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Catan: Cities & Knights» Forums » Variants

Subject: "Ok, Someone was robbed. Now back to work" variant rss

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Spamwise Gamgee
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When you roll a 7, hand limits are checked and cards discarded if necessary, the robber moves, and stealing occurs as usual.
However, before continuing with your turn, you roll the red and yellow dice again (leave the event die alone; we're not trying to hasten the barbarians) and use the new sum* as the production value.

*Before the game starts, the group needs to decide how to handle a reroll of 7:
a) Let that stand as "no production" for this turn.
b) Continue rerolling until you get a non-7.

This aims to remove the drudgery of an "Oh look, another 7. Nobody's over the limit and I'm betting nobody wants to trade, as we haven't had production for 3 turns in a row" stretch. The robber still moves around. Hand limits are still enforced. This just keeps production happening.
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Roger S
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Yes, I think I like this. Sometimes those 7's are so prevalent that you can go a whole round where nothing happens but 7's. Not only is it waste of time, but it's boring! Why not keep the game moving along by producing something despite the robber attack?

We will try it. Cute name, but it needs something better. Maybe "Productive Robber Variant"?
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Doug Hook
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I can understand that many times 7s are rolled multiple times in a row, that's how probability statistics work. Thus, even if you use the cards that came with the Traders and Barbarians extension (available separately previously) that standardize the die rolls, you still can often get multiple 7's in a row. After all it's the most common 2d6 roll. No one complain when 9s or 5s (second most likely rolls) come up frequently (unless they didn't think to build there).

From a design point of view 7, besides moving the robber and allowing to you one lousy card, the mechanic represents the lean years. Something that even modern civilization can't seem to escape. Something no one's worldview really wants to address. Why not cheat (oops, I mean "variant") our way through life too? Oh, wait, that would alter the game balance there too.

Oh, by the way my kids came up with "variants" for that game (Life) too; they all end up millionaires; yeah, right.

Anyway, if this game is so boring or long, why not just vary what games you play. There's 1000's out there.
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Spamwise Gamgee
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Doug, I feel we've gotten off on the wrong foot. I do not find Cities & Knights "so boring or long". In fact, it is the most frequently played game at our monthly gathering. The aim of this variant (which anyone is free to attempt or ignore as they see fit) is to keep things moving and hopefully lessen the likelihood that a player "checks out" -- if a player "got hosed" in the initial placement, is "unfairly attacked" by other players, and "always rolls 7s" (all perception issues on their part), there is a reasonable chance that they won't be engaged. Having "that player" at the table is a downer for everyone. (I will confess, I have found myself being "that player" occasionally and I don't enjoy it.)

I don't see this variant altering the game balance drastically. All players have this same "advantage" and, since a production roll on my turn benefits any player adjacent to the appropriately numbered hex, it's really a win for the whole island. I suppose we may be disturbing the chances that the Barbarians overtake the island and cities get ransacked to settlements, but I don't think it will have that large an effect.

I get the mechanic for representing the lean years, but I don't play Catan in the hopes of a faithful simulation of the great depression; I play to have fun. For me, it's fun to actually have resources to manage in a resource management game. If my turns repeatedly get reduced to rolling a 7 and then passing the dice, I'm no longer playing Catan -- I'm playing Bunco, and that is a game that is "so boring and long". shake
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Vince Lupo
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chadnorth wrote:
I can understand that many times 7s are rolled multiple times in a row, that's how probability statistics work. Thus, even if you use the cards that came with the Traders and Barbarians extension (available separately previously) that standardize the die rolls, you still can often get multiple 7's in a row. After all it's the most common 2d6 roll. No one complain when 9s or 5s (second most likely rolls) come up frequently (unless they didn't think to build there).

From a design point of view 7, besides moving the robber and allowing to you one lousy card, the mechanic represents the lean years. Something that even modern civilization can't seem to escape. Something no one's worldview really wants to address. Why not cheat (oops, I mean "variant") our way through life too? Oh, wait, that would alter the game balance there too.

Oh, by the way my kids came up with "variants" for that game (Life) too; they all end up millionaires; yeah, right.

Anyway, if this game is so boring or long, why not just vary what games you play. There's 1000's out there.





Well, that's pretty much what we do at my game night, but it means that Catan never gets played. In my opinion, the robber is the worst thing about catan and could even be removed from the game.

However, in my variant of the robber, he represents a market that improves resource production where he stands, and you don't rob anybody when you move the guy, you only get a duplicate. It keeps the game moving much faster and helps balance things because when the "robber"/market is moved it's generally placed where it helps the loser and the guy placing it. I posted a variant in the regular catan BGG forum.

As for losing resources when you have more than a certain amount I found that annoying too. It could probably be a higher number and not mess up the game. When you have enough cards, you want to use them anyhow.

Also, the card, Monopoly is terribly over-powered in our games.


