Haven Board Game

Video haven board game

Quick Look at Haven: The Board Game

  • The Game: Haven by Red Raven Games
  • Number of Players: 2
  • Age Range: 13+
  • Game Type: Area Control
  • Difficulty/Complexity: Medium
  • Average Duration: 45 minutes
  • Replayability: High
  • Recommended if you enjoy: Exploring different strategies and tactics in area control games.

Unveiling the Story Behind Haven

“While the Haven Guardian sleeps, a nearby human village has transformed into a city, hungering for control over the forest’s powers. Can the forest creatures uncover enough ancient lore to protect their home from the oppressive city? Or will the city harness this knowledge to fuel their machines and turn the forest against itself?” (excerpt taken from the Haven board game rulebook)

In Haven, you engage in a battle for dominance over the forest. As the people of the city or the forest creatures, you compete against your opponent to seize control of the shrines scattered across the board. To claim victory over these shrines, you dispatch your “seekers” to acquire lore cards and win the allegiance of the elemental guardians guarding each shrine.

The elements—leaf, stone, and water—are overseen by dormant Elemental Guardians who awaken at the game’s end and side with the player possessing the most lore of that specific type. Furthermore, the player with the greatest number of shrines in a particular area secures that “haven.” The player with the most havens will enlist the aid of the Haven Guardian in the final moments of the game.

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Experience the Gameplay

Initially, the game’s rules may appear overwhelming. The complexity seems daunting. However, the actual gameplay is far less intricate than it initially appears.

Essentially, you play cards to deploy your seekers into battles for lore tokens. Each round presents three miniature competitions, and you have the freedom to choose which one to focus on.

With two actions per turn, you can decide to add or remove seekers from one or two targeted lore tokens during that round. Alternatively, you can play a card imbued with lore powers. For instance, a card might grant you access to the discard pile or allow you to glimpse your opponent’s cards.

Every seeker card possesses values denoting weapons (such as arrows or swords) and lore. The lore values must align closely with the value on the lore token being contested, without exceeding it. Simultaneously, you strive to ensure your cards possess more weapons than the opposing side’s seekers.

With each victory in an individual mini-competition, you gain control over one of the shrines on the board. As you accumulate control over shrines, you can progressively claim havens.

At the game’s conclusion, the player who controls the most havens earns the Haven Guardian card, which bestows an additional 5 victory points. However, this does not guarantee victory in the game!

Crafting your strategy requires careful consideration of numerous variables. Initially, this aspect may feel overwhelming. However, these variables also contribute to the game’s replayability and enjoyment.

Highlights of the Game

First and foremost, the artwork throughout Haven is breathtaking. Even the interior of the box exudes beauty. Importantly, the gameplay itself is immensely enjoyable. My spouse and I are always in search of two-player games, and Haven has secured a regular spot in our rotation.

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Behind the stunning artwork lies a wealth of strategic depth that still allows for casual conversation. The games always end in close scores, leaving neither of us feeling disheartened. We’re always eager to play another round. It’s the perfect game for us to share laughter, conversation, and ice cream while indulging in a fun-filled experience.

Points for Consideration

Initially, what made me apprehensive about Haven was the multitude of approaches one can take in the game. However, this is not necessarily a negative aspect. In fact, it significantly enhances the game’s replayability. Nonetheless, during my first encounter with the game, I endured a painstaking hour and a half of complex explanations, which were confusing and overwhelming.

Nevertheless, this occurrence is not limited to Haven alone. Many board game explanations prove more intricate than the actual gameplay itself.

For your initial playthrough, I suggest focusing solely on the battle for lore tokens. As you grow accustomed to this aspect, gradually incorporate the additional mechanics, allowing the game to unfold naturally. This approach made the game much more enjoyable and captivating for us, as we uncovered new mechanics and strategies along the way.

Geek to Geek Rating: 5 out of 5

Haven Board Game