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Subject: We may never see Catan again... rss

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Brad N
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We played Seafarers of Catan again (New Shores). The last time we played it was our first time and we enjoyed it for the first 100 minutes, but it dragged on until someone got enough victory points to win. We are, admittedly, slow players. However, this time around we set the goal as 11 Victory Points so the game would end sooner.

It was the CLOSEST game of Settlers (or Seafarers) I'd ever seen where everyone was very near to winning for the last hour of the game. But, somehow, nobody could quite do it.

I'm sure there were a number of factors that led to the long game that just dragged on, but I think I saw my last game of Catan last night until someone new comes along and wants to play. Otherwise, I just think it's very unlikely that we see this game again. Everyone gets frustrated when they are picked on (robber and pirate) and feels like they are being targeted. People get more frustrated when they are about to play cards and a seven is rolled (or drawn - as we played with the Deck of Dice this time 'round).

It just goes on too long. Everyone at the table was one turn away from winning at one point in the last hour until something changed and put them in a spot where they couldn't win that turn. Finally, though, this game ended and I believe ALL were thankful when that happened if for those of us who were not the winner.

I'm reminded of when I first found Settlers and read about players who were tired of it and just couldn't see themselves playing anymore. I was dumbfounded and couldn't understand how anyone wouldn't want to play this amazing game. It IS an amazing game and now I understand how certain people might not want to play. shake

Oh well, it was fun and there are SOOOOO many other games to move onto now..........
 
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Billy McBoatface
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Go back to vanilla Catan!

I also got Seafarers. We had fun with some scenarios. But Catan was beautifully balanced, timewise - it usually ends just the moment that sources for more points have dried up. Seafarers isn't so good this way; about half the time, at least, it seems like there's no clear way to get more points for the last half hour of the game, so it's just this long slog until somebody finally manages to plant that last town and win the game.

We have had some really fun games of Seafarers, so I still give it a decent rating, but sometimes it can sour you on Catan completely.
 
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For me, when I first played Settlers, I couldn't get enough of it. I kept pushing friends for games, and at one point, we got together 1 to 3 times a month to play 1 to 3 game each visit. Those figures later dropped down to once every few months to once a month. When the same friend introduced me to Sea3d (online Settlers and Seafarers Of Catan), that's how I later got my fill of Catan. To this date, I have over 300 games of Settlers and over 200 games of Seafarers logged. I still play it online every now and then, but much less so due to tighter time constraints and that there are other online board games to pursue.

B/c of having an avenue to play Settlers 3/4p map (the most common type of game hosted) quite conveniently, I will only play Seafarers Of Catan in real life and pass on IRL games of Settlers. There are indeed just too many other baord games out there to try or play again.

Playing Catan online IS indeed convenient. Don't need to match schedules to play with others, and the game automates stuff like keeping score, setting up the board, allocating resources, etc. The base Settlers game take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, with one game ending as quick as 10 minutes. Seafarers New Shores map average at one hour.

Curious, did you find the game takes as long for the other scenarios? Into The Desert, Four Islands, and A New World may go quicker at 12 pts. Like New Shores, they have opportunities to earn bonus victory points, but the preset maps for ItD and FI may take longer to set up.

I'd say consider adapting a rule that unless you have alot of cards, turns should take only 10s each. We had a 5p game of Settlers that lasted 3 hours, but we did take a break, and got sidetracked with conversations on many occassions.
 
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Brad N
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Thanks for the advice! Maybe we'll try again and adopt some of the advice here. We have not played other scenarios so I'm unsure how long they would take us. We are a social group so that is why we play slow and that is okay with us... BUT, at some point it just becomes too much.

10 seconds per turn would be awesome, but I just don't see that happening with our group. We've talked several times about using some kind of timing device to keep the game moving. Still, that seems like a bit too much controlling the game to have fun.

Maybe we'll try again, but this was our first play of a Catan game since December (5 months).... so it probably won't be soon. We're enjoying games like Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, Power Grid, El Grande and Vegas Showdown more now.

ackmondual wrote:
Curious, did you find the game takes as long for the other scenarios? Into The Desert, Four Islands, and A New World may go quicker at 12 pts. Like New Shores, they have opportunities to earn bonus victory points, but the preset maps for ItD and FI may take longer to set up.

I'd say consider adapting a rule that unless you have alot of cards, turns should take only 10s each. We had a 5p game of Settlers that lasted 3 hours, but we did take a break, and got sidetracked with conversations on many occassions.
 
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bnordeng wrote:
Thanks for the advice! Maybe we'll try again and adopt some of the advice here. We have not played other scenarios so I'm unsure how long they would take us. We are a social group so that is why we play slow and that is okay with us... BUT, at some point it just becomes too much.

