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Catan» Forums » Sessions

Subject: I feel like I'm done exploring Catan rss

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Andrew J.
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We revisited this classic when a guest at our game group brought it. Another player had been dying to play it, so we got it to the table after a few weeks. We played the 5-6 player variant, which I personally find a little less interesting, but such is life.

The 5-6 player board is very cramped and it's hard to spread out. Where it can be easy to link your settlements in the 4-player board, in big-Catan it's nearly impossible. I drew the 4th starting spot which is right about where I prefer to be. I invested heavily in 4s, 5s, and 8s, with some 9s and 12s to help me as well. Normally, I prefer more distributed numbers, but with 6-player there just weren't good spots available. I had solid brick and wood supply, and some good ore and wheat as well. I never touched a sheep all game but had few problems with that.

Jon followed my strategy of spreading quickly, and he was building cities with a very strong ore and wheat supply, but had trouble getting settlements to further expand. He was, however, rolling in resources.

Ashley had no competition on her hexes, so quickly monopolized them and had her own empire going. She also grabbed longest road early on.

Becca never got anything going, and ended with only 3 points. She just didn't seem very invested in the game? Not sure why.

Nathan started out well, just a bit north of Ashley, and had a consolidated empire. He didn't really expand that quickly, though, and got cities out very late.

Stephen, a new player, was mainly just figuring out the game, though he finished with a solid 7 points.

My own strategy is to spread quickly and build all of my settlements. I quickly got some more investment in 4s and 9s and got on a 2:1 wood port (essential, as I was now on three wood hexes). I quickly saw that Jon's cities were going to crush me, so I shifted at around 4 points to a strong city strategy. This started to pay off as my 4s and 5s were rolled a lot (not so my 8s). Ashley and Jon were jostling for longest road (generally my strategy) but no one was buying development cards, so I started trading for unwanted sheep and buying bulk development cards (I ended with 6 or 7).

Jon and Ashley both got to three cities and were swapping the longest road back and forth, but had tunnel vision on that and were not expanding into new settlements. Jon's lack of resource diversity was killing him, though he did cross the deserts to get to the 8 of wood, which was rolled very little throughout the game.

About three turns away from me, I realized that I was sitting on victory -- all I needed was to play my soldier to get largest army, and I had a 1VP development card. No one else had any development cards, so unless Jon and Ashley had some major buildings up their sleeve, I was home free.

Sure enough, on my turn, neither of them had done anything more than a few extra roads, so I played my soldier, revealed my Marketplace, and walked away with ten points. Jon finished with 8 (he claimed longest road), Ashley finished with 6, Stephen finished with 7, Nathan finished with 6, and Becca with 3.

Impressions
Look, Catan got me into gaming. I can't deny that I've loved and played it a lot. But Catan (especially with no expansions) just isn't interesting anymore. I have played it upwards of thirty times online against AIs, and as such I'm pretty much played out on the game. Diversify your hexes, go for largest army or longest road (whichever has less competition), and trade only as much as necessary. Spread out and diversify your resources early, then bulk up on cities mid-game. I don't know, strategies vary, but I just feel like I'm always playing Catan on rails. It feels solved.

So yes, Catan is a great gateway game. It's exciting for new players who've never played a German-style game before. But I don't need to buy the game, or its expansions -- there's no need to. I've got plenty of other games that scratch that itch, and while I'm happy to recommend it, there's no need for me to personally own it. Thanks for bringing it, Nathan -- you saved me a chunk of change!

Have you felt differently? I know this is mostly just my own personal burnout on the game and not anything inherently bad to it, but I wonder if other BGGers feel similarly.
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Chris Funk
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Oh, there are a ton of people who have moved on. I still think it's a fine game and have no issues playing whenever someone suggests it. But it's 21 years old and a lot of people have played it many, many times. With the breadth of all the new titles, a seasoned gamer is going to move on, and that's ok. Catan will still draw more and more people in and the cycle will refresh.

