Skip to Content

What makes Settlers tick?

11 replies [Last post]
sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008

In particular, I'd like to know what you guys think makes the resource system (production, trading) work. What compells people to trade with each other rather than simply playing Solitaire so as not to help an opponent too much?

Do you think it has to do with the uncertainty of Production? Or maybe the fact that there are more resources than you have access to? Something else entirely?

- Seth

IngredientX
IngredientX's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
Re: What makes Settlers tick?

sedjtroll wrote:
In particular, I'd like to know what you guys think makes the resource system (production, trading) work. What compells people to trade with each other rather than simply playing Solitaire so as not to help an opponent too much?

Do you think it has to do with the uncertainty of Production? Or maybe the fact that there are more resources than you have access to? Something else entirely?

- Seth

I think the biggest reason people are compelled to trade is the anti-hoarding rule, which states that when a 7 is rolled, any player with eight or more cards must discard half his hand. If we could just hold onto all the cards we wanted, then it would be a much duller game.

Of course, trading becomes a meta-game itself, because once a clear leader is established, people will refuse to trade with her.

Another element is the dichotomy between the "horizontal" strategy (start on brick and wood; build roads and settlements) and the "vertical" strategy (start on ore, wheat, and sheep; build cities and collect development cards). A player will usually have to mix elements of both strategies in order to win. But these strategies are forced into action quickly, because if a player doesn't start building out of his hand soon, he will lose half of his cards.

Interesting... most of the talk I've heard about Settlers has been negative, because it's gotten relatively long in the tooth. It's still a fine game, but I wish it was just 30 minutes shorter. :)

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Re: What makes Settlers tick?

IngredientX wrote:
...once a clear leader is established, people will refuse to trade with her.

You did NOT just say "her" right there... weren't you paying attention in the Dragon's Hoard thread?

Seriously though, thanks for the comment. I agree, it's a fine game. The Expansions give it some extra life, but if you ask me there's a little too much going on there. The last time I played Settlers it was 6 player Cities and Knights, and it was hellish to sit through.

If someone were to make a game similar to Settlers in that there are Resources, and players can trade them, what would make it better? Would it be better if there were different things to buy for each 'strategy'- such that instead of everyone wanting Settlements and Roads early, there would be 1 strat that would benefit from 1 set of resources more, and another strat that would benefit from a different set? Of course the resources would overlap, and the winner would likely be the player who best balances the two strats...

- Seth

SVan
Offline
Joined: 10/02/2008
Re: What makes Settlers tick?

sedjtroll wrote:
If someone were to make a game similar to Settlers in that there are Resources, and players can trade them, what would make it better? Would it be better if there were different things to buy for each 'strategy'- such that instead of everyone wanting Settlements and Roads early, there would be 1 strat that would benefit from 1 set of resources more, and another strat that would benefit from a different set? Of course the resources would overlap, and the winner would likely be the player who best balances the two strats...

- Seth

When I was creating Nova, I didn't plan on it being anything close to Settlers. But now as I look at it, especially in it's current form, it looks similar to a settlers in space clone. It may be, it may not be. I don't really know.

I've put trading into my game, and to step it up some, I've decided that almost anything is free game. In settlers you can't trade the cards you get or buildings, etc. but I'm allowing anything but colonists as up for trade. I don't know how this will work or if it is too much, as I will tell when I test this week. But I know if I could trade settlements, cities or cards in Settlers, it would make it a little more interesting game.

Going back to Settlers, I think people trade because the resources are limited. It is pretty tough to have them all cornered. If you do have them cornered and no one else can get them, then you trade at a premium.

ensor
Offline
Joined: 08/23/2008
What makes Settlers tick?

Quote:
In particular, I'd like to know what you guys think makes the resource system (production, trading) work. What compells people to trade with each other rather than simply playing Solitaire so as not to help an opponent too much? ... maybe the fact that there are more resources than you have access to?

I'd lean towards there being more resources that you have access to; whenever I've played, someone ends up being the lumberjack, another person the shepard, with more of their resource than they know what to do with. Especially in the beginning phases, the costs of trading with the bank are too severe and players haven't established themselves at the ports yet. So it seems important to establish a good reputation as a trader since there's definately going to be times when you need resources you don't have, and trading is almost always a win for both parties.

Quote:
When I was creating Nova, I didn't plan on it being anything close to Settlers. But now as I look at it, especially in it's current form, it looks similar to a settlers in space clone. It may be, it may not be. I don't really know.

I think I to have been influenced by Settlers, as I've put trading into my Ultra Violets game, where the resources are leaves, and it seems to works pretty well. To grow plants you need 3 leaves of the same type, and to buy other products, you need 4 or 5 different leaves, and you'll need to do both to keep making progress and get a good collection of plants. You can also trade plants and store products, but players usually don't have much surplus..

Anonymous
What makes Settlers tick?

I trade because I'm better than everyone else. :)
Heh.
No, seriously... well, maybe not EVERYONE... but everyone I've played. :)
Settlers is "my game"... it's what I'm good at. I know it inside and out... prolly played around 3000+ games in the past 8 years... when I play against weaker players, I'll trade. Not because I have less risk of losing, but because I can see far enough into the future to know what is a positive trade, equal trade or bad trade... and my opponents cant... thus I am capable of making out strongly in trades with them...

