This year, the Catan: Cities & Knights tournament at WBC drew 39 unique players. About a third of the participants played in more than one heat, making a total of 79 qualifying player starts. Sunday’s heat was well attended while Wednesday’s and Friday’s heat only generating 15-16 people per heat. So I don’t think we’re at the best scheduling time still and I’ll tweak it again next year.
Starting in the second heat, we allowed tables to ignore the barbarian ship movement for each player’s first turn if all players at the table agreed. This appeared to be a popular option and minimizes the chances of all players losing their city on the first hit so the rule will stick around for next year.
The longest road card bounced around in a fair number of heat games. In the first heat, Craig Trader built the longest road and cut other players’ roads 2 separate times so he could hold onto it. But it wasn’t enough for Winton, who just built more roads and was able to steal and keep the extra 2 VP.
Since the advancement rounds of C&K were against many other semifinals and finals, a single win in any of the preliminary heats was all it took to advance in the tournament. We only had 15 people show up for the semifinals, so we had 3 4-player games and a single 3-player game.
The final table consisted of Winton Lemoine, Andrew George, Anne Norton, and Rob Kircher, in that initial turn order. Rob and Winton were back for the second year in a row, with Andrew and Anne being the newcomers to the final table but regulars of the tournament. During setup, per the rules of the game, each player starts with a city. All of the players except Anne had their city on wood, perhaps going for the early aqueduct. Anne decided that she would build her city on wheat/sheep/ore, likely going for the extra city quickly, as well as an early jump on the yellow and blue advancement tracks.
In their initial placements, two of the players had cities on two separate wood hexes; Andy on the 4 and 11, and Rob on the 4 and 6. Unfortunate for both players as the 4 would only roll once during the game, on the 5th roll of the game.
Rob was doubled up on the 4-wood, hoping for a feast of 4s in order to get his aqueduct pumping water…, resources, quickly. His city was on the 4-wood/6-wood/3-wheat, with the 3 being his only wheat production, so he would be somewhat dependent on the aqueduct or trading for wheat. Nobody started directly on a port nor pushing an obvious port strategy at the beginning of the game.
The first few turns are fairly uneventful with each player building an active knight and advancing a step on their progress trackers. Andy not producing ore and seeing the barbarian has been moving rather quickly, is forced to trade a paper and 2 wheat for a single ore in order to build his knight. It was a good call on his part as the barbarian would hit in 8 more rolls. With 4 of those rolls being a 7, production is at a premium. Rob has the paper up to level 2, one step away from the Aqueduct, and is able to build a second city. Anne upgrades her knight to a strong knight (level 2) which saved everyone’s cities and earned her a Defender of Catan.
Two turns after the first barbarian attack, the ship is one space away from the island. Fortunately for the players, all of them had reactivated their knights and Rob had built the aqueduct. Winton was able to build the aqueduct 4 turns later, which is interesting because his only board production was a 12. He was able to gather almost all of it with trades with players and the bank.
The third barbarian attack happened very quickly, only 11 rolls after the second. Anne is not able to get her knights running for this one and loses a city. Andy was also able to play his Inventor card to improve his wood production to a 5 (from the 11). This ended up being a very good move as 5 would be rolled a lot in the coming turns.
After about 90 minutes of play, all players are pretty much even. Rob is still the only one with the aqueduct and multiple cities. Andy, with his slow start, is still able to build a few settlements and claim longest road. The points are 6’s all around.
The game really speeds up here as it only takes 5 turns to declare a winner. In the next 2 turns, Winton builds 2 more cities with the help of the Merchant, Anne rebuilds her city and gets another defender. ! Andy builds 2 more settlements as well as the green metropolis while Rob gets the Printer card for 1 VP. Scores are now Winton 9, Andy 10, Anne 9, and Rob 8.
Rob is now really able to push things into overdrive.
- Rob rolls a 6 and, with the help of a trade monopoly, is able to build the yellow metropolis. He is also able to use his progress cards to build another settlement and take the merchant from Winton. (8/10/9/12)
- Winton rolls a 5, and is able to use a resource monopoly to grab stone from everybody, and build a city. He also chops Rob’s road to prevent Rob from winning that way. (9/10/9/12)
- Andy rolls an 8 and builds a settlement. (9/11/9/12)
- Anne also rolls an 8 and takes more of Rob’s ore with a master merchant. She then builds a city with the help of Medicine. (9/11/10/12)
- Rob rolls a 10 to go along with his handful of progress cards. He still has the merchant on sheep and trades that for ore. He uses a resource monopoly to gather some wheat and uses a new Merchant to trade for ore. He also trades some coins he got from the 8’s for ore and an Irrigation card to build a city and win the game. (9/11/10/13)
After a little over 2 hours of play we have a winner. The final tally is Rob Kircher, 2017 Champion, with 13 points including the Trade Metro (4 pts), three (6 pts), 2 settlements (2 pts), and the merchant card. Second Place goes to Andy George with 11 pts, followed by Anne Norton with 10 points and Winton Lemoine with 9 Points.
- The inventor card was only played once by Andy
- Longest road was claimed by Andy on turn 12 which he kept it for the entire game.
|Rich Shipley, Settlers of Catan GM,
can't get enough of Catan
|Planning for he next invasion with a smile!
|I bet a woman will win this table
|| Settler of Catan: Cities & Knights Finalists