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Bret Larwick
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The strategy you outlined in your article is what I like to refer to as the "advanced beginner" strategy. It seems like everyone I've ever taught the game to flocks towards this strategy after only a few plays, and it can be easily countered by other players. If you really want to become a good strategist at Settlers of Catan, you need to understand that there are 3 major strategies to the game. 1. Road Warrior - This player places to wood/brick primarily with wheat/sheep secondary. The goal of this player is to build the longest road while developing additional settlements faster than other players. This is a fast-start strategy that slows to a crawl once you've built your 5th settlement. Points 8-10 become much harder to achieve unless you can successfully switch strategies halfway through the game through new settlement placement. 2. Development King - As your article describes. Primary is rock/wheat with a secondary of sheep. Goal is to build into cities and development cards. This is a slow-starting strategy that relies on trading to be successful. In tournament environments or against strategic players, your trading will be shut down and you will have a very difficult time getting off the ground. If you can successfully build out to a 3rd or 4th settlement early enough, this becomes a solid strategy to reach the end. 3. Resource Controller - With this strategy you focus on controlling 1 or 2 resources in the game that nobody else has or it is exceptionally scarce amongst the other players. This strategy also focuses on occupying the accompanying harbor to trade at 2:1 for all your building needs. This strategy often falls prey to the robber, as you will make lots of enemies quickly in the game and everyone will want to steal from your hand. The most successful players I've seen are ones that understand all three of these strategies and do not get tunnel-visioned into a single niche. It is a game dependent on the players you are playing against, and as such you need to change and adapt. Successfully moving from one strategy to another strategy is key. Also, initial placement is important as well. You want number diversity, number strength (I often find 5's and 9's are better than 6's and 8's due to the robber draw the latter numbers get), and resource diversity whenever possible. Good luck players!
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Nov 18, 2011