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  • 08/22/14--06:46: New Image for Le Havre
  • by rkiss

    Storage solution

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  • 08/22/14--08:59: New Image for Le Havre
  • by rkiss

    Quick setup

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    by David Grabiner

    I just played my first short game, and realized that the standard advice, "Le Havre is a game about shipping. Build ships," is less valid in the short game. The value of a ship depends on the number of turns after you get it; you get food every round, and can use it for shipping. In the short game, you have fewer chances to use each ship.
    Therefore, ships are still a viable strategy, but they aren't the only strategy.

    In our game, the player to my right always took large woodpiles (and later iron piles) so I was never able to build a ship as he got three Wooden Ships and one Iron Ship. But since he didn't need to feed himself, and did need to take wood and iron, he left me piles of grain and cattle, and with those two and the Fishery and Smokehouse, I fed myself without ships. I was finally able to build a ship on the next-to-last turn, but with no ability to use the ship for shipping, and a buttery stocked with bread, it was better to build a Luxury Liner.

    I won the game by a rather interesting margin. On his final action, he shipped six steel and three other goods for 55 francs; this is why Le Havre is a shipping game. But he had no food, paid me 2 francs to use the Shipping Line which I had bought earlier, and I won 139-135 because of that 2-franc fee.

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    by SapoLJackson

    Un review muy bueno y detallado.. yo literalmente me lo acabo de comprar ahora mismo.. y le mande el link a mi esposa para que lo lea... I can't wait to play !!!!!!!!!

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    by SapoLJackson

    I'd been circling around this one for a few weeks and I finally gave in.. looking forward to playing it. I read it scales really well.. and it's especially awesome with 2p/3p. Can anyone tell me based on their experience which of the two make for a greater game? Cheers.

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    by Mr_Bickman

    I think it's equally great for both, but 3 player will make it a longer game, probably by more than you'd expect... at least that's been my experience.

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    by leeramos11

    I agree with the above. I'd play with two first to get acquainted with the rules and game flow, then ramp up to three. It can be a long game if players don't know what they are doing. Its a fun game. Good luck!

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    by SapoLJackson

    Awesome.. 2p is great for me cause I play a lot with my chick and I want her to start getting into more strategic "thinky" games. This game just strikes a chord with me... I loooove the theme.

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    by SapoLJackson

    As long as it's not 3 hours or more, am good lol.

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    by dkeisen


    I find 3 player a richer experience, but 2 player works just fine. 4 is also a fine game, but doesn't really add much to the 3 player game and I do not generally think it's worth playing with 4 because of the increased game length and increased down time.

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    by Desiderata

    I think it's only slightly better with 3, simply because of the few buildings that you don't get to use when playing with only two. That being said, I agree with the others that it's great still with only two and probably a good way to learn the game.

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    by davypi

    Desiderata wrote:

    I think it's only slightly better with 3, simply because of the few buildings that you don't get to use when playing with only two


    So add them in anyway. A friend of mine and I used to play a lot of 2P games and we would throw some of the 3 and 4P buildings into the stack. Since we both like building strategies more than shipping strategies, it allowed us to run that out a little longer. I think the docks is the only building you have to avoid in a 2P game. Getting four or five ships is too easy in a 2P game so the payout on the docks gets a little OP.

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    by David Grabiner

    The building values in Le Havre appear to be well-balanced. The opportunity to build a building is worth about 8 VP early, 10 VP late, and almost every building is close to these values.

    Therefore, early in the game, it doesn't matter much which buildings you build for the inherent value of the buildings. If you can build any two buildings, you should do that even if you have to pay two francs to use the Construction Firm and could build one at the Sawmill. You may need to build a particular building because you want to use it soon (Abbatoir when you have a lot of cattle and will need them for food), or because you will be using it frequently with your strategy and want to be sure you can get in (Colliery when you have no food and plan to eventually convert and ship a lot of coke).

