Nov 12, 2015
Board games can be hit or miss when it comes to being ported to mobile devices, and with good reason; sometimes, it is hard to transfer the qualities that make them so good in the first place. Still, it’s a worthy endeavor, and I, for one, always look for an opportunity to check out mobile versions of worthy board adventures.
And here we have Le Havre: The Inland Port, a game based on a board game.
The opening menu is well stocked, packing sections for introduction, Overview and more, including a two-player mode. One quickly gleans that, like its physical source, it is a two-player game. Visually, it is a gentle looking affair, with light colors and defined pieces. Navigation boils down to intuitive taps and dragging.
The built-in tutorial starts off by teaching one how to put up buildings; it goes on in depth, going over the intricate process of procuring stuff, crafting and paying for stuff. As noted, it is a two-person affair, so it is turn based. During one’s hand, one looks to perform the actions previously described in strategic fashion.
A core aspect is the player’s warehouse. The warehouse houses currency and resources, and one needs to manage how these are used. Another idea to wrap one’s head around is using a building “effects” to increase one’s worth. In the end, it boils down to 12 rounds of battle, with the winner being the richest harbormaster at the end.
It did take me a bit of time to get the hang of things; the payment chart, for instance, threw me for a loop, and there was the temptation to simply click my way through in random fashion. Once the basics are understood, the gameplay mostly falls into place.
From the perspective of one who never played the physical board version prior, the game is surprisingly engaging. It’s a management simulation game that breathes life into the concept of opportunity costs, and manages to add in crafting elements on a turn-based template as well. It is a handful at first, yes, but it mostly comes together to form a cohesive, atypical experience.