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Subject: Initiating a trade rss

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Mr Deltaz
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Hi all,

Yesterday I played Settlers after a long break from the game. It was on a friend's house and they played trading a bit different from what I am used to so I wanted to confirm.

They played that only the current player was allowed to start a trade. For example it is player's A turn and he got 2 bricks that round. Player B is not allowed to say "What would you like for one of those bricks?" Or "I will give you X for that brick". The only person allowed to start the trade is player A by saying something like: "I will trade a wood for a wheat".

I have played with several groups before and this is the first one that has this rule. I re-read the rules and the only restriction I see is that you have to trade with the current player only.

While not extremely different, I found this rule didn't allowed me to trade on certain turns because:
1) the current player didn't start a trade of any sort so I wasn't able to even give an offer.
2)The current player trades 1 thing only, but no one else is able to talk about other possible trades unless the current player mentions he wants "Y" resource or something.

I guess you could say that if he didn't want to trade then nothing was lost or nothing would have changed, but even when a player doesn't want to trade you can sometimes give certain incentives that will make him change his mind.

If it matters, I believe we played 3rd edition, with the Cities and Kinghts expansion. We also played with the 5 player expansion. I normally play 4th edition.

Thanks!
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Adam Vajcovec
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No, this is not part of the rules. I can see how some people might interpret it that way, but I much prefer open communication. As you said, there are trade possibilities that would be missed playing like this. This rule really restricts communication, and in a game that's all about trading I find that very... stifling.

Edit: Sorry, actually I can't say for sure about the 3rd edition. I play 4th too. 4th edition specifically says "The other players can also make their own proposals and counter offers." I don't think that is a change from 3rd.
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Brook Gentlestream
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In the 4th edition rules, the only ones I've played, trade is restricted to these two scenarios:

1) The current active player may offer a trade to any person at the table.
2) Any person at the table may offer a trade to the current active player.

Basically, the current active player must be involved in all transactions and communication.

My group takes a strict interpretation of this, and even saying things like "I got that" in response to a trade offer or "Wait, don't do that. I'll have a better deal for you on my turn." is considered a violation of rules.

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Fraser
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Deltas wrote:
I have played with several groups before and this is the first one that has this rule. I re-read the rules and the only restriction I see is that you have to trade with the current player only.
This is the correct way to play, including in tournaments. Any player may ask for a trade, but it is always via the active player.
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Reiner Dr. Düren
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All players are allowed to talk with each other and therefore can make trade offers - but none is forced to tell the truth about the kind of his resource cards. It is even allowed to offer resources or commodities, which after the trade are taken back by monopoly cards.

Dr. Reiner Düren
Catan GmbH
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Brook Gentlestream
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Is that a 3e thing? Because I get a very different result when reading the 4th edition rulebook.

I don't see anywhere in the rules that says players may make trade offers. I see a couple of places where it says they specifically cannot trade, and the act of "negotiating a trade" seems to be described under the rules of trading.

The rulebook lists "you negotiate the terms of your trades" as a step in the act of Domestic Trade. It is in the middle of a paragraph between two sentences that start with "you may trade". It seems clear that the act of negotiation is considered part of the process of trading, and is therefore restricted.

There is nowhere in the rulebook that says the other players may make trade offers with each other, even unreliable ones. There is a sentence that says "The other players can also make their own proposals and counter offers", but this is listed after describing the act of making such a proposal as the current player. The entire subject is described only under the section of Domestic Trade. And that statement is followed up by small print that says other players can't trade with each other.

If one chooses not to follow this strict interpretation, I think there is plenty of implied interpretation in the rulebook for how trade negotiations should be handled:

* On your turn, you may trade with any other player.
* Between turns, you may propose a trade with the current player.
* The current player must be involved in all trades
* If the current player decides not to trade, then no one may trade.

So by bother a strict reading of the rules and a general reading of implication, it seems that trade offers were always meant to involve the current player only.

As for the idea that players may talk amongst themselves and can therefore say whatever they want, I don't agree that there is open communication in this game. There seems to clearly be some things you're not allowed to discuss. The following are some of the rules that regulate information sharing:

* Victory point cards must remain hidden until the end of the game.
* Negotiation for cards to be exchanged is explicitly listed under the act of Domestic Trade.
* You must keep your development cards hidden (in your hand) until they are played.
* Each player keeps his resource cards hidden in his hand.
* The act of keeping a card hidden is described as having the purpose of "keeping the other players in the dark".