But yea, we just don't play catan all that much anymore because of length and tons of randomness. The more random a game is, the shorter it should be, or we won't enjoy it as much as other games. And our true go-to game recently has been 7 Wonders, especially with expansions. We can play from 2 to 8 players and it takes less time than any version of Catan (which only takes 3 to 4 players properly).


So, my point is, I think variants are good for catan. At least as long as they try to speed up the game. The worst thing about a bad turn in catan is feeling like you can't even do anything on your turn. So, guaranteed production somewhere on the board sounds like a good idea to me.



Here's another variant idea for rolling 7s:

call it the "random discoveries" variant

a) don't use/move the robber token. Knights are less useful in this variant. Obtaining the largest army is still nice though and perhaps it's point value could be raised by 1.

b) when 7s are rolled, everyone draws a random resource from a shuffled deck of resources (3 to 5 of each in the deck)

c) don't lose any resources when 7s are rolled no matter how many cards you have.

I suppose this variant represents the idea of random discoveries across your land of little caches of resources. Do you really think that the side of the island with lots of sheep and bricks can't stumble upon a little bit of wood, stone, or wheat every once in a while? Do the sheep plains never have any trees to cut down?

And yes, this variant will have less player vs player aggravation from no robber placement. Also, a little less trading will occur, but that's ok. This would speed up the game a lot.
 
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Glenn Martin
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I like this! It also has the effect of speeding up the game. 45 minutes for someone to get ten VPs is exciting:. An hour and a half is tedious.
I also play using a "Robbers deck" variant I came up with where you make a pile of one of every resource (two if playing 5-6 exp.) and the person who rolls a seven draws from this deck instead of moving the robber. Hands over seven cards are still halved. When the deck is expended or everyone has three VPs, the robber is moved as normal. I thought of this independantly but I'm sure someone has thought this up before me.
I also never play without the welfare variant. I certainly wouldn't play seafarers without it.
 
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Glenn Martin
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Have you tried rolling a third die of another colour when a seven is rolled? The roller makes a production roll out of the pair of dice of his choice which wouldn't make a seven.
There's an interesting variant using three dice where the roller can choose which pair are used for the production roll but must use the two same-coloured dice if they roll a seven. You could either use the pair that help you the most or the one that hinders an opponent the most.
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Werner Bär
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spamwise wrote:
if a player [...] "always rolls 7s" (all perception issues on their part), there is a reasonable chance that they won't be engaged.

But rolling a 7 is great. Thats one resource for that player, and none (or less) for each of the others.
 
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Spamwise Gamgee
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Werbaer wrote:
spamwise wrote:
if a player [...] "always rolls 7s" (all perception issues on their part), there is a reasonable chance that they won't be engaged.

But rolling a 7 is great. Thats one resource for that player, and none (or less) for each of the others.

I don't know that I’d call "+1 random" (which ignores the case where I am over the hand limit, in which case I'm netting, at best, -3) "great". Even if I'm not touching a 6, a roll of 6 could benefit me: I now have potential trading partners... or monopoly victims or wedding guests or master merchant targets.
Plus, if I have the aqueduct, I'll get "+1 of my choice" on a miss, which trumps "+1 random".
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Doug Hook
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Spamwise,
Off on wrong foot? Not really. If you felt that, I apologize. I'm often accused of not being diplomatic.

As a "faithful simulation of the great depression," I'm not seeing it as thus either. Lean times happened in even ancient civilizations (similar to the novelization). Anyway, near the end of the game when lots of resources are expected 7's are really frustrating. Roller of a 7 says with flat affect, "One lousy random card from the leader; wow." Then before it's his turn again he has too much to hold. Guess I like the excitement (frustration) of not knowing when, what or how much to expect. That's one reason I like it.

I'm usually the butt of the 7's; but I still play. Sooner or later (several more games?) they start picking on the new routine winner. Then it's my turn to shine. That's another reason I like it.

I too like to play for fun, for our friends the slowness of the game allows for the addition of much non-game talk. It is also very interesting to see how people react to the various situations different games present or talk about other issues (with snacks). Often the true personality shows through (I'm a retired counselor). That's another reason I like it. Any my wife says mine shows through also. Hence paragraph one.

Looks like you are now getting plenty of discussion since this morning.
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Spamwise Gamgee
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chadnorth wrote:
Spamwise,
Off on wrong foot? Not really. If you felt that, I apologize. I'm often accused of not being diplomatic.


And I'm often accused of being overly sensitive... a dangerous combination.
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Spamwise Gamgee
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Playtest report -- 15+ games using this variant and no complaints.

We've been using option A: a rerolled 7 results in no production for that round.
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Togu Oppusunggu
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Will have to try this one day. Might even make the two-player variants out there better, because the robber tends to be so unbalancing in 2-player games.

Great name for the variant by the way.
 
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