Ben, Thom, Drew, David & Matt
An interesting night as most of us haven’t played Catan for a while and David had never played before. Actually, as far as I know David hasn’t played any Euro style games so Catan was chosen as the obvious introduction.
We decided to play the first few rounds with open hands to let David get a feel for how the whole system operated as it is all a bit much when you are starting. The board layout was a bit of a tough one with resources clumping up both in terms of location and numbers with sheep and wheat falling together and with some absolute crap numbers.
We also decided not to play with the random ports so that was definitely a factor in choosing starting postions to head straight to a port. Drew and I have a house rule of no building initial settlements on port to force people to work for them, but admittedly that does tend to clog up the board. On the other hand, no one has a given advantage in the first few rounds. It can, and does, happen that you might be close to the port you want but some other bastard nabs it from you.
The robber played an important role early by camping on the 8′s and pretty much flipped between the 8′s and 6′s for the rest of the game. While that did have some impact on Tom and I, we had both diversified on the 8′s so that we would still get something if blocked.
It was interesting seeing peoples strategies. Having wood, brick and ore in supply (and the 2x ports), roads were my obvious strong point but I struggled to get the resources to build settlements and was monumentally cock-blocked by Thom who muscled in on my territory due to his mega abundance of wood and wheat that he could cash in
With a smattering of everything, including the elusive sheep, Drew went the Development Card route while David did a bit of both. Ben decided to play the rarely used “get no resources and turtle where I am” strategy which raised a few eyebrows . . . mainly Ben’s. It was one of those games where some numbers that *should* come up often just don’t.
We decided to call the game on account of time and wanting to play Power Grid with me on 9pts and close to victory. I though Drew would have had more Victory Points in his card stack but it was not to be. David, however, had quietly accumulated 8pts between settlements, cards and Victory Points, so a win for me was in no way guaranteed!
I will preface this by saying that I have been sick and it was late so I kind of drifted off while Thom was explaining things. Apparently you have to get power stations in Germany or something. Whatevs.
Actually once we started playing the game it all started making sense. Due to only one of us actually know how to play the game (Thom) it was a bit slow but it all started to gel. It became very apparent that much like, say, Agricola, it is a game of balancing your resources perfectly and not wasting or having resources left over. It seems that ideally you want almost no money left over at the end of each round as that way you have used your resources effectively building and power your stations and cities.
Can’t wait to play a full game of this one, although Thom has intimated that there might be a game breaking uber-strategy that lets you win the game. We will see Thom . . . we will see!