    Later in the game, while the buildings are of about equal value, the bonus buildings are variable, and you'll want to get (and gather resources for) the right one. The Church is worth more than the Town Hall for the average player, but if you have the right buildings, you want the Town Hall.

    Basis for calculations:

    An entry fee of one food is considered to be 0.5 francs, and the number of times the building will be used is estimated from my experience in four-player games. (How often you will use the building doesn't matter much; if the entry is 1 franc, you will collect 1 franc from owning if someone else uses the building, and avoid paying 1 franc from owning if you use the building.) Entry fees likely to be paid in food on the last turn (2 Shipping Line, possibly a Wharf to build a Luxury Liner) are halved; this food cannot be converted to VP unless the player paying it has to pay with cash, or the receiver has the Storehouse or goes to the Bridge over the Seine later in the same turn.

    Building materials are worth 0.5 francs for wood, 1.5 for clay, 3 for bricks, 3 for iron. These numbers correspond to the relative effort to get the resources, and they also equalize the prices.

    In a three-player game, there is more shipping before the final turn, which makes the Shipping Line more valuable, probably 7 (3+2 uses) rather than 6 (2+2 uses). Conversely, the Bridge over the Seine is less likely to be used, and is 9 (1 use) rather than 11 (2 uses).

    Marketplace: 9 (value 6, 2W, 4 uses for 1)
    Sawmill: 9.5 (value 14, 1C+1I, 6 uses for free)
    Fishery: 9.5 (value 10, 1W+1C, 2 uses for 0.5; use is free but owner gets an extra fish worth 0.5 each time)
    Joinery: 7 (value 8, 3W, 1 use for 1)
    Bakehouse: 6.5 (value 8, 2C, 3 uses for 0.5)
    Hardware Store: 6 (value 8, 3C, 1 use for 0.5)
    Charcoal Kiln: 6.5 (value 8, 1C, 1 use for free)
    Smokehouse: 6 (value 6, 2W+1C, 2 uses for 1 and owner is likely to have the fishery and get one extra fish for 0.5)
    Abbatoir: 9 (value 8, 1W+1C+1I, 2 uses for 3)
    Clay Mound: bought only (value 2, 2 uses for 0.5)
    Arts Centre: 7 (value 10, 1W+2C, 1 use for 0.5)
    Wharf: 8 (value 14, 2W+2C+2I, 4 uses for 1)
    Black Market: bought only (value 2, 2 uses for 0.5)
    Brickworks: 10 (value 14, 2W+1C+1I, 3 uses for 0.5)
    Local Court: 11.5 (value 16, 3W+2C, 1 use for free)
    Colliery: 8 (value 10, 1W+2C, 3 uses for 1)
    Wharf: 7 (value 14, 2W+2C+2I, 3 uses for 1)
    Shipping Line: 6 (value 10, 2W+2B, 2 uses for 1, 2 last-turn uses for 0.5)
    Grocery Market: 7.5 (value 10, 1W+1B, 2 uses for 0.5)
    Tannery: 8.5 (value 12, 1W+1B, 1 use for free)
    Business Office: 9.5 (value 12, 4W+1C, 1 use for 1)
    Ironworks: 7.5 (value 12, 3W+2B, 3 uses for 1)
    Steel Mill: 10 (value 22, 4B+2I, 3 uses for 2)
    Storehouse: 9.5 (average value 12, 2W+2B, 5.5 added because your last action can be something productive such as Joinery for 7-1.5 rather than Bridge over the Seine)
    Cokery: 8 (value 18, 2B+2I, 2 uses for 1)
    Dock: 9.5 (average value 22, 1W+2B+2I)
    Bridge over the Seine: 11 (value 16, 3I, 2 uses for 2; last-turn uses are at full value because the fee is paid with francs)
    Town Hall: 9 (average value 20, 4B+3W)
    Bank: 9 (average value 30, 4B+1S, 1S assumed to be equivalent to 3I)
    Church: 11.5 (value 26, 5W+3B+3I, 0 uses for free)
    Football stadium (if in play): 11.5 (value 24, 1W+2B+2I)

    Building firm B1: bought only (value 4, 6 uses for free)
    Building firm B2: bought only (value 6, 3 uses for 0.5)
    Construction firm B3: bought only (value 8, 4 uses for 1)

    Notes:

    The best rate of return for buying buildings comes from the Marketplace (a popular first-turn buy) and the Abbatoir. The two buy-only buildings also have a good rate of return since they are so cheap. The Construction Firm also has a good rate of return if people are doing as much double-building as I recommend. Buying the first Wharf can eventually produce a lot of food, but you can likely get more food and other benefits by buying a Wooden Ship instead.