I think it's fair to say that there's quite a bit of secret information in this game, and the timing of when and how players may interact is specified quite clearly in the rules. There's no reason to imply that "open communication" is allowed beyond what's specified in the rules, when that communication helps you to circumvent the restrictions built into the game rules. For example, because the rules say I must keep my victory point cards hidden in my hand and that the purpose is to keep other players in the dark, it seems like a violation of the rules for me to tell other players "I have a victory card." Sure, the rules didn't specifically say I can't say that, but they didn't allow me to either and doing so circumvents the restrictions built into the game. In the same way, I feel this same logic applies when trade offers are made between non-current players. It's not just simple table chatter then -- it's an attempt at cheating. Arguing for its case is like saying, "well the rules didn't specify I couldn't bring extra brick cards from home and use them while playing so I guess we should be allowed to".

I've never played online or in tournaments, and am not privy to the intentions of the designer, so my group only has the rulebook to go by and it seems pretty definitive on the subject. So these are the rules that we use.

You're free to play however you want, of course, but I feel this interpretation is closest to what's actually in the 4e rulebook.
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Tootsie Roll
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My sister pointed to a section in the rules saying only the current player can initiate a trade, but I do not know exaclty where it is. Once open, all players can make offers and counter offers, but our reading did say the current player must make the initial offer. This helped her enjoy the game much more as she did not like everyone lambasting her with offers once her turn began.
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Mark L
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Since the OP was asking specifically about 3rd edition, here's what the rules say:

Quote:
You can trade resources with the other players. You announce which resources you need and what you are willing to give in return. You are free to accept offers from other players and to make counter proposals.

Important: Only the player whose turn it is can initiate trade. The other players may not trade among themselves.

As far as I know that's all there is. 4th edition's text is essentially the same, slightly differently phrased. The only (maybe) significant difference I see is that it removes any mention of "initiating a trade", instead simply saying, "Players may only trade with the player whose turn it is."

Although I play 3rd ed, this is basically the way we do it anyway; if you have a proposal for the active player we don't worry about who "initiates" trade.

It would be impossible to police; what happens if a player says "I'd like some of that brick, if you'd like to trade with me," and the active player says "Fine. What will you offer me for my brick?" The first player could argue he just made a statement of fact, and it was the second player who "initated" the trade.

Anyway, I'm unaware of any rule anywhere that restricts what players can talk about outside their turn.

lordrahvin wrote:
Is that a 3e thing? Because I get a very different result when reading the 4th edition rulebook.

I don't see anywhere in the rules that says players may make trade offers. I see a couple of places where it says they specifically cannot trade, and the act of "negotiating a trade" seems to be described under the rules of trading.

The rulebook lists "you negotiate the terms of your trades" as a step in the act of Domestic Trade. It is in the middle of a paragraph between two sentences that start with "you may trade". It seems clear that the act of negotiation is considered part of the process of trading, and is therefore restricted.

They can't trade out of turn, but that's because trading happens as part of the turn sequence. Therefore if it's not your turn, you may only trade (or negotiate) with the active player as part of their turn.

Nothing forbids you from mentioning the kind of trade you'd like to negotiate, though. "Damn, I'm up to my eyebrows in sheep, I definitely want to trade some of those away at the earliest opportunity!" And thus everything quickly gets very murky, unless you just allow the players to talk freely amongst themselves.

Quote:
I think it's fair to say that there's quite a bit of secret information in this game, and the timing of when and how players may interact is specified quite clearly in the rules. There's no reason to imply that "open communication" is allowed beyond what's specified in the rules, when that communication helps you to circumvent the restrictions built into the game rules. For example, because the rules say I must keep my victory point cards hidden in my hand and that the purpose is to keep other players in the dark, it seems like a violation of the rules for me to tell other players "I have a victory card."

Interestingly, 3rd ed simply gave a "hint" that you "should" keep your victory point cards hidden. In 4th ed that's become a rule that you "must", but I see no reason to be anal about it. Of course it's in your interests to keep those cards hidden; if you break that rule you hurt no-one but yourself, so go ahead if you want.

Note that saying you have a victory card is not against the rules, nor even necessarily against your own interests. Because you could be lying.

But the broader point; people talk. It's kind of a defining aspect of being human. As far as I can see, if players want to talk about their cards they are free to do so unless the game specifically forbids it. You feel that's like cheating; I feel it's ridiculous to tell people playing a game for fun that they can't talk about whatever the hell they like.

Of course if all players agree that something shouldn't be discussed, that's their choice, but don't pretend the rules say so.
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Reiner Dr. Düren
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Catan is a trading game and like in real life a trade involves talking and each trader should try to get the best deal. There's no rule which says who has to start the trade.

