Terrible Dice Statistics
The dice statistics are regularly a joke. It is quite common (3/4 of the games I play) to have a sticky number that just keeps on coming: 4s or 3s or 11s...
We end up with an unusual peak there and then very low numbers for one of 5, 6, 8 or 9 (pretty much only once or twice in the whole game - that is more than 50 rolls).
I know that 50 rolls or so is not enough to warrant a beautiful bell curve, but it really does not appear random when everytime you play you expect to get a sticky number.
Today we had the opposite, I took a screenshot of our beautiful zero 9s rolled in more than 40 rolls. That's insane. I put a settlement on a 9-9-5 hexagon, that's a very respectable 12/36 position, can't do anything the whole game as I get nothing from my high level 9s: a complete joke. Something is wrong with your random number generator.
That's to say nothing about the 9/9/5 hex, which would never occur if playing by Catan rules. On the home page, CU advertises as: Play according to the original board game rules - trade, build, and settle. Explore and settle the island and become Lord of Catan!
This is false advertising, if you ask me. Randomness of the dice rolls, random maps and playing the game according to original board rules (i.e. numbers placed on hexes based on the spiral rule) are deal breakers for me. If the issue with these 3 issues aren't fixed, I will not be paying to play here.
Play according to the original board game rules - trade, build, and settle. Explore and settle the island and become Lord of Catan!
What other rules do they break? Let's see...
Trading - In actual Catan, other players can offer trades to the current player. (See PlayCatan, @Developers please) The small prefferred-trades icon is completely useless. No-one really uses it. Can't even notice it over all the fancy 3D graphics.
Timer - forcing players to a time limit to make their moves and AUTOMATICALLY ending their turns when they take too long. And kicking out players who take too long. Never happens in real life. Only in tournaments you very rarely have to use the turn timer when the game has already taken too long.
The randomness of the dice can not be proved 100%. The base game rules do show the default board... But in reality almost no-one actually plays with it on their first game. And the random map could be created so that 2 numbers are adjacent, just not 6s and 8s. But usually people still use the spiral and random hex placement.
@Stroom I think with trading its less of a breaking-from-tradition issue than a development problem because the mobile app has an option to make counter trades and these are the same developers, right? Seems to me they haven't yet figure out how to adapt this mobile app trading platform to CU.
This is another make or break issue for me. If I won't be able to propose counter trades, or ask for more resources, I won't be paying to play.
I think the timer is more of a practicality issue; and to prevent abuse (quitters) because this is an internet platform. Face-to-face games are social where you can talk and usually between friends, so there's no waiting at the computer for the other players to make a move. And, you can't just up and go in person like people do on the internet. So, something was needed to curve the problems seen at CU (sometimes I wonder if eliminating ELO would be just a good as having a timer to curb this afking). The current incarnation of the timer is just not working, mainly because it is too short. I like giving the power to kick someone out to the players like in PlayCatan; the players can tell when someone is slow deliberately or whether they are thinking things through.
We have been over the issue regarding the placement of numbers and hexes at the very start of the early access. All changes that were made to the distribution mechanisms are in line with the rules set by the Catan GmbH. It can be spiral but it doesn´t have to be:
As mentioned here we have a possibility to show your trading preferences use it if you want. You will get used to it… I personally always play using them and they work
One learning we took from our Apps is that countless counter-offers hinder the gameflow. That is why there is no counter offer in direct response to a trading offer. Nonetheless the trading preference can be used for it.
Good that you referenced the rule book.
Generally, players want a random and balanced map. This is why when you create a completely random map you place the numbers in a spiral. This is the default way most players create Catan maps in real life. This way the maps are more often balanced and the similar numbers are never adjacent. How to create a random map is also written in the rule book you referenced. But there you see that the spiral is the "default" and complete random numbers is the exception. Players who create the map manually in real life (without the spiral), often move the numbers around until all players are OK with the map. This is not possible in Catan Universe. So why not make the random map properly and use the spiral? This is so simple thing to implement. There are clearly more benefits to creating a map with the spiral number assignment rather than your complete randomness.
Shortened version of how setting up a random board works form the rule book you referenced (with my comments):
- Set up the frame (easy, you probably have a preset frame object anyway)
- Randomly place the terrain hexes inside the frame (you have done that, seems OK so far)
- Place 9 harbor pieces over the frames random locations (this is probably what you are missing and you are not going to waste additional developer time for that? But this is not very important at the moment. Would be nice to have)
- Place number tokens in counter-clockwise spiral starting from one corner. (relatively simple to implement, all we are asking)
Important: Alternatively, you can use a fully random set-up. Place 1 token on each land hex. Start at one corner of the island, and place the number tokens in random order. In such case, the tokens with red numbers must not be next to each other. You may have to swap tokens to ensure that no red numbers are on adjacent hexes. (This is an ALTERNATIVE to the random map. You implemented the ALTERNATIVE because coding the spiral takes 30 minutes more. Most players coming from PlayCatan will 100% complain that your random map is crap. Just take the extra time to make the random map properly, please.)
You followed the rule book by making the default board also default in your game. If you follow the rule book by the letter, you should also make the decision to allow trading ONLY before building. This is suggested to beginner players in the rule book as well, on a similar level of random maps. This is stupid! Seeing how you would go about optional rules, you would probably make us buy the ability to trade and build in different order too.
