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Subject: Game length and comparison to Agricola and PR rss

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Andy Leber
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Hello.

It's almost time for a new game, and I'm strongly considering this one.

I've read a few reviews, and have a (very) basic Idea of what to expect. I do have a couple of questions. First, let me give you an idea of what I have and what I like.


I know nothing about Caylus

My entire group all love Puerto Rico a great deal, although we're mildy "burnt out" on it.

We recently got Agricola and like it alot. Our biggest issue is the huge amount of pressure, in regards to the limited amount of turns/rounds.

I realize this is key to the entire game. But we like that in PR you seem to have plenty of time to build your little empire. In Agricola, there's just not enough rounds to do what you want (again, I realize it's the point).

I love the fact that Agricola seems to be a deeper game than PR, and I think we all prefer the mechanics in Agricola. It's soley the round constraints that make us hesitate in saying it's better than PR.

All of that being said, we've only played Agricola about 5 or 6 times though, so our opinions may change drastically soon enough. But I digress....


SO.... (thanks for hanging in there with me) after all that, I really only have 2 fairly simplistic questions.


How is that particular aspect of Le Havre? Does is have that "There's not enough turns!!!" aspect? From the somewhat long gameplay time, I'd suspect perhaps not. But then again, the game does end after a certain amount of turns....

Second, how is the game length. I play most often with 3 players... occasionally 4 or more. With 3 players, if we are all experienced, am I still almost certain to take 2 hours?

A long game doesn't equal a bad game, but I know if it's going to always be 2 hours plus, it may see the table less, in which case purchasing it becomes less of a priority, based on my current gaming habits. (A classic favorite, Carcassone, mostly sits on the shelf becuase it's turned into a 3 hour epic with all of the expansions, even though we love it when we play).


Thanks in advance for your thoughts. I realize it was a big rant for 2 simple quesitons, but I wanted you guys to know what type of mindset I'm in.
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Short answer: Le Havre is a game of abundance, so no, you will not encounter the pressure/constraints you are used to in Agricola. If anything, you will probably find that you can accomplish more than what you're used to in Puerto Rico.

With three players, don't expect it to take less than 2.5 hours even with experience.
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Andy Leber
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JohnRayJr wrote:
Short answer: Le Havre is a game of abundance, so no, you will not encounter the pressure/constraints you are used to in Agricola. If anything, you will probably find that you can accomplish more than what you're used to in Puerto Rico.

With three players, don't expect it to take less than 2.5 hours even with experience.


Thanks for the reply. That is an epic game, 2.5 hours. I actually love that. All of our games (with the exception of the now bloated Carcassonne) are pretty quick hitters... less than an hour. It's a great feature of those games. But it's nice once in awhile to play something that has a bit "more" to it.




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Chris Ferejohn
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I find that even in PR you sometimes get a feeling of "wait, I just got my engine built" when the game ends. Maybe you get off one really good shipment. In Le Havre, you get to build your engine, and then turn the crank a couple times. This is satisfying, but it does lead to a longer game.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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The play time strongly depends on the players. I've seen these times recently:

3-player game (1 newbie, 2 very experienced players): 1.5 hours
4-player game (2 newbies, 2 very experienced players): 2.9 hours

The rules explanation took 15-20 minutes (extra).
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Andy Leber
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cferejohn wrote:
I find that even in PR you sometimes get a feeling of "wait, I just got my engine built" when the game ends. Maybe you get off one really good shipment. In Le Havre, you get to build your engine, and then turn the crank a couple times. This is satisfying, but it does lead to a longer game.


you're right, it definitely can happen it PR too.

I've heard a couple people say they've pulled off le havre in 90 minutes. Nice to know it's at least possible, if not the norm. The game sounds Intriguing.
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Stephen Rochelle
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Several of the respondents above have many more plays than I do, but I'll offer a dissenting opinion.

Early plays of Le Havre will feel an incredible pressure of not enough turns, significantly more so than Puerto Rico. You'll never quite have enough wood, you'll lack a building entry fee, and there's that feed phase coming up yet again. You'll land one shipping action you're actually satisfied with, maybe a second on the final non-blocking action if you're lucky. It's a game of abundance, and you won't slip into any sort of death spiral, but it won't feel particularly abundant during your early plays.

edit: note that this contrasts with early plays of Puerto Rico, where you're not doing anything particularly efficiently, but it sure looks like you're getting stuff done.
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El-ad David Amir
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Experience from two games of Le Havre: Definitely not enough time to do everything you want. The game was pretty stressing in that regard. However, after reading the rest of the replies on this thread, I got to the conclusion that my first three-four games of Agricola were characterized by stress to get stuff done as well. Nowadays, when playing Agricola, I usually set up a nice engine and expend my family by the seventh round pretty consistently. Hopefully the same will happen with Le Havre, cause so far we're having a blast playing the game.

