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Subject: How hard is this game supposed to be policed? rss

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It seems like an unusual question but the reason I ask it is we often make the mistake of forgetting to collect resources sometimes, particularly after we've added a new settlement and initially forget we've got more tiles/numbers to collect from. We have one player who has basically enforced a steadfast law that if we suddenly realise on even the next turn that we forgot to collect wheat or somesuch that it's too late - we're not allowed to. Bacially "you snooze, you loose". (I think I've lost games because of this). This has even happened when, in the midst of the chaos of calculating too many cards after a 7 is thrown, and the player is eager to get on with his turn building something or somesuch, that they forget to move the robber. We remember the next turn but, according to this one guy, that's just too bad, it's too late, not allowed to "catch up" and correct things at all! But it's even more than that. It also extends to actually moving the robber, that once you have taken your hand off the robber piece, that's it, even if it's still your turn and you've realised you would rather move it somewhere else. I had a situation where I had moved the robber inadvertantly next to my own settlement because I was tired and had temporarily got confused about which color I was. Even though I hadn't yet taken a card (there was another player's settlemenmt next to the tile as well), I was told it was too late. I couldn't move it somewhere else!

So, do you think this is too harsh? How flexible are you when you play? Do you allow any catch ups due to mistakes?

BTW, one little "dirty trick" that got played on me recently. I had actually stolen (with the spy, this was cities & knights) this guy's alchemist card so he knew I had it but when it got to my turn (our VPs were pretty close) he told me to hurry along and throw the dice, and just intimidated me and confused me enough to make me forget to use the alchemist card.

Yeek, Reminds me of those Monopoly games where someone quickly passes on the dice to their friend next to them so they throw it before you've even got a chance to point out that they're on your property and need to pay rent.
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Ke7in11
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I'll have to recheck the rules, but I believe they state that if you do not collect by the time the next player (player after the roller) finishes their turn, you lose out. At least, this is the way we play, and we feel like it gives ample time to realize your production and collect.

Also, we collect resources in turn order, so we feel like it gives everyone an alert that resources are being distributed, and you should check all your cities and settlements. "Player 1, do you get anything? Player 2, Player 3..."

The "Hurry Up and Roll" with the alchemist card, though, I feel like is fair game. I'd even accept it in Monopoly. If getting people on Tilt is an acceptable strategy in Poker, why not in any game?

 
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P. Lin
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You've asked a game-independent question. The answer has less to do with what game is being played, than who is playing the game.

Usually the standard of strictness in a game defaults to either the majority opinion, or the most strongly advocated opinion (often for the strictest standard expressed).

My personal cut-off for this kind of thing is that no changes are permitted starting from the moment the next player has taken any turn action.

In competition, it probably would not be allowed for a player to "forget" to move the robber, as this is in direct violation of the official rule that the robber must be moved with every 7 or soldier. Tournament games are also played with a designated banker (who then has a slight advantage in resource tracking), whom everyone watches closely as all players are equally invested in avoiding any irregularities.

Ke7in11 wrote:
we collect resources in turn order

By the way, the official rule is that when the bank is so low on a resource as to be unable to supply all players with the resource production that they are due, no player produces that resource at all, while any other resource produced by the same dice roll is distributed as usual. So in that situation, if you were to distribute resources by turn order, you'd be playing by house rules rather than official rules.
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What about not being able to move the robber after your hand is off the piece (a bit like chess)? Surely, even in tournament, you can change your mind so long as you haven't stolen the card yet?
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John Holder
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Rusty Gamer wrote:
...This has even happened when, in the midst of the chaos of calculating too many cards after a 7 is thrown, and the player is eager to get on with his turn building something or somesuch, that they forget to move the robber. We remember the next turn but, according to this one guy, that's just too bad, it's too late, not allowed to "catch up" and correct things at all!


Since the rules say the dice roller is supposed to move the robber, everyone should stop you from playing anything until you move it. It is everyone's responsibility to see that the events that are supposed to happen do happen. If they 'let you forget' they are implicitly condoning breaking the rules.