But just as combined trade/build phase is a "variant", creating a random map is a "variant" on the same level of "base Catan features". Therefore you should make random map the default exactly like you can trade and build in any order. OK, this went a bit out of topic but you are going to read it anyway.
Have you analyzed PlayCatan at all? The trade offers in PlayCatan do not obstruct your view. You are not required to reply to the trade offers. This makes trading much less painful and faster.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZDrRFcHDsc PlayCatan gameplay. You cna see how trading works. You can just keep playing while someone offers trades.
You know it is a very common problem with developers that they do not understand why their game's User Experience (UX) is bad. They are used to their programs features because they developed them but it is horrible for anyone else who actually uses the program in the end.
Trading preference - this is so basic and it can not hold all of the information you would want to give to other players. And it is so small you won't even notice it while playing. Using it is more trouble than it is worth if the other players don't even notice it all the time.
You only seem to learn from your apps. But your apps already implement trading WRONG. It is a screen which appears on top of the map and you can not close it without replying to the trade. Just look at the PlayCatan trading and LEARN how to do it right. Counter-offers are just on the edge of the screen for the current player. He does not have to react to them, just offer your own trade agreements.
You are saying that counter-offers hinder the gameflow? Wow! You really do not understand Catan if you recommend anything like this! Counter-offer is one of the most important aspect of trading. If only the active player can offer trades there is no way to find out what precise trade offers other players would accept.
The most common trading situation: player A offers 1 wood for 1 brick. Player B makes counter-offer 1 wood, 1 grain for 1 brick. Player A does not have grain so offers 1 wood, 1 sheep for 1 brick. Player B does not want that but Player C accepts. Very easy, fast, simple in PlayCatan. Takes 30 seconds to talk through all the info in CatanUniverse chat.
If you do not allow counter-offers then the game will work in a really different way. People from PlayCatan will hate your current trading system. Also, combined with your timer implementation it is nearly impossible to trade or offer any counter-offers. Just no time and no meaningful way to do it. The only way to counter-offer at the moment is to communicate via chat. Seriously, just take one look at PlayCatan and you see all of the benefits of non-intrusive trade offers. Trade preference is not sufficient for an effective trade system. Is it really that hard to copy a feature which has proven to work?
@Administrator No one uses trading preferences because this option just does not work; it is not practical; it is not functional for Catan play. It doesn't matter that you believe that it works, because this is simply not true. A player's trading preferences change with each roll of the dice, so it actually takes more time to set your preferences after every single roll of the dice than it is to offer counter trades as they happen (as one would do sitting at the table playing Catan and drinking a beer). Also, there is no option while using trade preferences to ask for 2:1 or 3:1 trades. So, in reality, trade preferences, if used, would delay the game infinitely more than having the option to offer counter trades. This is probably why no one uses trading preferences. I know this for a fact because I play on the Catan app, and the app has counter trades available and there is no delay of the game there. Actually, offering counter trades is a crucial element of the game (the barter system); and denying this option is contrary to the way the game was intended to be played/designed.
I have only ever played the game using the spiral method of placing the numbers. The people I play with also. This is the default setting in real life and it should be for the internet version. Or at the very least, there should be an option for those who only want to play the way the game was designed to be played. This should not be very difficult to do. I am sure you will see a large number of members selecting this way to play. Personally, I will not play if this option is not available.
I am slowly beginning to understand the frustration of the more veteran, more outspoken members of this site. There is a disconnect between what you believe is right for your membership and what your membership think is right for them. I am drifting to their side of the argument as my patience is being pulled that way. I have put together a list for the developers, which I update when things need updating, and I hope you will be taking some of the major concerns seriously as these, I'm sure, will be deal breakers for a lot of people. You can read through my suggestions here: https://forum.catanuniverse.com/topic/2549/feedback-to-developers-re-latest-update
BTW, the mobile app only uses the spiral method of placing numbers on hexs and I doubt there's been any backlash because of this. So I don't understand why, if you garner feedback from the mobile app, you don't have this numbering method as the default or at the very least provide an option to play using only this method.
Another BTW, the mobile app is currently a more enjoyable platform to play than CU (2-D screen of island, spiral numbering, random maps, random dice rolls, counter trades available); the only drawback is that the trading platform covers up the entire screen and hides the island, but that's understandable with a mobile app because of space limitations. Space is not a limitation for a regular screen. I wonder why you don't build on the mobile app more, or PlayCatan, instead of trying to re-invent the wheel. You seem to be focusing on the wrong elements (avatars, scrolls, 3-D graphics, etc), rather than the game-related elements many people here have pointed out. A lot of adults play Catan and don't need all the fancy smancy 3-D graphics, which as pointed out in other comment sections, seem to act mostly to slow down play and overheat computers.
I track the dice rolls from all the games (I complete) I don't write them down each turn. Here are the results for overall and since update 20.
At the bottom of this post is a link to the rolls some guy has over many completed games. I didn't follow the link admittedly, and if he's defending this post, great. But if not, and it's another defender of "the dice rolls are random and work out in the end," I would like to say, get real.If you cram a crapload of 10s in one game, 3s in another, 12s in ... well you get the picture, and in the end have a 100 games together giving good distribution, then you cannot assume the dice rolls are random. Simple logic... If A, then B does not imply If B, then A. I've played many home games, and rarely observe to kind of broken number rolling the vast majority of games played on this platform