10 seconds per turn would be awesome, but I just don't see that happening with our group. We've talked several times about using some kind of timing device to keep the game moving. Still, that seems like a bit too much controlling the game to have fun.

Maybe we'll try again, but this was our first play of a Catan game since December (5 months).... so it probably won't be soon. We're enjoying games like Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, Power Grid, El Grande and Vegas Showdown more now.
Some other variants and house rules adapted for Catan, widely adapted or otherwise controversial... no 7s on first x rolls, a group of mine used to play it such that we place the robber on an empty hex in the beginning till players are caught up, we paid a port owner to use his port on his turn (e.g. give a 2:1 wheat port guy 2 wheat to get yourself an ore and an extra unit of wheat as payment, or whatever of his choice)


I've only played one game of Puerto Rico, but isn't the "screwage factor" about as much, albeit it's in a different form? Games can easily drag when players force other players into different actions/choices
 
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Brad N
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ackmondual wrote:
Some other variants and house rules adapted for Catan, widely adapted or otherwise controversial... no 7s on first x rolls, a group of mine used to play it such that we place the robber on an empty hex in the beginning till players are caught up, we paid a port owner to use his port on his turn (e.g. give a 2:1 wheat port guy 2 wheat to get yourself an ore and an extra unit of wheat as payment, or whatever of his choice)

I've only played one game of Puerto Rico, but isn't the "screwage factor" about as much, albeit it's in a different form? Games can easily drag when players force other players into different actions/choices


We're probably less likely to adopt too many variants as we like to follow the rules as they are written except when it is causing major problems. Maybe this is a case of a major problem so we should adjust... I'll bring it up to the group.

I guess the "screwage factor" is a similar quantity in Settlers and Puerto Rico. The difference is that in Puerto Rico, you are usually messing up someone else while helping yourself so I think players see it as more justified. In Settlers, you are just putting the robber on someone else to "pick on them." Usually, that person is the leader but it is a very direct form of screwage. I think it's more indirect in Puerto Rico which softens it and allows the players who are impacted to handle it better. At least, that's my experience.
 
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bnordeng wrote:
We're probably less likely to adopt too many variants as we like to follow the rules as they are written except when it is causing major problems. Maybe this is a case of a major problem so we should adjust... I'll bring it up to the group.

I guess the "screwage factor" is a similar quantity in Settlers and Puerto Rico. The difference is that in Puerto Rico, you are usually messing up someone else while helping yourself so I think players see it as more justified. In Settlers, you are just putting the robber on someone else to "pick on them." Usually, that person is the leader but it is a very direct form of screwage. I think it's more indirect in Puerto Rico which softens it and allows the players who are impacted to handle it better. At least, that's my experience.
Yeah, unfortunately, the robber is an important aspect of the game, every bit as much as cutting ppl off with roads or blocking them off with settlements (which IMO can ensue as much hostilities if not more). That gives players behind a chance to catch up. I will acknowledge that sometimes it falls into the wrong hands... the leader, and can make the game frustrating for those behind (dunno if PR has a mechanism against this). It sounds like you guys are all "catan-ed out" anyways, which my group got towards the end of our Catan times. That would be after one game in just one day. I'd say it is time to move on. One day if you do decide to come back, hopefully the game will be 'refreshed' for you all.

.... I can see someone hurting someone else more even if it helps them less PR, but I'll have to squeeze in more games in the meantime.
 
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Blue Fox
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Try Traders and Barbarians!
 
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Tom McGreevy
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My family never tireds with Catan but we play full Catan which takes about 2 hours. We have the base island and then 4 islands each with an anchor gold (6s and 8s) and then 5 undiscover tiles for each island so a total of 6 tiles for each island. We then include Cities and Knights along with it. You can get 1 additional point for settling on an island and only 1. We play various points 15 for 3 and 13 or 15 for 4. We do add one more settlement and 1 more city and 5 more roads. I can't get them to play any other games only Catan. We still have a lot of fun with it and I feel that Cities and Knights make it more exciting.
 
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Danny Wu
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I played that, there is a main island and all other hex is not revealed. Then every time we discover a new tile, roll the dice. If it is 5,6,7,8 then it is a land tile, otherwise it is a sea tile. Ships can move, you need 1 knight card per move (to combat the pirates) but you draw 3 knight cards instead of one card. When all tiles have being discovered, the game ends.
 
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Gary Witmer

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You could add new ways to score VPs by incorporating the Great River of Catan, and playing with the Harbormaster card. (That is a part of Traders & Barbarians, but you could improvise by making your own.) That might make getting that last VP or two easier.

You might also add Fishermen of Catan as a way of making the coastlands more productive, and including a Jungle tile or two to give you robber-proof Development Card buying capability, which can also lead to VPs.
 
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