I picked up the Settlers of Catan app for my iPad,
and have been playing it kind of obsessively. The app took a little
getting used to. The interface isn't completely intuitive, and the text
crawl at the top can't keep pace with the speed of play. I may get
into the settings to see if I can turn off the computer players'
The hardest thing to get used to was a game where my friend Chris couldn't knock over parts of the board with wild dice throws.
(We love you, Chris)
I have one serious complaint, it's that the computer players seem to
gang up on the live player a little in the four-player games I've been
playing. I'm not completely sure that complaint is valid, though. Some
conformation bias might be at work, and it may be a difference in
one thing, the computer players buy a lot more development cards than I
do. Three of them use dev cards as a major strategy, and all of them
use Knights more offensively than I'm used to. So there's this really
annoying dynamic where I'll pull ahead by a couple victory points and
all three computer players will take turns slapping me with the Robber
over and over again.
never seen them do the same to each other. But that could be because
they all play somewhat similarly and most of the time they keep their
scores pretty similar.
Still, I find it vexing.
After 40 games or so, I've picked up some strategy tips that will make veteran Catan players say "no duh, dufus."
* Start with a settlement on a 6 and an 8 if at all possible.
* Get a port, ANY port, as quickly as you can. It's worth it to start
with a costal settlement if your can snag the dedicated port to a
resource you score easily.
Starting with late-game resources (Wheat, Ore, and to Sheep) is slightly
better than starting with early-game resources (Lumber and Brick).
Wheat is the most valuable resource in the game. If there's a "Kansas"
on your island (a collection of three or more fields), Get into it.
also learned how to game the computer a little. Trading with the
computer players is different than with live players. All the computer
players will generally offer 1:1 trades. If you turn down the first
offer, most of them will frequently make a second offer. For instance,
wheat for sheep, then brick for sheep. If you counter-offer on the
second offer for wheat and brick for sheep, the computer will generally
go for it.
I usually try to end up with a 2:1 port and just cut out the computer
players completely. The bastards only ever use my resources to buy more
Knights to screw me anyway.
have also found one way to trick the computer to avoid getting
knight-stomped. It' not something you can plan from the beginning of
the game, though.
computer players generally get more aggressive as your VP climb. (They
also seem to know when you have VP cards, which doesn't thrill me, but I
guess human players could guess the same thing when you have a stack of
dev cards you never use.) However, they're not very good at predicting
the future. Particularly, the computer can't generally tell that if
you have two 4-length roads that are separated only by a single
hex-facet, that you only need to build one road segment to suddenly ahve
a 9-length road. So whenever I can arrange something along those
lines, I will very carefully keep my two roads shorter than the current
Longest Road until I get to 8 VP. Then I'll buy the missing segment and
win without sucking up as much Robbery.