Rusty Gamer wrote:
...But it's even more than that. It also extends to actually moving the robber, that once you have taken your hand off the robber piece, that's it, even if it's still your turn and you've realised you would rather move it somewhere else.


That is just wrong. shake


When we play, the 'banker' (resource manager) makes sure cards are tossed if you have too many on a 7, and that robber is moved, and only then hands out your resource allocation. It is still your responsibility to make sure you got the right stuff, but because of this we've actually never had the problems you describe.
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John Clark
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We play that the banker distributes the resources after the dice are thrown. If the banker makes a mistake then the missed resource(s) from previous rolls (to the extent that they can be known) are given to the player immediately after the mistake is realised.

We are also pretty relaxed about changing your mind, provided that the next turn has not began, even to the extent of 'undoing' trades.

I can't understand why anyone should feel satisfied by winning because they would not let another player 'undo' an obviously silly move immediately after it occurred. That would feel like a very hollow victory to me.
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P. Lin
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peapicker wrote:
Since the rules say the dice roller is supposed to move the robber, everyone should stop you from playing anything until you move it. It is everyone's responsibility to see that the events that are supposed to happen do happen. If they 'let you forget' they are implicitly condoning breaking the rules.

I agree. What John said here is right on the money.

peapicker wrote:
Rusty Gamer wrote:
...But it's even more than that. It also extends to actually moving the robber, that once you have taken your hand off the robber piece, that's it, even if it's still your turn and you've realised you would rather move it somewhere else.

That is just wrong. shake

I also agree with John here. A player's robber placement may be debated and modified up until the moment that a resource card is stolen out of an opposing player's hand. At that point, the robber placement (and politicking) phase is over.

A few years ago, the official rules stated that the trading phase strictly preceded the building phase in turn sequence. Klaus Teuber took the rare step of modifying the official rules, such that trading+building became a single turn phase and thus could be done in any order during a player's turn (new ports still can't be used right away). I take this as evidence that Teuber did not intend for his game to be policed as strictly as competitive Chess within the context of a single turn phase. If that were the case, then a Settlers player would have to commit to building the first thing he touched while casually stacking his game pieces in between turns. That's just wrong.
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Tony Chen
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Frankly, I wouldn't want to win because of something stupid, so I always let my opponents take back their moves if it doesn't "affect" things. Like, it was obvious what he would've done and nothing happened afterwards to affect his plan.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Some people clearly are too obsessed with winning if they play Chess in Settlers. I ALWAYS allow people to correct their mistakes unless their corrected move would force us to revise the following actions. So, as long as it is your turn, you may re-think your moves and take them back. Even if it's another players turn I'd allow this unless the change would strongly affect this other player's moves.

Ex.

1) You forgot to take your Aqueduct resource. It's the next player's turn. You mention you've forgot the resource in the previous turn. Go on, take it - doesn't change anything and if you didn't forget it, you'd have it anyway. Anyone not allowing this is obsessed with winning. Period.

[BTW, if this causes you to now have more than 7 cards on your hand and a 7 was rolled, go on, take your Aqueduct resource and lose half of your cards. To undo this decision is bad sportsmanship by yourself - you want to have the resource, take it and lose the rest. Be fair. If you forgot and don't mention it - your luck.]

2) You place a settlement on one spot. Soon you realise, this was a mistake (during your turn!) and you wanted to place it somewhere else or even build a road instead. Go on, take the wrong settlement off and place it somewhere else or get your sheep and wheat back and place the road. Doesn't change anything. If you had thought one minute more about your move, you'd done the right thing anyway. Anyone not allowing this is obsessed with winning. Period.

3) Same situation as in 2), but the next player rolls the dice. Suddenly you realise, your placement was bad as you wanted to place it somewhere else. If this doesn't affect the resource outcome of the roll, undo your action, if it does, no way - that's your own fault.

And so on.

