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Subject: Development cards drive the action as Nelson comes from nowhere to win rss

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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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At a recent house con I played the most unusual game of Settlers I've ever been involved in. Now, I've owned Settlers since the very first Mayfair edition was released, and I learned about the game on rec.games.board before Spielfrieks existed (to say nothing of BoardGameGeek!) I played many, many games of it before I started logging games played at the start of 2002, and I've played another 27 since then. I used to decline offers to play Settlers at cons, saying "I get as many games as I want at home," but I've been re-thinking my stance since my daughter moved out of the house (we're much less likely to play Settlers now that there are only 3 of us.) So when Nelson, Doug and Cally invited me to play for old times' sake, I readily agreed.

We went to look for the box, but we found that "basic" Settlers was already in use at another table. The only other copy was the "big box" commemorative edition in the big wooden chest, with 3D terrain. This set is beautiful, but it's a little more difficult to actually play it, since the number chits are harder to see. You can't just slap the hexes down randomly to create the board, either, so I lined them up in a random order and Cally turned her back and chose random numbers. It was a difficult board, with brick available on 3, 11, 11, and with all three ore hexes clustered together on 5, 6, 12. Some people refuse to play on boards like this and will re-randomize in such cases, but I always enjoy the unusual layouts.

Nelson had first pick of settlement spots, and he picked a good one, near the 5 ore hex. I had second pick, and I took a spot that was next to both the 5 and 6 ore. Everyone else got one ore-yielding spot, but we put a lot of settlements down 3 hexes away from each other and by Nelson's turn there were no spots left that were adjacent to 3 production hexes, so he was forced to settle for a two-fer.

We started play, and the going was rough. The dice didn't seem to be behaving randomly, as an abnormal amount of 5's and 9's were rolled. Brick simply didn't come up, forcing us to buy roads painfully, one by one, by trading in sets of cards. What we did have in abundance were ore, sheep and wheat, and we bought development cards like they were going out of style. Nelson in particular was blessed with a development card machine as he bought 10 cards within the first dozen times around the table. All 4 of us had knights by the end of the turn 4, but Nelson swamped us in the Largest Army category. Six of his cards were knights, and those knights kept sending the robbers off to the 6 ore hex that the rest of us were counting on.

Finally Cally built a third settlement, and then Eric managed to squeeze one in. These provided access to the 2:1 ports for wood and ore, but there weren't many of those cards free (not with all the ore being used to buy development cards!) We played on and Eric built the game's first city, next to the 5 and 6 ore. When Eric built his city, we counted and saw that 19 development cards had been bought before the first city! Doug followed up with a city of his own, but Nelson was still stuck at 2 settlements. Nelson connected them to claim Longest road, giving him 6 VP with the Largest Army and Longest Road bonuses. We played just a few turns longer and Nelson built his third settlement. He then turned over 3 VP cards to claim the victory!

I have never seen anyone win Settlers with only 3 settlements and no cities. Nelson said he was hoping for a 4th VP card so he could win with only 2 settlements, but this was almost as good!
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Thomas Tholén
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Norsborg
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You don't distribute the number chits in the order using the letters on the back? So all sixes and eights can be on one (almost) hex and all twos and twelves can be on another?
 
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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We did distribute the number chits in order. However, the chits in the big box game do not have letters, so we had to copy the ordering from the other game's chits.

What I was referring to was randomly selecting which hexes would be wood, which ones wheat, which ones ore, and so forth.
 
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Thomas Tholén
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Ah, I see.
 
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