    Wharves can be worth more than indicated if ships are only built; in most games, special buildings produce francs, and these francs are used to buy some ships rather than to build them.

    By this analysis, the most valuable non-endgame building is the Local Court. The least valuable buildings are the Smokehouse, Hardware Store, and Shipping Line. The Smokehouse may be worth more if you build it in a situation in which you expect to use it; if it is your third Fishing symbol, you can alternate the Fishery and Smokehouse several times to get food and money.


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    by SapoLJackson

    Thanks for the info.. Am setting up a game right now n this is going to help.

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    by davypi

    Building materials are worth 0.5 francs for wood, 1.5 for clay, 3 for bricks, 3 for iron. These numbers correspond to the relative effort to get the resources, and they also equalize the prices.


    I'm curious to know how you came up with these values. Are they just estimations on your part or do you have some rigorous math to back this up? The main reason I ask is that I'm not entirely convinced that brick and iron should be evaluated equally. In the early game, you can get iron for free form the offer and you can also get it from the marketplace. In the late game, the ironworks has usually been built, so again, this is easy to acquire. In contrast, brick requires at least three actions - get clay, get energy, bake. I think brick needs to be rated as more valuable than iron. I'm also not sure that the wood/clay ratio is correct. There a four wood and two clay on the seven offer chits. If clay is only twice a rare as wood, why are making it three times as valuable?

    Other comments (in the same order you posted buildings)

    Sawmill/Fishery/Kiln: The sawmill can actually have a greater value than it initially appears. One of my common moves is to build the sawmill early and sell - this effectively lets you convert one iron/clay into seven bucks which is a far better deal than you can get anywhere else. Buy why do this? If you scrape up another seven dollars, you can flat out buy a wooden boat before the wharf is even built. I can usually do this within the four rounds of the game and the long term benefits far outweigh the short term losses. The fishery and Charcoal Kiln are also good candidates for this strategy. Again, the resource to money conversion is excellent and you're not getting enough entry fees from these buildings to care about what income you've missed.

    Hardware Store: We tend to get more than one use per game out of this building. Closer to three or four. Iron is rare until the ironworks is built. It also gives you a brick without having to spend an action baking clay. Going to this building is often as good or better than the marketplace. Don't know if this discrepancy is a problem with groupthink on your end or on mine.

    Colliery: Again, three uses seems too low. Coke/Steel is a major strategy in the game. You need coal to convert to coke and you need energy to bake Steel. Having 8+ coal stockpiled before going to the cokery is a powerful move. Even if you don't convert the coal, one trip to the colliery gives you enough energy to power four boats for shipping. I can't remember the last time I played a game where every player didn't hit this building at least once.

    Business Office: This is another one that I think can be highly debatable. A lot of people I play against like this building because they can get steel without baking. It gets used about 3-5 times in our games. However, I personally hate the building as, IMHO, its typically not an efficient conversion. (Also, the building has to be used repetitively as one steel is rarely useful on its own.) Since I usually win at this game, I'm inclined to say that better players are not going to use this building, but my actual gaming experience says otherwise.

    Ironworks: What I'm about to be said is probably true for all buildings, but I think its critical here. The value of the ironworks depends on where it is in the stack. If it is near the top of the stack, it will get built early and used often. Its the rarest basic resource on the offer track. You need it for boats. You need if you're going to ship steel. This is often a rush build if its only four deep or less as we can guarantee at least six uses of the building. If it gets buried, it can often be useless by the time it gets uncovered as people have already devised ways to work around the iron shortage. Still, I think in the end average of three is too low.