I hate to win because of evident mistakes by my opponents. I don't talk about strategic mistakes (i. e. suboptimal decisions where you didn't know the outcome earlier; too high bids in auctions; and so on), but about hasty moves done in order to not lengthen the game (as a misplacement - i. e. of the robber). Of course, if someone does this mistakes and doesn't notice - it's fine. But as soon as I see, this person knows they could've done better and it's not too late to change this, then change it! Very often it IS possible to make the change without affecting anything else. Of course, nobody is allowed to abuse it - anyone who does will hardly get another chance to change their mind. We all play games to have fun and it's surely no fun for a person to recognise they did a huge mistake just a few seconds ago that puts them into a losing position.

Just another example from yesterday where I needed to redo an action in Le Havre, because I noticed too lately that the city would build the other wharf at the end of that round. I finished my turn taking some resources and it was my wife's turn. The only thing she had done, was the refill part of their turn when I suddenly realised I won't be able to build the wharf next turn. So I've put the resources back and replaced my worker to build the wharf. Everyone but one player was OK with this as this didn't influence my wife's turn (as she still hadn't done their main action). Asking this player why he thinks I may not redo my action, he answered, this will influence his turn. Sorry, but I laughed out loud - it would've influenced his turn anyway if I had build the wharf right away instead of one minute later... He had no further arguments and we played on. There is nearly never a reason to not allow a player to change his mind within the next minute. Of course, if my wife had done her main action, I even wouldn't think of redoing my action - this would've been too late.

Let Chess be Chess and any fun boardgame a fun boardgame. At least, let it be this wy in your game groups. On tournaments, be strict and play Chess - I'd do the same and surely every participant will. But at home, have fun. It's not all about winning.
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Billy McBoatface
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Settlers of Catan is meant to be more fun than competitive. If we notice soon enough that resources were forgotten, we hand them out. But it's up to whatever your group enjoys the most.
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Dave Nellis
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wmshub wrote:
Settlers of Catan is meant to be more fun than competitive.


We actually go around the table and make sure every gets their allocation. A necessity consider the amount alcohol ingested by my gaming group. I would hate to win for such a silly reason.
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Don Hancock
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The robber is a rule. You can't "forget" it. No way.

On the "it's laid it's played", our house rule is that once you set the robber down, it's down. This is more to prevent AP and never ending negotiation on robber placement. We like to keep things moving.

On negotation, we don't give more than a few attempts to make a deal. A bad deal is rejected and the next player with dice in hand says, "can I roll?" If someone insists, we don't proceed, but usually, the player builds and we move on. We love settlers, by the way, it's one of our family and friend's favorite games.

Oh, and if you forget to pick up a resource card, so long as it doesn't change anything and it's not like three turns ago, no problem. We often have alot of other distractions and it's not a big deal.

Don Hancock
 
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Todd Pytel
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I've played it both ways. Obviously, with new or very infrequent players you're going to want to cut some slack. But if everyone basically knows the rules, I find it more enjoyable to be strict. You watch the tiles and collect your resources. You forget, too bad. It's not so much a matter of being competitive (there are other, much better games for that), it just keeps the game moving.
 
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Gareth Reynolds
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I'm one of those compulsive types that wants to ensure certain things are done the right way (ie. my way) and so when playing Settlers (including with Cities & Knights) I will usually play the role of banker as well. When the dice are rolled I check for players having more than 7 cards and remind them to move the robber when that's applicable and will give out resources for each appropriate hex. I do not however remind players of the aqueduct rule more than about twice a game, unless they are very new to the epansion.

To the main issue of your post though, I would cease to play with that individual again.
 
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Mastadon61 wrote:
On the "it's laid it's played", our house rule is that once you set the robber down, it's down. This is more to prevent AP and never ending negotiation on robber placement.


