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Subject: Winning with just 1 road rss

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Steve Bennett
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The other night in a 3-player game, my son won while only building 1 road segment. It was a strategy I never thought would work, but he won 10-8-6. He spent most of the game purchasing development cards. He built one road, 1 settlement, converted 2 settlements to cities, had the largest army (with 8 soldiers) and 3 VP from special development cards.

I'm pretty new to Settlers. Has anyone else ever seen this? Is it doomed to fail the next 99 times he tries it, or is it actually a clever strategy.
 
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Håkan König
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Re:Winning with just 1 road
Verseboy (#35630),

I certainly have never seen it happen, but in basic settlers it's very much a valid strategy. I doubt he'll win 99/100 using this strategy, BUT he'll be almost certain to get the largest army card and a few VP's this way. If he got good numbers on ore and wool then I'd say it's a pretty good strategy.
 
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Alex Sorbello
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Re:Winning with just 1 road
Verseboy (#35630),
there are 2 ways of easy wins
one is to build and onother is to upgrade/development in wich the latter has more control (robber/soldiers) and thus gains more during a game. Ofcourse you'll still need your numbers.
If theres a game and If I have a change of building on a 6 and 8 wich are wheat/sheep/ore I would most definatly take it!

 
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Steve Bennett
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Re:Winning with just 1 road
Thanks for the opinions. I'm anxious to play again with him and see if he tries it.
 
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Steve Bennett
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Re:Winning with just 1 road
We've played a couple of times since this happened, and he has played different strategies. Much to his 12-year-old credit, he goes where the situation seems to be taking him.
 
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Snooze Fest
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Re:Winning with just 1 road
Verseboy (#37972),

I've seen that strategy work before, too. I'm sure you're not letting him start on ore/sheep/grain with all good numbers (anymore?)! Or, ore/grain + grain port, or something like that.
 
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Sean Sandquist
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Little Canada
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Re:Winning with just 1 road
I have a friend who won by building no road segments at all. This was when we first started playing a lot and no one really knew the "ore-grain" strategy. He built only on ore/sheep/grain, got two cities right away, and churned out cards until he got largest army and four victory points from the deck. Ten points.

However, he now thinks that this is the "key strategy" and the half-dozen times we've played since then, I don't think he's come even close. First, we are all more aware of the ore-grain strategy now, so he won't get two prime ore-grain spots, but he won't abandon his strategy even then. Moreover, I think he made a 50-1 shot in getting all four of the victory points he needed from the development deck. He's not good on probability (e.g. he'll put the robber on somebody's 11-hex just as easily as an 8-hex) and doesn't realize that four victory points from the deck is a lot and it'll probably never happen again.
 
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Blorb Plorbst
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There is a very well regarded strategy for Ore Grain Wool and 3 cities, LA, 2 VP is alikely winning position. More often one might see 4 intersections developed.

The strength of the strategy is that it feeds itself so efficiently. Build on hexes that will net you a quick city and your next 2 cities will build themselves! Playing soldiers keeps the robber off your big producing hexes, generates LA and lets you steal the resources you need to get your 3rd settlement. Additionally, a road building card can spur an early LR and a blind win. I've seen a single turn with this strategy go from 6 points (City, Settlement, Settlement, LA) to a win with City, Road Build card for LR and VP.

As with all strategies though, following them blindly is foolish. Always play the board!
 
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Eric Brosius
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The viability of this strategy depends a lot on which resources get good numbers. If it's hard to get brick and wood, the players who are trying to build roads and settlements will find the going tough, and this strategy works well. If there's a lot of brick and wood, this strategy is less attractive. As you say, it's important to play the board as it exists and not get locked into a single strategy.
 
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Ian Wood
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It's certainly possible to win without building any roads, I've done it myself a couple of times (although not with the same group of players...). But the most impressive version of this I've seen was another player who had two cities on a couple of good rock/ore tiles - he got bored of just buying dev cards and built a road using eight rock/ore, then a city using a grain and seven rock. In the same turn.
You could tell the robber hadn't moved recently...
 
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Bill Richardson
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It can be done, and I've done it myself. But to really have a good chance of pulling it off, you need to have exceptional access to stone and wheat, and have average access to sheep (however you can get them!).

I'm sure it's been spelled out before, but here is how I go about it:

- Build your two initial cities on tiles that "should" have you producing tons of stone and wheat. Another option is to build one of the settlements on a wheat or stone harbor if you can secure an amazing spot on the mainland first that will get you lots of those resources.

- If you can get one of them to straddle a decent sheep tile, that's bonus.

- Once the game starts, get your two settlements upgraded to cities first.

- Now you should be raking in the wheat and stone. If you are also getting sheep, that's a huge plus. If not, you'll need to trade for them which is usually easy (until everyone realizes your strat). If needed, you may need to build another settlement to either get more resources or to secure a good trading harbor.

- Buy dev cards until the cows come home.

I used this over the weekend and lost by 1 point. I built exactly 1 extra road and one extra settlement/city. I had the game won in the last turn. I had 9pts and had enough to buy 3 dev cards. The player before me bought a dev card and it was a soldier, so I figured it was a lock for me to win. 3 soldiers later, I was muttering more cuss words than I've ever done. Next player secures longest road and winsyuk
 
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Philip Thomas
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It is doomed, most likely. Unlike investment in settlements and cities, which permanently increase your resource base, Development cards provide a temporary gain and then fade out (in resource base terms). On the other hand, they are cheaper, especially with certain starting setups.

Building as few roads as possible is good tactics, mind.
 
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Blorb Plorbst
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I won with a single road buid over the holidays. 3 cities, 2 VP + LA

But . . . it was with 2 first time players. Had they been more experienced the game would have ended much sooner with one of them winning. Both of them were out producing me but made lots of mistakes. Once my second city hit the board, I knew I had it locked up.
 
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