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The Brick-Wood Paradox

22/05/2011 5 comments

When I first started letting people see some of the research I had done (by showing friends and posting here mainly), it was received with a lot of encouragement, and some follow-up questions, the most prominent of which I have dubbed the “Brick-Wood Paradox”. As quoted from a commenter:

Why [are] brick and wood so different in their value? They are used for the same things, they should be similar.

This is a tricky question. It’s a great observation – one that I missed in my first analysis. Brick and wood are used together in building roads and in building settlements, and neither are used for anything else. As demand for roads and/or settlements changes, the demands for brick and wood should change together, giving them the same “price” or value. At least, that is the intuitive comment made by many. My analysis holds to wildly different values for brick and wood. I believe that my analysis is not completely wrong (I’m not going to claim that it is the “God’s Word” of Settler’s strategy, though). These two facts led me to investigate this paradox.

@DevelopingCatan

The first observation (and most elementary – other people have made it since) is that the difference in value must¬†come from the difference in number of tiles. There is no difference between wood and brick in their use, so the difference in value must come from their only difference in the game. This scared me at first. If the problem is that there is a difference between number of tiles, did I not equalize the resources correctly, independent of how many tiles there were? If there was any disparity between them, wouldn’t supply/demand say that the lesser available one is worth more? Is my analysis of ore wrong (since it is the other resource with only 3 tiles)? I hope not (and I don’t think it is). Read more…

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