At Ros' request we began with that play of the Catan Card Game delayed from more than 2 weeks ago. This was only my 2nd game of the new edition (my first being at DiceConWest the weekend before last), but I've played the original version many times (including a memorable session of the tournament game against 'Uncle' Martin many moons ago- heh!). Ros on the other hand is both less experienced and more rusty.
Those relative levels of experience notwithstanding, the game was pretty close. Ros took an early lead with a quick city. I replied by going for settlement building, which I scouted to give me the ideal ore and grain regions for the mid-to-end game. I also built a quick Brick Factory. Ros meanwhile built herself a Library, a Knight, and scouted her own ore/grain settlement. When the settlement race ended I had 5 to Ros' 4. I was several points down, but wasn't worried yet because I was confident that my strategy was sound.
So it proved in the end. Although Ros was 10-8 up at one point, that soon changed when I hit her with the Black Knight, then quickly built a knight of my own to secure the knight token for myself. I quickly added the Commerce token to this. Ros pulled her own dirty trick later, hitting my Aqueduct with the Arsonist despite the best efforts of my Bishop. I lost some resources to a later plague thanks to this. But Ros was being hit much, much harder by plagues: she lost at least a dozen resources through the game because she never had any plague defences at all.
These plague hits on Ros told. So did my superior resource base: not only did I have more regions, but I later built the Grain Mill and the Foundry to round out ore/grain regions to perfection. I won 12-10.
With hindsight I think that Ros suffered from 3 main problems in this game:
- Her lack of proper early development. This game was notable for the lack of regional expansion cards in the early game, and Ros built less than me. This meant that several useful events passed us both by, while Ros' resource production was weaker than it might've been, and trading was more expensive than it need've been.
- Her lack of attention to plague protection. With so many cities going up so quickly, Ros' resource base was very vulnerable, and it took several hits of 3-4 lost in single turns.
- Compounding the 2 preceding points: her lack of deck knowledge. This was both in general but, more importantly, in particular. That is to say: Ros rarely paid to look through the expansion stacks to refill her hand. Relying on luck to draw good cards in Settlers cards isn't a good tactic, and Ros was punished for this in several ways, most importantly by losing a game which was her's there to win.
With a Settlers cards victory so cruelly stolen from her Ros was seeking a measure of revenge, so we turned next to this, her current favourite game. After the drubbing I took in our last session I wisely kept my mouth shut about the niceties of farmer strategy. And so it turned out that maybe I had been talking some sense those weeks ago: I won 3 games!
Notable moments in the games included Ros establishing 2 separate records:
- The largest ever city- 36pts (including only 3 pennants, so that is quite seriously big!).
- The longest ever road- 14pts.