At tournaments, or BSW, I don't trade unless I absolutely MUST... and if I MUST, I'll ONLY trade up or even. I'll NEVER trade at a loss. When played with competitively comparable people, losing half your hand is better than trading... if you have the ability to see far enough ahead and can get a good grasp on giving someone an "upside down" trade it can be a very easy way to walk on weaker players.

Just my opinions of course. :D
Tyler

IngredientX
IngredientX's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
Re: What makes Settlers tick?

sedjtroll wrote:

If someone were to make a game similar to Settlers in that there are Resources, and players can trade them, what would make it better? Would it be better if there were different things to buy for each 'strategy'- such that instead of everyone wanting Settlements and Roads early, there would be 1 strat that would benefit from 1 set of resources more, and another strat that would benefit from a different set? Of course the resources would overlap, and the winner would likely be the player who best balances the two strats...

- Seth

Unless I misunderstand, isn't this already the case? Brick and Wood get you settlements and houses (and likely, Longest Road). Ore, Wheat, and Sheep get you cities and dev cards (and likely, Largest Army). I've won games where my first move is to upgrade one of my settlements into a city, rather than going for the old settlement/road trick as my first move. And if I'm lucky enough to get a Road Building card that can get me to brick/wood or a port, then I'm in fine shape.

Perhaps I've played too many games against the Northwestern bots, but I'm happy doing either strategy, based on how I make my initial placements.

zaiga
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
What makes Settlers tick?

The trading works because:

A). Not every player has access to all resources and therefore needs to trade with other players to get the specific resource he needs to build X.
B). Trading resources with the bank is expensive and less profitable than trading with an opponent, even when you factor in the fact that the opponent you trade with also gains from the trade.
C). If you hoard cards you may end up losing them because of the "7" rule or because of a "monopoly" card played. Also, when you hoard cards and don't build, you lose tempo on the board, which is crucial because of the runaway leader syndrome and you may miss out on access to crucial spots or see them being occupied by opponents.
D). In a multiplayer game, the player who can most efficiently cooperate (or avoid conflict) with his opponents will benefit the most. If player A makes a good deal with player B one turn, with player C another turn and with player D yet another turn and players B, C and D don't make trades, then player A will benefit the most.

What I don't like about Settlers is the fact that certain players can be virtually eliminated from the game quite early, through no fault of their own. Because of the runaway leader nature of the game it is nearly impossible to catch up when you are behind.

Also, the game drags at the end, because of trading embargo's against the leaders and because all the robbers will be used against the leaders. Then, it often comes down a lucky dice roll at the end to determine which one of the two leaders wins.

I don't like the Cities and Knights expansion. It makes the game a lot complicater and much longer, without adding anything substantial to the basegame nor does it address the base game's problems.

Good things about Settlers are the player interaction, the modualr setup and the various routes to victory. I also like the production system (various resources and the numbered chits) and the dice rolling. I don't mind the randomness, but would have liked to see a way to address the problem that a player who is behind has a hard time catching up. I think the game would have worked better as a VP/time based game (see my thread about "Settlers vs. Ra", but I am sure that a lot of people dig the "race" aspect of the game.

Finally, I think a lot of people like the "empire building" aspect of the game. It's fun to see your little empire expand and grow.

I am not a big fan of Settlers myself, but I do understand its appeal (I think).

- René Wiersma

SVan
Offline
Joined: 10/02/2008
What makes Settlers tick?

Quote:
Perhaps I've played too many games against the Northwestern bots, but I'm happy doing either strategy, based on how I make my initial placements.

If you can beat those bots, then I think you can beat anyone. Everytime I play it with them, it's a 3 vs. me battle...

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
What makes Settlers tick?

SVan wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps I've played too many games against the Northwestern bots, but I'm happy doing either strategy, based on how I make my initial placements.

If you can beat those bots, then I think you can beat anyone. Everytime I play it with them, it's a 3 vs. me battle...

Um, same here, only I think I may have lost once or twice, while I've won quite a few times. Those Bots aren't all that good.

- Seth

SVan
Offline
Joined: 10/02/2008
What makes Settlers tick?

sedjtroll wrote:
SVan wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps I've played too many games against the Northwestern bots, but I'm happy doing either strategy, based on how I make my initial placements.

If you can beat those bots, then I think you can beat anyone. Everytime I play it with them, it's a 3 vs. me battle...

Um, same here, only I think I may have lost once or twice, while I've won quite a few times. Those Bots aren't all that good.

- Seth

In any game with luck I usually get hosed. I can't remember ever winning Risk or Risk 2210. Settlers is about the same. Plus people think I am good at it, so they like to stick the robber on me a lot (I think the robber in the early game can hose a player more than anything else.)

Against the bots, I'll always be in the lead, and have 1 or 2 pts. left, and then they somehow get 4 VP in one turn after they do trade embargos, robber on my best spot and somehow make the dice roll other numbers. Computers always have it in for me.

Pt314
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
What makes Settlers tick?

I think the reason why trading is so prevalent in the game, is that you need multiple resources to get anywhere at the beginning of the game, and players are so eager to start building roads and settlements (at least in the games I play). It all has to do with the first third of the game, after that it just holding on to your position.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut