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Subject: Going first vs last rss

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Nishant Kumar
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Whenever I play Settlers of Catan, I always go last, because then I can place 2 settlements and 2 roads at once, which is safer.

But some people insist on going first, because they will be able to get the best spot on the board for their initial settlement.
While this is important, it's also easy for them to be cut off by other players, ruining their chances of winning.

What do you guys think? Is it best to go first, last or in the middle?
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Brendan
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It really depends on the board.
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Billy McBoatface
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The player who goes first also goes last, so they get one great placement, and if that gets totally cut off, they can put their second settlement where there is room to expand (but it's rare for their second settlement to have high production rates).

The player who goes last gets to pick two locations with complementary resources, e.g. you can pick wheat port and a big wheat producer, or make sure you have potential to get all 5 resources. But if they get totally surrounded, they're out of luck.

Benefits to both. I've seen people win from either, and I don't much mind where I end up.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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It depends if you're playing 3 or 4 players. If I'm placing first in a 3-player game, my 2nd settlement is theoretically in the 6th best spot, which usually isn't that bad.

You can get cut off pretty easily, whether you place first or last. Placing last still means that 2 or 3 other settlements are being placed after you're done. Who's to say the other players won't box you in?

In short, I think placing first and last both have their pros and cons, and I don't really mind what spot in the order I end up with. A lot of the turn order advantage depends on the board setup.
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Brent Pollock
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We always determine it randomly every game so you best be able to adapt to which ever order the dice spit out.
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Toms Leikums
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I prefer going last for the same reason.
But we always randomly choose starting player, so it does not happen often.
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Max DuBoff
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Going last gives you more control over your strategy.

In my (un)professional opinion, going third is best in a three-player game and going third is best in a four-player game.

That being said, I've never not determined turn order randomly.
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In a 4p game, it's usually crowded enough that there will be 2 to 3 good placements for your first building. The last player is relying on 2 buildings that compliment each other.

In a 3p game, going last or first is just better simply because the board is less crowded.
 
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Hubert Figuière
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I played last night with new player. One of them put down last, ie, two settlement in a row. He chose in the middle of the forest next to a wood port. One would think it was an advantage, but it happen that while leading he didn't win.

One of the great things of Catan is that everybody has a chance, even with bad dice and bad positioning on the board.

My take: select randomly who gets to put down first.
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Brent Pollock
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From page 11 of http://www.catan.com/files/downloads/soc_rv_rules_091907.pdf

SET-UP PHASE...
Round One
Each player rolls both dice. The player who rolls highest is
the starting player and begins.
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jcv jcv
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For years I've kept stats on the Catan games I played and who won and what the starting order was. Never really added it all up though. But I've long suspected that the player that starts last has a better shot in winning.

On E&P though you're more likely to get screwed if you start last. Especially if the players before you build an additional ship and explores two tiles each: you can very easily be in a spot where you have to pony up a sheep to discover anything in your first turn. And discovering new tiles bring resources.
 
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Grarrrg Grarrrgowski
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jcvjcvjcvjcv wrote:
For years I've kept stats on the Catan games I played and who won and what the starting order was. Never really added it all up though. But I've long suspected that the player that starts last has a better shot in winning.


Could you please add it all up?
Or at least share the raw data if you can and we'll add it up?
 
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Harry Allen
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My wife and I have played Catan with 3 different couples (coincidently) about 60x's each. Because the outcomes between positions 2-4 are a bit different from group to group, it's less clear as to which position is the next best to start from. The first position, however, clearly has the advantage.

1(%) 2(%) 3(%) 4(%) Total

1) 25(41%) 16(26%) 13(21%) 7(11%) 61

2) 26(38%) 25(36%) 10(14%) 8(12%) 69

3) 23(40%) 12(21%) 8(14%) 15(26%) 58

Totals 74(40%) 53(28%) 31(16%) 30(16%) 188

Surely there are other people out there who have kept their stats.
 
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Matthew Cordeiro
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HarryAllen wrote:
My wife and I have played Catan with 3 different couples (coincidently) about 60x's each. Because the outcomes between positions 2-4 are a bit different from group to group, it's less clear as to which position is the next best to start from. The first position, however, clearly has the advantage.

1(%) 2(%) 3(%) 4(%) Total

1) 25(41%) 16(26%) 13(21%) 7(11%) 61

2) 26(38%) 25(36%) 10(14%) 8(12%) 69

3) 23(40%) 12(21%) 8(14%) 15(26%) 58

Totals 74(40%) 53(28%) 31(16%) 30(16%) 188

Surely there are other people out there who have kept their stats.


Wow, I admire your record keeping! My record keeping is a bit more anecdotal - whatever spot my wife is in, that's the spot that has a 40% chance of winning.

I'm surprised the win rate is that high for the first player in a 4-player game. Even though you get the best spot, you also end up with the 8th best spot, which is probably not too good.
 
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Harry Allen
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It doesn't make much sense to me either. To put a finer point on it, while my winning percentage out of those 188 games is an abysmal 16%, forty percent of my wins are when I go first.

It's made me wonder if it's just us, or if somehow it's an actual flaw in the game....
 
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Gerald McDaniel
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WBRP wrote:
We always determine it randomly every game so you best be able to adapt to which ever order the dice spit out.


We determine "first choice" randomly. The player who is randomly selected (dice roll) gets to choose being first, last, or in between (which is virtually never selected). Because we usually play with 5 or 6 players, the decision is often based upon the layout of the tiles and production numbers (also done randomly, but with no 6's, 8's, or duplicate numbers adjacent). Most times, the chooser goes first, but occasionally he/she decides to go last.
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Harry Allen
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I'd be curious if you kept stats, which position wins the most.
 
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Richard Gough
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The more balanced the board is the later you want to start. Most boards in Catan are quite unbalanced so I'm not surprised by this these interesting statistics.
 
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