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Subject: First round... which scenario? rss

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Brad N
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We've played a bunch of Settlers and plan to bring out Seafarers sometime in the next week or so. It seems logical that we would just play the first scenario with the main island and a few other islands. Is that right or is there a better one to start with?

I've heard Seafarers makes Settlers better and, while everyone likes Settlers, some of us have a reduced interest now compared to 6 months ago. So, which scenario is likely to give us the best experience?

I'm not sure if there is much difference in these aspects of the game based on which scenario is being played, but here is what makes it best for us...
- Challenging
- Quick-moving
- Not too much conflict; conflict is okay if it's not out of hand
 
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Benjamin Birch
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My favorite is the one that is simply a random board set up. My second favorite, and favorite of the true scenarios, is the one where you explore unknown areas of the map and uncover the hex as your ships/roads get there. I can't remember the names at the moment but those are the 2 I like best.
 
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John N.
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The exploration scenarios are the only ones (in my opinion) that make this game worth playing. Mucho fun!
 
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I've played all the scenarios online and there are some that you'll wanna avoid. At least for a first time game. I'm assuming you're playing this as opposed to the expansion.

New Shores
most similar to Settlers b/c the main island IS the island from Settlers. Well, Greater Catan also has that same island as well, but it's different as you'll read below.

- Quick-moving
Since you folks oughtta be used to setting up the Settlers board by now, setting this up should be fast.

- Challenging
- Not too much conflict; conflict is okay if it's not out of hand
basically the Settlers Of Catan island with a few smaller islands besides it. Provides the familiarity of the original with option to explore the islands and bask in new Seafarers gameplay. If you found the Settlers island well balanced and challenging, so will this scenario. Ditto with to the conflict issue as well. However, be forewarned that many maps in Sefarers will leave you guys "fighting" for expansion spots and resources. Settlers was nice in where things don't usually get too tight

The Four Islands III & IV
These layouts force settlements into more close quarters than in Settlers Of Catan (that in which got pretty cramped sometimes). Exploration is definitely encouraged, as islands are small and building to foreign islands provides special victory points as well as new ground to build and reap resources. On the plus side, you get multiple, special victory points if you can expand to multiple islands

- Challenging
The challenge lies in managing your expansions in more tighter quarters. NO RANDOMNESS to the map means ppl who play this alot may develop an "unnatural advantage"

- Quick-moving
Board being nonrandom actually takes somewhat longer to set up. Else, it ain't too bad

- Not too much conflict; conflict is okay if it's not out of hand
Again, tight quarters. Thers' definatly enough room for you (or at least someone else) to get their 12 pts, but this may not be your cup of tea

Oceans III & IV
Half of map contains initially unrevealed, nonrandom tiles, which get revealed and assigned a number token (for land tiles) as the player explores them. Encourages sea exploration since mainland can become cramped

- Challenging
nonrandom tends to NOT provide enough challenge, not to mention replayed interest, but the revealed tiles ARE random.

- Quick-moving
Things won't drag on this map, so it's quick enouigh

- Not too much conflict; conflict is okay if it's not out of hand
The mainland isn't too big. B/c of how narrow it is, you'll be luckier to get 2 init spots with 3 tiles each. However, I have won this scenario by buidling ships out to sea, but withOUT building any expansions down there. U get LR and a bunch of cities and that does the trick. Quite contrary since many ppl seem to assume "it's Seafarers, so I gotta build out to sea".

Into The Desert III & IV
Similar to New Shores, but the main island is smaller and non random in its tile and token layout

- Challenging
It's nonrandom, which again, ruins it for some, but I still enjoy this map. Nowherp else do u get to cross a "wall of deserts"
YES - Quick-moving
CHECK (THERE WILL ALWAYS BE CONFLICTS FOR EXPANSION SPOTS, BUT THIS MAP HAS MORE AMPLE SPACE) - Not too much conflict; conflict is okay if it's not out of hand

A New World III & IV
Completely random position of tiles and tokens, with harbor positions chosen by players

- Challenging
This is the ONLY map where the shape of the landmasses are completely different each time!! Furthermore, players, NOT designers get to place where the ports go! A truly unique map that IS challenging
- Quick-moving
Things are slower to start out at first, but with ports and trading, that's less of an issue. Once things get going, more players are up to speed in resource production.
- Not too much conflict; conflict is okay if it's not out of hand
It's moderate

The Great Crossing IV
players connect their settlements from one island to any settlement on the other island with ships for points

- Challenging
How to resolve multi-branching connections? May wanna make a house rule on if they get multiplied or not
- Quick-moving
Nothing to slow things down dramatically
- Not too much conflict; conflict is okay if it's not out of hand
It's moderate again. On one hand, players will be racing to make ships from one island to touch other players' setts for points. On the otherhand, I've seen players easily get 13 pts w/o doing any of this stuff for the special VPs that's unique to this map

Greater Catan IV
As mentioned above, this contains the Settlers island, but the differences stop there. This monstrous game is like so in materials, gameplay time, and thinking. You need TWO copies of Settlers to make the board (for the extra chits and tiles, + 4 extra cities per player). It takes 150min (according to manual) to play, and there's stuff about moving chits from the mainland to the outerlying islands when you do expand there. I'd imagine you folks just wanna play a game w/o 'overlearning' too many rules and this is the map to avoid.

YES (IT IS FUN) - Challenging
NO (LONGER TIME TO SET UP BOARD, AND IT'S AN 18 POINT GAME) (ANALYSIS PARALYSIS CAN SET IN ON THIS MAP) - Quick-moving
MAYBE (A NEW KIND, FROM STEALING CHITS AWAY FROM PLAYERS WHO SHARE TILES WITH YOU ON THE MAINLAND) - Not too much conflict; conflict is okay if it's not out of hand
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Brad N
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WOW! Thank you for the very detailed response ackmondual. I'll be sure to use this as my guide as we step into Seafarers.
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