This causes more AP as now the player will re-think their decisions mutliple times before even touching the robber piece... just to be sure, it's really the right hex to put it on.
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Joe Grundy
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Ke7in11 wrote:
Also, we collect resources in turn order, so we feel like it gives everyone an alert that resources are being distributed, and you should check all your cities and settlements. "Player 1, do you get anything? Player 2, Player 3..."
This sounds like more work than "find the two hexes, who is on it?" is. (When done well... eg make the mental effort to identify who is adjacant to the hex before distributing for that hex, banker picks up those resources and does a momentary mental crosscheck before handing them out, then do the other hex).
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Simon Lundström
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I go by the rule: Let people correct their mistakes, no matter the rules, but if constant negligation becomes a regular disturbance or starts being misused, then set a rule that this is it, from now on if people do blah then blah, OK? At those times most people agree.
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Rusty Gamer wrote:
and just intimidated me and confused me enough to make me forget to use the alchemist card


Tell him to shut up or not play. Tell him before the game that you're playing with the relaxed rules and he can like it or leave. I can be a sarcastic bastard when people are taking a long time to make a move, but I'm not an arsehole like you're describing this guy.
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Sven Teuber
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We always play with a designated "banker" that hands out resources. It's fast and safe: If the banker overlooks someone, that someone usually will remind the banker, who can cross-check the claim. Having no banker and each individual player managing and taking his own resources opens up too much room for errors (distracted players) or even cheating.

Since "getting the resources that were rolled" is an essential part of a players turn, a "you forgot - your bad luck"-strategy seems kinda like "oh, you forgot to move your meeple in Pachisi because someone distracted you - bad luck, fellow". A game's about playing, not about distracting players.

As for the robber... the rules say it *must* be placed somewhere else, so there is no question whatsoever if it can be "forgotten". In our gaming groups, people usually think before they place it, so a situation in which they want to place it somewhere else immidiately rarely occurs. If it does, it's usually a matter of "whoops, that would have been smarter, but what the heck, I already set it". It just increases the value of your win ("I won even though I placed the robber stupidly!") or provides a reason why you lost ("yeah, well, hadn't I been so stupid..." as opposed to "I played the whole game wrong"). ;-)
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I'll agree with the majority here and say relaxed is the most enjoyable for me. Nothing like missing the obvious and trying to correct it only to have somebody get all up in arms about it. Truth be told it's likely they will require the same generosity later in the game...

TOH
 
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Just to be clear, the guy is not deliberately trying to make people forget things. The alchemist thing was just a bit of tongue in cheek I think. Honest mistakes are made but he wants the game to keep moving and that is why they aren't allowed to be corrected. He's missed out on stuff himself as well so he sticks to his own rule. And it's been him that's pointed out that I've been forgetting such and such a resource as soon as he notcies it, but I'm not allowed to catch up, that's all.

I think I'll simply have to be more alert in the game, consciously take note of all the numbers I have access to and so on. It's just annoying when you realise you've been missing stuff that could've cost you the game.
 
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Geoff Burkman
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Quote:
[BTW, if this causes you to now have more than 7 cards on your hand and a 7 was rolled, go on, take your Aqueduct resource and lose half of your cards.


Please bear in mind that the Aqueduct does NOT trigger on a roll of "7". Thus, this situation is impossible.

As for the OP, all I can say is that each gaming group should have its own house rules in place, or at least a general understanding as to how things are going to go. My group tends to be lax and allow move changes so long as the next player has not gotten into their turn; we enjoy pursuing "the win," but it's the gaming camaraderie that's more important to us. After all, in our group, the only thing winning gets you is the right to decide playing order in the next game.

Beyond that, I tend to favor the idea that each player is solely responsible for his own stuff, and if he/she misses something that was staring him/her in the face, well....tough. Pay attention next time!
 
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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MisterG wrote:

Quote:
[BTW, if this causes you to now have more than 7 cards on your hand and a 7 was rolled, go on, take your Aqueduct resource and lose half of your cards.


Please bear in mind that the Aqueduct does NOT trigger on a roll of "7". Thus, this situation is impossible.


Please re-read my post. This person forgot to get their resource for the aqueduct the turn before the seven was rolled and now claims their aqueduct resource retrospectively.
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Geoff Burkman
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Oops, my mistake! I trust that they realized that in such an instance in the future they should be vewy, vewy quiet and hunt wabbits.
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Another thing, this guy doesn't like "table talk", so, in other words, we can't make deals or open aliances or openly discuss strategy with other players.
 
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