Just be aware when you get that new person that has just discovered Catan, if they ask to play at a game night, do it. That's what will keep them in the hobby, especially if they just made the investment in the game. If you pull the hipster move of saying it's an old hat game, it can dampen their spirits. And what's one more game of Catan once in a while?
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Magister Germanicus
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I wouldn't exactly say I've moved on from Catan. I still love playing it occasionally, although rarely without the Cities & Knights expansion or at the very least, vanilla Catan with the small additions of Harbormaster and/or Fishermen mini expansions. I still feel Cities and Knights offers a very satisfying and unique gaming experience.
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chris thatcher
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I still enjoy it. I always play with harbourmaster and fish or seafarers.

Any game can get boring if played to much.
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Andrew J.
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FunkyBlue wrote:
Just be aware when you get that new person that has just discovered Catan, if they ask to play at a game night, do it. That's what will keep them in the hobby, especially if they just made the investment in the game. If you pull the hipster move of saying it's an old hat game, it can dampen their spirits. And what's one more game of Catan once in a while?


Totally agree with this, and that's why I ultimately said yes. It's not worth it (to me) to be a wet blanket at my own game group that I host and the guy's been bringing Catan for two or three weeks now and I felt bad it hadn't hit the table. I even enjoyed myself, though I am glad that I don't feel a need to buy it now (because my friend has it)
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Drunk Celt
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Yeah while I do enjoy Catan once in a blue moon, it's something I have long moved on since then.

If my group do play Catan, we often prefer Cities & Knights or Star Trek Federations.

But like someone pointed out, if there's someone who haven't played Catan and wants to, I definitely will play it. It's one of those things that is like a ritual of passage in certain subcultures. Like how in geek subculture if you haven't seen Star Wars, it's like omg omg sit down, cancel all plans you watching it right now. It's same with Catan, every board gamer gonna play it at least once!

Disclaimer: yes yes I know there's an odd bird who is into boardgames and haven't touched Catan just like there's few geeks who haven't seen Star Wars and are content with that.
 
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jumbit
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That's a big problem with playing board games online. You can play them quickly, again and again. This leads to early burnout as you get bored and don't want to play any more.

Any game only has a certain amount of plays in it. Online gaming lets you reach that number much faster than you would in real life.
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ackmondual
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FunkyBlue wrote:
Oh, there are a ton of people who have moved on. I still think it's a fine game and have no issues playing whenever someone suggests it. But it's 21 years old and a lot of people have played it many, many times. With the breadth of all the new titles, a seasoned gamer is going to move on, and that's ok. Catan will still draw more and more people in and the cycle will refresh.

Just be aware when you get that new person that has just discovered Catan, if they ask to play at a game night, do it. That's what will keep them in the hobby, especially if they just made the investment in the game. If you pull the hipster move of saying it's an old hat game, it can dampen their spirits. And what's one more game of Catan once in a while?


If it really is "just one more game of Catan", then I'd be fine with that. However, it usually ends up being just 1 more game today, but in the next few months, you've had played it 4 to 10 times. To me, 4 to 10 games times average of 45 minutes is a lot of time I could've spent playing other games.

Also, many of us also have to draw lines at some point. There was a public Meetup.com group that met weekly. At one point, half of us eurogamers were regulars, and the folks who came in wanting to play Clue, Jenga, Connect Four, and Othello/Reversi either stopped coming naturally, or may have felt we "muscled them" out. I guess it may be construed as rude, but no1 wanted to pretend they enjoyed playing those games.

And some groups, they will naturally avoid the classics like TtR, Carcassonne, and Catan because most of the people in the group no longer enjoys them. Gaming moves on, and newcomers shouldn't be forced to follow in the footsteps those of us did a decade ago. Ditto for gamers who started gaming in the 90s, 80s, 70s, and 60s.
 
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ackmondual
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jumbit wrote:
That's a big problem with playing board games online. You can play them quickly, again and again. This leads to early burnout as you get bored and don't want to play any more.

