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Subject: from "Vanilla" to "5/6 Player" : unscrambling the counters rss

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Mr. Grace
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Adelaide
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EDIT : on further thought, it seems a *bad* idea to mark the terrain pieces, as some scenarios require the pieces to be face down till "discovered", and if they are marked on the back, they can be predicted !

It might be an idea to mark the number tokens ( only), at least the ones for the 5 &6 game AND for Seafarers ( these are a different set to those of the base game) ...now read on >>
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Original Post ..." I am a newbie to Settlers, have played about ten games all up. But I liked it so much, I have just taken delivery of the base game ("vanilla"), the Seafarers and Cities & Knights, plus their respective 5/6 player extensions.

Setting up a first game of "vanilla 5" (base + 5/6), I found it quite difficult & confusing to sort out all the different sets of pieces ( hexes, number chits, harbours, frame pieces etc). I was a little surprised that none of the sets appears to have a detailed inventory that would allow the owner to un-scramble the combined counter mix ( if necessary).The only way to do this is to follow the diagrams, which seems pretty slow and tedious..not to mention hard on my ageing eyes!

It has occurred to me that I should be able to *mark* the components of
each set on the reverse sides ( so as not to show during play), but in general I don't like to *deface* games if I can help it.And I notice that the Vanilla frame pieces have to be reversed for the expansions anyway, so any marks would show...

My options so far seem to be ( inclusively):
a) mark all the "Vanilla 4 player" ( only) components
b) mark all the Seafarers 4 ( only) components
c) mark the 5/6 player components as such

I am sure someone will have thought of a more elegant solution to this problem ! Grateful any ideas
 
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Gareth Reynolds
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Christchurch
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First question. Which edition do you have? From mention of the frame pieces I'm assuming fourth and there may have been more changes from third than I realise after only seeing the fourth once.

I don't know how much effort you're willing to put in, but have you considered using the tuckboxes from the files section?
This one for the 3-4 player hexes tiles
This one for base game cards (Which won't actually work that well if you just add in all the resource cards from the 5-6 player expansion as well)
There are others but it might be simpler in the long run to sort out what you'll play the most and then separate the other bits and pieces.

Even if you don't want to go to that much effort I'd recommend sorting the 3-4 number chits from the 5-6 and putting each in a separate (labelled) film canister, they seem almost designed for such and I think the 5-6 will all fit. I know the 3-4 do with space enough for one of the dice as well.

If it was my set I'd be creating
- a hexagonal box for the 19 hex tiles used in the main game and another for the 9 ports and 9 water only tiles.
- another hexagonal box for the extra land and sea tiles used in the 5-6 player expansion. (11 land and 4 sea I think)
- yet another hexagonal box for the Seafarers tiles (and maybe another for the 5-6 player Seafarers, I don't know what that added).
- a box for all the Base Game resource and development cards (merging the extras from the 5-6 into those from the 3-4)
- yet another box for the Cities & Knights development cards, commodities and victory point cards.
As to the other bits and pieces, I'd probably bag the towns, cities and roads for each individual colour. Then put all the ships in one bag as they'll only be used when playing Seafarers maps. The same with the walls and knights from Cities & Knights. You may find it better to just put all the red ships/walls/knights in one bag and so on for all colours.
The merchant, metropolis pieces, pirate/barbarian ships, red die, victory point chits etc. can probably all go in yet another bag as it won't be hard to just get what you need from it.

I have no doubt missed some aspects of the organisation that would be required but the boxes (for hex tiles and cards) are where I would start. Especially when each could box could be written on easily to list what you keep in it and for which version its contents are used.
 
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Jason Clague
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I keep everything together (I have Settlers, Seafarers, C&K and all the 5&6s). When playing SeaF - the Scenario booklet tells you what to use. When playing 'vanilla' (or C&K) I just have a small card included in the box saying which hexes to use for 3&4 or 5&6. The number chits I keep in different containers, the 'vanilla' ones are easy to tell apart from the 5&6 player ones (different coloured numbers) and the SeaF ones (no letters). I leave the 5&6 cards (resource and development) in play all the time. I realise this means the 'not enough resources available so no-one gets any' thing is less likely to happen, but I don't think thats a problem. I keep all the players coloured peices together in a container for each colour, walls and ships and knights included - it's not hard to work around them if they're not in use. C&K specific peices go in a separate bag (merchant, barbarians, metropolises etc).
And a box with divisions for parts (land hexes, sea hexes, cards etc) makes set-up and breakdown a breeze.
 
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Travis Hall
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The first thing you want to do is get a couple of film canisters. If you have a film camera, just ask to keep the canister the next time you drop off your film for processing. If you don't, just ask at the nearest film processing place if you can have a few canisters, as they usually have bag-full of the things that will be just thrown away and are more than happy to get rid of a few.

Film canisters are great for storing the number chits. Not only can you keep them separated and safe, they will fit so neatly that they will even stay in the order they were in when you put them away.

As for the hexes and harbours, I don't bother trying to separate them back out into their original sets. I just treat 4-player and 6-player basic Settlers as scenarios a la Seafarers. You just need to write up the necessary components for these two scenarios the same way the other scenarios have theirs listed.

4-player:
3 brick hexes
3 stone hexes
4 wood hexes
4 wheat hexes
4 sheep hexes
1 desert hex
4 3:1 harbours
1 of each 2:1 harbours


I'm not quite sure on the count for 6-player, but I'm sure you can work it out (and you only have to do it the once).

Now, you can mark the components if you wish. However, if you use marks on the components to sort them, you have to look at every component to determine where it should be. Even then, if you play a Seafarers scenario, you still have to look at the scenario component list to do the set-up. You don't really gain anything by marking the components, rather than just creating a list of what bits you need for 4- and 6-player Settlers and keeping that list in the box.

If you do decide to mark your components, you are better off marking the fronts. A discrete mark on the front will have no effect on play, and marks on the backs can be problematic when playing scenarios that involve randomly-drawn tiles (as a player with a good memory will get an extra indication of what might be drawn according to the mark on the back).

 
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