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Subject: Session Report rss

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Richard Pardoe
United States
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A small group as Jeff and Lawrence arrived at Rich's house to play a few "K" games tonight. Rich had mentioned Keythedral in the roll call note, but work had been very busy the past few days and Rich had had no time to read up on the rules. Therefore, we decided to play one of Jeff's games that at least starts with a K phonetically and starts with K in my mother's tongue (that would be dutch): Kolonisten van Catan or Settlers of Catan.

A very assymetric distribution of resources saw all the ore along one side of the board and all the brick clustered towards the other side of the board. Lawrence as first player set his first settlement on a brick node while Rich went for the ore. Jeff (getting to build two as last player) played between the two getting brick, wheat, and wood. Rich then started on a wood/sheep vertex while Lawrence finished the initial round close to ore.

Looking at the hex numbers, brick was assigned 5, 11, and 11 so should have been a "poor" resource. But as the game progressed, these turned out to be the most common rolls with lots of brick available. But Rich had hoped to develop towards the brick, but never made it and was shut out of brick for the entire game. He would only acquire it by trading. With limited road making ability, Rich developed (or rather tried to develop) very slowly along one side of the board.

Lawrence built around his section getting lots of brick (intially) and wheat (later) to build up a minor network, but it was Jeff that had the inexorable growth. It took some time, but Jeff was the first to roll the "7" and move the robber. Jeff's preferred target was the 8-ore hex that Rich and Lawrence shared. This allowed Jeff to get wood from 8's while giving nothing to Rich/Lawrence. Everytime the robber was removed (mainly by Lawrence), Jeff would return it to the 8-ore hex.

But with the longest road, 6 settlements, 2 cities, it was Jeff that captured the win. Jeff would have won a few rounds early if he had drawn a third knight from the development card pool, but was handed a road development card instead. Scores: Jeff (10), Lawrence (6), and Rich (5).

Looking back, it was Jeff that managed to balance the resources the best. Rich and Lawrence had plenty of some, but very little of others. Again, the luck of the dice came into play with this game. While I enjoy basic Catan, I am finding that I enjoy the Seafarers expansion a bit more as there is more to do with sheep (wool) in that game. The one complaint (and it is a modest one) I tend to have with Catan is that after the initial set-up, there is very little one can do to mitigate the luck of the die. One hopes the die rolls even out over the course of the game, but the game just doesn't last long enough for that to happen. As we say in our game, 5's and 11's were quite popular. 10 was rolled once. As much as I would have liked to trade, I simply had little that the others wanted.
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