Home > Settlers of Catan > Settlers of Catan Analysis

Settlers of Catan Analysis

I completed my actual school project on this, and presented it to the Math faculty here – they seemed to enjoy it.

I thought you might all enjoy it as well, so below is a link to download the .pdf file of this guy.

Just click the page for some light Settlers reading material.

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Categories: Settlers of Catan
  1. Jason B
    26/02/2011 at 7:56 pm

    Love the pdf, I am finishing up my Computer Science degree, which includes a lot of advanced math, so I appreciate this greatly. Lots of college students, especially christian ones enjoy this game

    • 27/02/2011 at 3:53 am

      Thanks for the encouragement. It’s a wonderful feeling when other math nerds enjoy what I’m doing.

  2. Joe
    21/03/2011 at 2:17 am

    I find this confusing. Why is brick and wood so different in their value? They are used for the same things, they should be similar. The only thing I can think of, is that if wood has an extra tile, and somebody can double up on it and prevent others from doing so, they’d have a clear trading advantage over 3 brick tiles not placed together. Does that make any sense? I don’t think I’m crazy enough to misconstrue your data.

    • 23/03/2011 at 10:59 pm

      Joe, there was some discussion over here about that same thing: https://developingcatan.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/understanding-what-to-settle/#comment-35

      Another possible source of this disconnect could simply be bias. I did play a significant number of games with many different opponents, but maybe everyone that I played against assumed that brick was useless. My experience would lead me to believe that the bias was in fact the other way around though. It’s a big question, and one that I’ve struggled with, but have no great answers to yet. I do plan on posting something when I can figure out why there is a disconnect. In my mind, it MUST have something to do with the relative advantage of the extra tile, even though extra demand would usually imply lower value.

      Keep thinking, and I will too!

  3. 04/03/2012 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks for the info. Looking forward to the release of Star Trek Catan

  4. Cyllindra
    04/04/2013 at 10:06 pm

    What was your sample size?

    • 05/04/2013 at 9:45 am

      I did this project a couple of years ago and I don’t have the data in front of me, but I know I used over 250 games played. It probably isn’t the largest sample size, but I thought it adequate for the scale of this project.

  5. Dan Felder
    17/05/2013 at 5:10 am

    Okay, let me take a shot…

    As brick is used for the exact same building projects as wood and has a lower supply, the brick should be more valuable than wood in a vacuum. The only possible factor that could make wood more valuable than brick must be an external factor that occurs during the non-transaction-based interactions between players. In much the same way that a 6 is more valuable than a 5 in terms of probability-of-roll, but is far more likely to be blocked by a robber (decreasing your overall yield over the course of the game) – brick’s very value might be what results in the player losing.

    For example, in any competitive multiplayer game – the first person to take the lead is often the one most punished by other players. The first impression is a strong one and even after the player has fallen to equilibrium with another opponent, the players don’t immediately reassess this objectively – the first impression lingers for a long time.

    Because brick is important in early and noticeable expansion – quickly allowing roads and settlements to be built – players with access to brick will expand far more quickly in the initial surge than those without access to brick. It is the most valuable resource in early expansion due to being needed for both roads and settlements as well as being the scarcest of the resources needed for early expansion. This makes taking a noticeable lead early in the game more likely for players that start with brick than with players that start without brick.

    Factor in the game’s many ways to punish leading players (such as boxing them in to tax the expansion they desperately need and use of the robber to stifle their resources in addition to denying trades) and brick’s value is what might make it seem so strategically impotent.

    In Short: The fact that brick can make such a difference in the initial sprint might mean that the other players come down on you hard as the game goes on.

  6. Kelvin
    25/11/2013 at 11:59 am

    Peter, this is very interesting stuff. Where did you get your data from? Did you just record your own games?

    • 21/02/2014 at 3:25 pm

      I spent a long time recording stats from my own games. Most were played online through playcatan.com, some played in person with random combinations of friends, and some were simply observed (I didn’t actually play). I tried to play without any bias towards one strategy, but since I was the one collecting the stats, it’s not a perfect sample. I did play a lot of games though – over 500 in the course of my project!

  1. 22/02/2011 at 2:37 am
  2. 23/02/2011 at 3:34 pm
  3. 13/04/2011 at 12:57 pm
  4. 22/05/2011 at 7:33 pm

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