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Rivals for Catan» Forums » Variants

Subject: 3 players... with one set rss

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Eli Silver
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Here is my idea for 3 players with one set.
-Each player starts with only 1 settlement, and only one road on either side, along with only four resources.
-To fix the problem of players not having the correct resources to build stuff, each players can (and will have to) trade with each other at any rate they see fit.
You can still hold three cards at once (plus whatever progress points you have), and everything else is normal.
-To win, you have to get either 4 VP instead of 7 with the basic deck, or 8 VP instead of 12 with a theme deck. The era of barbarians will need 10 VP instead of 13.

Sound doable? Can it work? Has someone tried this already? I would try with my friends, but it's hard enough to get them to play, so I don't wan them to play a game that doesn't work.
 
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Scot Eaton
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Minneapolis
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I think that it would be better to start with six regions, one of each number, regardless. There are multiple problems I forsee:

1. The number of cities, settlements, roads, and regions is optimized for a two-player game. We've had games where we ran out of Settlements, but those are rare. Dropping the point count could help with this, but I'm wary.
2. Most of the theme decks have two of each card, like Universities for the Era of Progress, and Merchant Harbor for the Era of Merchant Princes. This would mean one player wouldn't be able to use most of the cards in the deck.
3. So many other cards only have 1 copy, like the Iron Foundry, the Grain Mill, or the Sages. You reduce your chance of getting these cards even further by adding in a 3rd player.

It may be possible to buy a second set and incorporate half of the cards, but this seems like a bit of a headache. I think that Rivals is pretty solidly a 2-player game. I could see maybe making it a 4-player game with 2 sets, but can't think of a good way to do 3 players.
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Reiner Dr. Düren
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We've designed the Rivals for 2 players, but discussed if we give rules for 3 or 4 players. We've decided against this. The Rivals are a genuine two-player-game, which already needs a large table for two players - at least when played with the theme sets. In the theme sets there are cards which are essential but available for two players only. Furthermore there are enough Catan games which are designed for 3 and more players.

The suggestion to reduce the starting settlements to one with only 4 regions seems irrational and trading cannot be forced. In the board game trading is different because the resource cards are hidden, whereas in the card game you always can see which resources the other player has and can assume what he will do with the traded resource.

Dr. Reiner Düren
Catan GmbH
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Ben Peacock
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I've given some thought on how to have more than 2 players because I think it is worth exploring. From a far away view, I don't see why the game wouldn't work as written if each player brings his own set. You can play tournament rules and any card that let's you do something to your opponent, you just choose which player to do it to. Why would that not work?
 
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f s
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Lowering the victory points is necessary to keep the game playable with 3 players, otherwise you would run out of both material (its quite tight for 2 players) and time. Time is the bigger problem, as I find that 2 player games clock in just about right, but should not take longer.

The problem with lowering necessary victory points would be the relatively larger impact of anything that gives you victory points. Trading advantage or the Strength advantage is now worth double as much and not necessary much harder to claim - luck will also be more influential (getting the right ressources at the right time.)

Potentially experiencing two (not just one) devastating event card before being able to react might also be harsh (plus it will increase luck even more.)

Market will either have to be banned from the 3-player game, or it will be an absolute must-buy.

Plus some other stuff.
I think it might be better to just use the Settlers card game as a very good (one of the best, maybe the best) two-player game. For 3+ players, there are other excellent choices.
 
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William Wilting
Netherlands
Vught
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With one set I think it is not very doable to have a game for 3 players, for the reasons mentioned earlier, at least in the way you described.

However, I'm wondering about the possibility to have a game for 3 players in which a single player starts with 4 hand cards and plays against 2 players, who share there board cards because they are partners, and have only 2 hand cards each. The objective of the game is the same, but the partners will have separate turns after each other (in the first round, for example, the single player has his turn and then the first player of the partnership, followed by the second). To keep the balance of decisions to make, the partners switch turn order every round. ONLY the first of them rolls the dice. Based on the result of that single roll, the partners will separately have their turns. If a 'book' symbol is on the board, then ONLY the second of them to play his turn, may get extra cards. This way the players don't have two extra cards while there is only one 'book' symbol on the board. The partners help each other and they may look at each other's cards, but they are not allowed to use a card from the partner on their own turn, so they have to organize their actions a bit.

A similar system could be used for a game for 4 players, in which each player has 2 hand cards at the start. But in this case, it is 2 vs 2 players. However, you can't position the partners in opposite seats, because the problem is that partners share the same board. Another issue is the dice rolls. So I would then use the exact same system as mentioned in the 3 player variant, in which the two partners will have their turns consecutively before the other team's turns.

I have not tested this; this was just brainstorming. Maybe you have to adjust it a bit to your taste, but I hope this works for you. Maybe you actually like it this way. Enjoy, anyway!
 
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