Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Catan: Cities & Knights» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Time to recruit and activate a knight before the first invasion? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Alex Brown
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
mb
Is this a big deal for a lot of people?

I like Settlers/Seafarers, and see a lot of its popular flaws as draws, but in playing Cities and Knights this really bothers me.

It feels almost out of your hands whether you will be able to recruit and activate a Knight for the first invasion. If you get stonewalled in the trading and don't roll up, losing a city is a severe penalty.

Is this the common experience?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob (he/him)
United States
Lutz
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
WE play a variant... 7s don't count until the ship reaches the island for the first time. It helps you collect some cards.

Also, it is a chance to get the protector of Catan if you happen to get your settlement/city on the correct spot. That said, losing your city early isn't too hard to come back from.

BOb
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Brown
Australia
Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
mb
pilotbob wrote:
WE play a variant... 7s don't count until the ship reaches the island for the first time. It helps you collect some cards.


The rules I have (4th. ed.) include this as standard.

pilotbob wrote:

Also, it is a chance to get the protector of Catan if you happen to get your settlement/city on the correct spot. That said, losing your city early isn't too hard to come back from.


I guess that's the issue. Losing a city seems really hard to come back from. Given your issues with having an active Knight likely stemmed from problems with Ore and Wheat, relying on a 7-card limit and 4-1s to get the Ore/Wheat seems very, very slow!

The pace of the game makes me feel there is less incentive to trade earlier (you need more points to win...why not wait if it's uncertain?)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
U.S.A., Earth
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Alex Brown wrote:
pilotbob wrote:
WE play a variant... 7s don't count until the ship reaches the island for the first time. It helps you collect some cards.


The rules I have (4th. ed.) include this as standard.


From my mayfair 3e, and a PC version that uses 4e, you don't move the robber until the barbarian ship reaches the island for the first time. You still discard half your cards if you're over the limit (7, or +2 per city wall). I'm assuming this variant says you don't discard even if you're over.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob (he/him)
United States
Lutz
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ackmondual wrote:
Alex Brown wrote:
pilotbob wrote:
WE play a variant... 7s don't count until the ship reaches the island for the first time. It helps you collect some cards.


The rules I have (4th. ed.) include this as standard.


From my mayfair 3e, and a PC version that uses 4e, you don't move the robber until the barbarian ship reaches the island for the first time. You still discard half your cards if you're over the limit (7, or +2 per city wall). I'm assuming this variant says you don't discard even if you're over.


Right... there is a variant in the 4th ed called "Easy Start" which basically says...

o re-roll on 7's during the first two rounds
o don't roll the special dice the first two rounds

We modified it a bit to... 7's don't count (re-roll) until the first barbarian attack... however we don't ignore/not roll the special die.

BOb
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jörg Baumgartner
Germany
Kiel
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Our house rule is that the first arrival of the Barbarian ship is a scout mission. The robber is active from the first die roll.

Another house rule is that rebuilding the first city (if lost to the Barbarians) costs only 2 ore and 1 wheat (like using the medicine progress card).

With these two house rules, the first real attack often may see one or two players fielding strong knights, and possibly an extra city to defend as well. We use the rule that each player decides which of his knights take part in the battle, and a player may decide to sacrifice his city rather than give another player a "Defender of Catan" victory point or, in case of a tie, an early extra commodity card.


Alex Brown wrote:
The pace of the game makes me feel there is less incentive to trade earlier (you need more points to win...why not wait if it's uncertain?)


Before the first strike of the barbarians, trade is quite unlikely to happen since any player is happy if he reaches his first active knight and possibly a road or an upgrade for that knight. If you have two players with an active strong knight each, your incentive to build a knight is somewhat less strong. Things only get dangerous if a player has two weak knights, or a player builds an extra city with only a weak knight, depending on the strong knight to defend for him - in that case you might be the only player without a knight in case Catan loses against the barbarians.

