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Subject: Full stack and similar dice variants? rss

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So, I've been playing Catan on the DS. It's a fun way to hone my Settlers skills when I can't play the board game. But there's a house rule in the DS game that I am trying to understand.

It is called "full stack." From the description in the in-game "almanac," it sounds like the purpose of "full stack" is to limit what dice rolls come up so as to evenly distribute them and make them less random. Has anyone played enough to confirm whether this is correct?

Furthermore, the reason I'd like to understand this more fully is because, depending on how it is done, it may also be a good house rule for the home board game. One of the major complaints people have about the game could be alleviated (or at least lessened) if the possibility of being screwed over by the dice could be reduced.

For that matter, I'm interested in other rules that prevent plots of land from becoming useless as a result of the nature of random dice rolls. I've heard of a popular house rule available in one of the custom rule books -- I believe it was called "Poverty is Not Dishonorable" or some such. What effect does that rule have on the game? Might I want to try using it, or perhaps a similar rule?...

One possibility I have considered is to place tokens in a bag that show every possible combination of die rolls. Thus, when a token is drawn, it's removed from the bag until all the other combinations are drawn. However, this would be a little involved, since there are, what, 36 die roll combinations that could be put on tokens?... It'd be even more of an ordeal for Cities and Knights, depending on how far I decided to go with the idea.

I'd welcome any suggestions, either for official variants or your own variant concoctions.
 
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Chris
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Sheesh, I wouldn't have imagined they'd have already created a card deck around this idea and capitalized on it. Not sure how they handle the event die, but thanks for the link.

I'd still like to confirm, though: is the "full stack" rule identical to the "event cards" concept?
 
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Jason Clague
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Radien wrote:
Sheesh, I wouldn't have imagined they'd have already created a card deck around this idea and capitalized on it. Not sure how they handle the event die, but thanks for the link.


With the basic event cards you still need to roll the event die for C&K.

But there is a fan created variant here on the geek with a set of event cards designed for C&K. Check out 'Catan: Seasons' here. I highly recommend it.

As for your other query, I don't know, but the name "full stack" implies to me that you would use each number combination once, ie in 36 'rolls' you would be guaranteed 1 11 and and one 66

The event cards have a 'reshuffle' card inserted about 5 cards from the bottom, so you don't have that 'perfect' distribution.

The Seasons deck is even better IMHO, because the deck is 72 cards and you don't play through the bottom 20. This gives a bit more variability, but it stops the dice from rolling nothing but 4's the whole game!
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Excellent! Thanks for your detailed answers, superbgg.

I agree, "full stack" sounds like another word for the event card mechanic, since "stack" implies that it works like a deck of cards. I I had suspected it worked that way and was thinking of doing something similar on my own (as you can see in my first post). But it's rather difficult to check how it works without tallying the 36 dice roll combinations by hand.

I will definitely check out the Seasons file, since the idea of Seasons in a Catan game also intrigues me. I'm glad you recommend it since I'd like to try it. I had downloaded the "Seasons and Sorcerers" fan expansion, but I'd probably prefer to forgo the sorcerers part.
 
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Brandon Barkley
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If you were not playing C&K, you could remove the probability curve by getting a d12 and rolling it (re-rolling 1s of course unless you wanted to house rule a 1 to make something special happen).

If you wanted to do something special with 1s I was thinking something like "receive one resource card of your choice from the resources you can produce"
 
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marsman57 wrote:
If you were not playing C&K, you could remove the probability curve by getting a d12 and rolling it (re-rolling 1s of course unless you wanted to house rule a 1 to make something special happen).

If you wanted to do something special with 1s I was thinking something like "receive one resource card of your choice from the resources you can produce"


That's not a bad variant, but it doesn't really counter probability, it just removes the curve, making placement less important with regards to production value.

And for C&K you can always just add the event die. The event die doesn't have a probability curve since you don't arithmetically add it to anything.

I've been looking at the "Seasons" deck in the database and it looks like it deals with C&K pretty well.
 
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Radien wrote:
For that matter, I'm interested in other rules that prevent plots of land from becoming useless as a result of the nature of random dice rolls. I've heard of a popular house rule available in one of the custom rule books -- I believe it was called "Poverty is Not Dishonorable" or some such. What effect does that rule have on the game? Might I want to try using it, or perhaps a similar rule?...

The Poverty is No Shame variant was an official variant published in The Settlers of Catan: Das Buch zum Spielen. Players get a chip whenever they don't generate a resource on a turn, and on your turn you can trade in chips equal to your current score to determine the number rolled on that turn.

It's a good variant, that keeps the original feel of the game, while helping minimize the frustration of bad luck by giving players who aren't getting their numbers rolled some control over the dice results, and at the same time mainly lending assistance to players with low scores. Details and discussion here:

The Poverty is No Shame variant

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