Posted by: thebylog | December 31, 2008

Moving the Robber

In the last several months, I have played Settlers of Catan a lot.  There is one thing that keeps happening which puzzles me.  In Settlers, when a player rolls a 7 or plays a Soldier card, the player is entitled to move the Robber to another hex and choose a resource card at random from a player who has a settlement or city bordering that hex.  Sometimes this presents the player with a choice of who to choose a card from.   Often the player will determine how many cards each eligible player has and pick a card from the one which has the most.

Why?  What is the thought behind this strategy?

If the strategy is to maximize your chances of getting a particular type of resource card (there are five types), I believe this is flawed.  Without additional information, there is no reason that Person A (holding seven cards) should have the card you want any more than Person B (holding one card).  It matters far more what sorts of cards their settlement/city holdings would allow them to acquire.  This, coupled with the knowledge of recent dice rolls and trades should enable the player to make a more informed choice as to which player to choose from.

Why else would this strategy be employed?

I asked Amy and her rationale was one of fairness.  If a card is to be taken from another player it might as well be from one for whom the pain will be minimized, in the sense that they have many other resource cards.  Players also tend to choose cards from different opponents in something of a rotation, particularly early in the game when there is no clear leader, again with fairness in mind and to avoid making enemies.  Both of these make sense in their own way, but they won’t allow you the maximal chance of pulling that Brick resource you so desperately need.



  1. Yeah I have wondered the same thing. I don’t know if it is about fairness as much as its just sticking it to the guy with the most cards. I can’t wait for you guys to get out here and I can beat you again in Settlers of Catan. hmm should be good times.

  2. But why not stick it to the guy you estimate is most of a threat to you?

    Yep, Oregon will be a lot of fun.

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