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Subject: Banker Bonds concept rss

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Joel Thomas
Turkey
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Hey everybody,

Since coming back from a holiday where we played Catan incessantly with my brothers-in-law, there's an idea I've been itching to try and I want to get your thoughts.

Basically, instead of the bank there is a fifth player called the Banker.

The changes to the rules are as follows:

1 The Banker has no roads or settlements whatsoever, never rolls the dice and starts the game with nothing.

2 The Banker is the only player who can issue Bonds.

The Banker issues a Bond by taking a small piece of paper and writing on it a commodity and a turn number; on the turn number specified on the Bond, the Banker undertakes to supply the bearer with one of the commodity specified. (In practice abbreviations could be used: "T-20" would mean one Timber on turn 20.)

3 Bonds may be traded for commodities by the Banker with the players, and the players between themselves.

3 Because there is no "bank", players cannot trade 4:1 with it. The Banker always has a 3:1 trading option.

4 The robber cannot steal Bonds.

5 A Banker who cannot make good on a Bond may choose to default outright or give the player redeeming it a new Bond or Bonds for future turns. It is up to the Banker to secure the players' trust.

TBC:
At the moment I think the Banker should not be able to buy development cards, but I'm still not sure if there is some added dimension to be had in the Banker being able to buy them up too.

I haven't worked out a winning condition yet. It could either be that when a player wins the Banker also wins if he is "solvent" (ratio of outstanding Bonds to commodities in hand), or that when a player declares victory, the Banker wins if he is somehow "richer" than the winning player. At first I just want to try out the mechanic.

Anticipated effects:
At the start of the game, when production is slow and certain resources are scarce, the Banker will likely issue relatively short-term, one-for-one bonds to help the players keep their goods safe from the robber.

As time goes by, the Banker will profit from buying up temporary surpluses to trade later when the same commodities become scarce. For example, if ore is plentiful early in the game, the Banker might snap them up anticipating greater demand when players turn their focus to building cities.

However, as players get more ports and therefore more options the Banker will need to muster all his creativity to keep up.

The players will be grateful that they have a way to "store" their resources instead of being forced to spend them to escape the robber, and will find the Bonds a useful form of currency for trading.

But there is a flip-side to this symbiotic relationship: If the Banker defaults, the system collapses. The Banker lives or dies by market confidence...
 
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Max DuBoff
United States
New Haven
Connecticut
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"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
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Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
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I'm not sure how sound the mechanics are, but it really doesn't sound fun for the Banker player. Is there a specific issue this is trying to solve?
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Nacho Facello
Uruguay
Montevideo
Montevideo
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As it is written right now, I have to agree with Max that it doesn't sound fun for the banker.

However, I do think this futures market is an interesting mechanism and I'd love to see it fleshed out in a game. I don't think that Catan is the right game for it, though.
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