With this post I will finally get caught up with my gaming activities of last week just in time to have some new adventures at tonight’s game night! Woo hoo!
Anyway, I was hoping to get over to Hypermind on Saturday to play Le Havre with some of the regulars there, but between Samantha’s heiney issues and Gwen needing to work from home that morning, it didn’t really work out. During their (that’d be Samantha’s and Gwen’s) nap time, however, I went ahead and pulled it out to give it a try as a solo game.
The first thing that struck me about Le Havre this time was how organized it is in detailing exactly which cards are included with different numbers of players. There’s a lot of stuff to sort out before you can play, but the iconography and organization built into the cards and board makes it much easier than it could be.
Compared to the 3-player game, you get a heck of a lot more actions each round, but the required food payment gets incredible very quickly (increasing by 5 in each of the 7 rounds). In general, though, it was no problem to keep up with. I just used fish, then smoked fish, then bread and meat, and then started building enough ships that food was no longer a problem at all (I accumulated one wooden ship, two iron ships, and one steel ship by round 6). The ships then let me earn a lot of points through shipping in the last round as well.
Money seemed somehow harder to come by in the solo game than it did in the multiplayer game. But then again, I did buy or construct 14 buildings as well, so it may just be a false impression on my part. The Special Buildings that appeared in my game weren’t very useful, but the Town Square did come in handy a few times considering that I had 6 craftsman buildings in my possession (since it gave me one upgraded good per craftsman building). In fact, all of the buildings available were constructed by the end of the game, but I don’t have any frame of reference as to whether that’s normal in a solo game or not.
By the end, I scored 304 points. 98 of the points were in cash (made mostly through shipping in the last few turns) and 106 were from buildings and ships. Again, I don’t have much of a frame of reference here, but I think that I remember some experienced players say that they score in the 400-500 range, so I’m pretty pleased with how it went.
In comparing Le Havre solo to Agricola solo, I think that I’m liking Le Havre more. While there’s still plenty of tension in Le Havre, it doesn’t feel as oppressive as Agricola usually does to me. Maybe it’s because you get so many more actions in the game or because it is generally easier to come by the food you need, but whatever the reason, I feel more like I’m building something in Le Havre rather than just fighting to avoid all the negatives in Agricola. But for multiplayer, though, I still like Agricola a lot more both for it shorter time and more focused play.
But with whatever number of players, I also like how getting stuff done in Le Havre is almost always a multi-stage process. You get a supply of goods over here, upgrade it over there using energy from some wood you also collected, use it to construct another building that you need to make the other resource you need to build that ship. There’s a ton of forward-thinking and a wealth of options available each turn, and the escalation of food requirements for each round seem to be very well-balanced to be reasonable but in no way easy to acquire. If it only played a little quicker, I think that I could really fall in love with Le Havre…
Later that evening, Gwen and I had the opportunity to play some games together as well. We didn’t break any new ground or anything, though, and just mainly stuck to Ticket to Ride. We ended up playing the best-out-of-3 games, and in a totally abnormal result, I actually won the night. After splitting the first two games, I managed to claim both the globetrotter (most tickets) and longest-route bonuses to win the third. It seems like all Gwen wants to play these days is TtR, but maybe that’s because she needs a little more stability in her hobbies while her work situation is so crazy and hectic. I still hold out hope for Dominion getting into the rotation, though.
We actually then finished out the night with a play of Qwirkle. Again, I was just on a roll and ended up coming from behind to win this one as well. As I’m now approaching 10 plays of Qwirkle, my interest in it is definitely waning. While there’s certainly the possibility of making some neat little tactical plays, with even somewhat experienced players it seems to all come down to luck of the tile draw. It has a good place as a gateway game for domino or scrabble players, but to me, it just doesn’t stand up to repeated play.
So that’s it. Now it’s off to game night for some more material for more posts!