Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 Hide
19 Posts

Catan» Forums » Sessions

Subject: A revisit of SoC with my introduction of a variety of mixed variants from BGG rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I posted a thread in the Variants forum for some ideas I wanted to try out.

Click here if you want to find out more about it.

Had a 3 player game this weekend. Players were instructed of the following new rules.

1. Tournament Starting Rule, plus the no "7" on everyone's first turn.

2. Available on table are regular 2D6 dice, 1D12 die, Event Deck. Explained about the even probability on the 1D12 die.

3. Explained the Robber discard 2 cards to bank rule (denying rule).

This is how it played out. Right in the beginning, we all had fairly good placement. Family preferred the Event cards, due to the different events that unfold. With the Tourney rule, game was faster right out the gate.

Wife had one side, son, the other, I was in the middle. Soon, my wife and son traded the Longest Road card back and forth. Being in the middle, I soon found my self cut off from extending my roads. So I went for the Largest Army card and also later gained a hidden 1 VP development card.

As my wife and son got out to around 6 and 7 VPs and I was at 4 (no hidden VP yet), I started using the 1D12 die exclusively to limit their gains and try to catch up. Near the end, my son got up to 9, wife was at 6, I was at 7. My wife was catching up to my son to snatch the Longest Road and my son was out of settlements. Knowing he had to upgrade to win, we denied him trades for ore. He had over 7 cards and we were hoping for a "7" to bring him down, it didn't come in time, instead he traded with the bank to get his upgrade and the win, with my wife breathing down his neck for the Longest Road card.

For the most part of the game, I found the regular 2D6 was not being used because the event cards were preferred, so I put the 2D6 away a third of the way into the game. Being behind mid game, I liked the option that the 1D12 provided. The option of denying the Robber by discarding two cards didn't come into play, we basically forgot about it each time and only remembered AFTER giving up our card.

For future games, I'd still like to include the "Robber Deny" and have both the Event Deck and the 1D12 in the game and keep the Tournament Rule in play. I don't plan on using the 2D6 as it seems the Event Deck provided the similar probabilities with the added surprises of events.

Next game will include an expansion, most likely Fisherman and Harbormaster card.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn Martin
Canada
Ottawa
Ont.
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've found the welfare variant to be the best remedy for initial bad rolls.
-when you don't get resources from the die roll and it's not a seven, you get a welfare token.
-on you turn, you can trade in a number of welfare tokens equal to your visible VP total for a resource of your choice. (VP development cards don't count, Largest Army and Longest Road do.)
-welfare tokens may not be traded, robbed or halved. (Feel free to play with this.)
This has sped up games and diminished the bad roll droughts that can sap all the fun away in the games where it's been used.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Glenn, the welfare variant sounds like a good one for us to try out. I'm interested in how your games have been with this variant? Closer finish? Faster play?

EDIT: I found the other thread regarding this welfare variant and read up on it.

I do have a question, to avoid any problems with stockpiling and spending all the tokens at once, do you play it where the player only gets "one" trade in during the turn for a single resource?

For example, if I have 4 visible VPs and 8 welfare tokens, during my turn, is it...

A) Turn in 4 tokens for a resource, cannot use the remaining 4 until next turn.

or

B) Turn in 4 tokens for a resource, turn the other 4 token for another resource.

I'm thinking it should be A) for a better game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn Martin
Canada
Ottawa
Ont.
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've played with this variant for a couple of years now and recently ran a Catan tournament with it. The response from experienced players and beginners alike was enthusiastic. Experienced players enjoyed still being able to do something during a resource roll drought and beginners had something to ballance their inexperienced decisions.
The beginning of the game (the slowest part) is much quicker to develop but the advantage still goes to good planning. With a guaranteed income, you can make development choices other than what will up your roll results the most. In one game I had an optimal site for expansion but instead I chose to grab a port to hem in a competitor. The port only gave me one resource before I developed the optimal site (it paid off in the long run) but I severely limited my opponents options.
You will find the games are a lot closer with less difference between point totals at the end. I've never seen a more experienced player lose out from the welfare rule but I've also never seen a first-time player finish with less than four settlements.
I would advise against limiting token hoarding. If someone foregoes building another settlement to make for a bigger surprise expansion, they're only hurting themselves. Rolling a resource is ALWAYS better than getting a welfare token. In the tournament I ran, there was a game where due to the vagaries of peoples' initial placement, a very experienced player was in a position where she could block off a third of the island for her own use. Another player who was only on his second game of Catan was in a tight spot. He was stuck in a narrow corridor with few good expansion opportunities on either side. So he used a combination of tokens to lay down four road segments past the desert hex and into the open third of the board. The experienced player could still box him in but it would take three times as many road segments to do it. If the newbies' road was cut, he could still build off the orphan road. This didn't just keep him alive, it kept him in contention for the win. The more experienced player still won through upgrading cities and Largest Army. Skill will out.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the response. I still am not sure how you play the trade in part in your games. In your post here, did you mean the player traded in welfare tokens for more than one resource in the same turn?

