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Subject: Roll counters rss

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Jordan Bakke
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Rationale

It's caveman simple. Produce 1/n × as many resources per roll, but roll n × as often. That way, over 10 turns, you get the randomness of 10n rolls instead of just 10. Standard Settlers is exactly this, but with n = 1. The number of dots on a chit is still exactly the same indicator of the frequency with which the tile produces its resource.

Don't be thrown off by all the variables below; this is how a digital helper program would work.

Details

Let n be an integer > 1. A good number is 36, which is the amount of ways to roll two dice. But it could be 2, 100, 1 million, or anything you want > 1.

Associate a counter with each (player, resource type) pair. It's just a number that will be incremented frequently. Set it to n - 1 at the beginning of the game.

At the start of each turn, roll one die. If it's 1, treat it like 7 in standard Settlers.

If it's not 1, instead of rolling two dice once to determine which tiles produce, roll two dice n consecutive times, by the same person, at the beginning of the same turn. (Whenever 7 is rolled, ignore and roll again so you have n non-7 rolls.)

For each roll r of the n rolls, for each robber-free tile t of resource c with an r chit, for each settlement or city d owned by player p on t, increment the (p, c) counter by 1 if d is a settlement or by 2 if a city.

Whenever the (p, c) counter is incremented, if it ≥ n, grant p one card of c and subtract n from the (p, c) counter.

(Putting the robber on a tile just stops it from incrementing counters, so if you have a brick counter of n - 1, and the robber is placed on your only brick tile and then moved later, and then your brick tile is rolled, you'll receive brick because now your brick counter ≥ n.)

Designed for digital implementation, either a 100% digital game or a digital augmentation to the base game. I agree it's infeasible otherwise. Players need not see rolls or counters; those happen behind the scenes. So don't tell me it's too complicated. The only way it changes the experience is by bringing resource production closer to the expected frequency.
 
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Lars Wagner Hansen
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I think it just as easy to use the Catan: Event Cards. That brings resource production really close to the expected frequency, and you don't need anything digital.
 
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Jörg Baumgartner
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If you go digital, there is no reason not to multiply the current resource outputs by say 100 and allow production of fractions of this to accumulate. If you happen to sit on two landscapes with different production rates, the combined production may sooner reach 100, providing you with something you can build.

If trading gets possible in fractions of one card, I suppose you will see faster production, too.

Whether such a game still is settlers of Catan or rather Sid Meyer's Civ2 or Alpha Centauri is a different question.


 
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l-hansen wrote:
I think it just as easy to use the Catan: Event Cards. That brings resource production really close to the expected frequency, and you don't need anything digital.


Either that or you could roll two dice.
 
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Jordan Bakke
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I like the event cards too, but they still require you to wait until a number is rolled and then to receive all resources for it at once, instead of pacing production more evenly. Sometimes I feel like playing a game that makes it risky to rely on one number and sometimes I'd rather play a game with more reliable resource production.

I thought about fractional resources but that would enable micromanagement of resources, which I think would add more tedium than fun. Whereas merely changing when resources are produced still maintains the simplicity of having a few cards in your hand and spending/trading a few at a time.
 
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Jörg Baumgartner
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One side effect of the roll counters that give only one resource would be that the first 4 player turns go without any resources, unless you give random advance pays when starting the game.


I think that increasing the prices and the number of rolls per turn by a factor of n achieves exactly the same as your digital method above. For lower values of n, micromanagement remains tolerable.

(As a faster variant, you could draw n cards from the event deck, with the 7s removed, after rolling whether the robber comes. The active player gets to choose which event takes place, if there are any.)

For a low value of n (like 2 or 3) you could simply use another set of resource cards. The robber will draw n resource cards, hand limit will be 7*n .

For slightly higher values of n (say 4-6), you would need one set of high value resource cards (say the higher value card is worth 3 resources). Handling the robber will be more difficult. Exchanging hand cards for higher value cards would improve your hand limit while increasing the possible gains for the robber, so the hand limit should be lowered to 7*n/2 cards (not resource points).

Gold river hexes would have to be restricted to one resource type per player turn, or 2 types if more than two resources are drawn by the same player from the same hex.

The higher value resource cards could be created by modifying one deck of resource cards writing the number 3 into the corners, or by using the commodity cards from C&K (plus self-made commodities for grain and bricks like the ones used in a number of C&K variants).

Bank trades - also ones to trade three cards of the denomination 1 for one of the denomination 3 or vice versa - can only be done by the active player, but a player who is exceeding hand size might be willing to trade four single resource cards for one 3-point card.

Exceeding hand size when a 7 is rolled would be less hurtful because you could choose to keep the higher value cards.

This low tech variant sounds quite playable - too bad I have too many other variants to test first.
 
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