Early on, you may decide whether to go for more powerful knights (and the occasional extra commodity card or victory point for defending Catan), or quick expansion via roads and ships (come on, who plays Catan without the Seafarers expansion?), and simply more resources to get VP that mean an in-game advantage rather than a vulnerability to yellow and blue progress cards. Quite often, the dice decide which strategy you can pursue (it's that or do nothing that turn, depending on the resources you hold).

Since most players are aware of the initial options, after the first knight your trade partners may pursue the road/settlement strategy or the army/next city strategy. This depends strongly on the expected resource income, and possibly the harbor options.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Destroyer of Islands
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pilotbob wrote:
o re-roll on 7's during the first two rounds
o don't roll the special dice the first two rounds


This is what my group plays, along with the robber "coming in" on the barbarian ship. We still discard half our hand on 7's if over the hand limit, even though not placing the robber.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin Larouche
Canada
Longueuil
Quebec
flag msg tools
Melting souls with cuteness since 2007
badge
Lovin' N-16
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree that it's hard to get your knight going before the first invasion.
You need a wheat, a sheep and an ore to get it in place and working.

Initial placement to acquire those three resources is crucial.

BUT,

one has to keep in mind that doing this will help you get the cloth and coin commodities.

The best commodity is by far paper, which you can only get from wood hexes, which is far from attractive at the very beginning because it doesn't help get your knight started and might cost you the game by making you lose a city.

The best progression cards are located mostly behind the paper commodity tech path. The special ability to get a resource of your choice when the dice don't roll for you later on in the game is also definitely the best one among the three.

So initial settlements placement are more of a gamble. Do you go for a wood hex hoping to get your three resources for your first knight before time run out? Or do you position yourself to get your knight at start and play it more safe?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jörg Baumgartner
Germany
Kiel
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
deedob wrote:
So initial settlements placement are more of a gamble. Do you go for a wood hex hoping to get your three resources for your first knight before time run out? Or do you position yourself to get your knight at start and play it more safe?

This depends whether I place my settlement first or last. If I am the first to place a settlement, I'll usually go for a good wood hex for later paper income. If I am the last player to place a settlement, and the city as well, I'll rather go for good commodity fields on wood with the city, and often take a harbor site for the settlement if that has two good hex fields (or the city site I choose has good hex fields).

If you start with a strong wool/ore/grain position for your city, you get your knight as starting resources, but you will want to upgrade your knight since your settlement on that good wood hex just cries to become your second city. As soon as you have spent 6 cloth commodity cards, you can trade commodities 2:1 for resources or commodities, which should allow you to catch up with the green track - the first two steps should have come from defending Catan and a 3:1 trade.

Since cities won't increase your resource income as much as in vanilla Catan, there is no way around expansion via roads and settlements as soon as possible, the "two cities and a grain or ore port" strategy won't give you as much of a boost, unless you want to trade away coin commodities.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
rocketpjs pjs
msg tools
The race to build a knight before the barbarians land is an important part of the early game, in my opinion.

It can and should affect your town and city placement. I often try to place my city on an ore/wheat/wool spot to get the activated knight right away (ideally the ore or wool is a 6 or 8, but wheat isn't the end of the world either). It has given me a small advantage early on many times when the other players lose their cities.

There are other options - placing your settlements in places that will maximize the probability of your being able to trade for that knight, but I like the fact that we must consider the barbarians from the first town placement.

A particularly aggressive variation of early game play is to build a second city just before the barbarians land. Everybody loses a city - but you still have one. This can upset the less ruthless of your opponents though, and is best done in a serious gamer only game.

I really like the aspect of having to think about the barbarians from the first town placement. I also think it is an important part of the overall game balance - wood developments give an early edge (inventor, roads), but placing your city on a strong wood hex means you might not get a knight. Varying the rules takes this element of play and risk out of the game - which means wood is the only place to put your city.
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.