The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Quick Initial Thoughts — Le Havre Inland Port & Locomotive Werks

Le Havre Inland Port — Cromulent. A nice distillation of LH, but I think it’s long term replayability is hampered by having the buildings come up in the exact same order. A total information game with the exact same setup and only two player is not something that interests me. Indifferent.

Locomotive Werks — Another strange duck. A “train rush” 18xx style game, but with dice for demand. There’s enough here to make me want to play it a few more times, but after one play I took it off my “I’d trade for this” list. Possibly because our game was close (308, 307, 306) that it’s clear to all involved that the last dice roll decided it. But I’d play it again, for now, so Indifferent Plus.



Written by taogaming

March 16, 2013 at 9:19 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I share your concern about Inland Port’s replayability, Brian, but Ora et Labora is also a perfect information game with an identical setup and it’s one of my all-time favorites. So it’s clear Rosenberg is capable of pulling this off, greatly increasing my hopes for LH: IP. Besides, I don’t get the opportunity to play longish, meaty 2-player games very often, so the issue may be moot. That aside, I quite enjoyed my first game of it, despite the fact that it’s almost literally a spreadsheet game. Manuevering your cubes to take advantage of large increases was an interesting challenge and having to deal with the threats your opponent’s buildings provided overrode the dry mechanics. So right now, I’m viewing this as one of the better titles from last year, perhaps not surprisingly, since perfect information games DO interest me, if they’re handled with sufficient finesse.

    We played a good deal of Locomotive Werks when it first came out, but gave up on it due to the timing issues. The last roll is indeed critical, but there’s also an ebb and flow to your position, as you have a good turn, fall behind on the turn order, consequently do poorly, and then rise to the front again. It’s essential that you time this so that you’re at or near the front on the last turn, but this is very unpredictable. With competent play, the whole game comes down to this timing issue (and some decent rolling), which kind of ruined the game for us. Someone in our group came up with the appropriate 3-word review: “Locomotive doesn’t Werk”. As an aside, the trendy opinion that Martin Wallace somehow modelled Automobile after LW is proof that vast segments of the population are indulging in heavy drug use; outside of probabilistic demand of transportation devices, the two games have almost nothing in common.


    March 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

    • But Ora et Labora, being 3 players, is less prone to having a purely denial play work (which is fine in a zero sum game). That makes it less predictable and less interesting.


      March 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      • So you’re saying you’re worried about Inland Port’s replayability because it’s too predictable and you dislike Ora because it isn’t predictable enough?

        BTW, Ora plays very well with 2 players also. Just sayin’.


        March 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      • No, I disliked Ora because it was a minor improvement (at best) on games with no real flaw. Le Havre, in contrast, has a single road to victory, so it needed an update. But they turned it into a chess like game.


        March 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm

  2. I downgraded Ora et Labora significantly because I just can’t read the cards from across the table. At least the cards for Le Havre are readable from a distance. I will admit that my interest in Rosenberg’s big games has faded, to the point that I like Bohnanza and Mamma Mia more than any of his big games.

    Eric brosius

    March 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm

  3. Lokomotive Werks doesn’t usually generate such close finishes, at least, not when we play it. I’d be happy to play a game or two next month.

    And I’m one of those people, though as far as I know I’m drug-free, who sees a strong similarity with Automobile. I didn’t initially hear this from someone else, either. I thought it was clear the first time I played Automobile. This doesn’t mean I think Martin misused someone else’s ideas; there are big differences. If I liked Automobile, I’d own a copy.

    Eric brosius

    March 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm

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