My sister and brother-in-law came over tonight to play Settlers of Catan with us. They played with some friends down in Florida where they live, and when they found out that Joy and I also like to play, we decided we should definitely play a game while they were up here for Thanksgiving. We played with the Seafarers expansion because that’s how Becca and Matt played down in Florida, so it was what they were used to. We also used the new card deck add-on that you use instead of rolling the dice. It removes some of the randomness of the dice so that the “rolls” are closer to a normal distribution (but it still has some variability). I think the new card deck is both good and bad. The deck certainly removes a little bit of the luck factor, which makes each roll game a bit more predictable (i.e. you are not going to get a string or 2 or 12 rolls for the unfortunate few on those hexes). But in addition to showing the dice rolls, the cards also sometimes have extra activities that go along with the roll. The extras usually involve certain players gaining or losing resource cards based on their position in the game (some deal with harbors, knights, total points on the table, etc). The end result is that there are more cards in play earlier in the game, which overall is a good thing to get the game going a little quicker. Sometimes the initial rounds are a bit slow as people slowly build up enough cards to start building things. If I had to say right now, I’d say I probably like it better than using dice, but I’ll have to play with the deck a few more times to know for sure if I really like it or not.

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