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Subject: Le Havre or Automobile rss

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Randolph Bookman
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I haven't played either but both sound good.
 
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Jim Cote
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I've played Le Havre, and I would recommend Automobile. whistle
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Tim Harrison
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shieldwolf wrote:
I haven't played either but both sound good.


Le Havre is a *much* better game in my opinion. For one, you'll make a lot more decisions in the same time frame.
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Mark Wilder
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I've played both and I think that they are both excellent games. My recommendation is to get Le Havre now and wait for the Phalanx/Mayfair reprint of Automobile and get it then.

If it really is either one or the other, then I would say that if you're looking for something broad and flexible and loose (like Agricola) then go with Le Havre, and if you're looking for something tight and thinky like Age of Steam (thought it's not nearly THAT unforgiving), then go with Automobile.

Both are great, IMHO.
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Helen Holzgrafe
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I have played Le Havre and enjoy it very much. It hits the table pretty often. It is a long game and somewhat fiddly, though. I watched my husband play Automobile last week while I played something else nearby.

He loves tight games like Age of Steam and such, but it was clear watching him that Automobile was not much fun to play. He came away saying we could cross it off our "must get" list. He also said if a copy landed in his lap he would not turn it away either.

He felt the game required too much thinking and planning that ultimately depends on what is revealed in card draws late in the game. If you planned for one thing and the other comes up (and there's not enough time to plan for both, so you must choose), then you've wasted pretty much the whole game.

We have a simple philosophy in gaming. If you are playing a thinky, tight game, then there should be very little randomness. It's just too frustrating otherwise. Randomness has it's place in lighter games.

So, my two cents worth.

-Helen
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Walt
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Le Havre is one of those games where you either play it badly the first few times until you understand the economic structure, or you go off in a corner and study its economics for a few hours so you can play decently. Commodities are unbalanced so you need to know which work and which are dead ends. You also need to know exactly when to buy ships or you'll be fighting the game just to feed your people--it's a tipping point, not a gentle slope like Stone Age.

Automobile has all the mechanics visible and obvious. You can look ahead and see what you need to do. It flows smoothly, except at the end when there's a lot of, "If I do A, I'll make $400; if I do B, I'll make $350; if I do C, I'll make $450--okay, I'll do C." But it's not terrible. However, the situations in the game are quite limited, so its replay value is low, I think.
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McDog
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Boy, this one is kinda tough. I guess I'd suggest Le Havre if I had to choose. I really like both games though.
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Doug Faust
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Both great games, but I prefer Automobile. Automobile has very tight game mechanics, where Le Havre can be a giant mess.
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Tony Chen
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I have played both. Automobile.

But I would've given the same recommendation having only played Le Havre.
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Randolph Bookman
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maybe I haven't read enough about automobile but it sounds like a market game and I wrong in that assessment?
 
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Железный комиссар
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shieldwolf wrote:
maybe I haven't read enough about automobile but it sounds like a market game and I wrong in that assessment?


Not sure what you mean. You produce cars to meet a demand level that is randomly determined. A very small piece of that demand is revealed to you at the beginning of your turn. As information relevant to your planning, this piece is basically useless. In my experience (six plays) you make a plan based on what's likely, and then respond to what actually happens in the executive decision phase. However, that's just not where the heart of the game is. I can see being frustrated if that's where you thought it should be. The challenging aspect of Automobile is managing your losses relative to other players, your overall cash flow, and your presence in three market segments (diversification) relative to other players. That's where the game is won and lost.

As for a recommendation, you're looking at games that are extremely dependent on player count. Le Havre is best with three players, period. I would play it with two. I would flat out refuse to play with four or five. Automobile is an excellent five-player game. I would play with four on occasion but probably never suggest it myself.

Otherwise they have pretty much nothing in common. Le Havre involves making and executing little plans over and over and over again. In a 3-player game, you get 43 moves. In Automobile you have a mere 12 base actions to work with, and those are actually fairly constrained. There is a fair amount of "hidden" decision-making regarding timing and quantity, but the room to explore and act still doesn't come anywhere close to Le Havre.

Both are good games. I rate Le Havre a 10 and Automobile a 9 (with 5 players). I've played Le Havre 24 times and Automobile 6. I really don't know which one to recommend to you without knowing more about why you're interested in either game.
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Randolph Bookman
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That's interesting Why no more than 3. My friends have been playing 4 player games and can't wait to try 5
 
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shieldwolf wrote:
That's interesting Why no more than 3. My friends have been playing 4 player games and can't wait to try 5


Three reasons. First, one of the main attractions of the game is figuring out what you can accomplish in 1-2 rounds. There is a place for long-term strategy, but if you don't have a concrete short-term gameplan, you're losing. In a four-player game, the actions split 2-2-2-1, so every fourth round you get to do exactly one thing before the upkeep kicks in. That sucks. In a 5-player game, the actions split 2-2-1-1-1, so most of the time you get exactly one move before the end of the round. Sure, the upkeep scales down somewhat to account for this, but it takes forever to get anything done. One of the great things about the three-player game is that every third round, you get three moves (2-2-3). Essentially there are periodic opportunities to make a "push" before the round ends.

Second, even though you play more rounds in a 4 and 5 player game, the number of total moves you make goes down significantly. In absolute terms, each player will accomplish less the more players you add, but the game gets longer. You do a lot less and take a lot longer to do it.

Third, one of the core mechanics in Le Havre is assessing and predicting what will happen with the offer spaces. In the 3-player game, this provides consistently interesting decisions. With more players, your ability to plan around the other players' likely moves goes down. Observation gives way to speculation. Taken with points one and two, this means you're on shakier ground in the pursuit of more meager long-term goals.

In short, the more players you add, the more dilute the experience becomes. You do less, you do it slower, and the decisions you make become less interesting.
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