Played Catan for the first time last night (C&K, 3 players) twice and loved it, particularly the variability that arises from the randomised map/dice positions and how this makes strategy necessarily dynamic.
In my first game I ended with 3 cities around a single 6/ore hex (ore king), with a road almost connecting to a 2:1 ore port. I can accept from researching strategies online today that this limited my spread of winning rolls. I'd have romped victory if 6s had come up more often, but this was a risky play.
In the second game (later at night and thus tired) I failed to realise the cost of placing my initial city on the coast (!). I'd focussed on a potential road between my city and settlement and a port. Despite this oversight, (and having my corner of the map boxed in by another player's road) I ultimately won - quite solidly.
An Intrigue card allowed me to cut the encircling opponent's road (replacing their knight with one of my own) to regain the longest road VPs, whilst the port gave me the resource necessary flexibility to build. I also scored a VP with my knights along the way (thus managing a hybrid-win: road and knights). I think the key to victory was that the experienced player on the board could see all the flaws in my initial position and from that point underestimated my threat. I became aware of that dynamic about half way through the game and played it through to victory