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    by farmergiles

    It's easy, you simply ensure that you can't afford to feed yourself either with food or money. So simply collect resources, buy buildings with excess money quick or use it to pay others to visit their buildings. Buy ships, food is no longer an issue. Buy more of them. Job done.

    If someone won without buying a single boat, then the others must have not been doing heavy ship playstyles.

    Still can't get over the loans.

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    by grant5

    farmergiles wrote:

    It's easy, you simply ensure that you can't afford to feed yourself either with food or money. So simply collect resources, buy buildings with excess money quick or use it to pay others to visit their buildings. Buy ships, food is no longer an issue. Buy more of them. Job done.

    If someone won without buying a single boat, then the others must have not been doing heavy ship playstyles.

    Still can't get over the loans.

    Loans are SUPPOSED to be good in LH. Why does this upset you? If you’re approaching the game thinking lans should be inherently bad, you’re approaching the game with bad assumptions. Loans are NOT begging tokens. They’re a tool to be used.

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    by chipmafia

    Yes, it helps with setup quite a bit.

    Everything is right there together, and if you set up the wood card boxes correctly, it could take as few as 5 minutes to start.

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    by davypi

    farmergiles wrote:

    I've been testing the theory that you don't need a bunch of ships to win and can manage with any loans or ships. Now after many games, I can see that even though you can SURVIVE a game without any ships or loans, doing so will tank the game for you.


    For what I'm about to say, it bears pointing out that this thread is over four years old now.

    When you say "many games" my question is, at what player counts? As Brian pointed out early in the thread, handling feeding with fish/bread/cow is feasible with higher player counts. I have seen a no-boat/no-loan strategy work at the five player level. At four players, I think you still need at least one boat, but you can become less dependent upon them. However, both situations do require having access to "standard" forms of food and it also requires outbuilding all of the other players in order to keep pace with other player's shipping empires. I usually only play a 3 player game and tend to score extremely well, but the last time I got into a 4 player game, my usual strategies starting falling apart because I wasn't used to having fewer turns or having more competition for key actions in the game. Player count definitely has a more pronounced effect on strategy in Le Havre than it does in most other games that I play.

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    by apertotes

    chipmafia wrote:

    Yes, it helps with setup quite a bit.

    Everything is right there together, and if you set up the wood card boxes correctly, it could take as few as 5 minutes to start.


    Great! Does it help with cards setup at all? That was the worst part if I remember correctly.

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    by farmergiles

    Every other game treats a loan as bad hence most people will approach the game thinking that. Now I know they are an easy exploit but this has destroyed the game now as I'll never worry about taking loans again in bulk.

    Le Havre is only played at 3 players, sometimes 2. That's the fun counts. I refuse to play at 4-5, the downtime is too much with long length and only getting one action a round at times. So less players means mandatory ships then, ouch!

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    by Ponton

    Luke, loans are not your problem. Not wanting to get a single ship is. Ships are crucial in this game. I wouldn't have expected any less from a game about a harbor.

    You can win without taking any loans but you sure cannot win without any ships. I believe this is also stated in the rules somewhere.

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    by chipmafia

    Yes. The most important part of card setup in this game is to make sure you pack them up well.

    For instance, we only play 2p. So, the cards are ready for a 2p game. We just need to unpack. We still shuffle the buildings and sort them, but having them parsed in boxes is nice.


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    by grant5

    farmergiles wrote:

    Every other game treats a loan as bad

    Well that's just objectively false.

    hence most people will approach the game thinking that.

    Another bad assumption.

    Now I know they are an easy exploit but this has destroyed the game

    You keep using these loaded terms to try to reframe the game. Things that are meant to be used are not exploits. You not liking that is not destroying the game.

    now as I'll never worry about taking loans again in bulk.

    Good, you're not supposed to have to worry about it, as long as you have a plan to pay them off...
    And on that note, earlier you said that your opponent took 10 loans, then later shipped a bunch of stuff to "buy" a luxury liner, and one luxury liner canceled out "ALL" of his loans. Since it wouldn't make any sense to buy a luxury liner, and even if you built one that would in no way cancel out 10 loans, I really have to question if you actually understand the game you're talking about here...

    So less players means mandatory ships then, ouch!

    And, like Ponton said, this really gets to the heart of it. Despite your hatred of loans, your biggest problem is that you thought it was a good strategy to play a game about a harbor (where you essentially run a building and shipping company), without ever getting a ship.

    It really sounds like you want this game to be something that its not. And that's fine, just don't blame the game for that.

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    by farmergiles

    I don't class debt as a good thing, but I'm an accountant so that's normal! :P

    There's "using" them and then there's deliberately ensuring you take 8-10 of the things without any concern for paying them off until the end of the game. It completely enabled a steamrolling of the endgame as ships eradicated his late-game need for food and generated more points per ship than most buildings in our cities that we'd spent precious actions building up.

    I'm all for taking the odd loan here and there, but any bank that says "yeah go on, have even more loans on top of your old ones" is a little hard to believe.

