Am I wrong about how knights work?
So I was playing a cities and knights game today and I had enough knights to match my cities but no that of the other two. The second player had two active knights and three cities and the third had two cities and no knights. The second player rolled and the barbarians attacked. The second player and I both lost a city and the third player kept theirs. How does that work??
The thing is: you don't just each defend your own cities, you all defend Catan.
When the Barbarians land you first determine whether or not the Barbarians are defeated. If there are more cities on Catan than the activated knights have points the Barbarians win. Otherwise, the Catanians win.
If the Catanians win and one of them contributed the most knight points, that player gets a victory point. If multiple players contributed the most, they each choose a progress card.
If the Barbarians win they'll try to destroy a city. And unless all cities on Catan are Metropolises they will succeed in doing so. They'll start looking for a city to destroy with the player or players who contributed the least to Catan's defense. These players all lose a city. If none of them can lose a city (either because they don't have a city or because all their cities are Metropolises) the Barbarians go on to the player or players that contributed the least knight points , disregarding the players that cannot lose cities.
So... You can lose a city, even when you defended your own cities. You can sometimes even make use of this to annoy your enemies. For example, if, when the Barbarians first land, all players have one city and one active knight, you can choose to build an extra city and not defend that. That way, the Barbarians will win and everyone will lose a city (including you), leaving everyone except for you without cities.
Adding to what Wilbert said - players who don't have cities might be part of defense BUT in case Barbarians win, they (given they don't have cities to lose) are not counted as "defeated".
Eg. Barbarian strength 7, Player one has 3 active knights, you have 2 and player without city have 1, in case of invasion you will be the one proclaimed "a loser" and will have to deconstruct.
As for all players having Metropolises @Wilbert really you can lose it in case no one defends? As far as I know you can't lose it and if really every player (possible only in 3 player game) have one each I guess barbarians would not matter.
Still a very rare case I guess to have in actual game.
I said unless all players only have Metropolises the Barbarians will succeed in destroying a city, meaning that if there are only Metropolises no city will be destroyed. You can never lose a Metropolis to the Barbarians. The only way to lose a Metropolis would be if someone beats you to level five in a progress track, or if you built your Metropolis on the edge of a volcano.
that sounds more like it.