Harbour: High Tide Expansion Review

Harbour: High Tide is an expansion for Harbour by Scott Almes, published by Tasty Minstrel Games. It is for 1-4 players. This expansion adds 30 new cards including new building and a new type of card.

For more information about Harbour and how to play the game, please check out the link below.

https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/harbour-review/

The setup for this game is a little bit different. First off, all the new building cards included with this expansion are shuffled into the main Building deck. Next, the Board cards are shuffled together and a number of these are dealt face up to the middle of the play area. The number of Boat cards dealt out is equal to the number of players plus 1. Any remaining Boat cards are returned to the box. The rest of the setup is exactly the same as with the core game itself. It should be noted that when playing with this expansion, players should not use the Inland Traders side of the Market Board.

Along with the changes in setting up the game, there are also a few gameplay changes as well. The Building cards are all placed in a line. This is because the order of Building and the adjacency of each one, both in the line and in front of players, matters now. When a new card is dealt to the line in the middle of the play area, it is dealt to the end of the line and everything else moves down to fill in any empty slots. These cards should not be rearranged. When players acquire new buildings, these should be added to the left of the player’s Player Board. Each additional card acquired will then be added to the left of that card and so on.

Another new feature of this game are 2 new Building symbols; Small Businesses, Bonus Actions and Variable Point Buildings. Small Business is a small shack like symbol inside a green circle. When a building with this symbol is purchased, the player may choose to pay $2 less for it. If this happens, then the building is placed above a building already owned by that player, making it a second story of that building. Buildings placed liked this do not count as a separate building and are still considered separate from the building it’s placed on. That means that the player may not perform both actions when visiting either the second story building or the base building. It should also be noted that these second story buildings are considered to be to the left or right of the buildings on either side of it in the line, but not the building below it. Another new symbol is the Bonus Action. This is a gold arrow inside a pink circle. When a building is purchased that has this symbol on it, the player may immediately move their pawn to a different, unoccupied building or boat. They may then perform the action that the card provides as a bonus action. Finally there are the Variable Point Buildings. These are noted as a asterisk next to the point value of a building card. This means that the value of the building varies, as indicated by the text of the card’s ability.

The last new aspect of the game are the Boat cards. As noted above, these are laid out in the middle of the play area. Players may place their pawn onto one of these as their move for the turn. Once this happens, the player must then pay the resources shown on the Boat card. They will then move the Boat in front of them. The Boat is now considered hired by that player and can not be hired by another player until it is returned to the middle of the play area. When that player chooses to take a “Buy a Building” action, they may choose to return any number of Boats that they’ve hired, back to the middle of the play area. The player will then gain the dollar value of that boat for that single purchase only. That means that a player may pay for some or all of a building’s cost by returning Boats. For instance, say a player want’s to purchase the new building, “Petting Zoo”. If they had the Knotilus in front of themself, they could return this Boat and acquire the building for free. Let’s say that the player had the Gertrude instead of the Knotilus. The Gertrude provides $6 instead of $5. If the player chose to send the Gertrude back for the $5 cost of the Petting Zoo, they would acquire the new building but gain no change for the overpayment. One last example, let’s say that the player wanted to purchase the Yoga Studio which has a cost of $8 instead. The $5 of the Knotilus or the $6 of the Gertrude would not be enough. The player would either have to ship some goods along with sending one of these Boats back or they could simply overpay by sending both Boats back, overpaying by $3.

Just like with the base game, once a player finishes their fourth building, the game ends. The other players get one last turn before scoring takes place. Victory points are totaled and the player with the most Victory Points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
As I mentioned above, this expansion comes with 30 new cards. All of the cards are packed inside a small tuck box along with a folded rules sheet. Each card is really well designed. The quality is the same as that of the base game. The artwork on each card is very similar in style as that of the base game as well. The same silliness and fun carries over into this expansion. A lot of the same style of humor can be found in each of these cards as well. For instance, there’s the Pet Store which shows a rat man selling what appears to be Gizmo from Gremlins to what could only be Frye from Futurama with a fist full of money. These subtle little references to silly and fun things are what I really enjoy looking at each time a new card is flipped over. I should also mention once more about the new type of card that’s introduced in this expansion, the Boats. Each of these has a different backing from the regular Building cards. Instead of a seagull on a dock, the Boat cards have the silhouette of a boat out in the water and a large white question mark over the silhouette. As far as the quality of the cards, they’re great. I like the way they look. I love the fun images and I like the feel that these new card types bring to the game.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion is a simple multi-folded double-sided sheet. For such a small rules sheet, there are plenty of pictures and an example or two. The new rules for including the expansion are all laid out quite simply and easily. Everything is easy to understand and can be read in just a few minutes. The rules include notes on a few new building cards that help explain how they work a bit better. Honestly there’s not a whole lot to say as the sheet is rather straight forward and to the point. Overall the rulebook is well done.
8 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Harbour is a fun light weight game that I rather enjoy. So of course I was excited about there being an expansion for the game. As far as content goes, there’s not a whole lot of stuff. In fact there’s only 30 cards that are added to the game. However what those 30 cards adds, changes the way the game plays in a pretty cool new way. With the addition of the boats, a player can have new ways to pay for all of or at least part of a new building. This gives the player some extra options and make things a bit easier when paying for those really expensive buildings. I also like how the new rules about building a second story onto existing buildings can also give a player more options and give them a break on price. The new building cards also have a lot of new options, some of which give bonuses based on controlling other cards. There are even a few that deal with the new boat cards making them even more interesting options. Basically the expansion adds lots of new choices to help the players and it provides a lot of new fun in the process. Overall, I really enjoy this expansion. It adds a new dimension to the gameplay and a lot of humor to an already great game. Fans of Harbour will be happy to add this expansion to their game. Those not familiar with Harbour, should really check it out along with this expansion. I’m not sure that I would ever go back to playing with just the base game. That’s just how much fun the expansion adds. Needless to say, this is one that I would highly recommend. For such a small package, it adds a whole lot of fun.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Harbour: High Tide is a small expansion for Harbour that adds 30 new cards to the game. The expansion doesn’t add much length to gameplay. Most game sessions last around 30 to 45 minutes. The cards are really great and have lots of fun images full of humor. The rules are very simple to understand and can be read over in just a few minutes. The expansion itself adds a lot of new choices to the gameplay with new card types like the Boats and lots of new building types like the Small Businesses. Fans of the original Harbour will absolutely love this and will enjoy all the new options that are presented in this expansion. Those unfamiliar with the game should definitely check it out along with this expansion. This is one that I would highly recommend. In my opinion, it’s a definite must buy for Harbour owners.
9 out of 10

 

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Tasty Minstrel Games at their site.

 http://playtmg.com

 

 

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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