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23 Feb 2022 21:57 #331008 by Shellhead
I'm not suggesting that Settlers of Catan became a bad game. I'm saying it was never a good game. I played once and I won and then I was done with it, because it's a bad game. The BGGer that I quoted just took longer to realize it than I did. And don't bore me with ratings or sales figures. White Castle sells plenty of onion-flavored hamburgers and nobody will ever mistake it for Michelin-rated restaurant. Popularity is not the same as quality.
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23 Feb 2022 22:06 #331009 by Sagrilarus

Shellhead wrote: I'm not suggesting that Settlers of Catan became a bad game. I'm saying it was never a good game. I played once and I won and then I was done with it, because it's a bad game. The BGGer that I quoted just took longer to realize it than I did. And don't bore me with ratings or sales figures. White Castle sells plenty of onion-flavored hamburgers and nobody will ever mistake it for Michelin-rated restaurant. Popularity is not the same as quality.


I’m of the opinion that Settlers of Catan is a very good, very high quality game.
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24 Feb 2022 04:10 #331014 by Erik Twice
I see nothing wrong with that comment. It's not even scathing and the rating seems appropiate. He even praises the game at first. In fact, according to BGG that score means "Likely won't play this again although could be convinced. Bad." Which, you know, seem perfectly reasonable coming from someone who enjoyed the game but no longer does. I'm a bit surprised about the lenght, but negotiation games can always become much longer if you don't settle enough.

Either way, I'm in an odd position because I did not start playing when Catan was big. In fact, I did not play it until I was well into the hobby. So the reverence for the game has always struck me as a bit odd. I recognize its influence and I think it's a great design, but I don't think it's as fun as Carcassone or El Grande.

Personally, I think Catan has two problems. The first is that rolling poorly means you don't get to play. You need resources to do anything and you might simply not get them. I also think building settlements in the right spaces is a disproportionately opaque decision compared to the rest of the game. The trading is fun but inherently limited and mostly 1 for 1. To me the most impressive thing about Catan is how it takes so much from Tresham's Civilization and doesn't look dumb doing it. It's a truly great design. It's just that, once you've been in the hobby for a while, it might not be the game you want, it will fall short.
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24 Feb 2022 09:52 #331017 by Shellhead
In my single play, trading was not fun and rarely happened because there was insufficient incentive to trade. It felt like an insufficiently playtested element of the game. And here is a link to an academic paper on a study that showed that there seemed to be no advantage to trading for Settlers players. The writer expresses great enthusiasm for Settlers, which makes that observation even more damning.

surface.syr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?arti...text=honors_capstone

A good board game should offer meaningful decisions. Aside from the crucial but easy decision at the start of the game, Settlers doesn't offer much in the way of meaningful decisions. There is the decision to build roads, and the inconsequential trading element, and the placement of the robber. Mostly, you just want to roll well.
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24 Feb 2022 15:47 - 24 Feb 2022 15:54 #331040 by Sagrilarus
Yeah, but trading is fun.

For giggles I had a look at my rating for Dominant Species. I more or less detest worker placement, but I have to admit it’s a good game technically and appreciate the design. I rated it a 4. Not because I had played it so much I don’t like it anymore, but because I just don’t like it. So I guess I do the same sort of thing.
Last edit: 24 Feb 2022 15:54 by Sagrilarus.
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24 Feb 2022 15:53 #331041 by ubarose
When a novice board gamer asks me questions about specific games my answer is almost always, “You should try it and see if you like it.” If I don’t own a copy, I probably know someone who does, or there is a copy at the library they can check out or demo copy at a game shop.

If they specifically ask for my personal opinion, I don’t lie, but I also won’t trash a game I don’t like. I usually say something like, “I don’t like it, but I understand why other people do. Let me introduce you to so-and-so who does like it, and who has a copy and would be happy to play it with you.”

My advice to all novice gamers is:

Play lots of games (but don’t buy until you try)

Form you own opinions (but be aware that your opinions will change over time)

Learn to identify and articulate what you like and don’t like about a game so you can get better recommendations and also so you can better assess whether or not someone else’s opinion is meaningful to you.
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24 Feb 2022 19:16 #331048 by Erik Twice

Shellhead wrote: And here is a link to an academic paper on a study that showed that there seemed to be no advantage to trading for Settlers players. The writer expresses great enthusiasm for Settlers, which makes that observation even more damning.

surface.syr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?arti...text=honors_capstone

I know economics is not the most respected science out there, but I wouldn't try to topple down the field with a game of Settlers of Catan in which players don't trade more than five times.

