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Subject: Is there a "No-Trade" variant for basic Settlers? rss

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I'm looking for some player experiences in playing the basic settlers of Catan game (no expansions) without trading - how does it play? Is it faster? What are the beneifts? What is the downside, if any?

TIA
 
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Trevor Schadt
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Without trading, you would be pretty much completely at the mercy of the dice as far as being able to produce. A string of unlikely dice rolls -- an occurrence so disturbingly common to games of SoC -- would put one player in an almost insurmountably advantageous position over one or more others so as to make the game, at least in my opinion, almost unplayably unenjoyable.

SoC is, at its heart, a random enough game that, while considered a decent "gateway game" for those people unfamiliar with strategy board games, it has relatively little staying power for most people once they move on to meatier games. Why would you want to make it more random?
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This question blows my mind.

To me Settlers isn't about building Roads, Settlements and Cities, but rather mitigating randomness by spreading across numbers and trading to make up for lack of resources. Remove trading and you remove the heart of the game. Even ports are more useful for the leverage you get in trading with other players than the benefit it directly gives.

It might play differently (faster or slower depending on the die rolls) but without trading it wouldn't be much of a game.
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sheepOk, thanks to both of you. I shall categorize both of those replies as "all downside".wood

brick

oreI asked the question because it was put to me by another player in that sometimes the trading reaches ridiculous heights in the various permutations people will attempt to put together in a transaction, and that tends to slog the game down.ore

But I get both your drifts.

woodwheatsheeporebrick
 
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Brett Hudoba
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It all depends on the group of people with which you're playing.
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Ian Klinck
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markgravitygood wrote:
I asked the question because it was put to me by another player in that sometimes the trading reaches ridiculous heights in the various permutations people will attempt to put together in a transaction, and that tends to slog the game down.


The solution to that is not to remove trades, but to add a timer.
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They're both tradeoffs. I guess I'll take the other side of the debate....

* Even when you play it with trading, the way it's supposed to be played, you can still run into situations where you're in a rut. In the example cited with a series of unlucky dice rolls, you STILL can't trade. If the 2 of you are getting resources while I have nothing due to my bout of chronic bad luck, I won't be able to participate in any trades. Even if it's not the worse case scenario, having much less resources than others, or not getting enough of my own probably won't up my trading leverage.

* You get to certain points in the game where you won't want to trade with anyone anyways. There's the opposite of this where someone declares armagedden, or kingmaker, and just want to end the game.

* As far as games without trading taking longer... I don't quite buy that argument. I will say that for that situation, it's not that black and white. Many games are known to take longer without trading. For example, Roll Through The Ages takes on average 15 minutes per player. When you play with the trading option on, that gets upped to 30 minutes per player (obviously, the solitaire mode remains unaffected).

There can be alot of care that goes into each proposal. The counter proposals, wheeling 'n dealings, multi-trading, table-talk, heated arguments, and convincing others not to go through with certain trades make for some lively and interactive games, but they can really tack on to game times.

Another issue is some people are bummed out when other players don't "share" or trade away scarce resources. Really? You have a hot commodity (not to be confused with that C&K item), why should you trade it away at average market value, or even at 1:1? If someone doesn't give you a decent trade offer, then you shouldn't expect to trade with him. In such a case, trading does your opponents no good to secure resources they're trying to get, so they may end up hurtin' anyways.

=======

Getting back to the OP's question, I dunno about a no trade variant for SoC. Personally, I would like to try it once just to see how long it would take. Also, I, like many others, have lost a good deal of passion for this game, so doing this to also see just how well it plays would respark some interest.
 
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There is also the Catan Dice Game. Presumably a bit like Strategy Yatzy but retaining the building flavor (but no trading) of Catan proper.
 
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Trevor Schadt
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darthnice wrote:
There is also the Catan Dice Game. Presumably a bit like Strategy Yatzy but retaining the building flavor (but no trading) of Catan proper.


The SoCDG is very much like Strategy Yatzy, inasmuch as it is completely multi-player solitaire. The few times that I've played it -- it's a cute little filler, but we have better games that fill that same niche -- I came up with this variant rule that makes it at least a little bit influenced by, at least, the player before you: Any unused dice get passed to the next player, who may choose to keep them on the face currently showing, or roll them as part of their first roll as normal. (It's not much, but in some cases you'd be surprised how much of an effect it has on one player's turn, when they look at the next player's sheet and say "you really need this resource, so let's use it even though I wouldn't necessarily have done so.")

But yes, if you're looking for something with the same general theme as SoC but without the trading mechanic, that might be a good thing for you to investigate.
 
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If you do play Catan DG, be sure to try out the "advanced version" (forgot what they called that official variant). I hea it plays very similar to the real deal, but there may be trading involved. Worth checking out.
 
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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It seems as though taking trading out would gut the game, but I understand the frustration of someone going through every permutation. Have you thought about limiting the number of proposals that each person can make? The right number of proposals would leave most players untouched, but would speed up the Permutator.
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Andreas Krüger
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The game will probably go slower because it takes longer to collect ressources to build.
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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And to add to Andreas' thoughts:

I have been in games where a "no-trading" rule would have taken away any chance I had at winning.

When we talk about "no-trading", does that include trading with the bank?
 
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I'd vote that the trading is what makes the game, but to make something up for a variant - what about making "bank trades" 3 to 1 from the start and make the question mark ports "Assignable" - When you build on one you state what resource it trades 2 to 1 for for the rest of the game.

