5-6 Player Rules Different From Boxed Game in v2.20
UPDATE: Thank you for the reply! I understand why this would help control the turn time, and I also understand that turn time is a critical issue for many online players, so this new rule makes some sense.
However, as I stated below, I believe this new rule fails to achieve one of its primary purposes --- to allow players to control their card count. Even with the availability of maritime trading, there are too few opportunities to spend cards, especially in the late game. It would be better to offer the original rule as an option. Also, was the original way actually tested to see if it produced objectionably slow games?
I just tried the 5-6 player base game, and I see there is a significant (intentional) difference is how the rules work vs. the boxed game.
In the boxed game, a "special build phase" occurs between each regular turn in which all players have an opportunity to build, and no trading of any kind is allowed.
In the online game, a "Settler 2" turn occurs between each regular turn in which one player (rotating around the board) may build, and maritime trading is allowed (but not inter-player trading).
One of the main purposes of the special build phase is to allow players to control their resource card count to avoid being robbed when 7 is rolled. This rotating "Settler 2" turn appears to be much less effective at achieving that goal, because there are far fewer chances to spend the cards. I'm usually quite good at avoiding being robbed, and I was being hit repeatedly in the games I tried.
Would a game designer be kind enough to comment on why this change was made? The old rules have years of game testing behind them, and I'm a bit doubtful that a similar level of testing would have been possible for this new variation.
--- Dev Rossik
On the Discord server in the "Announcement" channel, they said the new rules are for the online game to try and keep it he length of time spent on any one turn to a minimum - only two people build per turn vs 5-6 people building during a turn. 3 minutes per turn vs 9 minutes.
It's a bit different when you are sitting around a table with five friends vs online with five strangers. They probably should have given people the option to use the regular rules for custom matches with friends.
The other change I noticed is that the "Settler 2" player is allowed to play Progress cards (monopoly, etc) in Cities and Knights. This is not allowed in the original game. That makes that extra phase quite powerful and not just the intent of spending cards to avoid the robber. I do not like it.
@LemuelB2 I think another approach would be to reduce the time of the extra build phase for each player. Like the original, if you can't trade or use progress/dev cards, then there really isn't much to think about. Buy something with the cards you have or pass. You could easily cut the "Settler 2" phase time in half or make it 30 seconds.
I think my family will stick with the old rules for 5-6 players.