fluffyevil wrote:
So he used a combination of tokens to lay down four road segments past the desert hex and into the open third of the board.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn Martin
Canada
Ottawa
Ont.
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes. If you had three settlements (and, thus, three VP) and six welfare tokens, you could trade them in on your turn for two resources. The player I mentioned had two settlements (everyone else had three) and he had six tokens. He had at least wood and a brick in his hand so he took traded his tokens to end up with enough wood and brick for four road segments.
Oh! one tip. Assume that the VP total at the beginning of a players' turn is the rate at which all his token trades are taken for that turn. It's just easier that way.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok, thanks for clearing that up. I guess, in your experience using the variant, you do not come across the "problem" of a player holding on to many welfare tokens and using all of them on a single turn, effectively leap frogging over everyone else? For example, say from a 3 VP jumping several VPs to 7 VP, all in one turn?

I was thinking requiring only one trade per turn (one resource), would prevent something like that.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn Martin
Canada
Ottawa
Ont.
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've seen somone try to save tokens to get two settlements at once. He had to trade and build a settlement before this because...
A) His opponents who hadn't hesitated to build more settlements were getting resources faster than he was.
B) Because his opponents were building, his expansion options were getting quickly whittled down.
C) He was still getting resources and once he had eight, he risked losing half (eight welfare tokens worth!) on a roll of seven which, as we all know, happens more frequently when somone's reached eight cards in their hand.
Really this should work about as well as hoarding resource cards with a friendly robber rule. ie; not at all well.

If someone wants to try this strategy I say let 'em.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks, I'll include this in our next Catan game and report back.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
SoCal
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Doesn't the Welfare variant just encourage people to go in-depth instead of in breadth with chit coverage?

Also, if people have an issue with hording MANY tokens and then just turning them in to get 2 to 8 resources all at once, I suppose u can do what they do in Settlers Of America with Gold... u can only exchange tokens for a resource once per turn. So if you're sitting on 4 resources worth of turns, u'll need minimum 4 turns to convert 'em all... in the meantime, forcing them to be resources makes them vulnerable to the robber just like someone who got 3 resources the normal way.


jefftang wrote:

1. Tournament Starting Rule, plus the no "7" on everyone's first turn.
Purists argue this really wreaks the game, but I'm no purist with Catan, so I prefer this.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
ackmondual wrote:
Doesn't the Welfare variant just encourage people to go in-depth instead of in breadth with chit coverage?

Also, if people have an issue with hording MANY tokens and then just turning them in to get 2 to 8 resources all at once, I suppose u can do what they do in Settlers Of America with Gold... u can only exchange tokens for a resource once per turn. So if you're sitting on 4 resources worth of turns, u'll need minimum 4 turns to convert 'em all... in the meantime, forcing them to be resources makes them vulnerable to the robber just like someone who got 3 resources the normal way.


I was thinking limiting one exchange per turn as in my earlier post too. Tokens to be treated like resources does add more to it's usefulness. Trading possibilities (2 tokens for 1 brick, or 1:1 resource trade + 1 token to sweeten the deal, etc). A player can rob another's token even if the victim does not have resources, this is probably very limited use. For halving, I would guess tokens AND resource cards are counted and halved down separately.

ackmondual wrote:
jefftang wrote:

1. Tournament Starting Rule, plus the no "7" on everyone's first turn.
Purists argue this really wreaks the game, but I'm no purist with Catan, so I prefer this.


Which part, Tournament Starting Rule, no "7s" on 1st turn, or both? I suspect it's the Starting Rule change. We actually enjoyed this change, gives the players momentum and more resources to start earlier, starts the trading earlier too with a bigger hand in the beginning of games.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
SoCal
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jefftang wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
jefftang wrote:

1. Tournament Starting Rule, plus the no "7" on everyone's first turn.
Purists argue this really wreaks the game, but I'm no purist with Catan, so I prefer this.


Which part, Tournament Starting Rule, no "7s" on 1st turn, or both? I suspect it's the Starting Rule change. We actually enjoyed this change, gives the players momentum and more resources to start earlier, starts the trading earlier too with a bigger hand in the beginning of games.
Yeah, both.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn Martin
Canada
Ottawa
Ont.
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've never seen a problem with token hoarding in the two years I've been playing with the welfare variant. You have to remember the built-in inflation of the tokens. The only practical time to hoard would be at the beginning of the game when you have two victory points. It's really not practical to hoard more than will give you a third settlement as that usually gives a significant in number coverage. If you delay this expansion you're letting your opponents pull ahead. Don't complicate the variant with trade-in restrictions until you see if it's a problem.
If you want them to be traded, robbed or halved on a seven, feel free to experiment. Many people start forgetting to collect them after they reach five victory points. It's not uncommon to only get one resource from welfare tokens in the latter half of the game. This is due to inflation but mostly to the fact that you're covering almost all the numbers.
Don't ignore them as you might need them to get that one vital resource when you've almost won and no-one will trade with you.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn Martin
Canada
Ottawa
Ont.
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Here are some other variants I've played with...

