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Subject: Still crazy rss

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Shane
United States
Lombard
Illinois
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I've been playing Settlers for more than two years now, and it's still not getting old. Here's why:

Components:
The components consist of a set of tiles representing the land, cards representing resources and special actions, numbered chits for each space's value, a pair of six-sided dice, and wooden pieces to mark roads and towns. While you're not going to want to rush out to get original art prints of anything, the images are evocative enough of what they attempt to represent to form an aesthetically pleasing board once assembled (though the connections between land and resources isn't as obvious as it could be, and may require some double checking your first few games). The wooden pieces are simple, but are good fits to their functions, and the colors are easily distinguishable.

Gameplay:
The object of this game is to build your civilization up to a certain point before the other players. Combine this with the fact that there's little direct competition with the other players, and you'll see why it took me so long to pick this game up. However, when I finally (forcefully) sat down with this game, I found a lot I liked. Firstly, I really enjoy the random board generation with the tiles. This was the first game I'd played with the mechanic, and I've sought out more since. Secondly, I love the trade negotiations, which are the heart of the game. Trying to decide what you'll be able to part with and what you can give your opponents without letting them become a threat to you is where the intensity comes from. After you play several games, you'll find yourself making speculative trades ("Two of your sheep for all the wood I get next turn") and even negotiating for land! ("Three ore and a clay if stop building that road here.") Incidentally, in many games, most often four player ones, you'll find that land is another constant source of dispute, as the island gets crowded in a hurry. The only complaint I've ever had about the single random factor, the die roll for production, which, if it really bothers you, can be solved by constructing a 'deck of dice' to ensure an even numerical distrobution.

Replay Value:
Considering that the board is randomly generated (with randomly generated numerical values on each tile, a nice touch) and starting points are determined anew each game, the pace and strategy of each play is wildly varying, adding a lot of stamina to this game.

So, after plays too numerous to count, I still can't recommend this game enough. It's fairly quick to learn, has medium setup time, wide appeal, and fantastic replayability. It's one of the few games I can honestly say I've never not been in the mood to play.
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Bert Menkveld
Canada
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I to have been playing for quiet some time (5 years), and the random board you sujest is a great idea that I have used almost since the begging. I think it would be wise not to be so random about the board. If it is to random you can end up with a very plentiful area and whoever places first is essientialy the winner. Another thing that I have had fun with in the game is modeling actual islands, trying different shapes and even incorperating inland water bodies bays, as well as islands. If anyone tries any of these sujestions, tell me about it.
 
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