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Catan: Seafarers» Forums » General

Subject: Random Map Setup or Scenarios? rss

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Jean-marc Thibault
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I recently ordered this expansion on Amazon and am looking forward to sharing it with my fellow Settlers players.

One thing that was not clear to me is the scenarios. First of all, having only played the core Catan game, I am new to the idea of scenarios. What I know is that the scenarios are pre-setup tile layouts that offer balanced and interesting matches.

My question is this: Are scenarios the only way to play Seafarers, or can you randomly create a balanced map like in the previous game?

The reason I was wondering is because scenarios appear fairly limited and I know that the random variable maps are part of what make Catan a favorite among my friends.
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DC
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Grand Rapids
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You can definitely create random map setups, and even design your own scenarios. However, I recommend starting with one of the included scenarios. The reason is that random boards can end up very unbalanced (obviously, they haven't been tested!), and give one player a big advantage.

Of course, once you've tried it, there can be a lot of fun in mixing up a bunch of land and ocean tiles, and seeing what happens.
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Dave
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Yes and no.

Yes, scenarios are the only way to play Seafarers. But no, because one of the scenarios (at least in the edition I have -- latest American) is an open one for you to create the map you want.

But "scenarios" and "tile layouts" are two different things. The scenarios are new sets of rules to be played with recommended layouts. You can call them "variants" if you want, but scenarios is a better descriptor. The different scenarios are all fun and offer a lot of variety to Settlers.

Also, the tile placement in each scenario can still be random, and harbor placement in many scenarios can also be randomized.
 
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My friends and I like to play random maps too. So we started to randomize the Heading for New Shores map. I works really well and is still quite balanced. We've played it dozens and dozens of times.

I posted the variant previously: Catan: Seafarers Heading for New Shores Variant.
 
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Simon Lundström
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Täby
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Now who are these five?
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As an "explorer" who don't at all mind that the game's a bit random, I'm always playing with random maps. I start by building an island that has 2 of each except stone that has 1 and wood that has 3, thus making it smaller than the normal Catan island. The lack of stone will draw people out to sea. I take as many numbers as I need for the start hexes, but usually skip the 2 and 12s for the start island.

I have a line of sea around the start island, and the rest of the hexes is a roughly 50/50 mix of sea and land, I place them face down and then it's a go. Each time you build a boat or road that leads to an undiscovered hex, turn it. If it's a resource, you get a one-time discovery bonus (one card of that resource) except when you discover a gold island. If you are the first to build on a specific island, you get a bonus point.

First to 12 points wins.
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Mik Svellov
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Some official scenarious actually demand a random map set-up.
 
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Jean-marc Thibault
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Thank you everyone, I've gotten the game and had the chance to play it a few times and everyone enjoys the scenarios. We even want to replay scenarios because they're that much fun.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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I almost always play with random setup. Random tile placement is one of the strengths of Settlers, so why not use it? I shuffle the sea and land hexes into one pile, then lay them out left to right, one row at a time. (I have the 3rd edition, so my harbors are hexes.) Same with the numbers. Once it's built, I usually go back and make some adjustments, like ensuring that there are multiple islands, certain spots aren't too powerful, and harbors actually connect to land. This really makes for a new playing experience each time.
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