A) If you don't roll resources for anyone and it's not a seven, keep re-rolling until someone gets something. True you could use your turn for trading alone but an extra resource or two in the game makes trading more likely. This will usually only result in an extra four or five resources per game as the quantity of unclaimed numbers drops quickly with expansion. If you don't choose to ignore sevens on the re-roll you'll slightly increase the chances of the robber showing up.

B) Two or Twelve If a two OR a twelve is rolled BOTH the two and twelve tile produce resources. I made a couple of "2/12" number chits from spare blank ones. This brings these numbers up from being next to useless to the dizzying heights of almost next to useless. Expect about three or four extra resources per game. This reduces the quantity of resource numbers to nine from ten.

C) Bazaars of Catan I thought that desert tiles could be a little more useful if settlements or cities built on them could be said to have bazaars which would act like ports. I thought three-of-a-kind plus any fourth resource card to one would be a good ratio but Donna Balkin (the frighteningly effective Catan player who won the "I Hate Catan" tournament I ran at Cangames this year) suggested that a simple four-of-any-type to one would work better. I kind of agree with her.

D) Robber Deck I've been trying this for a while. This is yet another 'friendly robber' variant that's supposed to ease the problem of one player being robbed too many times in the beginning of the game and being crippled as a result. This can happen if you end up having more cards than anyone else when a robber is rolled, losing a needed card for a planned trade-in and thus still having the most cards when the next seven is rolled. Of course, everyone else is making trade-ins because they're not being robbed and they're getting your cards as well.
This idea is to simply make a deck of one of each resource card (two if playing 5-6 player) which is robbed instead of another player. The robber isn't moved onto anyone until the deck is depleted or everyone has three VPs.
An observer at the tournament told me that their game group has people moving the robber onto tiles no-one has built on; 'robbing' a card of that tiles' resource. I want to try this instead of my robber deck idea. It's simpler AND it has the benefit of bringing into the games' economy resources that are poorly exploited in the initial set-up. Ever play a game where no-one's settled on brick? Excruciating!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Had a very good weekend, got 4 games of Catan in, that never happens. After playing several games and toying with the various variants I had listed about trying out, I've finalized on what we will stick with going forward. First, I want to say YMMV, I know many feel SoC is fine the way it is printed, so these variants aren't "needed".

What we like are the following.

Tournament Setup Rule
Re-roll "7s" on everyone's first turn.
Event Card deck + 2D6 + 1D12 (options for rolling)
Welfare tokens

We played several games with the Fishermen expansion and Harbormaster card and really liked how the games played out. Even one game where I fell a bit behind but with the variants, I never felt completely out of the game with nothing to do.

Per Glenn's postings and our own play, I found I didn't really have to concern myself with limiting the amount of resources gained with the welfare tokens on each turn. We also had one game where we made the tokens available for trade also. It was fun to throw in a token or two as incentive, but we decided against that for future games. I looked at the rules for the Fishermen of Catan to refresh my memory and the fish cannot be traded so I wanted to keep the Welfare tokens along the same.

Did these variants speed up the game for us? In all honesty, maybe a little but not really enough to say "wow, look at the time difference". I found for the most part due to the Tournament Setup and the Welfare tokens, we had more resources to consider, trade with, and plan our strategy. So to me, the game seems to take about the same time BUT there was more to do and less boredom during this time. It may be hard to explain but the game feels fresh and exciting to us. I'm glad I looked into the different variants and thanks for Glenn and the Welfare Token variant.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn Martin
Canada
Ottawa
Ont.
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quick note. I want to clarify that I did NOT come up with the welfare variant.
I'd really like to know who did as it really revitalized Catan for me.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree, it does make the game fun again for us. I don't know who first used the "welfare" variant but from what I can see, it goes way back. You brought it up to me, I also found a thread about it, you were in, posted in 2007 by BGG member Duglis. In that, he quoted an "Alf Seegert" who posted the variant on Funagain.com in the reviews comments and that was dated 2001. He mentions being introduced to it so it really could have came shortly after the game was published (1995).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
flag msg tools
badge
Summertime is Christmas time
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the Tournament Setup and Welfare Rules.

Does rerolling 7s on the first turn make much of a difference?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonty
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
manukajoe wrote:
I like the Tournament Setup and Welfare Rules.

Does rerolling 7s on the first turn make much of a difference?


I think it helps in that other players are not having their cards taken away so early.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.