Any game only has a certain amount of plays in it. Online gaming lets you reach that number much faster than you would in real life.
I wouldn't exactly call this a "big problem" as it is simply another option. You wouldn't call Board Game Geek.com a "big problem" because this site facilities board gaming news, conversions, and provides a sort of "instant gratification" that you deem could lead to "burnout"?

What if BGG managed to dissuade you to pass up on buying or playing a game? Could you still argue the "correct way" would've been for you to spend money and time on a game and figure out the "hard way" that it wasn't for you?
 
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jumbit
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It's just a fact that the more you play a game, the faster you reach the point at which you're done with it. A few games are evergreen, you always want to play them. But most aren't.

If you only played the real version of the game, it would take months or years of enjoyment to reach the plateau of burnout. With online gaming, you can burn out in weeks. Moreover with the intense practice, you get insanely good and the local opponents aren't a challenge any more, adding to the problem.
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ackmondual
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jumbit wrote:
It's just a fact that the more you play a game, the faster you reach the point at which you're done with it. A few games are evergreen, you always want to play them. But most aren't.

If you only played the real version of the game, it would take months or years of enjoyment to reach the plateau of burnout. With online gaming, you can burn out in weeks. Moreover with the intense practice, you get insanely good and the local opponents aren't a challenge any more, adding to the problem.
It's also just a fact that having more options is often better than being stuck with not enough choices. What kind of board gaming world would we be in if we didn't have the resources, selection of games, and community we did today?
 
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jumbit
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Would the OP have burned out on Catan so early if not for online gaming?
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Lee Schmitz
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I completely understand where you are coming from. I think I may have felt that way a few years ago. When we first got into gaming it was always Catan, Ticket To Ride, Munchkin, Castle Panic, Fluxx, etc. We played A LOT, but just didn't have the collection or knowledge on creating variation. Also, convincing to my wife I need to buy 25 games was a hard sell at first. Her approach was "we have all these fun games". Here we are 4 years later and she's always encouraging to buy more, buy an expansion, get a good family game, get a new party game, get a good 2 player game, etc.

So, with that said, we went from playing Catan multiple times a day, multiple days a week. Now, when it comes out, it re-ignites what we absolutely loved about Catan. We play once, maybe twice and then move on to the next game. Variety in gaming is a wonderful thing, as long as you can keep acquisition disorder under control (something I struggle with greatly).

It is possible to that you or your group has completely grown out of a game, and that's fine too. Maybe it just doesn't fit, and the great thing about this hobby is that there are constantly more and more great games coming out. How much this hobby has changed in the last 4 years since we got it to it is nothing short of amazing. It's a great time to be a hobby gamer!

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ackmondual
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Leedguitar wrote:
I completely understand where you are coming from. I think I may have felt that way a few years ago. When we first got into gaming it was always Catan, Ticket To Ride, Munchkin, Castle Panic, Fluxx, etc. We played A LOT, but just didn't have the collection or knowledge on creating variation. Also, convincing to my wife I need to buy 25 games was a hard sell at first. Her approach was "we have all these fun games". Here we are 4 years later and she's always encouraging to buy more, buy an expansion, get a good family game, get a new party game, get a good 2 player game, etc.

So, with that said, we went from playing Catan multiple times a day, multiple days a week. Now, when it comes out, it re-ignites what we absolutely loved about Catan. We play once, maybe twice and then move on to the next game. Variety in gaming is a wonderful thing, as long as you can keep acquisition disorder under control (something I struggle with greatly).

It is possible to that you or your group has completely grown out of a game, and that's fine too. Maybe it just doesn't fit, and the great thing about this hobby is that there are constantly more and more great games coming out. How much this hobby has changed in the last 4 years since we got it to it is nothing short of amazing. It's a great time to be a hobby gamer!

The big issue is always time. I wouldn't mind playing Catan again, esp. with expansions if I had the time. However, each game night only offers up an average of 4 hours of gaming, and even then, I don't have much of those these days.

