Strategy Question - resource awareness
I have restarted playing online from a year ago, but still consider myself to be a new player. My question to experienced players is how aware are you of your opponents likely resource holdings or needs? Specifically, when trades are offered, I tend to look at the value of the trade to my situation, and accept or reject based on my gain. I suppose a really good player will withhold a favorable trade if they know they are likely providing the opponent with a needed resource: but then again, aren't trades basically motivated to give advantage to the initiator? I don't like to play card games because I'm not good at "card counting" and it seems like there might be this element in Catan. I'm not talking about ridiculous trades to opponents, like 4 different resources for 1, etc. that are simple examples of blatant favoritism. The reason I'm asking is that in a couple of games I've been sworn at or called vulgar names because my trade allowed one opponent to excel over a previous game leader. Is this simply poor behavior by the player who didn't benefit from the trade, or am I an undesirable opponent until I can improve my situational awareness? BTW, my ELO is upper 900s, so I'm not meeting really good players. Thanks for thoughts.
Prinz der Sterne
@Old-Man in my opinion, it depands dramatically, what situation you are. There are many factors, that can make your decision clear and also really hard to predict, if you should trade or not. l
In general you can say, you should always have an advantage of a trade and you should never trade with one, whoight win because of a trade (I think that's clear).
In all situations it depands on what a person gets how often and what is a rare resource in comparison to the others.
When you trade away (for example) a ore away on the wool for ore map, you have to get a really big advantage of the situation (e.g. building a city, getting the largest army by buying a development card).
Also the ports are a big point, when you trade. For example, I personal dislike trading 2:1 with a player when imI have a 3:1 port, although you can't always acoid trades like that.
Another factor is how many cards you have. The classic example is here: You have 3 wood, 3 sheep and 3 ore and no access to a 3:1 port. In this situation you have to trade to avoid a 7, however you might not get a good trade (when other players notice your dilemma).
Last but no least, it depands on the player you are trading with. With a player, who you battle for the largest army, a place to build or the longest road (especially the first one!!!) you not really like to trade, because you perhaps only help your biggest opponent.
The only thing you should really ALWAYS (in alomst every case) avoid is to help one getting a city in the first or also maybe second round of a game. In general, citys are better than building a settlement (because you will normally get more ressources from it [at least when it isn't blocked for the rest of the game]) so you should take attention on that.
You will never get a 100 % correct decision, if you should trade or not, but I hope I could help you to come closer to that number and haven't left out something really important.
@Old-Man Insulting or swearing at other players is never ok, at least not in my book. Wether you should trade or not, that depends on the situation in the game as well as on the opponents. It also depends on the scenario. And also on the map you happen to get. Let me specify:
*reasons to trade
you have trouble getting a very needed resource by yourself
the other players play not to aggressively
you hve too mny cards and fear to loose it to the robber
you need certain resources to secure a position that might otherwise be snatched away from you
to activate knights in Cities and Knights
to keep the balance help the weakest player
if it gives you an advantage
*reasons not to trade
if the other player is too far ahead
if you give him a too great advantage
if the other player plays a very aggressive style
Thanks for the pointers. I have pretty much stopped trading with anyone over say 7 VP displayed. Obviously they are only looking to get to 10 first!! But I think I didn't ask my question clearly enough. I've seen people play cards that have their minds tuned into each player draws and discards such that they have a pretty good idea what their strong/weak suit(s) may be, or how many XXs have been played such that they will not play hoping to draw another XX, etc. I was just wondering if strong Catan players watch how many of each resource are obtained in the course of play to know what is plentiful or scarce. I am trying to pay more attention to trade offers to determine what a player may be short (i.e. they make increasingly favorable trades to get ore, etc.). I think these observations will become more natural as my game count increases. Also, the dynamics of the game are such that something a player is short one round may be overwhelming in the next.
Again, thanks for the generalized trading hints.
@Old-Man There are different opinions on this matter. And I have been sworn at, too.
To be clear: I think it is never ok to swear at someone, even if the player makes a mistake.
Appart from that, some players think it is never ok to trade. But that seems just silly to me, because it is part of the rules to trade. Personally, I like the trading and building part of the game best, because it offers so many strategic possibilities.
And trading 4 to 1 for a crucial resource can make very much sense, if it helps you to save your city or lets you secure a definite strategic advantage. Someone once told me: "Catan is a war game, you ought to play it like one!" but I disagree. Catan is so much more than that, and offers way more strategic choices than "Boom boom, you´re dead!"
So if you are unsure about a trade, ask yourself: What will this trade help me achieve? And what will it help my opponent do? You might also ask what effect it will have on the 3rd player.
And if you cannot keep in mind the kind of cards everyone has (neither can I), look at their settlements and the numbers. That could give you an idea.