Settlers of Catan is the first "Eurogame" that we ever bought, even though it was Carcassonne, the second, that really got us infected with the board gaming bug. This is down to the fact that normally it is just Marisue and I when it comes to playing games during the week, and so Settlers and it's 3 player minimum requirement put it out of contention.
Still, we've played it a few times during get togethers with friends, although neither of us ever actually won.
So, it was with some mild trepidation that we headed off to Dancin' Dan's (aka casterman) to play games with him and his wife, and a couple of their friends. We knew in advance that we would be playing Settlers. But not just any settlers, a 6 player game of settlers!
As is usually the case when setting up the board, the wood and brick tiles managed to clump up together, while the wheat, ore and sheep were perfectly distributed so that when the numbered tiles were distributed, all of the least frequently occuring numbers ended up on them (or so it would seem, but isn't that always the way?)
We've never played this game with more than 4 players, and let me just say that the horrible tension of deciding who gets to go first is multiplied by about 10,000 as everyone peers intently at all of the best possible settlement locations.
As luck would have it (but not for him, HAHA), Dan was selected to go first, which allowed Marisue to go last. She really thought she had something with her two initial settlement placements, getting the advantage of getting to select both of them at the same time.
As the turns came back around to Dan, everyone groaned in unison as, inevitably, each person took the best possible second placement of those remaining.
Eventually, it came down to Dan's last placement. I suggested several times that he should select a single seabound dessert location on a very nice 3:1 port, but he refused to listen to just how sweet a 3:1 port can be. Whatever!
And so the game began. I did manage to get my settlements placed so that I could potentially get any of the 5 resources, although most of them were on the less frequently rolled values.
With an initial fast influx of sheep, I built down to the 2:1 sheep port. Immediately after this I kept getting tons of ore, but hardly any sheep.
Meanwhile poor Marisue was boxed in fairly quickly and did not have much room for expansion. Peter took off like a shot building the longest road and snagging the two points for that, only to have Dan build enough road to steal the points away from him.
Due to the poor distribution of wheat, large portions of the game were very wheat poor, followed by everyone having more wheat than they knew what to do with, but no brick. Dan almost single handedly cornered the market on ore, at one point having almost every single ore card in his hand.
Meanwhile me and my 2:1 sheep port wished we could dress up the large piles of ore in some sort of sheep costume to get things going.
During the mid-game, Peter engaged in some serious trading, managing to trade a sheep to Esther in exchange for 3 sheep. Using those sheep, and many others in his hand, he managed to do some serious building while everyone laughed so hard at such an odd trade that oxygen masks were almost needed.
Near the end of the game, Dan had 9 points when Peter managed to build a long enough road to steal back the longest road points and give everyone some breathing room. Esther had a star shaped cluster of 3 settlements upgraded to cities, and Marisue got cut off at the last possible place she could build road to get out of the cluster of other people's settlements.
In the last fateful round of turns, 5 was unaccountably rolled by practically everyone, giving me a huge influx of sheep. It was almost as if all of the rolls of the number 5 had been saved up by Karma for one fateful last sweep of the board.
On my last turn I had 10 sheep in hand, 6 wheat and three wood. I was amazed that nobody had managed to roll a 7 up until that point. I was even more amazed when I managed to not roll a 7 myself.
Using my 2:1 sheep trading and my 3:1 general port, I traded in enough sheep and wood to get ore to convert my two settlements to cities, jumping me from 6 to 8 points. As I was replacing the last settlement with a city, Marisue said "I suppose you're going to flip over 2 points with those development cards".
I ran through all the possibly witty things I could say in response to such a statement, but the best I could come up with was "Maybe!"
As it turned out, yes.
Hooray for me!