It is not forbidden to talk about the resources you have, but you are not allowed to show the resources before the trade to give proof and you mustn't show them. Thereby you can use this in all aspects of the trading process or to get information on the resources of the other players to use monopoly cards or play knight cards - but you have to take into account that the other player can also lie, since none is forced to tell the truth.

Dr. Reiner Düren
Catan GmbH
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Mr Deltaz
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xipuloxx wrote:
Since the OP was asking specifically about 3rd edition, here's what the rules say:

Quote:
You can trade resources with the other players. You announce which resources you need and what you are willing to give in return. You are free to accept offers from other players and to make counter proposals.

Important: Only the player whose turn it is can initiate trade. The other players may not trade among themselves.

As far as I know that's all there is. 4th edition's text is essentially the same, slightly differently phrased. The only (maybe) significant difference I see is that it removes any mention of "initiating a trade", instead simply saying, "Players may only trade with the player whose turn it is."


Thanks, that might be it, my copy doesn't say anything about "initiating a trade".

While it wasn't game breaking or anything, it didn't feel like the normal Catan games I play, there was little to no trading. If we ever play again I will see if they are willing to get rid of that restriction.

I would have hated it if I found out that I have been playing the game wrong all these years blush

Thanks for all the replies!
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Reiner Dr. Düren
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This are the trade rules in the 4 editions:

1st edition:

Quote:

2. Trade
Players may trade for resources.

a. Domestic Trade
You can trade resources with the other players. You announce which resources you need and what you are willing to give in return. You are free to accept offers from other players and to make counter proposals.

Important: Only the player whose turn it is can initiate a trade. The other players may not trade among themselves.


2nd edition:

Quote:
2. Trade
Players may trade for resources.

a. Domestic Trade

You can trade resources with the other players. You announce which resources you need and what you are willing to give in return. You are free to accept offers from other players and to make counter proposals.

Important: Only the player whose turn it is can initiate a trade. The other players may not trade among themselves.


3rd edition:
Quote:
2. Trade
Afterwards you may trade freely (using either or both types of trades below) to gain needed Resource Cards:

a) Domestic Trade
On your turn, you can trade Resource Cards with any of the other players. You can announce which resources you need and what you are willing to trade for them. The other players can also make their own proposals and counter offers.

Important: Players may only trade with the player whose turn it is. The other players may not trade among themselves.


4th edition:
Quote:
2. Trade
Afterwards you may trade freely (using either or both types of trades below) to gain needed Resource Cards:

a) Domestic Trade
On your turn, you can trade Resource Cards with any of the other players. You can announce which resources you need and what you are willing to trade for them. The other players can also make their own proposals and counter offers.

Important: Players may only trade with the player whose turn it is. The other players may not trade among themselves.
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Mark L
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RedPiranha wrote:

2nd edition:

Quote:
2. Trade
Players may trade for resources.

a. Domestic Trade

You can trade resources with the other players. You announce which resources you need and what you are willing to give in return. You are free to accept offers from other players and to make counter proposals.

Important: Only the player whose turn it is can initiate a trade. The other players may not trade among themselves.


3rd edition:
Quote:
2. Trade
Afterwards you may trade freely (using either or both types of trades below) to gain needed Resource Cards:

a) Domestic Trade
On your turn, you can trade Resource Cards with any of the other players. You can announce which resources you need and what you are willing to trade for them. The other players can also make their own proposals and counter offers.

Important: Players may only trade with the player whose turn it is. The other players may not trade among themselves.



I'm sure the edition I have is 3rd -- it's published by Mayfair and the latest copyright date given on it is 2003 -- but as I quoted above, its rules match the text you've labelled "2nd edition", not the text you've labelled "3rd edition".

Perhaps the German 3rd ed is different from the Mayfair one? It's probably worth checking if the OP was playing the Mayfair version...
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Reiner Dr. Düren
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I've received the rules for the 1st to 3rd edition as pdf-files from Mayfair Games. In the rule book for the 2nd edition there's this copyright notice: "© 1997, 1999 Mayfair Games, Inc.,", the 3rd edition has this copyright notice: "Copyright © 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005 Catan GmbH"

The rules for the 4th edition can be downloaded here: http://www.catan.com/en/download/?SoC_rv_Rules_091907.pdf ("Copyright © 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2007" )
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Mr Deltaz
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I will try to ask the owner to see if they know what edition they have, but by having a quick glance through the gallery I think this is the version they were using:

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/2730/the-settlers-of-catan

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Sebastian Rapp
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It is both use- and regardless to argue about editions.