    Bridge: Nobody in our group actually uses this building anymore. When you first start playing, it seems like a great way to avoid waste at the end of the game. However, we are now experienced enough to start counting turns near the end game. We have much less waste and therefore often find better final moves than the bridge. I would say one use per game is an overestimate. Still, 3I -> 16 points is a great deal and I probably wouldn't turn down the build.

    Building Firm/Craftsmen: Something not included in your analysis that could be important here is that both building firms count as a craftsman in the marketplace and a hammer on the Clay Mound/Cokery. Paying the four bucks for the cheap building firm can be worthwhile for the extra goods they generate. This is a bit situational though as you should be constructing buildings in the early game, so I would probably only recommend this if you're not getting these bonuses from other sources. Still, any "early game" building with a craftsman icon should be worth at least half a point more because of the extra resource it will generate in the marketplace.

    In conclusion, I do want to say I appreciate the work you put into this. I've often wanted to try to figure out the the buildings were valuated and this is a good step in the right direction despite some disagreements about a few things. Personally, I've always wanted to figure out a way to substitute basic buildings with special buildings so that the game could have different setups. Its still not entirely clear to me why a building requires clay instead of wood (or a mixture of both) but if I ever sit down and work on it again, this at least provides a good road map for determining how many resources to ask to construct a particular building.

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    by Desiderata

    davypi wrote:

    Desiderata wrote:

    I think it's only slightly better with 3, simply because of the few buildings that you don't get to use when playing with only two


    So add them in anyway. A friend of mine and I used to play a lot of 2P games and we would throw some of the 3 and 4P buildings into the stack. Since we both like building strategies more than shipping strategies, it allowed us to run that out a little longer. I think the docks is the only building you have to avoid in a 2P game. Getting four or five ships is too easy in a 2P game so the payout on the docks gets a little OP.

    I might, if I were limited to playing this game only 2 player. But, I have enough friends who like it, so it isn't too difficult to get a 3 player game in.

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    by David Grabiner

    Thanks for your suggestions; I'll make the necessary changes to the initial post.

    davypi wrote:

    Building materials are worth 0.5 francs for wood, 1.5 for clay, 3 for bricks, 3 for iron. These numbers correspond to the relative effort to get the resources, and they also equalize the prices.


    I'm curious to know how you came up with these values. Are they just estimations on your part or do you have some rigorous math to back this up?

    These were just estimates, and they caused the numbers to fit reasonably, but your revision is probably better.

    The main reason I ask is that I'm not entirely convinced that brick and iron should be evaluated equally. In the early game, you can get iron for free form the offer and you can also get it from the marketplace. In the late game, the ironworks has usually been built, so again, this is easy to acquire. In contrast, brick requires at least three actions - get clay, get energy, bake. I think brick needs to be rated as more valuable than iron.

    You get money from the Brickworks which is worth more than the energy you used (3 francs is probably better than a coal), and you can bake a lot of bricks at once if you need them; by the time you need bricks, you can get four or five clay from the Clay Mound at any time.

    I'm also not sure that the wood/clay ratio is correct. There a four wood and two clay on the seven offer chits. If clay is only twice a rare as wood, why are making it three times as valuable?

    The 1/2 ratio is reasonable, although it isn't just an issue of frequency; there is only one grain and one iron per turn, but everyone agrees that iron is much more valuable.

    Still, I'll change the numbers to 0.5, 1, 3, and 2.5.

    Sawmill/Fishery/Kiln: The sawmill can actually have a greater value than it initially appears. One of my common moves is to build the sawmill early and sell - this effectively lets you convert one iron/clay into seven bucks which is a far better deal than you can get anywhere else. Buy why do this? If you scrape up another seven dollars, you can flat out buy a wooden boat before the wharf is even built. I can usually do this within the four rounds of the game and the long term benefits far outweigh the short term losses. The fishery and Charcoal Kiln are also good candidates for this strategy. Again, the resource to money conversion is excellent and you're not getting enough entry fees from these buildings to care about what income you've missed.

