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Subject: why are there 4 sheep and 3 brick hexes? rss

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Galen
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I am sure this has been asked many times but it has been bugging me for a while. I know everyone feels cheep are underpowered (without expansions). So why are there 4 sheep hexes and only 3 brick hexes? Everyone needs bricks to build roads and settlements and we all know everyone will need to do these things to win.

Has anyone tried playing with 4 brick (or maybe 4 ore) instead of 4 sheep?
 
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David Fair
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galeninjapan wrote:
I am sure this has been asked many times but it has been bugging me for a while. I know everyone feels cheep are underpowered (without expansions). So why are there 4 sheep hexes and only 3 brick hexes? Everyone needs bricks to build roads and settlements and we all know everyone will need to do these things to win.

Has anyone tried playing with 4 brick (or maybe 4 ore) instead of 4 sheep?

Surely it has occured to you that part of the way to make the game difficult, and to force players to interact is to artifically make needed resources hard to acquire.
 
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Todd Goff
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I agree with David. Plus, raising sheep is probably easier than mining and producing brick.
 
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Ron Pfeiffer
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When we play what I call "Vanilla Settlers" we always use our own variant. We put a tile of each resource in a pile turned face down and then pick to see which resources get 4 tiles. I think that this makes a neat change in the game and it affects the play of the game. We never use what the picture in the rule book calls for. Sometimes we also ignore the desert tile and sometimes we include the desert tile in the turned face down pile so you either pick it or not. All this does is change the game a little bit each time we play it and for us is a good thing.
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Galen
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BeyondMonopoly wrote:

Surely it has occured to you that part of the way to make the game difficult, and to force players to interact is to artifically make needed resources hard to acquire.


I understand that, but it's not like brick is always the resoruce people are out of.
 
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Mat Nowak
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I believe the answer to the thread's question is that originally Klaus wanted to include Seafarers in the base set, but then later was made to take it out due to costs. Since a ship costs 1 Wood, 1 Sheep, sheep were a resource that was needed to create 3 different items: ships, settlements, and development cards. 4 hexes were needed to provide the players with an adequate number of sheep. With no ships in the base game however, there is an over-abundance of sheep, however, this opens up the road to the sheep-hoarding strategy, so it's not a bad thing altogether.
 
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Michael Nerman
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I think the tile distribution adds richness to the game. The most obvious example is that there are four wood tiles and three brick tiles, so brick is generally going to be more valuable, making some spots more attractive. Limitation creates tension, and tension makes the game exciting to play.

Replacing a sheep tile with a brick would improve the road-settlement strategy and make development cards a lot less important. I don't think the game needs that, personally. There have been a couple games I've played where I was frustrated that all I could buy were development cards, and then I've won by securing victory point cards and the largest army. Yes, everyone needs brick to some extent, but an ore-wheat centered strategy needs less brick, and sometimes that is the best option.

Go ahead and experiment, if you like. Just be open to the idea that the game might be better the way it was made. I'm sure they tried a number of different tile distributions before settling on the one used in the published game.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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Mateui wrote:
I believe the answer to the thread's question is that originally Klaus wanted to include Seafarers in the base set, but then later was made to take it out due to costs.
I read an interview with Teuber where he said that the boats were left out because the original publisher thought the game was too complicated.

Very smart move IMHO, taking out the boats does simplify without hurting the game, and for a gateway game that's always a good thing to do.

As for why 3 bricks - maybe because the ratios were decided when there are boats, but I think a better answer is the people who say it makes the game more interesting. Often (but not always) there will be more sheep and fewer bricks than people need, so it makes people struggle more. Also means that if you can get a good brick income, you can usually barter that for whatever else you need pretty easily. Interesting strategies show up.
 
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Daniel Corban
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wmshub wrote:
As for why 3 bricks - maybe because the ratios were decided when there are boats


I originally believed this was the reason. This was part of the old myth that Settlers of Catan was originally a larger game with ships and Seafarers of Catan was the complete game. However, Klaus Teuber has admitted that Settlers was designed without concern for ships or the Seafarers expansion.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Of course, generally speaking, a greater land area is covered by meadows than is covered by hills, at least in the temperate latitudes Catan seems to be located in (The question of the desert is a bit of a problem here though).
 
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Petras Ražanskas
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As far as I know, there is also only 3 ore hexes. That's sensible, because:

1) these act as limiters on both road-settlement and city-development strategies;
2) highlands aren't that plentiful;
3) as someone above said, it makes these hexes all that more important.

By the way, who said sheep aren't valuable??? shake Let's see what you will say when someone gets sheep harbour and LOTS of sheeps, when the sheep suddenly become universal currency and that guy buys everything with his horde of sheep cool
 
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Constantine von Hoffman
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Sheep taste better.
 
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