Harbour: High Tide – Tasty Minstrel Games – Preview

I was excited to see an expansion for this game. The new Buildings are fun and the Boats provide a new dynamic for gaining money.

Harbour: High Tide - Tasty Minstrel Games - Preview 1

"I was excited to see an expansion for this game. The new Buildings are fun and the Boats provide a new dynamic for gaining money."

Harbour: High Tide - Tasty Minstrel Games - Preview 2

Theme and What is it?

Harbour is a market game set in a medieval fantasy land where you are an entrepreneur buying and selling goods to acquire Buildings along the harbour. These Buildings gain you victory points in effect to win the game.

Harbour: High Tide is an expansion introduces Boats and second story Buildings, giving you more options so that you can go on to bigger and better things!

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Gameplay Mechanics

Goal

The goal of this game is still to acquire Buildings such that you have the most Victory Points, gaining the coveted title of Harbour Master!

Setup

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Harbour: High Tide Building cards are shuffled in with the other Building cards from the base game to create the Building Deck.

Harbour: High Tide also has a new type of cards, Boat cards.  Shuffle these cards and draw, face up, a number of Boat cards equal to the number of players +1 and place the rest to the side (they won’t be used for the rest of the game).

The remaining setup is the same as the base game, except don’t use the “Inland Traders” side of the Market Board.

Turns

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Turns are the same as the base game but with the addition of Boat cards, you have additional options for moving your pawn.  Instead of moving to a Building card, you can move your pawn to a Boat card. You pay the Resource cost (must have all specified Resources) to hire the Boat, moving it next to your Player Board.  When you are ready to sell the Boat, you acquire the amount of money indicated on the Boat card and put the Boat card back with the other Boats that haven’t been hired.

Another minor rule change is that when you buy Buildings, they go to the left of your Player board and each subsequent Building to the left of the most recently purchased Building.

Additional Info

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There are new Building symbols: Small Business and Bonus Action.

Small Business allows the player that purchases the Building to stack it on top of an existing Building without a second story Building  in return for a reduced cost. Players can use this Building like all other buildings but it doesn’t count towards the five building threshold to trigger the end of the game.

Bonus Action allows the player, when it acquires the Building, to move his pawn to another Building or Boat and perform another Action as described on it.

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Initial Impressions

To start, I was excited to see an expansion for this game. The new Buildings are fun and the Boats provide a new dynamic for gaining money.

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Game Build Quality

The expansion comes in a card box like CCGs starter decks and is only 30 cards plus rules sheet. The cards are of the same type and quality of the base game.

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Artistic Direction

TMG brought back Rob Lundy plus Jody Henning to do the artwork for the expansion and maintain continuity of the style and theme. I like the art and there isn’t a lack of anything with it.

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Fun Factor

I already liked Harbour to begin with but the question is: did this expansion change or improve the fun of this game? My answer is “No, pretty much stayed the same”.

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Age Range & Weight

Age range and weight remain about the same from the base game. Harbour: High Tide says 14+ while the base game says 10+. I’ve played the game with my kids since it’s come out so I thinks its appropriate down to the age of 10. I’m not sure where the discrepancy comes from since the new components are just cards and the game’s complexity wasn’t drastically increased.

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Conclusions

Does it address flaws in the base game and/or other expansions?

This expansion doesn’t fix or change any problematic rules from the base game.

The addition of the Boat cards give another means to get money from using your goods.  The Boat cards don’t give the equivalent value of selling your goods normally with the market ($money = number of goods spent + 1) without spending all of your specific goods to the market to gain the money.  

On the face of it, it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile trade but if other players are constantly monkeying with the market and good values or you seem to only have Buildings available that grant goods to go to, hiring Boats are at least a way to get something for those accumulated goods.  Getting enough Boats can pay for Buildings without selling the goods through the market.

The Small Business Building  symbol allows for the game to prolong or provide a means for players having trouble acquiring high value goods to sell to still work towards gaining Victory Points.

The minor rule about Building order next to the Player board, unless I missed something, has no apparent effects with any of the Building’s effects or other rules at this time.  There are some Buildings now, though, that have effects based upon if other players’ pawns being on adjacent Buildings at that time.

Does this improve the existing gameplay?

Playing with these rules, my group didn’t see a marked improvement over how the game played before.  A lot of the time these new options weren’t used because in practice they didn’t show much benefit to their play strategy.

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