Haven was a big hit with us. It was easy to lose ourselves in and enjoy our time together. Those are the best two player games.
Publisher: Red Raven Games
Designer: Alf Seegert
Artist: Ryan Laukat
Game Type: Area Control, Set Collection
Initial Year of Release: 2018
Age Range: 12+
Expected Playtime: 30-45
Number of Players: 2
Theme and What is it?
The power of the forest has slumbered for centuries. Now it must awake and strive to protect itself from a new threat. A city has grown from humble beginnings and is powerful enough to overrun the forest and claim the forest power for itself. The forest must call on all of its strength to fight off this invasion and restore its pure nature. Only one side will survive. Will it be the forest or the city? The outcome of a battle brewing for centuries will tell.
Haven is a 2-player game where one person plays as the forest and the other plays as the city.
Players begin Haven by choosing to be either the forest or the city. Players then take turns playing seeker and lore cards to try and collect offering tokens. They also play offering cards which determine when an offering token is completed. Once that has happened, the players compare lore values and combat totals of the seeker cards. If a player wins the combat, then they get to place their token on a shrine in the forest. The player with the highest lore total (that does not exceed the lore token total) wins the token, which will help attract the forest guardians for extra victory points at the end of the game.
Haven has two main mechanics, territory control and set collection. Players try to control shrines around a haven, an area between paths that lead to shrines. When a majority of the shrines around a haven are controlled by the same player, then that player lays a haven token on the board to show that he controls it. The player with the most havens wins the spirit of the forest at the end of the game which provides the most victory points.
After the game ends, players score the number of shrines they control and the number of offering tokens, plus any forest guardian and forest spirit bonuses. The player with the most points wins control; of the forest!
I play a lot of two player games and I am always on the lookout for great two player only games. When I saw that Red Raven was Haven and that it was two players, I knew I would pick it up right away.
It took a few minutes to work through the setup the first time and make it through the rulebook. Once I had it down, I was able to explain the game quickly and we were up and running in not too long.
I really enjoy two player games that have depth to them, and I found that in Haven. It is not one dimensional. There are multiple strategies that you have to keep an eye on during the game. There is also a fun push-your-luck element when placing seeker cards on offering tokens. I loved the area control aspect. Overall, there was plenty happening in Haven to keep us entertained and even after the first play through we were discussing what we could have done better at certain points of the game.
Game Build Quality
I have complete confidence in Red Raven’s production quality. I have never had an issue and Haven lives up to those standards. You should not have any issues and this game should look amazing for years to come.
All art is handled by Ryan Laukat. That is all I really need to say. If you are not familiar with Ryan’s artwork then you are missing out. There are very few designer/artists that can make me feel instantly connected to the game. Ryan is the best of the best.
What I enjoyed most about Haven was having a great two player game. Having kids means that I play lots of games with them and once they are asleep, Ally and I bust out a few games for just the two of us. There are lots of two player games that feel flat to me. The rare ones feel wider. That is the best way I can explain it. Think about 7 Wonders Duel. There is so much to that game. Haven is the same.
Age Range & Weight
Haven is recommended for 12+. I think this is a fair evaluation. There is some deep strategy trying to win combat and lore at offering tokens. You have to see where each forest guardian is located to see which one would be best to try and win combat to place your token on a shrine and gain control of havens.
I can see it being a way to introduce younger players to territory control, but you will need to have patience with them and walk them through it. If that doesn’t sound fun then I would stick to more mature players.
Haven was a big hit with us. It was easy to lose ourselves in and enjoy our time together. Those are the best two player games. I liked having multiple mechanics that blended well together and made a cohesive experience.
Anyone looking for a new addition to their two-player game library should take a look at Haven. Especially if they like two-player games with multi dimensions.
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