    I don't know the exact amount of loans, 10 might be too many, but I was talking on a rough basis, perhaps it was 8 or so. But I remember that the vast majority of his loan pile was offset by one single liner, so prob 8 loans as they are worth 34-36 points each right? Either way, it was a pretty easy method for getting rid of what should be a massive end-game scoring negative.

    Mainly it's the interest rule. One franc each round no matter what, it's so insignificant when you're scoring 200+ points that it might as well not even be there. It needs to be one franc PER LOAN - that way loans are balanced out, ship spam is much harder to achieve, job sorted.

    I played it more for the tradesmen aspect. I'm going to focus on fishing, or baking or mining steel or tanning hides etc. basically the interesting stuff. Shipping to me isn't interesting - yay I got a big ship and I put stuff on it. It's like train pick up and deliver games, they have zero interest for me as a theme. The ships were an afterthought, merely an alternative path to victory I could take (note I was taught the game in the early days so I never had to physically read the book again other than to reference key rules so I would have missed the part about the designer warning about avoiding ships entirely).

    But it does make it seem more linear as a game now. Caverna and Fields of Arle wow me from Rosenberg because they allow for proper variety in paths to victory and choices of what role you want to play. Le Havre did that for me originally but my first many games were with players who didn't go nuts on loans. Now over time all I see is loan/ship spam winning games and it's a major put off, hence I went on my experiment mission to see if it was possible to win without ships/loans. Sadly it's not, 2nd place out of 3 is the best I could do but 2nd by a LONG margin.

    I know a lot of it is on me, but it's not a nice feeling to have a game you originally loved, drop so much for you. Went on Top 100 before, then "just" fell off the next year, now I don't know if I even want to keep the game any more with Caverna/Arle and even to a lesser extent Odin offering more variety.


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    by apertotes

    chipmafia wrote:

    We still shuffle the buildings and sort them


    Oh, that was the part I was looking forward to streamline :-( Although being realistic, I do not see how it could be done.

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    by grant5

    farmergiles wrote:

    I don't class debt as a good thing, but I'm an accountant so that's normal!

    As an accountant, I'd expect you to recognize debt as neither inherently good nor bad, but rather a situationaly useful tool. Both in games and in real life, it carries with it the potential for both success or ruin depending on why its incurred and what you do with the capital it produces.

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    by Ponton

    Just for the record, even the most valuable Luxury Liner (38 francs, IIRC) can only "cancel" 5 loans, which are worth -7 francs unless you pay them back for 5 francs each (which you cannot do via a Luxury Liner - unless you sell it off for half of its value, which would cover for only 3 loans).

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    by tumorous

    Okay now meet me over in the Agricola forum, I want to talk about winning the base game without family growth. (Sex is bad, right?)

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    by farmergiles

    I think he had 8 but so many ships and buildings as he didn't have to waste time on food that he more than made up for the point loss. A couple of 25+ point shipping turns and we just gave up.

    Lol with Agricola although technically it's a game about farming, that doesn't necessarily imply family raising as well! 🤣 Though to be honest even though that forces you to get workers, there's more issue with the end game scoring!

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    by LSMB

    farmergiles wrote:

    Every other game treats a loan as bad hence most people will approach the game thinking that. Now I know they are an easy exploit but this has destroyed the game now as I'll never worry about taking loans again in bulk.

    Le Havre is only played at 3 players, sometimes 2. That's the fun counts. I refuse to play at 4-5, the downtime is too much with long length and only getting one action a round at times. So less players means mandatory ships then, ouch!


    The theme of the game is to build a shipping business, and do it faster and better than your opponents. It is not clear to me why one would play this game thinking you should avoid building ships. It is central to the game.

    As for loans, everyone has equal access to them. You need to find ways via the cards and your strategy to beat your opponents. I'm not sure higher interest rates would make it more fun. In fact, the rules tell you to not fear loans explicitly.

    This is not Agricola. :)

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    by chipmafia

    Well, the nature of the game is a variable startup. Since we only ever play 2p, our setup is the same each time (save randomizing the town buildings and specials)

    If you had varying player numbers, that will always be slower, and it would be hard to find a way to make it fast.

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    by Ingulphus

    Hello all - just bought Le Havre (Mayfair ed) off Amazon for £26.76 including postage. Right now there's one left, so get it while you can!

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    by torocra

    Great deal - just placed my order

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    by sirgalin

    farmergiles wrote:


    I played it more for the tradesmen aspect. I'm going to focus on fishing, or baking or mining steel or tanning hides etc. basically the interesting stuff. Shipping to me isn't interesting - yay I got a big ship and I put stuff on it. It's like train pick up and deliver games, they have zero interest for me as a theme. The ships were an afterthought, merely an alternative path to victory I could take (note I was taught the game in the early days so I never had to physically read the book again other than to reference key rules so I would have missed the part about the designer warning about avoiding ships entirely).


    Le Harve might not be your game. It's unlike Agricola/Caverna/Arle. Similar to the way that Loyang is so unlike those other games (not that it's at all similar to Loyang).

    You might try Ora et Labora if you haven't yet. Or if you want to break out of Uwe games, take a look at Roads and Boats. Both focus on the gathering and upgrading/spending of resources.

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