I'd make a rule where you couldn't build on a port in your initial placements and you could also set up some cost to reassign it at a later point.

You could see how that goes and if it's still too slow you could up production for settlements/cities from 1/2 to 2/3.
 
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feldmafx wrote:
And to add to Andreas' thoughts:

I have been in games where a "no-trading" rule would have taken away any chance I had at winning.

When we talk about "no-trading", does that include trading with the bank?
Yeah, I guess we should've been specific, I'm sure everyone's referring only to player trades.
 
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feldmafx wrote:
And to add to Andreas' thoughts:

I have been in games where a "no-trading" rule would have taken away any chance I had at winning.

When we talk about "no-trading", does that include trading with the bank?


In my world, no. You don't haggle with the bank. It's simply a 4:1 trade straight up.
 
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Brian Prasse
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Our house rules include no player-to-player trading and reverse robber on seven. Here's why:

1. It slows down the game. Nobody has any wheat, but you're going to waste five minutes trying to beg some off of us. I won't admit that I don't have wheat, because why weren't you paying attention?

2. It saves your opponents from going bust.

3. It enriches your opponents. One settlement or one road may not seem like a big deal to you, but you only need to build one settlement to win the game.

Of all of these, #1 is the most critical. My friends and I can finish a game in twenty minutes. That means we can play a lot of games in a night, which means everyone has a good chance to get a few wins. It's the same reason we do reverse robber on seven, it takes away the long thought process of "Who do I rob?" every time seven is rolled.
 
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Michael Sethan
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biranseraps wrote:

1. It slows down the game. Nobody has any wheat, but you're going to waste five minutes trying to beg some off of us. I won't admit that I don't have wheat, because why weren't you paying attention?


We play with our resources face-up. Why? Because there's zero joy in wondering what someone has in their hand, or wondering if they're being straight when they say "yeah I don't have any Brick" when Monopoly gets played.

Seriously, we've sat and thought about the reasons you conceal what you have in your resources and the only reason is chicanery and shenanigans of an amusing nature. "I Monopoly for Wood." "Don't have any." "Me either. Way to waste the card, buddy."
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Kereminde wrote:
biranseraps wrote:

1. It slows down the game. Nobody has any wheat, but you're going to waste five minutes trying to beg some off of us. I won't admit that I don't have wheat, because why weren't you paying attention?


We play with our resources face-up. Why? Because there's zero joy in wondering what someone has in their hand, or wondering if they're being straight when they say "yeah I don't have any Brick" when Monopoly gets played.

Seriously, we've sat and thought about the reasons you conceal what you have in your resources and the only reason is chicanery and shenanigans of an amusing nature. "I Monopoly for Wood." "Don't have any." "Me either. Way to waste the card, buddy."


While we've all done the empty Monopoly maneuver, I do tell others to just look at the stack of draw cards left for that resource. Easier to do with a computer program, as if there are only 15 ore cards left and you only have one of them, then that pretty much narrows it down.
 
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Michael Sethan
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It still derails a game, as it becomes a focus of the game that someone is willfully messing with it by being . . . untruthful.

Seriously. I don't see much value in keeping secret what resources you have, unless everyone looks away when it's your turn.
 
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Kereminde wrote:
We play with our resources face-up. Why? Because there's zero joy in wondering what someone has in their hand, or wondering if they're being straight when they say "yeah I don't have any Brick" when Monopoly gets played.


For me, there's zero joy in playing with a person who you'd even remotely suspect of doing something like this.
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Michael Sethan
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. . . I suspect everyone of having the potential to do this. Especially when they're relaxed around friends and having a good buzz from beer/wine, and think it's hilarious all-in-good-fun.

But none of that answers one good question - exactly what's gained in having the cards kept secret? About the only time is if you blow a Monopoly card (or similar from C&K). That's the only value I can see.

Because I'll tell you, trading is a whole lot more interesting when you can *see* what someone is angling for when offering you that gloriously neat trade....
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markgravitygood wrote:
I'm looking for some player experiences in playing the basic settlers of Catan game (no expansions) without trading - how does it play? Is it faster? What are the beneifts? What is the downside, if any?

TIA


This would absolutely drag the game down. Trading saves it from being a painful, boring mess.
 
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Kereminde wrote:
exactly what's gained in having the cards kept secret?


If you know I've got 2 rock and 2 wheat, and I'm asking for rock, you know what my plans are. If my resources are (semi) secret, I'm much more likely to be able to make a trade here to build my city.

It may be that for some people it wouldn't make a difference, but I tried open cards once and I hated it.
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biranseraps wrote:
Our house rules include no player-to-player trading and reverse robber on seven. Here's why:

1. It slows down the game. Nobody has any wheat, but you're going to waste five minutes trying to beg some off of us. I won't admit that I don't have wheat, because why weren't you paying attention?

2. It saves your opponents from going bust.

3. It enriches your opponents. One settlement or one road may not seem like a big deal to you, but you only need to build one settlement to win the game.

Of all of these, #1 is the most critical. My friends and I can finish a game in twenty minutes. That means we can play a lot of games in a night, which means everyone has a good chance to get a few wins. It's the same reason we do reverse robber on seven, it takes away the long thought process of "Who do I rob?" every time seven is rolled.


Number 1 is solved completely if you play open hands. I strongly prefer playing open resources- the trading is much faster and more strategic. You can easily put together multiparty trades by seeing immediately what everyone has and what you think they want.

I would strongly encourage you to try it next time you play.
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