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Le Havre» Forums » Variants

Subject: Skill handicaps rss

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David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
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I've run into a problem with this game that I'm not entirely sure how to deal with. Le Havre is, easily, my favorite board game and I like to get it to the table whenever possible. The problem is that I've played and studied it so much that my skill level is disparate to the people who I play games with most often. My best gaming friend like economic type city builders so she likes the game, but somewhere around the midgame things fall apart and she gets really really frustrated. Either she doesn't have enough boats or were tied on boats but I have more resources, or something, and its a pretty clear who is going to win around turn ten. Our other regular has only played twice and might catch up with me given time, but he was ready to throw in the towel around the ninth or tenth round. Some of the newer gamer in our group are more into tactical or ameritrash games and not big on worker placement. To make the situation more clear, a game we played tonight scored 230/150/130. I want to keep this game in our regular rotation, buy my fear is that the continual clobbering is going to turn them off the game (not to mention that Stefan Feld and Mice and Mystics are quickly stealing a fair amount of table space.)

Aside from just handing out points, has anybody encountered any mechanistic handicaps that help even the playing field between different levels of players? The best thought I have so far is to halve the food requirements for the other players or perhaps give them a zero point wooden boat at the start of the game.
 
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Andrew
Australia
Perth Airport
WA
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I'd suggest that artificially handicapping yourself is not necessarily going to prevent your less "skilled" friends from being clobbered, nor is it likely to turn them around on a game they may be becoming negatively disposed towards.

Le Havre is a game that can certainly put you onto a very slippery downhill slope, and I've seen well-versed players go there. But, after a few games you get an idea of what to watch out for, how to nab a killer move, and how much to push the envelope.

So my recommendation is that you use your expertise to help them learn how to play well. Ideally, this teaches them to understand how to plan, implement and modify (when necessary) their strategies to thereby get the best experience from the games. It's also conducive to being friendly, meaning actually having a more pro-actively positive gaming session with your friends. Plus, as an added bonus, if you keep them interested for long enough, you could eventually see them give you a run for your money.

It's taken a couple of years, but my partner now often beats me at Railways of the World and Ticket to Ride and quite a few other things! I can't help but be proud of her as I consider my pathetic score...
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Grzegorz Kobiela
Germany
Hanover
Lower Saxony
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Editor at Lookout Games
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You can force yourself into different strategies. For example, if you always go for a shipload (see what I did there?) of loans, you may define to pay 1 franc PER loan of interest (only you, nobody else). Or start with x loans. Or do not start with any resources.
 
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Jason B
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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I second the idea of trying strategies you don't usually go for. Also, if your opponents are receptive, try giving them strategic advice and explaining why you would do what you would do. That will help them make better moves and learn the game.
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Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Come find me on Game Center ... I need a good beat down!
 
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