Meanwhile on table 2…Neil, Jon, Sam and I cracked open Le Havre, a wonderful Economic Euro-game where each player attempts to build buildings and ships for the ultimate goal of scoring the most points, but rather vitally needing to save enough food each round to slake the hunger of their greedy workers. Each round a number of resources become available and players take turns helping themselves to these stashes, or else using any building in the game for special effects. It is a question of careful planning, good timing and a good strategy. 2 very different strategies stood out in this game; I concentrated on building a strong fleet of ships to make food collection easy. This involved building the first wharf and also the shipping lines building to take advantage of trading resources for Francs near the end of the game. This strategy appeared to be paying dividends until right near the end when it became clear what Jon’s road to victory would entail: bonus points for each resource he had in his possession, which was a lot! Jon claimed the win with 132 points, I gained second with 118 while the battle for third place went to Sam with 96 points, Neil close behind with 92. Ann important addition to world philosophy was also coined in the form of Neil’s first law: “If you’ve got wood, you’ve got energy.”
It’s easy to see how the game is ranked 12th on Board Game Geek once you’ve played it a couple of times. Games that have an average rating of over 8 are rare and highly prized; achieving 8.01, which currently equals Power Grid, places this game in the upper echelons thanks to a combination of theme, good mechanisms and a huge choice of options for each player. These options come at a cost, which is the cost of time. Each round is split into 7 actions alternating between the players; there are 20 rounds, plus 1 extra action for every player at the end of the game. In a 4 player game, that means there are 144 decisions to make and inevitably, when every player wants to make the best of their turns it’s going to take a while. Our game finished in just over 3 hours which some players may find a little much, although games with new players are bound to take longer due to teaching the fundamentals and also becoming more familiar with the actions available. For me, I think this game fully deserves its place on Neil’s shelf and 14,684 other people agree with me.
The long play time of Le Havre allowed our Francis Drake wannabes to get out one more game, a family favourite that won the coveted Spiel des Jahres in 2014: Camel up. A game for 2-8 players, this looks like a barrel of laughs as players attempt to bet on 5 racing camels. I like a game with good components and this definitely wins in that category, the pyramid dice tower providing a nice focal point to this attractive game. I definitely hope to be betting on camels in the upcoming weeks. It's ranked 117th in family games on Board Game Geek, a rating that I'm sure the designer and publishers would like to continue rising.
Following evidence from an independent committee, it has come to my attention that Chris will in fact be awarded the Fraud of the Week award due to confusing me with fake scoring in Francis Drake. Jess is most definitely the gamer of the week.