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Subject: Not settling for Settlers anytime soon rss

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Steve B
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Catan: 5-6 Player Extension » Forums » Sessions
Not settling for Settlers anytime soon
Just played Settlers of Catan for the 3rd time in my life, and I am still not impressed.

We played with 6 people and all but one had played before. The layout had the 6s and 8s on only 2 resources, with Wood being the most scarce, or should have been.

As with previous Settlers games I've played, things did not go well for myself. Examples were getting boxed in by other players consistently, the rolls of the dice hitting the rare numbers the most often, and getting a 7 the turn before I was to trade in. Now you may say my placement was bad, but when you start one settlement near the edge, one near the middle, and both have all 5 resources covered with 5, 6, and 9...you would think things would go over better.

First turn around the table (6 rolls) none of my numbers were rolled. Stuck with an Ore and Wood from my second placement. Can't trade for anything at all and can't build. Another player at the table was able to build 2 cities in this time due to luck of their draw. Luck based gaming, anyone?

By turn 4 we knew who the winner would be based on the rapid growth. Constant rolling their numbers, never having more than 7 in their hand, and other things. The other players were doing OK and keeping a good pace, while I got boxed in and couldn't expand at all. This is not the way a game should play, especially when this is the 3rd time playing. You would think I would catch a break.

After turn 8, 3 people had 9 victory points. The player who we thought would win at turn 4 did end up winning after having largest army and 2 victory point development cards.

Maybe it's just my bad luck? All the other players claimed I had good starting positions, yet bad luck overall. I feel this game is more luck based than strategy based. Get a bad start, you stay in a bad start. Took 6 turns for me to build a road.

I won't be purchasing this game as it stands. I can equate it to Monopoly in that after so many turns, it's VERY repetitive and gets rather boring.

Oh well though. Not everyone likes everything. For hex-based economic games, I'll stick to Neuland.
 
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John Clark
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ImaginaryRoot wrote:
Now you may say my placement was bad, but when you start one settlement near the edge, one near the middle, and both have all 5 resources covered with 5, 6, and 9...you would think things would go over better.


If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the numbers on your hexes were only 5,6 and 9. Perhaps you had another number, like an 11 which was not worth mentioning.

This illustrates something it takes new players a while to realise - new players think that having all 5 resources covered is very important. In fact, having a big range of numbers covered is more important. If you only have 5,6 and 9 covered (plus some of 2,3,11,12) then you are heavily relying on the luck of the dice, which will occasionally work for you but mostly won't. If your first placement is on numbers like 5,8 and 11 (for example), then your first priority on the second placement is to find a spot which covers as many of 4,6,9 and 10 as you can - getting all five resources covered is nice, but you can trade for resources. You can't trade the dice rolls.

If you really have to double up on numbers then its better to for the doubled-up number to be on wood/brick or wheat/ore.

That said, luck can simply go against you in any one game, but over 3 or 4 games it evens out. This is pretty clear from the results of the Australian Settlers Championships (which I have posted up on BGG), where the same people make it through to the finals year after year.

If you want to go into a ton of detail on the ideas behind good settlement placement you can read my analysis of games in the Australian Championships ...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/489926/australian-champi...

As you say, not all games are to everyone's tastes. I find Through The Ages and Amun-Re horrible games but others love them. Go figure.

Cheers,

John.
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Jonathan Warren
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Have all your games been with 5/6 players?

I say this because I do not like Settlers with any more than 4 players. IMO, the 5/6 player expansions spoil the game completely.

With 4 or less players it truly is a good game and is made better with Cities and Knights.
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eryn roston
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JoffW wrote:
Have all your games been with 5/6 players?

I say this because I do not like Settlers with any more than 4 players. IMO, the 5/6 player expansions spoil the game completely.

With 4 or less players it truly is a good game and is made better with Cities and Knights.


Friends don't let friends play settelers with more than 4. I agree with Jon...it ruins the game.

-E
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E D
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Not a fan of 5 or 6 either ...
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Steve B
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Thanks for the replies. I have usually played with 5 or 6, yes, due to the size of my gaming group.

I did have a wide range of numbers covered on the board to start...at least 4. I know 5, 6, 9, and there was another...

However since I couldn't expand I never got beyond that. Either way, I will take the advice and try with 4 people. We'll see if it's any better!
 
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Derek Thompson
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I would actually even say I prefer it with 3 than 4...
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ackmondual
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If nothing else, if you must play a 6p to 5p game of SoC, then you may want to enforce a rule that whoever's turn it is, they're not allowed to talk. They focus extra on getting their turn done. Casual conversations that can often occur in these such games is generally harmless, but for the games that this occurs, it doesn't drag the game beyond an hour. This may may be harmless at first, but in SoC, a game that could've ended half an hour sooner will feel painful. Those minutes really add up.

Another thing is allow more lattitude. One is some "welfare variant" proposed here on BGG. Otherwise, you do have to accept that SoC can be a very fun, but also very frustrating game at the same time.

aldaryn wrote:
I would actually even say I prefer it with 3 than 4...
I will second that. Some counter-arguments have included that with 4 players, more total resources are going around so the game goes quicker since more trading could occur, and THAT also makes for a game with more interaction. A 3p game also makes it such that 2 people trade with each other and the 3rd player is stuck at being the "odd man out".

IMO, 3p games are quicker, and you can do more. Not as likely to get blocked out. Some people like the intensity of fighting over the more limited building spots in a 4p game, but unless you have a group of players who know what they're doing (I'd say give it at least 5 to 12 games, quicker if they think about and discuss some of the strategies), then this "intensity" or challenge turns out to be a bad thing for a group of more casual players.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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I'm not going to say 3-4 player games are better, but they are certainly different. The 5-6 player rule where you can build in between turns is a major difference that changes the atmosphere of the game.
 
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Regards,
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I'm not going to claim that you WILL like Settlers, but I will agree that starting players off with the 5-6 player variant is NOT a good way to go.

5-6 player games are good for when everybody really wants to play Settlers, and would rather get into a complex and long game than be left out.

Settlers of Catan sometimes get an undeserved reputation for being a "long" game because people keep playing with 5-6 players. If you never play with fewer, you are overlooking just how much the 5th and 6th player draw out the length of the game.

Despite the randomness, frequently getting hit by the robber at just the wrong moment is no coincidence in the 5-6 player version. Waiting through 4-5 other dice rolls is just enough time to accumulate more cards in your hand than you can hold without being hit by a robber roll. If you do not (or cannot) use the special building phase, you WILL find yourself in trouble, because the robber is a constant danger with 5-6 players.

With that in mind, there's yet one more thing you may want to consider with placement: access to easily-built structures. If you can't count on spending a couple of cards building a road or whatnot, you have much less ability to shed cards from your hand that would otherwise be a liability.

Your complaints are not necessarily unwarranted, but if you find yourself in a position to play Settlers again, I strongly suggest you either avoid a 5-6 player game or keep in mind that you need to maintain a fairly small hand size in order to remain safe in the 5-6 player version. On your turn, trade or build until you have no more than 4 or 5 resource cards, if possible. (Or throw in the City Wall option from Cities and Knights, even if you aren't actually using the rest of the Cities and Knights expansion....)
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