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iPad  header logo

Le Havre

For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Food for thought

Product: Le Havre | Developer: Codito Development | Publisher: Codito Development | Format: iPad | Genre: Card/ board game | Players: 1-5 | Networking: wireless (network), on one device | Version: Europe
Le Havre iPad, thumbnail 1
If you're finding iPad boardgame titles like Ticket To Ride and Catan far too easy for your sophisticated palate, then say hello to Le Havre - the boardgame with an almost vertical learning curve.

It's worth scaling the initially intimidating incline, however, as behind the wealth of icons and logic-stretching rules is a clever, if tough, game.

Settle down

The aim of Le Havre is to accumulate the most wealth when the game ends. To do this, you and your opponents have to create goods, build buildings, charge rent for said buildings, and generally get in each others' face from the get-go.

There's a ton of tiny bits and pieces to keep track of - from supply levels to building cards, turn orders, and your permanently dwindling food supply.

This, naturally, leaves the interface cluttered and intimidating, although it's difficult to imagine how developer Codito might have improved on it given the nature of the source material.

Helping matters is a step-by-step tutorial and plentiful help screens, FAQs, and even a 'hint' button that tells you what to play next. Despite all this help, however, players new to the boardgame will find themselves completely overwhelmed for the first few games.

Weigh anchor

This iPad version comes with local, pass-and-play, and online multiplayer, with solo players able to play against up to four AI opponents. The AI comes in four difficulty levels, with the easiest prone to bankruptcy and the hardest prone to starving you and leaving your broken body on the nearest wharf.

The asynchronous online mode via Game Center should in theory be the crowning jewel of the feature list, but the presence of the 'hint' (read: 'cheat') button makes it difficult to be sure of a good clean contest.

If you can resist hitting the 'hint' button every turn, Le Havre turns out to be a smart title with a lot of nuanced tactics - especially in the 'Long' variety of the game, which introduces powerful special buildings into the mix.

Those coming into boardgaming fresh would be wise to try their hands at the easier titles on the App Store first, but fans of games like Caylus should add Le Havre to their shipping manifest.
Le Havre
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 28 June 2012
Tough and brutal despite plentiful hints and in-depth tutorial, Le Havre is a faithful recreation of the award-winning boardgame
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