see in such statistics.
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Dan Schaeffer
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Ponton wrote:
Cool idea. Maybe I'll include this now or in a later version.

Please think of other categories and let me know what else you'd like to see in such statistics.

Um, speaking as someone who is very much looking forward to this, I personally would prefer that such features be added later unless adding them won't delay the availability.

I'm practically salivating here....
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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So, they'll be added later.
 
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Andre Metelo
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If you need a Linux tester, I have Ubuntu, fedora that I can test to see if it starts and executes properly.

Sorry, no German though. However I can do Spanish, Portuguese and to some extent Italian.
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Ryan Bruns
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Thank you for all of your work into this game/program. Can't wait to try it out.
 
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Unfortunately, I didn't meet Uwe again until now. This will drag the release a bit. Also, my latest updates must have screwed something that made the multiplayer game unplayable. I need to fix this next weekend. I'll talk to Uwe afterwards and maybe we'll get the game available soon afterwards.
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Jan B.
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I'm really psyched to try it out, but good things have to take time. So waiting for another few days certainly won't harm
 
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Andre Metelo
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Just an update on the app running on Linux...

Running o Ubuntu perfectly fine. Only 1 small issue that seems to also happen on Windoze.

Fedora is pending the test because my fedora server power supply died (planning to pick a new Power supply this evening after done with work!).

Also, thanks for all the work on the app, it does look awesome.
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Andre Metelo
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For the folks waiting for a fedora test... Unfortunately my server died, and I moved away from Fedora into Ubuntu server (nice that it was fairly easy to recover my raid 5, but I no longer have any fedora box.

Sorry..
 
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Zach Carter
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I can test fedora, and even maintain an installable rpm package. Lemme know if you want me to try it.
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Ryan Thornton
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Any April updates? Testing going well?
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