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Subject: Calculable Tactics? Help decide if Le Havre is right for me. rss

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I've never played Le Havre personally and i won't unless i plunk down the money to do so. Please help me decide if it's right for me and my local group!

I'm a very analytical person and tend to look at the underlying game mechanics rather than the theme or experience. A "good" game is one that has solid mechanics and provides for some fun at the table too. I like competition, long-term strategy, and interaction. I want something medium-weight, but not needlessly complex.

Now, the people i play with are not like that. Some of them don't like too much direct conflict, are not very analytical, and may want something light-to-medium weight. Settlers+Seafarers or El Grande are just about right for them.

My primary concern is whether or not there is any single best option to take on my turn. Is this a game that a computer could analyze and say "this is precisely what you need to do to win," or does it really allow for a long-term strategy? When i play my turn, am i just playing the turn itself or am i contributing to my eventual victory by strategy?

My other concern is whether or not everybody else will dig it. I have a feeling that the lack of direct conflict and "sandbox" feel will please some and that there's enough numbers to (attempt to) crunch to appeal to the more analytical folks.

What do you think. Should i buy Le Havre?
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on conflict
El Grande is an "acceptable" level of conflict. It's more like "competition" than direct "i'm doing this specifically to ruin you" kinds of conflict.

I personally like conflict, but i have to consider what everyone else likes too.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Re: Calculable Tactics? Help decide if La Havre is right for me.
What games do you like now?

I'm a little confused by the question. Long term strategy (i.e. plans that can be made with little regard as to how people might react) is what a computer should be really really good at. Le Havre does let you map out a long term strategy but you will need to react to the actions of other players as well.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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leiavoia wrote:
El Grande is an "acceptable" level of conflict. It's more like "competition" than direct "i'm doing this specifically to ruin you" kinds of conflict.

I personally like conflict, but i have to consider what everyone else likes too.


Ah, there's not much chance to "ruin" anyone in Le Havre. You might want to check out Dominant Species though...
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Jason Reid
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I think of good Le Havre play as setting up chains of sequential, short-term strategies, and executing them. Sometimes you're executing on more than one at the same time.

Playing turn-to-turn is not going to win you many games. But it's typically at least a 3 hour game, and it's not like you can really pick your long-term path to victory from turn one. There's definitely some significant reaction to other players.
 
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cferejohn wrote:
What games do you like now?

I'm a little confused by the question. Long term strategy (i.e. plans that can be made with little regard as to how people might react) is what a computer should be really really good at.

As a programmer by trade, i'd have to disagree. Computers are great at analyzing quantifiable input (like what is on the board and how it could be used) but no so good at judging more amorphous concepts like "Player X is not technically winning but is in a good position to make a late game break."

Interesting trivia: "Go" is one of the hardest games to develop a computer AI for. It is very difficult for a computer to understand what it's own position is, whether it's good or bad, or how to deal with strategic concepts like "protecting my position" or "attacking a region". (On the other hand, Chess can be analyzed using computational brute force. According to the AI, there are optimal moves in Chess. I'm not a fan of games with nothing but optimal moves.)

cferejohn wrote:
Le Havre does let you map out a long term strategy but you will need to react to the actions of other players as well.


Oh, of course! Otherwise it wouldn't be a game!

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.

Quote:
Ah, there's not much chance to "ruin" anyone in Le Havre. You might want to check out Dominant Species though...


It's on preorder :-) Maybe i can actually find someone who would be willing to play it.

Quote:
Playing turn-to-turn is not going to win you many games


That's what i wanted to know. Thanks!
 
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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jasonwocky wrote:
Playing turn-to-turn is not going to win you many games. But it's typically at least a 3 hour game, and it's not like you can really pick your long-term path to victory from turn one. There's definitely some significant reaction to other players.


^^^^^ is why I never win LeHavre. No long term plan.
 
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ldsdbomber wrote:
I thought computers were good at tactics in the short term and BAD at long term strategy, hence their problems with chess (which they seem to have caught up on, but isnt this just being able to crunch more positions).


Basically yes.

ldsdbomber wrote:
I thought that in the early days, chessmasters beat the computers with longer term strategic moves, gambits and sacrifices that the computer could not grok in the long term


True. Modern AI systems also have thousands of game records to draw on as well. You can to some degree "teach" an AI to pick up on these sorts of tricks. But mostly it's the greater CPU power of modern machines that just let it plan further ahead.
 
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Len
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leiavoia wrote:


I'm a very analytical person and tend to look at the underlying game mechanics rather than the theme or experience. A "good" game is one that has solid mechanics and provides for some fun at the table too. I like competition, long-term strategy, and interaction. I want something medium-weight, but not needlessly complex.

...



This paragraph describes Le Havre pretty well. You will build a long term strategy as the game develops, but you must keep your eye on other players and what they are doing, as there is "indirect" conflict and (like any good euro) you do not want to do the same thing everyone else is doing.

Le Havre I think is defined by the many paths you can take to accumulate wealth, but if you do not choose one (perhaps a plan A and B), then you will lose.

While strategic, it still is tactical as other players might take something you need or block an action you want. Special buildings might also come out that you could take advantage of, so you adjust as you go along...but you must have develop a plan for the overall game as it progresses for your limited number of actions or you will lose more often than not.

There are many reviews written:

http://boardgamegeek.com/forum/391/le-havre/reviews
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