(Oh, and we played three players in three hours and two players in two, just as the rules say. All of us are fast players and stay safely away from AP).
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Adam K
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Le Havre is a good game, however, I like it less every time I play it, because it takes too long. Even the shortened version (4 players) took 3 hours with one newbie.

Even though I'm an experienced gamer, I get bored the third hour. So a little less than 2 h would be perfect.
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Steve Duff
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lomn wrote:
Early plays of Le Havre will feel an incredible pressure of not enough turns, significantly more so than Puerto Rico. You'll never quite have enough wood, you'll lack a building entry fee, and there's that feed phase coming up yet again.


The good thing about Le Havre is that you get by that. In the early game, it's as you describe.

But usually, you progress through that stage, so by the middle and the late game, you really start to get a lot of stuff done and make a lot of money/goods.
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Derek Carver
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It's hard to compare/contrast the two games. The enormous number of cards in AGRICOLA brings variety. The cards in LE HAVRE are the same each game apart from a small number of Special Cards that are different each time. As for length - I find that four players take a fraction over 3 hours. A newcomer doesn't add to the time if the rest know how to play because the rules are extremely simple to understand.
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Geoff Burkman
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I agree that Le Havre tends to play longer than Agricola. I like both games, but prefer Agricola, and I think it's primarily the wide variety of cards that does the trick. Both games are tense exercises in threading your plans through a thicket of opposition play, with Le Havre being a bit more stress-free in terms of being able to accomplish the things you need done. My crew and I like Puerto Rico a lot, too, but got burned out on it after somewhere between 50-100 plays. We should probably give it another shot soon, I think, just to refresh ourselves on its intricacies.

I also like Caylus a lot, but haven't been able to talk my crew into playing it for a while. Ditto Ages of Empires III.

All good games, that's for sure, at least if you enjoy worker placement games.
 
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Corin A. Friesen
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Holmes108 wrote:
(A classic favorite, Carcassone, mostly sits on the shelf becuase it's turned into a 3 hour epic with all of the expansions, even though we love it when we play).

Uh... pardon me, but can't you just play with one or two expansions?

Le Havre is great, but it is a bit long. I love it every time I play it regardless.
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Andy Leber
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Ambrose wrote:

Uh... pardon me, but can't you just play with one or two expansions?


We could. But now that we have all of the expansion, we can't seem to bring ourselves to go "backwards".... without all the expansions it's just not hardcore enough! angry
 
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Craig Liken
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Just to add my bit, I agree with the other posters in that Le Havre is a longer game - our first couple of learning games with 3 players were certainly 3 hours +, but I guess it may come done somewhat once you know th e game better. For that reason it has not seen the play that Agricola has.

With 3 players, the requirements (feeding etc) to me don't seem as tense as those first few games of Agricola - it feels more open in that sense.

The other thing to perhaps consider is the interest of your players in this type of game - if you are all keen and thinking about strategy etc then it should go well. If you have one player that prefers lighter games and is more of a gamer only when sitting at the table (and otherwise not) then they might find this game hard-going.
 
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Julian Steindorfer
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if everybody plans his turns ahead and helps by giving out tokens,loans,money ,moving ships etc. the game flows very good and can be pretty fast..
i have played many two player game lasting around one hour...
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Joseph Cochran
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Our three-player games clock in between 1.5 and 2 hours pretty consistently with experienced players. This makes it my preferred three-player game because it's not too long that way.

With four we're at 2-3 hours depending on who among the experienced players is playing. Well, with the exception of yesterday when everyone had a deadline and once they realized it was closing in we played the last ten rounds and final actions in (I kid you not) 25 minutes.
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Ryan M
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As a noob to the game, my wife and I just played it 2 player. While the manual says it would take 45 minutes, it took us 90 minutes, not including set up time. So I imagine it is going to take longer to play than Agricola and to expect a good 3 hours play time.

The reason? You end up with so many choices that we spent a lot of time looking over all the available choices and trying to decide what we wanted to do. Since this was our first playthrough, we also had to keep re-reading the cards to try and remember what they did.

However, I also assume that once everyone knows the game, and can instantly understand all the buildings abilities based solely on name, you can cut the time down.

The game is a lot of fun.
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