His second big-box work game was based on the French port of Le Havre, aptly named Le Havre. [Note: I call them "big box" because they come in the same sized box that generally retails at approximately $70.] In Le Havre, each player is a business person trying to make the most money working the port. The game is divided into a specific number of rounds (based on the number of players), with each round consisting of seven turns. Players take turns in order. On a turn, a player does two things: move a wooden ship to the next space on the ship track (which places two new goods on the docks of Le Havre) and take an action, which can either be claiming a dock full of goods or using a building. At the end of each round, players have to pay a cost in food (or Francs) to support their workforce. This process continues until the end of the final round.
|Gameplay in progress.|
|Le Havre for iOS (iPhone and iPad)|
The layout resembles the original Le Havre pretty well and has full color versions of every card that appears in the game. For people familiar with the board game, the iOS version puts everything in the same "place" as you would expect it to be on the tabletop. I considered that a nice feature as it made playing it more intuitive for an old-hat tabletop gamer. In addition, the game does allow for multiple human players. It also allows them to be seated on either side of the iPad (you select each player's relative position when starting the game). That way, I can play on one side and my friend can play on the other and each of us sees it "facing us." Overall, it feels like it turns a two to three hour tabletop game into a twenty minute iPad game. That, in itself, is nice.
|Setup. It allows 1-5 players with AI opponents of varying difficulties.|
The arrow by the Human Players indicates orientation of the player
around the iPad. It even allows for the "short game."
|Second Round of my First Game of iOS Le Havre|
|This is me by Round 13, not winning.|
Oh, and it has music. The music is ... French harbor music? I am not sure that a better name exists. At least the game has an option to allow create a playlist from your MP3/AAC collection that plays instead of the French harbor music. So, if you want to convert Wood to Charcoal while listening to Rhapsody of Fire, you can do that. At least they are considerate of your musical needs.
As of the current version (Version 1.0 on the iTunes Store), there are still occasional bugs. I played it on an iPad 2 and had the occasional "card freak out," where the card decided to stall in the wrong place. The game continued and it resolved itself by the time that player's next turn arrived, but it is a bit frustrating to have the peculiar image of a Wooden Ship card stuck in the corner of the screen.
So, is it worth it? Well, as a person who owns the original board game, I would say it was definitely worth my $4.99. It is a relatively intense worker placement/labor management game, something that may not appeal to every player, but I think conversion into iOS has definitely removed some of the less pleasant fidget and twitch from the game and made it more about making decisions. It is an attractive, faithful reproduction of the board game that takes out some of the worst parts of the game (setup). However, as the Uwe Rosenberg games are notorious for upsetting some players, it probably warrants a play-through prior to purchase to make sure you like this kind of thing.
[Note: For the avid Le Havre players, I do not believe that this version contains the small Special Building expansion, Le Havre: Le Grand Hameau.]