    For all of these, you have the decision of early francs versus later VP; these buildings, which are free, are the most likely candidates for selling, giving an extra option in addition to the value. The Local Court could also be sold for 8 francs, but it usually comes out late enough that 16 VP is better.

    It's hard to value this option, so I'll leave the VP value as is.

    Hardware Store: We tend to get more than one use per game out of this building. Closer to three or four. Iron is rare until the ironworks is built. It also gives you a brick without having to spend an action baking clay. Going to this building is often as good or better than the marketplace. Don't know if this discrepancy is a problem with groupthink on your end or on mine.

    I don't know either; it depends on when the brickworks comes out. If the Brickworks is late, two players need to use the Hardware Store to modernize the Wharves. I'll move it up to 2.

    Colliery: Again, three uses seems too low. Coke/Steel is a major strategy in the game. You need coal to convert to coke and you need energy to bake Steel. Having 8+ coal stockpiled before going to the cokery is a powerful move. Even if you don't convert the coal, one trip to the colliery gives you enough energy to power four boats for shipping. I can't remember the last time I played a game where every player didn't hit this building at least once.

    With four players, there is often one non-shipper who gets enough coal from the Marketplace and possibly a huge pile of charcoal. However, if there is one non-shipper, there will be one big shipper who is either making lots of steel or shipping coke, and will use the Colliery twice So the Colliery goes up to 4 and the Cokery to 3.

    Business Office: This is another one that I think can be highly debatable. A lot of people I play against like this building because they can get steel without baking. It gets used about 3-5 times in our games. However, I personally hate the building as, IMHO, its typically not an efficient conversion. (Also, the building has to be used repetitively as one steel is rarely useful on its own.) Since I usually win at this game, I'm inclined to say that better players are not going to use this building, but my actual gaming experience says otherwise.

    It is most likely to be used once, by a player who needs one steel to build the Bank, or possibly to buy a Luxury Liner.

    Ironworks: What I'm about to be said is probably true for all buildings, but I think its critical here. The value of the ironworks depends on where it is in the stack. If it is near the top of the stack, it will get built early and used often.

    Agreed. The Cokery is similar; if the Cokery or Colliery come out late, there won't be much coking. And on the other end, if the Grocery Market comes out early, it will become a major food source.

    Bridge: Nobody in our group actually uses this building anymore. When you first start playing, it seems like a great way to avoid waste at the end of the game. However, we are now experienced enough to start counting turns near the end game. We have much less waste and therefore often find better final moves than the bridge. I would say one use per game is an overestimate. Still, 3I -> 16 points is a great deal and I probably wouldn't turn down the build.

    With four players, there will be goods which cannot get shipped because of Shipping Line congestion, and there may also be a non-shipper. In most of my games, several players take Bridge over the Seine and Shipping Line as their last two actions. With three players, there is more shipping per visit to the Shipping Line and it clears more often, so it is likely that any non-shipper or incomplete shipper will just get the Storehouse and nobody will use the bridge. I will stick with two uses here because my numbers are based on four players.

    Building Firm/Craftsmen: Something not included in your analysis that could be important here is that both building firms count as a craftsman in the marketplace and a hammer on the Clay Mound/Cokery. Paying the four bucks for the cheap building firm can be worthwhile for the extra goods they generate. This is a bit situational though as you should be constructing buildings in the early game, so I would probably only recommend this if you're not getting these bonuses from other sources. Still, any "early game" building with a craftsman icon should be worth at least half a point more because of the extra resource it will generate in the marketplace.

    I neglected this for simplicity, but given how often the Marketplace is used, I think this is right. A craftsman before you use the Marketplace is an extra cow, so that is one point for a very early building and half a point for a later building. A half-point for a Hammer is worthwhile, as having one Hammer from a building you built may save you the need to buy one of the Building Firms just for the Hammer at the Colliery, or get you an extra clay at the Clay Mound. Fishing symbols are almost worthless, except for the Fishery itself, and the Smokehouse which makes the Fishery more valuable. And I should subtract half a point from a building which has no type, since it can't provide a bonus for anything at the end.

