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Subject: 2:1 port strategy rss

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Nishant Kumar
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Hey Guys,

Recently I was playing Settlers of Catan, and after setting up the board randomly I noticed that the sheep hexes all had commonly occurring numbers on them (10, 6, 8 and 4). I also saw that there was a possible settlement location that was surrounded by three of these sheep hexes, and that there was a 2:1 sheep port nearby.

I decided to take advantage of this. I placed my first settlement on the intersection surrounded by the three sheep hexes, and my second settlement next to the 2:1 sheep port.

Almost immediately after the dice rolling had started, I found myself getting lots and lots of sheep. After 2 rounds I had gathered 11 sheep, and using the 2:1 port I traded 10 of my sheep for ore and wheat, and built a city where the three sheep hexes were.

I kept using this technique, and after about half an hour I had Longest Road, Largest army, 3 settlements, 1 city and a +1 Victory Point Card. I had won the game using mainly just sheep.

I have been reading up on Settlers of Catan strategy, and nowhere does it mention a strategy similar to the one I used. Did I win based on just pure luck, or is this a legit strategy that I should try to use next time as well?

Thanks a lot!
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Jason Funnell
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Perfectly legitimate strategy if the board setup allows.
Just be aware that unless you are the last player sometimes your second placement can be trumped by another leaving you dead in the water. You are also slightly vulnerable to the roll of a 7 due to the large number of cards of the same type you may end up collecting, and possibly vulnerable to having your best number robbered.
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Eric Brosius
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Needham Heights
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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This is a legitimate strategy. The situations in which it can work are fairly unusual, but they can arise, as you have noted.
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J. Alex Kevern
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Mahopac
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It's not a bad strategy. As with all strategies, there are pros and cons.

Pros: Flexibility, difficult to cut off key resources

Cons: Obvious target; if relying on port for key resources, building cities only increases production of those resource by .5 rather than 1. (Example -- a 6 wheat with a city now produces 2 wheat. A 6 sheep with 2 settlements also produces the equivalent of 1 wheat, but building a city makes it only 1.5 wheat.)

Ports are almost essential to any strategy (whether they be 3:1 or otherwise), but finding situation where you can rely entirely on a 2:1 port are rare. You seem to have found a good instance, and sheep are an ideal resource to port because they are so seldomly used for other things.
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Nishant Kumar
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Good point, someone using this strategy would be a major target for robbers. But it's also easy to get around that. During the game, whenever the robber was on one of the major sheep hexes, I used 6 sheep to buy a development card, and quite often I got a Knight card, which I used to get the robber off my sheep hex. And in almost every turn I would build something or the other, so I almost always had less than 8 cards in my hand.

Even if I had 8 or more cards, it was no big deal discarding half of them, as there was always a steady flow of sheep coming in every round.
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Nishant Kumar
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I've been doing some math, and every time I want to build a settlement and then convert it to a city, I need 17 sheep in total. Once I have a city, whenever I collect 2 sheep it's essentially 1 free resource of my choice.

This shows that in the right situation, having a 2:1 port can be VERY useful, because in my initial 2 settlements, instead of thinking about getting supply of all 5 resources, I can think about just one resource.
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David Mills
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I've heard this described as the 'Sheep-o-matic' strategy. Can be good when sheep are plentiful (which isn't rare).
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I've seen games where someone snags a 2:1 port, only to produce low enough of the resource for that port to not have enough benefit from it. The other way, they're unable to secure the appropriate 2:1 port for that type of resource type.

If your ducks line up in a row, more VP and wins for you! Sometimes, you're just in the zone.

Nishantkumar19 wrote:
During the game, whenever the robber was on one of the major sheep hexes, I used 6 sheep to buy a development card, and quite often I got a Knight card, .........
with a 2:1 sheep port, you should only need 5 sheep, not 6 for a dev card.
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Nishant Kumar
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ackmondual wrote:
with a 2:1 sheep port, you should only need 5 sheep, not 6 for a dev card.



*Sheepishly* Yes, 5 sheep, sorry, my bad.
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Chris Funk
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I honestly prefer port strategy because I hate trading with people.
That may or may not be directly related to the fact that the friends I play with will only trade 2-1 most of the time because they're dinks.

Plus, I hate helping them out.

As for your strategy, I would have done the exact same thing. Those are huge numbers in a small area near that port. I think you actually did get lucky, though. If I were playing, my settlement placement would have either been on that port first or in your area trying to soak up some of that sweet, sweet mutton.

Edit: I also term this "Scottish Pimpin'"
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Grarrrg Grarrrgowski
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You aren't my sister by any chance are you?
Her nickname is "Sheep Queen", because she does this (intentionally or not) in about half of the games she plays.


P.S. Should have named the thread "I HAVE SHEEP FOR WOOD"
...just saying...
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PsiGolan Vincent
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New Hampshire
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One benefit is that robbing you also has a high prob of getting a sheep. While that is bad if someone needs one, it also makes you almost not worth robbing most of the time.
 
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