Alice and Audra left us at this point. We also called Helen and found out that she'd be a no-show this evening. Heather wavered. She wasn't planning on staying for another game, but when Dave proposed Cities and Knights of Catan, she quickly changed her mind.
At the outset, the focus was protection from the Barbarian hordes. They advanced on the island pretty quickly, but Sterling and Jim both created knights, and upgraded them to strong knights, to defend Catan. Dave, too, defended, but it was more than enough, as there were only four cities to defend. Sterling and Jim twice tied as best defender, earning Progress cards for their trouble.
Dave worked himself onto three brick hexes, with numbers 8, 9, and 5. He also was able to settle on a brick port, which should have set him up for some nice progress. But he didn't have a sheep hex, and he was never able to trade for a sheep, and that tended to slow him down early. His lack of sheep hex also seriously slowed him down in Trade advancements.
The robber did spend a lot of time on sheep hexes in the early game, mostly hitting Heather, and alternately Jim or Sterling. It didn't seem to matter too much to Sterling, however, as he had some pretty good hexes in the other commodities to make up for it. Dave took the early lead, but Sterling quickly snatched that away by building the longest road, a prize he would never give up. But by the mid game, Dave and Sterling were beginning to pull away from Jim and Heather.
At just about that time Sterling and Jim both used progress cards to take resources and/or commodities from Dave. Dave got kind of grumpy, but that's how the game plays. But a short time later, the barbarians approached Catan again, and there weren't enough knights active to defend. Jim needed to activate his strong knight, but he didn't have the resources. He tried really hard, but no one would trade to him the resources necessary (Dave, who did have a wheat, was apparently holding a grudge ). Two turns later, the barbarians hit the shore, and defeated the knights of Catan. In the battle, Jim lost his city to the hordes, turning it to a mere settlement. This was a major setback.
The players gradually increased their city advancements. Heather reached the bonus levels in trade and science, as did Sterling; Dave did so just in science. The trade bonus is a permanent 2:1 trade capability, and both Sterling and Heather made great use of it (in fact, Heather used the trade bonus to each the science bonus level).
At one point the scores were pretty reasonable: Sterling led with 8, Dave was close behind at 7, and Heather and Jim were at 4 and 3, respectively. But then on Sterling's turn, he was able to make use of all his resources: 2:1 trading, progress cards, resource and commodity cards, and in quick succession built a Trade metropolis (worth 2 VP), a Science Metropolis (worth 2 VP), and a final settlement (worth 1 VP), getting him to 13 points in lightning-quick fashion to capture the win.