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    by David Grabiner

    Using the same estimates, building the newest ship is a better use of resources than building in a four-player game, even if you never use it to ship. Buying and building ships are of about equal benefit. Building any ships, especially wooden ships, is much more valuable with three players. Building two buildings at once is a bigger benefit than building a ship, except a wooden ship in a three-player game, or any ship which will be used a lot for shipping.

    A ship is worth its printed value, plus 1 because of the 1/4 chance you will have the Dock (in 4-player games), plus the value of any food it brings, plus an extra value for shipping.

    For all of these examples, the food value of a ship will be based on the assumption that it is the ship which became available that turn; building an older ship costs a few VPs compared to building the newer ship of the same type.

    A wooden ship costs 5 wood worth 2.5, and 1 (char)coal worth 2 (yes, three more wood is cheaper but you won't usually want to wait to hoard that much wood). This makes buying and building a wooden ship of about equal value; you can build for 4.5 and one building action, or buy for 14, which covers the value of a building action. In a 4-player game, the 2 food is worth 1 per round. Thus, if you build/buy a 6-VP ship in round 8, its value is 19.5; the gain of 15 is more than any building even if you never ship. Ignoring any shipping value, this is already as good as buying a Wharf for 14, gaining 4 from shipbuilding and .5 from the possible benefit of having the Bank. In a 3-player game, with 3 food per round but no Dock, the same ship is worth 25; the gain of 20.5 is more than two building actions.

    An iron ship costs 4 iron worth 10, and 1 (char)coal worth 2. Building iron ships is slightly more productive than buying them (unless there is an iron shortage because the Ironworks was late coming out); you can build for 12 and one building action (and an extra cost of 2 if you must modernize the wharf), or buy for 20. In a 4-player game, the 3 food is worth 1.5 per round. Thus, if you build/buy an 8-VP ship in round 12, its value is 22.5; this is a small benefit before any shipping. If you manage to buy the first iron ship in round 7, it is 24 VP, so that is still profitable. In a 3-player game, with 4 food, the 8-VP ship in round 12 is worth 24, and the 2-VP ship in round 7 is worth 28.

    A steel ship costs 2 steel worth 15, and 1 (char)coal worth 2. You can build for 17 and one building action (and an extra cost of 2 if you must modernize the wharf), or buy for 30. A late-game building action is worth 11, so building a steel ship on an already-modernized wharf is just as efficient a use of resources as buying it. In a 4-player game, the 5 food is worth 2.5 per round. In a 4-player game, if you build/buy a 16-VP steel ship in round 15, its value is 32; this is a small benefit before any shipping. In a 3-player game, its value is 34.

    A luxury liner costs 3 steel worth 22.5, and 1 (char)coal worth 2. The gain is 13.5, 9.5, and 5.5, plus 4 if you have the Dock (and you will know by the time you build luxury liners whether you have the Dock). This suggests that building the last luxury liner isn't a particularly efficient use of resources. And that can be confirmed by looking at the alternatives You get 30 VP for a whole action using three steel and one coal, while you could get 24 VP shipping the steel on an iron ship for only part of an action. As long as you have other ships and something to ship, it's better to plan to use the Shipping Line at the end of the game. However, you might take the luxury liner as a consolation prize, or ship everything but three steel, one coal, and two food on your next-to-last turn, then build the liner on your last turn.

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    by tumorous

    WHAT?

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    by Nicholas M

    After playing our first game yesterday and now reading this thread, I did check up on some rules and I think I might know what went wrong with the OP.
    We had all buildings in round 6, since we made the mistake that every ship goes on to the next token, regardless of wheter it is free or not. Needless to say, we had lots and lots of ressources (which is why I thought the game was boring). However, after finding this out I am eager to give it another try :)

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