Tuesday, October 20, 2009

12th Oct 2009 Session Report: 2-player Le Havre

Van surprised me by offering to game tonight so I took advantage of her enthusiasm to have a go at the full game of Le Havre. Our only previous attempt at 2-player was the shortened game which felt somewhat abrupt so I was reluctant at attempting it again despite the attractive playtime.

Van took the win 260+ to 230+ and I noted that we took as long (about 2 hours) to finish our 2-player game as our 3-player game with Marcus. My AP (analysis paralysis) contributed somewhat to the time taken as I guess I wasn't used to the short intervals between decisions. With 2 players, you have not just more actions to take over the course of the full game but they also come fast and furious at times since you take every alternate action.

I realized that there's a nice strategic and tactical tension in the game. I aimed for a coke shipping strategy but I discovered that I could blindly pursue that strategy without first evaluating the most profitable action each turn. Le Havre after all is still an efficiency game and a player taking the most tactically superior action each turn will probably do well. This evaluation however isn't easy with the number of buildings which increases over the course of the game. Comparing the piles of resources available may be more straightforward but definitely not when compared to possible returns when taking building actions. One may opt for a coke shipping strategy but the timing as to when to take the necessary steps towards the strategy is highly significant.

I clearly made some sub-optimal moves in the game, pursuing the strategy on turns when superior tactical moves were available. This lead me to be shut out of the solitary Wharf for a significant period which led to my downfall as I accumulated 8 loans and struggled to feed myself subsequently as the requirements rose. I waited for Van to build the Wharf but made a mental mistake when I realized I lacked the necessary resources to build a wooden ship. The rest was history...

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