If digital board gaming, including online helped me to get a game "out of my system", or otherwise the appropriate thrills from the game mechanics, then growing out of a game is certainly a good thing.
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ackmondual
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jumbit wrote:
Would the OP have burned out on Catan so early if not for online gaming?
Dunno. You'll have to ask the OP that. And whether or not that's a good thing or not... to him, it looks like doing all of those online gaming of Catan was a good thing. [shrug]
 
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Andrew J.
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Well, it's not been "so early," per se -- I've been playing Catan for 5-7 years now. It's always been familiar, but yes, over the past year or two I've played 50+ games of it against an AI, and that did lead to me burning out sooner. I'd still play it (as I did on Saturday), but I'd also choose something else over it, if I had the choice.

I played online when playing in person was not an option for me, but I don't feel I enjoyed the game less because I played it so much online. It's just that now I'd rather explore other games more thoroughly, rather than playing Ticket to Ride or Catan yet once more.

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Eric Clason
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I try to avoid playing any game too frequently to prevent burnout. I know some gamers have the opposite approach, play a game heavily until they've sucked out all the goodness and then move on to the next game.
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Jill Hauck
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I just finished playing a game on Saturday, and I left liking I even less than usual :/ When I started gaming I knew it was a classic, and got it immediately and was excited to play. I loved my first few games, and I also coincidentally won those games too. But ever since my husband explained he didn't like the game, I began to see it too. It feels unbalanced for some reason, even though it really should be pretty well balanced. But on Saturday, I figured out what it was that bugged me. At one point, the robber got moved onto one of my hexes that was a 6 or 8, I don't remember which now. And there it stayed, round after round, with no one rolling a 7. Quickly I got very frustrated as that number kept getting rolled and rolled and I got nothing. I realized that what bugs me about Catan, sadly, is that there are many times in the game where I am left with nothing to do and no meaningful decisions to make. In this particular game, I received almost no resources whatsoever during these turns, despite having my two cities on a variety of numbers. I had previously build many roads, and had longest road with 6 segments. By the time the robber got moved and I could get resources again, another player had surged ahead of me and gotten 7 road segments, and then had a run away victory. This other player is not an avid gamer by any stretch of the imagination, and is not the most strategic player either. This game feels too random and then too long and invested for that randomness. I like my fair share of euros with plenty of randomness in them, but this feels like a game where you are supposed to develop a strategy and work towards it, but it is too random to really be able to do that on many occasions. Does anyone else feel this way? I don't mean to hate on a beloved game, and I don't look down on anyone who loves it, I wish I really liked it more, just... wondering if anyone else feels this way, and if there's something that can be done to fix it.
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ackmondual
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RhiaHawk wrote:
I like my fair share of euros with plenty of randomness in them, but this feels like a game where you are supposed to develop a strategy and work towards it, but it is too random to really be able to do that on many occasions. Does anyone else feel this way? I don't mean to hate on a beloved game, and I don't look down on anyone who loves it, I wish I really liked it more, just... wondering if anyone else feels this way, and if there's something that can be done to fix it.


For me, if the game lasted no more than an hour, then I might be interested in playing it again. I've seen at one tourney where a guy brings up a stopwatch app on his Ipad (so everyone at the table can clearly see it, even those on the other side of it). I know they allocate a 2 hour time slot for the game, but wondered why they couldn't just check their watch concerning time. His response was seeing how long the game's already taken often gets people to keep the game moving along.
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Domenic
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GermanTodd wrote:
I wouldn't exactly say I've moved on from Catan. I still love playing it occasionally, although rarely without the Cities & Knights expansion or at the very least, vanilla Catan with the small additions of Harbormaster and/or Fishermen mini expansions. I still feel Cities and Knights offers a very satisfying and unique gaming experience.

I'd just throw out there that I like the Traders expansion as well. It gives more meat than vanilla Catan, but isn't as heavy as Cities & Knights.
 
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