Trading should be common in Catan. It's simply not possible to get all the resources you need on your own. Sitting on a single tile hoping to get stone instead of trading is a quick way to lose. The value of each resource and their expected value also changes constantly through the game, it's rare for trading not to be benefitial for the players.

That said, Catan does limit trading. It was designed as a family game so it has a few features that make it less aggressive than other negotiation games. The value of commodities never changes much, making even 2 for 1 trades reasonably uncommon. Building roads, developments and even some settlements doesn't give you more resources so waiting for rolls is not that awful. Above all, being able to trade at ports puts a heavy limit to how much a player will be able to play.
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25 Feb 2022 11:36 - 25 Feb 2022 11:57 #331066 by Jexik
I'm still an unapologetic Settlers of Catan enthusiast . Do I have every expansion? No. Do I only play it? Again, no. But I’d gladly play it over 90% of the BGG top 100.

I’ve made 4:1 trades with players before to avoid the robber. I feel like some comments are coming from the same types that give 1-word clues in Codenames.

In 2020 after my ex wife and I separated, I lived with my parents for a bit before my dad died. We played Catan or Kingdomino nearly every day. Both are excellent games.
Last edit: 25 Feb 2022 11:57 by Jexik.
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25 Feb 2022 11:48 #331072 by Ah_Pook

ChristopherMD wrote: Used to play Settlers weekly during a lunch hour with 3 coworkers. It was always fast and fun. It's still the same game. So I'm gonna go with it's "you" not the game. Fine for BGG's popularity-based scoring system but ludicrous to suggest Settlers somehow became a bad game.


I guess I'm confused on what you think game ratings are based on, besides how someone likes a game at any given time.

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25 Feb 2022 15:11 #331079 by RobertB

Jexik wrote: I’ve made 4:1 trades with players before to avoid the robber. I feel like some comments are coming from the same types that give 1-word clues in Codenames.

I'm threadjacking a little bit here. How do you play Codenames if you don't follow the "one word" rule, given that "one word" can be something like "Statue of Liberty"?

I'm sure there's a term for "one-wordness", like "atomic semantic unit" or something that conveys a single, indivisible idea. Like "Statue of Liberty", but not "animated Statue of Liberty in a hula skirt."

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25 Feb 2022 15:16 - 25 Feb 2022 15:17 #331080 by Jexik
My mistake on explanation. Clues for only 1 word. Like Animal: 1.
Last edit: 25 Feb 2022 15:17 by Jexik.

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25 Feb 2022 16:10 #331081 by RobertB
Ah, gotcha. I just remembered that it was a problem with my non-gaming family members. "Why can't I say Babe Ruth on Star Trek with a cricket bat?" "Because you can't. Them's the rules."

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02 Mar 2022 18:08 - 02 Mar 2022 18:10 #331218 by Jexik
I’m oddly tilted by the bad Catan take on dicebreaker that’s making the rounds on Twitter.

I think the main criticism one could make is that too much is determined by your starting position, but I still think the puzzle of figuring out the best two settlements based on what other people are going for and the peculiarities of a given random map is more interesting and subtle than some would have you believe. Then the dice make it far from predetermined…

I’m curious what tournament level play does look like. My pet theory is that grain is the most important resource, because all paths to points except for longest road go through it.
Last edit: 02 Mar 2022 18:10 by Jexik.

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02 Mar 2022 18:29 #331219 by Jackwraith
I'm tilted by 99% of what I see on board game Twitter these days, from the arguably decent points that people like Vysetron are making ("Board gaming bas become gentrified") to the stupid takes like "Catan is a bad gateway game." All of it feels like artificially inflated horseshit to me right now. I don't care why people are playing the games they do. I don't care why they feel it's valid to like or not like something. It just feels like people are proffering opinions simply to stir the shit and other people are responding to their takes because that's part of stirring the shit. Board game criticism feels utterly overblown to me right now and this is coming from someone who wrote something in the last couple months that was about as "big picture" as you can get.

Sorry. /rant
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02 Mar 2022 19:00 #331220 by DarthJoJo

Jexik wrote: I’m curious what tournament level play does look like. My pet theory is that grain is the most important resource, because all paths to points except for longest road go through it.

DyLighted on YouTube has a lot of high-level Catan play on his channel. It’s well produced, and he regularly pauses the game to ask what the right play would be or whether a trade should be accepted followed by analysis of the options.
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