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Le Havre (2014 Reprint)

Board Games > Strategy
RRP: £54.99
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The latest game designed by Uwe Rosenberg, creator of the smash-hit game Agricola.

In Le Havre, a player’s turn consists of two parts: First, distribute newly supplied goods onto the offer spaces; then take an action. As an action, players may choose either to take all goods of one type from an offer space or to use one of the available buildings. Building actions allow players to upgrade goods, sell them or use them to build their own buildings and ships. Buildings are both an investment opportunity and a revenue stream, as players must pay an entry fee to use buildings that they do not own. Ships, on the other hand, are primarily used to provide the food that is needed to feed the workers.

After every seven turns, the round ends: players’ cattle and grain may multiply through a Harvest, and players must feed their workers. After a fixed number of rounds, each player may carry out one final action, and then the game ends. Players add the value of their buildings and ships to their cash reserves. The player who has amassed the largest fortune is the winner.

  • Players 1-5, Ages 12+

Le Havre is a new resource-management and trading game from Uwe Rosenberg, the creator of the acclaimed Agricola. You are essentially running a business in the French harbour town of Le Havre. Through buying, trading and building ships and buildings you will gradually amass wealth. The player with the greatest fortune at the end of the game is the winner.

The art style is very similar to Agricola - it has a pleasing, cartoony style and does a good job of conveying important information through icons and symbols. The components are mostly cardboard apart from the wooden ships and player discs, but serve their purpose very well. I especially like the resource counters which can be flipped over to upgrade them - e.g. coal can be flipped over to change it into coke.

The gameplay is fairly straightforward to pick up but it takes a while to find an effective strategy. As is the norm for a Euro-style game, you always want to do more than you have the time or resources to do. Feeding your workers is always a constant pressure as you realise that the end of a round is approaching quicker than you anticipated.

In short, this is a fantastic game and even after a few plays I am already hooked. There are clearly multiple paths to victory and loads of potential strategies to explore. I really like the mechanics relating to building ownership; you have to pay an entry fee to use buildings that are not your own. So if you can build or buy a building that other players are likely to use regularly, you get a nice little income!

If you've played Agricola and liked it, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you this game. That's not to say it's simply a reinvention of a previous game. Some of the same core principles are here but it feels very fresh and different. And if you didn't like Agricola or haven't played it I would still encourage you to give Le Havre a try. Thoroughly recommended!
Rating: 9.6
Reviewed by: darrensacre

So I've played Le Havre twice now, and I'm still not convinced. It doesn't help that I lost again - though by a much smaller margin than last time.

I suppose the root of my difficulty is that I'm not convinced by the theme. If I am going to play a big, long, complicated beast of a gamer's game, then I want it to have some relationship with reality. And to me, Le Havre seems totally divorced from any kind of real economic system that I have ever come across. What is this strange world where goods are picked up for free from the dockside, where you stockpile coal in case you want to build a ship, and where a business's biggest problem is feeding its workers? (Surely you just outsource the staff canteen?) At least there is no money/VP dichotomy. But basically this is "Advanced Puerto Rico", and I think I would much rather play a few games of Race for the Galaxy instead, and still have time for something else.
Rating: 4.0
Reviewed by: peterh
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