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Author Topic: Need Settlers of Catan stragegy advice  (Read 4510 times)
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El-Producto
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« on: March 19, 2009, 12:23:04 PM »

My girlfriend and I are getting together with another couple to play some Settlers tonight.  I've only ever played it once before, and got my ass handed to me.  What are some basic strategies I should be considering?
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kadnod
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2009, 01:32:10 PM »

Longest road is important.  Even if you don't want to go for those points, try to screw up anyone else going for them.

Sometimes concentrating on acquring/trading one resource can work pretty well.  I usually give that a shot if I get a crap starting position. 
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Mithridates
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2009, 04:24:45 PM »

I think strategy is dictated on what resources you're on.  I pretty much take the highest probability spots available and then let my strategy flow from there.

If you get brick/wood, build lots of roads and settlements.  Try to get to a port that gives you a nice trading advantage(2:1 wood or 2:1 brick).  The problem with this, is that in a 4-player game, the board gets crowded pretty quick.

If you get wheat/ore, buy as many development cards as you can and build cities.  You can get the +2 for largest army, plus mess with people with the soldiers, monopoly, etc.  And any +1 point cards you draw are awesome.

If you get lots of sheep...you'll probably lose unless you get a 2:1 sheep port.  A little sheep is needed for development cards and settlements, but I think it is the least valuable of the resources.

My favorite strat is the wheat/ore one, but sometimes circumstances don't make that possible. smile
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RuperT
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2009, 10:55:23 PM »

Initial placement is very important, and will also often force you to totally rethink any prior strategy.  The 8 and 6(?) spot are the usually popular because they are most likely, but realize that there's probably going to be a robber on them for much of the game.  Often I will try instead to stake out a spread of lesser parcels (3, 4, 5, 9, 10) so I get something with most dice results.  If you see where your opponents might get into a robber-swap contest between their heavily-relied-upon high-prob parcels, a little avoidance can really help out.  Also during placement, think about future city placement for you and your opponents (cities can't be right next door).  I try to plan ahead for what ports I can get to also; I rely heavily on their card swaps (especially if I'm bagging too many with a good parcel spread).
As far as big game strategy, there are only so many ways to get to 10 points:  have somewhere between 10 settlements and 5 cities, long road, big army, and victory cards. I generally play towards getting a solid 4-5 settlement clump near a favorable port, then start upgrading to cities and buying development cards (usually hoping for victory points).  If your early game starts racking up more wood and brick, you can asphalt it out a little more for the longest road boost, plus you can screw up your opponents' plans for expansion (I personally find the road contests too exhausting usually).  Another valid tactic is to concentrate most on development cards;  largest army not only provides a victory boost, but you will recieve hidden victory points, and have the robber where you want him most of the game.  You should still plan to expand a bit in the mid-late game, as development card perks alone won't cut it.
Encourage trade.  Look for opportunities (especially during initial placement) where you can casually get a strong position with later-game resources like wheat and stone.  Brick and wood are great initially, or for some strategies, but they usually turn into garbage by late game: have a port to dump them at if you go with them early.
Don't risk a lot of big resource hands to a 7 (when you lose half of you 8+ card hand); if you decide to wait to use them, don't forget there are more rolls before you get your chance again.
Have fun, it's a great game!
BTW, I like to play it on Xbox too.  Anyone?
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El-Producto
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2009, 06:33:29 PM »

Thanks for the advice.  We only had time for one game, by the time we set it up and went through the rules.

I got my ass handed to me, mostly I think due to poor initial placement.

I couldn't get any good rolls, and I needed brick and couldn't get any, and the other players were being quite cutthroat and not wanting to trade.  I learned a few things from my mistakes.. it was a lot of fun though.

Anyone played Agricola?  Can you comment on the fun factor for non-gamers as related to Settlers?
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Mithridates
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2009, 11:21:11 PM »

Agricola is a much deeper game.  My friend and I love it, but our wives are not thrilled with it.  They are very smart women and very good gamers, but sometimes they get bogged down by the deep, open-ended strategy games like Agricola and Caylus(one of my favs).

I don't think Agricola is a good fit at all for non-gamers.   
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Mithridates
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2009, 11:30:44 PM »

Ep, have you played Dominion?  I love that one.  It's strategic, yet very accessible for non-gamers.  They might get their butts kicked, but at least they'll understand what they're doing.   And of course Ticket to Ride is a good one for non-gamers as well.
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El-Producto
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2009, 11:02:55 PM »

Haven't played Dominion.. but I've heard good things.

I'd love to crack out my copy of Arkham Horror, but for now I'll be playing that one solo slywink

I think I've got my girlfriend sold on games.. although she has a low geekiness tolerance, so I don't see any Battlelore in our future slywink 

We do regularly enjoy Mr. Jack, and Lost Cities.
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Mithridates
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2009, 11:58:46 AM »

The Lost Cities board game isn't too bad.  It retains many of the concepts of the card game, but gives a little different experience.  Plus it works well with 4.

Another couple games we like to play with non-gamers are Thurn and Taxis and Thebes.
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kronovan
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2009, 05:52:12 PM »

I'd maintain that you can often make or break your success in Catan with port control. It's not such a big deal when everyone's new to the game, but when you're up against good competition it becomes much more important. As well the suggestion about acquiring resource hexes with a good variety of numbers is also critical. Nothing like sitting in a strong position and then having it all evaporate by a series of roll for which you get nothing. Also, no resource card is a bad card, so with that in mind the importance of sheep resources isn't much less than anything else.

I can't comment about Agricola because I haven't played it, but if you're looking for a game that would appeal to new boardgames I couldn't recommend Carcassonne enough.
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El-Producto
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2009, 04:50:10 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on March 22, 2009, 05:52:12 PM

I'd maintain that you can often make or break your success in Catan with port control. It's not such a big deal when everyone's new to the game, but when you're up against good competition it becomes much more important. As well the suggestion about acquiring resource hexes with a good variety of numbers is also critical. Nothing like sitting in a strong position and then having it all evaporate by a series of roll for which you get nothing. Also, no resource card is a bad card, so with that in mind the importance of sheep resources isn't much less than anything else.

I can't comment about Agricola because I haven't played it, but if you're looking for a game that would appeal to new boardgames I couldn't recommend Carcassonne enough.

I have Carcassonne, so that will get played for sure.  I feel so spoiled after playing the xbox 360 version.. with the automatic scorekeeping slywink
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2009, 04:55:14 PM »

I have full version of Catan for the XBox.  I have the Carcassonne demo, but have not yet played it, although I've heard good things and I do have a respectable board gaming pedigree.
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Boudreaux
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2009, 07:07:45 PM »

Quote from: El-Producto on March 20, 2009, 06:33:29 PM

Anyone played Agricola?  Can you comment on the fun factor for non-gamers as related to Settlers?

Agricola is surprisingly fun for such a lackluster theme, and it's far more interesting and compelling than something like Caylus (which I hate).  The problem with Agricola is that it presents so many options on each turn that people can get overwhelmed.  The end result everyone is aiming for is the same, but in every game there are about 15 different ways you can approach it, based on your starting options.  Once you get going, about a third of the way in, it gets much more manageable, but that first third is pretty dense. 

The first time you play Agricola you can't really have any realistic expectation of winning other than through blind luck, and some people are really turned off by that.
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