Le Havre

Dec. 15th, 2009 10:18 am
[personal profile] dmaze
Last night's gaming brought us the first half of a game of Le Havre. It has a feel fairly similar to Agricola or Stone Age but felt more straightforward than either to me. It did tend to run long; the box said "100-200 minutes", we were running somewhat slowly, and got maybe halfway through in maybe two hours of playing.

I found the core dynamic of the game pretty easy to get into, which is nice in this sort of game. For doing the usual "first time playing this game" floundering I didn't feel like I had ruined my chances for the mid-to-late game, though since we stopped I also didn't get to find out whether my gamble would actually work. There are several types of resources, and on each player-turn two chits enter an "offering" pool. On your turn you then have the option of either taking all of the resources on offer of a single type or using a single building, with the additional option of spending money to buy a building. You can turn resources into buildings using the building-building building.

The interesting dynamic here is that money-as-cash is worth the same in victory points as value-in-buildings, so spending money to buy you a building doesn't directly help you win the game at all. You can get resources from other players who want to use a building you own, and in some cases owning buildings helps you get more resources from other buildings. Mostly, though, it feels like the way to win the early game is to turn small amounts of resource into valuable buildings.

I'd love to try this again, playing it through to the end. There is a "short game" option, which it looked like really was just a shorter version of the real game with only one or two minor changes (as opposed to the crippled option some other games give you as a "suggested first game"); no idea if that makes the game sufficiently shorter that you don't need to transition from an agriculture to an energy economy. Sadly, weeknight evenings just aren't the time to try to play 4-hour games.
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