#39 – Le Havre


At a Glance: Le Havre has a complex, slick design and is a step-up into heavy strategy for those who already like games like Catan.

Le Havre is a deep strategy game for 1-5 people where the players will be taking goods that have been shipped into the harbor and using buildings in the town to manufacture them into upgraded refined products. I’m glossing over MOST of the finer details and rules because this game is pretty deep and multi-faceted. There are so many options for things to do on your turn. You can smoke fish, turn clay into brick, grain into bread, coal into coke, wood into charcoal, iron into steel, hides into leather or butcher cattle for meat. Then using all these refined goods, players may build other establishments or purchase ships, which help to feed all your workers who are doing all this cool stuff. The options become more and more lucrative as more establishments are built in the port town. After a fixed number of rounds, whoever has the most wealth is the winner.

Le Havre is designed by Uwe Rosenberg and what a design it is. It is a complex, well-oiled machine and all the more impressive considering the variable nature of each game since establishments will be featured in a different order each time. Within that efficient machine, each player has their own engine to develop, so to speak. The game also scales pretty well, as it’s just as fun with 2 players as it is with 4 or 5. There are so many available ventures, but it does not feel like work because it is satisfying to grow your fortune and develop your investments. The theme itself doesn’t even seem exciting—shipping & manufacturing—but it is a complex brain-burner that just feels good, because of the challenge and the many interesting options.

Special Buildings

If you like economics and related activities, this one is great. Or if you really like Catan and are interested in a heavier weight Eurogame, this is one of the best. There are a ton of components, nothing too fancy, but they get the job done. The symbology is useful once you get used to it. This one scratches the itch when you’re in the mood for a heavy strategy game. Excellent.

Check it out: https://amzn.to/2FBecxz

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