Mozzee (Michael) Murphy
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Subject: How my first play of the T&B Scenario could have gone smoother
Traders & Barbarians the Final Scenario - My first play, and how it could have gone smoother

Well, my wife and I decided to play the titular scenario from Traders & Barbarians. We've played most of the other variants since we got it at Christmas. And I've played at least 100 games of Catan, so I didn't figure it should be TOO hard to figure out. HOWEVER...

I spent (and when I say spent, I think I mean "wasted") almost an hour trying to figure out what the replacement frame pieces do. Since I have 3rd edition of Catan, I don't have the 4th ed. frame that those pieces are supposed to replace. I have a frame from Cities & Knights, and I have the frame from Seafarers, but none fit with the 4th edition. But with all the expansions I've got, I could certainly simulate whatever these new frames are supposed to change, if I could only figure out what what function they served. After an hour I realized that (please correct me if I'm wrong) the only difference is an insignificant change in the shore line. That is, you're not allowed to build roads on the back three sides of the trade centers, and added a changed graphic to help you remember that. HOWEVER, the tiles don't even convey exactly that, they make it look like you can't build on the single very back side.

Next up, I couldn't find the price to upgrade the trade carts. The rulebook says it's on the cards, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I even looked on the back, and it wasn't there. So I re-read the entire rules for this scenario, and realized I needed to turn the Trade Cart cards face down, instead of face up, and then it hit me. When I looked on the back of the cards, I had only checked the back of the first card. But that's the one you start with, so there is no cost. The cost actually IS on the backs of the rest.

Once I had made it past these two stumbles, we were ready to play, and had a great time. But my wife pointed out, in the time it took me to setup the game, she managed to do 2 full loads of laundry.

Well, since technically this would be session report of the SETUP if I stopped now, I better let you know about the actual game.
We’ve used many different 2-player variants, ever since we moved away from all our Catan friends & family. This time we were using the 2-p rules that were included with T&B. This was our 3rd play with this ruleset, but I think we’ve played with very similar rules a few times before.
Our board layout was a little bizarre, in that 3 of the 8 numbers were on matching terrain: both 8s were wood, both 10s were grain, and both 4s were brick. I played nice in the placement of the neutral player pieces, but didn't realize until it was too late that we covered up 3 of the 4 3-for-1 ports, and the only one left was clearly in Carrie's reach, not mine. And with no Sheep income, I thought I was hosed from the get go. But I managed to use my Trade Tokens (part of the 2-player rules we were using) wisely, by waiting until our scores were ties, then did several forced trades (for a single token) to get what I needed to get moving. I started being very cautious with my Gold Coins, but eventually realized I could get most places without having to pay a toll, and so began using them to buy my needed sheep.

In the end I won for 2 reasons. First Carrie took a gamble, and spent all her Gold to build a crucial development, and she made it through alright and got paid again. It went so well she tried the gamble again, and then she was stuck. I had managed to build an almost continuous road from the Quarry to the Castle, and the Neutral player's network blocked every way around on one end. Carrie found herself on the wrong side of my road with no Gold to pay my toll. She asked about it, and I skimmed through the rules, and found the “Pointers” for this variant, which suggest NOT doing what she had just done. I pointed a single path by which go all the way around my road on unimproved paths, but it was a very long path that took her all the way through the unneeded Trade Center. Again I played nice, and DIDN'T place the single road that would have totally trapped her in.

My saving grace was that Carrie did a forced trade with me once, and she gave me what she had too much of: 2 Sheep! Since that’s what I desperately wanted, and I had everything else needed to do so, I immediately was able to upgrade my cart twice!

The second reason I won was because after building a road that basically went from Quarry to Castle, I kept pulling exactly the right trade tiles, so I was able to keep going back and forth, and never needed to go to the third trade station until the very end. So I was able to make very good time with my cart, eventually making it across the board in a single turn.

The last few plays were merely a formality, when we both realized I was going to win once I could deliver my current load. One step away from victory I ran into a barbarian, needing a 3, 4, 5, or 6 to run him off--but I rolled a 1. So this delayed my win until the following turn. Carrie was able to finish another delivery, and upgrade a settlement into a City, but I still won 13 to 9.

After the headache involving the setup, it was fun, and look forward to teaching it to the kids.
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Ron H
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Ah, very good sir. I like this variant the best, my wife likes fisherman the best. She liked this one the least. Ah well, couples don't have to agree on everything!

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James Newton
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revtiedye wrote:
I spent (and when I say spent, I think I mean "wasted") almost an hour trying to figure out what the replacement frame pieces do. ... After an hour I realized that (please correct me if I'm wrong) the only difference is an insignificant change in the shore line. That is, you're not allowed to build roads on the back three sides of the trade centers, and added a changed graphic to help you remember that. HOWEVER, the tiles don't even convey exactly that, they make it look like you can't build on the single very back side.

I think you're right - I puzzled over this one as well.

Quote:
Next up, I couldn't find the price to upgrade the trade carts. The rulebook says it's on the cards, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I even looked on the back, and it wasn't there. So I re-read the entire rules for this scenario, and realized I needed to turn the Trade Cart cards face down, instead of face up, and then it hit me. When I looked on the back of the cards, I had only checked the back of the first card. But that's the one you start with, so there is no cost. The cost actually IS on the backs of the rest.

I think our cards had got scattered (my brother has improved his storage system since then) - so I had the advantage of seeing both sides as I collated them again.

However the thing that had us head-scratching was the fact that the rules say you need 30 barbarians, but in fact you only use 3. I had to re-read the scenario twice to answer the question "when do the other barbarians come into play" - they don't!

Quote:
Once I had made it past these two stumbles, we were ready to play, and had a great time. But my wife pointed out, in the time it took me to setup the game, she managed to do 2 full loads of laundry.

Did she get any gold for delivering laundry from the basket to the washer, or the waher to the dryer? whistle

Quote:
After the headache involving the setup, it was fun, and look forward to teaching it to the kids.

Agreed. We played it 4-player and, once we understood it, played it twice again - which is twice more than some of the scenarios in T & B.
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Ron H
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The other barbarians are for Barbarian Attack! That variant requires a lot of barbarians.

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"And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." Douglas MacArthur <
http://tincangeneral.com/forum/ (gaming and miniatures)
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Laura Gerard
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revtiedye wrote:
Once I had made it past these two stumbles, we were ready to play, and had a great time. But my wife pointed out, in the time it took me to setup the game, she managed to do 2 full loads of laundry.


Your entire post was a fun read but that bit was extra funny.
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