The rule as it EVER WAS and as it ever was meant to be:

Everybody can talk with everybody about trading. There are no restrictions and if any rule translation from the German original rule differs from that, it is simply wrong and/or misleading. In this case, I assume, "Initiate" is simply misunderstood and taken too literally.

The rules are quite simple as Reiner Düren already pointed out:

Trades are allowed only with the active player.

What you talk apart from that is up to you. You are not forbidden to tell another player that you will give him 2 ore for his wheat insted of the lousy 1 ore the active player offered - as soon as it legal.
If the player then refuses to trade with the active player, it is up to you (and your diplomatic skills) if the offer is still valid as soon as the trade is possible (e.g. either of these two player is then the active player).
You can also threaten this player by pointing to your (disclosed) development cards and tell him, to better not make that trade with the active player.
Of course you must not trade "1 wheat for not placing the robber to me". You can trade "1 ore for 1 wheat and do not place the robber to me", but the agreement concerning the robber is totally up to the player agreeing to it. There is nothing binding but the immediate exchange of resources.

Everything else is nitpicking on the rules and hairsplitting.

Of course, you can play as you like it. But if you want official rulings, you have it, no arguing about that.

I conclude with citing from the 1st edition original German rules:
"Wer viel handelt, hat bessere Chancen. Ruhig auch mal dem Spieler, der an der Reihe ist, von sich aus ein Angebot machen!"
Translates: "Frequent trading increases your chances to win. Do not hesitate to make a trade offer to the active player!"

This sentence is still part of the actual German rules. Has been and ever will.

Sebastian Rapp / Kosmos
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Reiner Dr. Düren
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Sebastian Rapp wrote:
...
I conclude with citing from the 1st edition original German rules:
"Wer viel handelt, hat bessere Chancen. Ruhig auch mal dem Spieler, der an der Reihe ist, von sich aus ein Angebot machen!"
Translates: "Frequent trading increases your chances to win. Do not hesitate to make a trade offer to the active player!"

This sentence is still part of the actual German rules. Has been and ever will.

Sebastian Rapp / Kosmos


This can also be found in the English rules (ed. 3 and 4) in the chapter "Tactics" of the Almanac on page 13:
Quote:
The more you trade, the better your chances of victory. Even if it is not your turn, you should offer trades to the current player!
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Mark L
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RedPiranha wrote:
I've received the rules for the 1st to 3rd edition as pdf-files from Mayfair Games. In the rule book for the 2nd edition there's this copyright notice: "© 1997, 1999 Mayfair Games, Inc.,", the 3rd edition has this copyright notice: "Copyright © 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005 Catan GmbH"

The rules for the 4th edition can be downloaded here: http://www.catan.com/en/download/?SoC_rv_Rules_091907.pdf ("Copyright © 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2007" )

Well, that's just weird. I'm fairly sure my copy of Settlers is 3rd edition, though it doesn't actually state what edition it is anywhere. But the rulebook gives the copyright dates "1997, 1999, 2003".

I wonder if the rules you've been given are actually direct translations of the then-current German rules rather than the rules actually included in Mayfair Games' own editions. Or maybe they actually changed the rulebook in later printings of 3rd ed?
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Mark L
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Sebastian Rapp wrote:
It is both use- and regardless to argue about editions.

The rule as it EVER WAS and as it ever was meant to be:

I actually have been agreeing with you all along about the intention of the rules.

The reason I'm interested in different editions and their different wording is just that it seems this is the source of some confusion, leading to misinterpretations of the rules. But it's important to establish that these are misinterpretations.

(Though of course anyone can use any house rule they like. )
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David Sutherland
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Practically speaking the game dynamic changes when people who desire to trade get to start off trading offers -- i.e. "initiate" trades.

We've always played with 1st/2nd edition rules, which basically means the player's whose turn it is gets to think before being bombarded with multiple possible simultaneous offers.

We've always played that any counter-offers were acceptable but that no trading was allowed unless the player whose turn it is actually starts off any trading (even maritime trades with the bank.)

The change in the rules, while it might be seen as encouraging more trading, I feel actually leads to a more chaotic game. Because technically it means players can start asking to trade even before the dice are rolled (but the trade could not be fulfilled until after), or if players disagree about that trades could be offered as soon as the dice were rolled before most players even have a clue what's going on.

I hope in future editions this issue would be considered with more care and that the 1st/2nd style is reinstated but with more clarity.
 
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