Today’s post is about the ‘sequel’ of sorts to Agricola: LeHavre. Both games, along with At the Gates of Loyang, make up Uwe Rosenburg’s Harvest Trilogy.
The playing style of LeHavre is similar to Agricola, but the game has enough differences to make it unique. This game is special to me because it was the first real strategy-type game that I played. It was confusing at first- it took us about four hours to play it the first time.
The game board, stocked with resources
The game is very setup-intense-I counted once, and there are approximately 1 billion game pieces. Resources exist in the form of fish, coal, wood, iron, clay, grain, cows, hides and francs. All resources can be upgraded. For example, fish (worth 1 food) can be turned into smoked fish (worth 2 food), wood can be turned into charcoal for additional energy, and iron can be turned into steel. These upgrades are performed through buildings. To get smoked fish, you go to the smokehouse, for steel you visit the steelworks.
Each turn consists of two phases. After moving your game piece (a little wooden ship), you stock resources. Then you choose an action by placing your worker piece. You can either take a resource offer, like fish or wood, or you can perform an action, such as building or upgrading a resource. There are 7 turns in each round. At the end of the round comes the harvest phase. In this stage you pay the food requirements for the round.
The requirements go up quickly, and having enough food will be a problem. Building ships (made of wood, iron or steel) is crucial. A ship is worth a certain amount of food, which makes your quota at the end of the round drop. Additionally, ships can be used with the Shipping Line action to sell resources for extra gold. The number of rounds varies depending on the number of players. A two-person game has 16 rounds. At the end, the player with the most gold wins.
This is an intense
game. I quickly discovered that it is possible to wreck entire game strategies just by taking a resource pile at the wrong time. On the other hand, it definitely lowered my boyfriend’s overall score, meaning that our end game points were closer than normal. The piles of resources are extremely easy to knock over, sending cows and clay careening into the harbor, polluting the water supply and causing famine and pestilence across the land. Or so I like to imagine.
We could not keep the wood resources organized
Despite the long setup and take-down time, this game is well worth it. It’s difficult to learn, but not so bad once you get the hang of it. Strategies change each time, and are very dependent on what your opponents choose to do. It’s a little expensive
initially, but a great game investment.