OxCon 2008: Settlers of Catan

The Sunday session of OxCon left very little time for anything except the competition itself. Catan is one of the most popular serious boardgames, so more people entered and we had five rounds to play through.

Much of the rest of this post will make little sense if you don’t know the game. If you are unfortunate enough to be in that situation, make it a point to learn to play. It is an excellent game, and you can play online.

I started out the day with two wins. The first was a very tight game which I only managed to scrape a win thanks to my development card draws turning up two Monopoly cards, a Year of Plenty, three victory points, and just two Soldiers.

Limited Resources on Flickr

My second game saw me going last, on a really nasty board. In desperation I put my starting settlements on a triple grain space and a triple ore space, with only one 6/8 between them. Somehow, this managed to pay off, quickly netting me two cities before I built to a 3:1 port.

We then broke for lunch, with me floating on something of a shocked high.

The first game of the afternoon saw me in a game including the infamous Markus Welbourne (who usually wins this tournament). I was quite happy to come away from that game in second place.

The last two games, were not ones that really qualify as “bad”, but they weren’t great either.

Despite that, my earlier results managed to pull my score up, so I finished a very respectable 7th out of 32. My one regret is that in the last game I held a Soldier card back as I was getting close to winning and feared being attacked by the Robber. If I had played it, I’d have won Largest Army and scored enough tournament points to bump me up to position 6. Unfortunately, another player managed to grab Longest Road (which I’d already convinced myself that another player was going to get) and build enough to jump him from behind to 10 points, and I ended the game with 6 rather than 8.

The winner? Markus Welbourne.

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