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Catan: Junior» Forums » Rules

Subject: Poly Cards Limit and Building Distance Rule? rss

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Francis Cermak
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I have had several instances in the two player game where a player can basically get boxed in because one player buys and plays a ton of Poly Cards (i.e., Development Cards) in one turn. The cards let you instantly place a pirates lair or ship for free, or give you a ton of resources. They seem a little over powered (I won't go so far to say "broken" yet). My 6 year old son played 4 poly cards in a row the other day because of the perpetual cycle of getting more resources to buy more cards to place more ships. In 3 turns I was done and couldn't build anymore.

In regular catan, you can buy as many development cards as you want every turn, but you can only play one dev. card per turn.

Also, does Catan Junior share the "Distance Rule" with regular Catan for Pirate Lair building? The Junior rules are silent as to whether an opponent can build a pirate lair on an intersection that would be adjacent to an intersection where an opponent has built.

Without this rule, blocking is prevalent.

Junior Rules are here for reference:
http://mayfairgames.com/mfg-shop3/rules/MFG3025-Rules-V1_0.p...

Regular Catan rules are here:
http://www.catan.com/en/download/?SoC_rv_Rules_091907.pdf

Thanks all!
 
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Jeremy Yoder
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There is no distance rule for anyone, so off of a lair, you can have a ship, then a lair immediately. Of course, your opponent could put one there too.

The starting places seem far enough apart that it'd be hard (at least in 2 player) for one to completely cut off the other, but maybe it's doable. We've played it about 5 times, and that's never even come close. If it's truly possibly, maybe house rule a limit on the dev cards.

Just trying to think... are you trading 1:1 with the market only once per turn? Otherwise, it's unlimited 2:1 trading with the supply pile, and the 2 you trade in have to the be same.
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I think I'm confused at how that's possible. First to 7 lairs wins. The rules require (see p. 4), that you build only ships next to lairs and lairs next to ships, and "You must always build in alternating fashion."

When you say "place more ships," I'm concerned you're treating them like roads in Catan. You can't just build unlimited ships and block opponents, like you could build unlimited roads and block opponents. (And in fact, in Catan, you could only build after you'd built two road lengths, so they in a way encouraged you to build lots of roads.) After you build a ship in Catan: Junior, you must build a lair next to that ship before putting another ship beyond it.

If your son raced out and literally tried to block you as fast as he could, he would build all 7 lairs and win the game. There's never a point in which it's even possible, I think, to block you unless he puts down all the lairs right away--in which case he's won.
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Ryan W
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I will say that the Poly cards seem to ruin the game. My 5-year-old has a solid strategy that has won him almost every game he played. All he does is focus on getting Poly cards and ignores all other aspects. He gets a free build on the pirate lair, then gets loads of resources to either buy more Poly cards or get the free builds to the board. It basically turns the game into "Who can buy the Poly cards the quickest?" He crushes us every time if we don't match the strategy. I have read the rules carefully, so I'm sure we are playing it right. I think it needs a house rule though.
 
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Francis Cermak
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maxac wrote:
I will say that the Poly cards seem to ruin the game. My 5-year-old has a solid strategy that has won him almost every game he played. All he does is focus on getting Poly cards and ignores all other aspects. He gets a free build on the pirate lair, then gets loads of resources to either buy more Poly cards or get the free builds to the board. It basically turns the game into "Who can buy the Poly cards the quickest?" He crushes us every time if we don't match the strategy. I have read the rules carefully, so I'm sure we are playing it right. I think it needs a house rule though.


I agree. The best strategy (as pointed out by my 5 year old and my co-worker's 6 year old) after about 3 plays was, "Buying poly cards is how you win." The cost of the Poly cards is a fantastic "gamble." You have a great chance of instantly placing a pirate's lair (and ships are so cheap you probably have set yourself up to buy the lair), or getting so many resources you can trade in two for one to perhaps let you buy another poly card! Plus, buying the Poly card gives you a great shot at getting a Lair on the Ghost Island, so buying one Poly card often nets you two lairs! There were 14 total Poly Cards in play in my last 2 player game.

I'm about ready to house rule that the Stock Pile is 3:1 trading, and you can only play 1 Poly card per turn. It's just too easy to get gold otherwise.

Question about the Ghost Pirate. Can you place a Lair on Spooky Island if the Ghost Pirate hasn't been moved yet?



 
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Reiner Dr. Düren
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draco143 wrote:
...

Question about the Ghost Pirate. Can you place a Lair on Spooky Island if the Ghost Pirate hasn't been moved yet?




That's one of the differences between the original German rules and the Mayfair rules: In the original version you can only place a lair on Spooky Island when you have the most of the Coco cards which allow to move the Ghost Captain, and therefore he has to be moved at least once. In the Mayfair rules, all Coco tiles are counted, which can lead to the situation where the Ghost Captain hasn't already been moved when the first bought Coco tile isn't a tile which moves the Ghost Captain. But I think the situation that Ghost Captain and lair will be on Spooky island will not last very long and therefore will not have much influence on the game. Please consider that the game is designed for kids and therefore the rules are simplified.
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draco143 wrote:
maxac wrote:
I will say that the Poly cards seem to ruin the game. My 5-year-old has a solid strategy that has won him almost every game he played. All he does is focus on getting Poly cards and ignores all other aspects. He gets a free build on the pirate lair, then gets loads of resources to either buy more Poly cards or get the free builds to the board. It basically turns the game into "Who can buy the Poly cards the quickest?" He crushes us every time if we don't match the strategy. I have read the rules carefully, so I'm sure we are playing it right. I think it needs a house rule though.


