Game The Settlers of Catan

many games prior
Played 20090715 [Catan:Cities&Knights][?] Stephanie Phuong Josh Steve Daniel Me
Played 20100404 [Catan:Cities&Knights] Alex [!] Me [8] Caroline [7]
The Settlers of Catan
The Settlers of Catan page @ here
Catan: Cities & Knights
Catan: Cities & Knights page @ here

20100404: This is my first post on Catan since starting this blog, and it was a good quick short game, lasting under two hours. Starting after 8 and ending before 10. One aspect that likely made the game short was my decision not to be too competitive. While I still took some long turns as I like to do, I averaged pretty quick turns. In hindsight, I think I should have taken ports and distance between two cities into better account rather than just pure resource positions. Though there is the uncertainty of other player placements that requires you to change your strategy, I definitely went into the battle of longest road at a disadvantage. My capability to build a road across the board from my first city to my first settlement would have been possible but then settlement building would be slowed down. Plus I wasn't sure if there were good resources along that way. While I managed to get to a 2:1 wheat port, the wheat stopped coming. What hurt Caroline early game was the loss of her city on the first barbarian attack. Surprisingly, I actually kept my knights activated and cities protected in this game, but if I think about it, I still don't know the rules. This is one of the reasons I think I don't like playing Catan all that often. I'll play without a clear knowledge of the rules, and that is a bit of a disadvantage. For example, moving the robber with a knight. Of course I blame myself for not knowing all the rules; I could read them. Only, I always forget to.

In terms of gameplay, you can only build and trade on your turn. And play goes to 13. Alex's winning move was building a city. He had two Defender of Catan VP cards, had another city, and longest road. By deduction he had five settlements. Upon learning that I keep track of numbers, he stated he could have built more for more points. I believed him, but I said a win is a win. And technically, I feel like the moment you achieve 13 you win. So the most you can play overkill is 14, by having 12 points and then getting longest road.

So according to the Cities Annotated Rules posted on BGG, we might have played with the "Aggressive Robber Variant" where the robber may be moved before barbarians invade. The variant would also allow progress cards and knights to move the robber prior to barbarian invasion. Otherwise, the standard rule is:
The robber cannot be moved until after the barbarians reach the island of Catan for the first time. Until the first invasion, when a “7” is rolled, each player must check if he7 is holding too many cards as normal; but the robber remains in the desert and you do not steal a card from another player. The robber may also not be moved through the play of any Progress Cards (like the Bishop) or knight actions until after the first invasion.

We didn't do this:
When you play a Progress Card, resolve all of its effects, then place it, face down, under the progress stack of the matching color.

Finally, as Caroline mentioned afterwards, this game didn't have too much of the fun that happens from the developments.

Having read the rules, I should have attempted to break Alex's longest road with a knight.

The rules cover "Knight Activation Phase Variant" and "Nasty Knights Variant." I think when I play with my friends in CA, they might use one or both of those two. The rules cover "City Wall Defense Variant" and again I think my friends back home play with that.

The 3-4 player game is different from the 5-6 player game in lacking the "Special Building Phase."

[Actual Post Date and Time 4/5/10 10:10 AM]

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