Your Favorite Strategy?

Strategies for the Settlers of Catan game and its expansions.

Re: Your Favorite Strategy?

Postby steve » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:35 am

I guess I would fall into that category of "development card detractors". When I play, I assume any face-down development card is a VP and make sure to point that out to everyone else. Also, people really hate you when you play monopoly or soldiers. One last reason I don't enjoy the wheat-ore route as much is that it generally leads to slower expansion and you're much more vulnerable to being boxed in. This isn't to say the strategy itself is bad - it is excellent and will win you many games. I just personally don't like its flavor, and feel it's a bit too much based on luck (even more than the game already is).

My favorite strategy is wood-brick with longest road. Dev cards and a good port are secondary goals, which I'll spring for if I have extra resources or the port is especially lucrative. With this route you can cut someone off early in the game from a key expansion, which completely takes them out of the running for victory. Also, you can make sure to get any port you're eyeing sooner than your neighbor. Finally, expansion increases the amount of resources you take in, and I enjoy that feeling of building an empire on the board.

But, I don't go into a game of Settlers with a strategy set in mind - I wait to see where my first settlement goes to make that decision, and will sometimes even change my mind if I get a good spot for the second settlement. I think most games of Settlers are won during the settlement placement step, the rest of the game just lets the players see if chance or cunning will counteract the advantages created by the original placements.
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Re: Your Favorite Strategy?

Postby Bootroz » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:26 am

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 :D
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Re: Your Favorite Strategy?

Postby Radartoys » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:46 am

Very nice strat quaffle! I will have to give that a try this next weekend if the situation presents itself. I totally agree with pointing out the winner by the way, I think it helps.

I've always kinda ignored dev cards cause it takes too many resources and you don't see the results quickly sometimes, whereas building a settlement gives you new numbers. Usually I go for taking up as much room as quick as possible with 6 players going at it. Room is valuable and people look to expand quickly, and I don't want to get left behind on that.

I'll let you know how that strat works for me. Besides, if it fails, it'll be a good thing for one of my family members to win one.
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Re: Your Favorite Strategy?

Postby Radartoys » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:48 am

By the way, welcome aboard Bootroz! Hope you share your games played here.
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Re: Your Favorite Strategy?

Postby Bobbejaan » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:57 am

I can't say I have a favourite unless you call versatility a strategy. I am one of the few players in our group capable of switching strategies to suit a map layout. I also have the ability to change strategies mid-game which makes it extremely difficult for people to guess what I will do. Those with a standard strategy can be predicted to go for a certain resource or starting location which makes my life easier in preempting them or ignoring them if they wont threaten me.

The versatile players I compete against are the most dangerous ones and are difficult to predict. They also happen to be very experienced at the game.
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Re: Your Favorite Strategy?

Postby steve » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:42 am

I completely agree with you, Bobbejaan. Versatility is the most important skill, more important than mastering any particular strategy. Sometimes it does make sense to switch strategies in the early-to-mid game, and often a hybrid of the two main paths to victory is what will actually give you victory - I know that's what usually works best for me (though I do tend to avoid going for largest army unless I am boxed into it or no one else is going for it).
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Re: Your Favorite Strategy?

Postby Bobbejaan » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:53 am

Yeah, I also tend not to use largest army. I find it easier to hunt down longest road as it is easy to do quickly and many people late game are off-loading brick and wood as they want cities. If the map or the dice rolls present better options for largest army though I certainly chase it down.

I love playing cities and knights as it provides a lot more choices on paths to victory and getting boxed in is less detrimental then in the standard game.
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