I agree. The best strategy (as pointed out by my 5 year old and my co-worker's 6 year old) after about 3 plays was, "Buying poly cards is how you win." The cost of the Poly cards is a fantastic "gamble." You have a great chance of instantly placing a pirate's lair (and ships are so cheap you probably have set yourself up to buy the lair), or getting so many resources you can trade in two for one to perhaps let you buy another poly card! Plus, buying the Poly card gives you a great shot at getting a Lair on the Ghost Island, so buying one Poly card often nets you two lairs! There were 14 total Poly Cards in play in my last 2 player game.

I'm about ready to house rule that the Stock Pile is 3:1 trading, and you can only play 1 Poly card per turn. It's just too easy to get gold otherwise.

Question about the Ghost Pirate. Can you place a Lair on Spooky Island if the Ghost Pirate hasn't been moved yet?





My little gamer is too young to obsess over that strategy, but wouldn't it be helpful to play with the advanced rules and require trading instead of 1:1 marketplace? That, I think, would save a lot of the problems.
 
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Francis Cermak
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RedPiranha wrote:
But I think the situation that Ghost Captain and lair will be on Spooky island will not last very long and therefore will not have much influence on the game. Please consider that the game is designed for kids and therefore the rules are simplified.


Well, I don't think the question of whether there should be a pirate lair on spooky island until the Ghost Pirate has been moved at least once is really a "simplification" issue. It either is or it isn't. Since the rules don't say, we had both the pirate lair and the ghost pirate on spooky island at the same time. The kids said it was a "haunted lair" and they cheered when they "scared him away" (via the roll of a 6

redlightgrnlight wrote:
My little gamer is too young to obsess over that strategy, but wouldn't it be helpful to play with the advanced rules and require trading instead of 1:1 marketplace? That, I think, would save a lot of the problems.


Well, the game is designed for as young as 5 years old and the 5 and 6 years old at my table picked upon the poly card strategy fairly quickly.

Last night we tried nixing the 1:1 market and allowed trading between the players (which is the official "advanced rules"), but the 2:1 trading with the stock pile still makes it pretty easy to get get gold.

Poly cards would be bought, and if an instant lair/ship wasn't picked, the ghost pirate was moved simply for the 2 bonus resources you instantly got, and not to block another player (the kids would even block themselves just for the resources!). Since the ghost pirate was moved so often via poly cards, it didn't really matter where he was placed, because he was never in the same place for very long.

Netting the two instant resources would often let the player buy another poly card immediately or let them trade in the two resources to get what they needed to buy another poly card.

If the poly card chosen granted 4 resources, the kids could usually make two trades with the stockpile to get two of what they needed to buy yet another poly card! Buying 3 poly cards in one turn happened on more than one occasion.

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Ryan W
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draco143 wrote:

Poly cards would be bought, and if an instant lair/ship wasn't picked, the ghost pirate was moved simply for the 2 bonus resources you instantly got, and not to block another player (the kids would even block themselves just for the resources!). Since the ghost pirate was moved so often via poly cards, it didn't really matter where he was placed, because he was never in the same place for very long.

Netting the two instant resources would often let the player buy another poly card immediately or let them trade in the two resources to get what they needed to buy another poly card.

If the poly card chosen granted 4 resources, the kids could usually make two trades with the stockpile to get two of what they needed to buy yet another poly card! Buying 3 poly cards in one turn happened on more than one occasion.


My experiences have been the same. Way too many resources available to buy lots of poly cards.

 
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Francis Cermak
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I guess I should simply say, "well, it's a kid's game and if they like buying poly cards, so what?" but the hobby gamer in my just seethes beneath the surface, and it seems like they're not getting the point of game.

I recently learned that the original German version of this game that came out in 2007 had a 3:1 trade with the stock pile, and there was no marketplace, but there were four harbors that granted 2:1 trading.

I'm glad that harbors are not on this map, and I like the Marketplace, but 2:1 trading with the stockpile was a mistake.
 
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Peter Rabinowitz
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Someone on BGG suggested a house rule "can only buy 1 Polly card per turn" and that seems to fix the problem just fine.
 
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Zeke
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We just played a 3 player game today with Me, my wife, and my son. My son went for the poly cards and was ahead early on pirate lairs. My wife kept even with him for the most part to keep his lair off of spooky island. In the end, he managed to buy up the last of the poly cards to keep his lair on spooky island, but she still was able to build her last lair faster than he was.

I saw a couple of misplays on his part. He got so caught up in buying poly cards, he neglected to build ships first, so some of the "free lair/ship" poly cards had to be spent on ships. Otherwise, he did ok.

The poly cards do seem a little overpowered, but I take it as a challenge to try to win without them, or at least with a balanced number.

I, of course, came in third at the end. :)
 
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