SATURDAY 1ST JULY
(with Alan Montgomery[?], Nic Chilton and A N Other)
The variant in question was the inclusion of jungle and volcano tiles, as described on the Mayfair site and elsewhere. We shuffled two volcanos and three jungles into the regular land cards and just dealt nineteen out: fifteen typical productive land tiles, one desert, one volcano and two jungles. For those who don't know, jungle hexes produce development chips which don't count towards the hand limit and count as wild cards worth a card of your choice towards a purchase of a development card; volcano hexes produce a commodity of your choice but will downgrade any building by one step on a randomly-chosen point of the hex.
This makes the game longer, but not necessarily better. It means that people spend more time building cards; we worked our way through the full deck (of 24, I think) during the game. I placed on one of the points next to the volcano and picked up four cards of my choice from it before it got hit. The winner built a settlement on the other side which never got hit; must have been upwind, I suppose. He took a lead fairly early and never looked back. I had longest road and biggest army for a while which took me to be a reasonably close second place.
A nice one-off, but I'd rather play ordinary Settlers. Better than Seafarers in my view. There was discussion at this point of holding The Biggest Settlers Game In The World, Ever Part II (a sequel to - and development of - a game of 6-player Seafaring Stadt und Ritter at a previous StabCon; disappointingly lightweight at three and a half hours). 8/10. A N Other won with 11 (very nearly 12!), I sunk to 5, the others had 8.
Lunch: a pack of tuna sandwiches and a bowl of chips.