Harbour is a game by Scott Almes, published by Tasty Minstrel Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be trying to collect and exchange goods to make shipments so that they can purchase as many buildings as possible. The player that is best able to manipulate things so that they have the most valuable buildings at the end of the game, will be declared the winner.
To begin, the market board is placed in the center of the play area. Each player will receive 2 player boards and pawn in their chosen color. They will choose one of the characters to keep and discard the other. The player board is placed in front of the player with the character side up. Players will also receive a set of goods markers which are placed on their player board on the 1 crate square to indicate that they have 1 of each good. The goods markers are also randomly placed on the market card. The building cards are all shuffled together. You will then draw a number of cards equal to the number of players and place them face up on the table along with the Lighthouse, Canal Lock and Shipbuilder’s Guild cards. These will be the first building available to purchase. The remaining cards are placed face down on the table. Play now begins.
On a player’s turn, they will move their pawn to a vacant building that isn’t occupied by another pawn. They may place it on one of the buildings in the center of the play area, on a player’s own building, or on their player board which also has a starting building on it. They can also place them on a building that is owned by another player by paying them one good of their choice for the privilege. The player will then perform that building’s action. These actions normally allow them to gain goods, convert goods, buy buildings or some other special action. If at any time the player gains or loses goods, they will adjust their respective goods marker on their player board either up or down depending on whether they gained or lost goods. A player can never exceed 6 goods of a certain type or go below 0. As a matter of fact, a player can not take an action that would cause them to go below 0 in any particular good.
Now let me explain how to purchase a building. Shipping goods is the only way that a player is able to do this. The player will begin by taking a “buy a building” action but they must first meet the minimum requirements of the goods they wish to ship by checking it against the market board. When the goods are shipped, money is gained equal to the number shown on the market board. The goods markers are then shifted down to the ship space on the market board to indicate that it has been shipped. Once shipping is completed, the goods markers that weren’t used shift to the right and the ones used are placed from the farthest ship on the right and enter the market in the farthest spot to the left. A new card is drawn to replace the purchased building. These buildings have different symbols that will benefit the owner of the building.
The game continues back and forth until one player finishes building their 4th building. The other players get one last turn before the end of the game. Scoring then takes place by totaling up the victory points of each player’s buildings adding any bonuses from special abilities. The player with the most points is the winner.
This game has some really great looking pieces. The brightly colored player pawns are wooden and look like little pirates or captains of some sort. The goods markers are also wooden and brightly colored as well. They have stickers that must be applied to them to indicate which good they represent. The market board as well as the player boards are cardboard and have some really nice artwork on them. I especially like the character portraits on the different player boards. The cards are absolutely great and have lots of really silly and fun artwork on them. These have to be my most favorite part of the game. If that wasn’t enough, the game also has the Inland Traders expansion and 4 bonus point cards included with it. These can be used once players have gotten the basics of gameplay down. The box is a little small as it just barely fits all the pieces inside it, but it’s better than having a massively huge box and only a few pieces inside. I think we’ve all had games like that. In any case, I’m really amazed at the quality of the game. It’s simply great.
9 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is a small multi-folded glossy sheet of paper. It fits nice and neatly inside the smaller box. There are lots of great pictures as well as examples throughout. Everything is explained really well including a breakdown of the different aspects of the cards and game boards. There are also rules included for adding either the bonus point cards or the Inland Traders expansion as well. It’s fairly short and to the point. There’s nothing difficult to understand at all. It looks really good and is well written. What more can you ask for?
9 out of 10
This is a really great game that is fairly light. It’s really simple to learn and play. The theme, design and components work really well together in a way that some larger games don’t. It has a great worker placement style feel to it that will entertain even the most hardcore gamer. The game is really light hearted as well by poking fun at the fantasy genre and pop culture through the images on the cards. It’s not a game that requires a lot of strategy, yet it has a surprising amount of depth to it. I like that there are lots of choices to make. I even like the added bonus cards and expansion that add an even more refined game style. Even with all the added material and choices, the game is fairly short. Most game sessions last no more than 30 minutes. That makes this a great filler game. With the amount of cards included with the game, you can bet that no two games will play the same. Which means that there’s sure to be lots of replayabililty with this one. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy this game.
9 out of 10
Harbour is a light game of dock working in a fantasy realm. It’s not a long game and can be played in about 30 minutes. It’s a great filler game but the depth of gameplay makes it so much more than just that. The artwork is great and pretty humorous. I love the look and feel of every aspect of the game from the theme to the design. The box is a bit small and barely fits all the pieces but who cares really. At least you’re not paying for tons of air space and very little game. The game isn’t difficult and can easily be taught to pretty much anyone. The extra bonus cards and expansion add quite a bit of strategy to the game that even the most hardcore gamers will enjoy. Fans of games like Smash Up, Village and Epic Resort will most likely enjoy this one as well. It’s a great game that I highly recommend. Don’t miss the boat on this one.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Tasty Minstrel Games at their site.