Le Havre: The Inland Port is another digital iteration of a popular board game that’s available on Android and iOS. This is produced by Digidice, which also produces Patchwork and Castles of Burgundy (among other games). The designer of Le Havre: The Inland Port is Uwe Rosenberg, most famously known for designing Agricola.
The game itself is for two-players only and has players trying to accumulate the most money in the French port city of Le Havre. Over the course of twelve rounds, players will acquire four different resources (clay, fish, wheat and wood) and use those resources to purchase buildings, which will allow players to use special abilities during the course of the game (mostly to gain more resources) and will provide a value that translates to points at the end of the game.
Over the course of the twelve rounds, more buildings will become available to purchase (it’s always the same buildings each round as well so the B buildings in game one will be the same B buildings in game ten). A players turn consists of either building a building or using a building. Players can use their opponents buildings but must pay to do so. Those are the only choices.
After twelve rounds, the player with the most money will be declared the winner.
What’s interesting about Le Havre are the action spaces. When buildings are used, they’re either used two, three or four times. Once used however, they cannot be used for the remainder of the round and they’ll reset as the lowest number. The longer a building goes unused, the more times a player can use it once activated. It’s a risk/reward as players may have their buildings used by their opponent before they get the benefit.
I recently played a physical copy of Le Havre: The Inland Port for the first time ever and feel like this app captures the game almost perfectly. The icons and wording are large and easy to read and the ambiance, such as smokestacks smoking and birds flying, help create the atmosphere of the game. I also appreciated the information being on two separate screens. I would obviously prefer all information visible at once but that’s just not feasible for The Inland Port and instead, the player receives two easy to navigate and read screens instead of one busy screen.
The app features dragging and dropping for the purchasing and selling of buildings as well as clicking when trying to add or subtract resources. These two actions are on two separate screens so players will only ever see one view at a time. They can flip to the other view via a button in the lower left hand corner. This makes it easy to distinguish everything the game is throwing at you and ensure you don’t use the wrong motion (clicking instead of dragging) on the wrong screen.
The main screen features the buildings that have been purchased. They are organized by column (of how many uses they have this round) and are displayed by player. On the same screen is the market, which has the buildings that are available for purchase. This screen also features a look at each players resources and the current scores of the players.
The second screen is the warehouse, which is where players store their resources. The warehouse is another inventive way of tracking resources as it doesn’t follow a traditional left to right progression. I learned this the hard way as getting a resource to the end of the row isn’t necessarily helpful as it needs to move up to truly add more stock.
Le Havre: The Inland Port gives solo players the option to play against four different AI difficulty settings, ranging from Very Easy to Hard. The difficulties do feel different but for full transparency, I am awful at this game and was even struggling to defeat the Easy setting. I’m also not the biggest fan of Le Havre: The Inland Port personally so I was mostly playing games out of boredom.
In addition to the solo mode, the app supports pass and play as well as casual online play against friends that also own the game. There is also a ranked match vs a random opponent mode. I launched several ranked games but only ever found two matches. It was fine playing against another player. There’s not much interaction happening between players so I felt less engaged playing against virtual players and waiting for their turns to commence.
Lastly, the app offers a great tutorial that helps players learn the ends and outs of the game play and the location of items on the app itself.
As I mentioned earlier, the game itself isn’t my cup of tea but the app is a great implementation of the physical game. If you like the game, I’d recommend the app. If you want to try the game, the app is a great place to start. You will definitely know if you’re into this type of game after playing and honestly, I might have preferred it over the physical version as there was less record keeping with the buildings and resources digitally (as it’s automated). I wouldn’t jump on the app however if you’re just looking for another board game app to wet the whistle. I was surprised to see this as a digital implementation as I wasn’t sure that there was a big market for this game in app form. It’s a digital version of a physical game; I just wish they picked a different game.