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If I have 6 roads that go all around a single hex tile, they are a continuous uninterrupted road (assuming none of my opponents interrupts it with their settlements/cities). But, can I continue this 6-piece road and create a 7-piece continuous road by building a road that goes out of this hex tile? Here's an image of what I'm talking about:

Is this a valid 7-piece continuous road?

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Do you realize the road doesn't need to be built in any particular order? A common way of getting longest road is by connecting existing roads. –  ikegami May 9 at 14:56
    
@ikegami, of course, but I was just interested in this particular corner case, since it isn't covered explicitly by the rules and it was a topic of multiple discussions among my friends. –  stojadin May 9 at 15:11

4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Yes.

Say you start with the following:

      _
    /   \ _ _ 
    \ _

We all agree that's 7 segments long. It makes no sense that adding a segment would make it shorter, so the following can't possibly be 6 segments long:

      _
    /   \ _ _
    \ _ /

Therefore, it must be 8, and your example must be 7.

The rules indicate that you count the number of roads in the longest branch. In your example, there are six on both the right and left branch, for a total length of seven.

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I had exactly the same reasoning as you, but then I went through the official FAQ that says: Roads - Is a chain of individual road pieces that goes all around a terrain hex a closed continuous road? Yes, because both sides of each individual road piece border on another road piece. and got confused by the term closed. –  stojadin May 9 at 15:20
    
Your example isn't a closed loop, but it's still a continuous road. I don't know why they mention and describe the concept of a closed loop. Maybe it matters in an expansion? –  ikegami May 9 at 15:27
1  
@stojadin, I agree that could be seen as misleading. There is no such thing as a "closed" road in Settlers. –  GendoIkari May 9 at 16:26
    
I asked a friend which is quite familiar with all the Catan games, and she doesn't know of any circumstances where closed loops or that "both sides of each individual road piece border on another road piece" are relevant. This is a mystery. –  ikegami May 11 at 16:01
3  
"Closed" roads matter in the case of the Diplomat card in the C&K expansion, which lets you remove an opponents open road. A road in a closed loop as described above could not be removed by the Diplomat. –  BJ Homer May 14 at 2:35

I wanted to add this as a comment, but I don't have the rep yet.

There's one other very similar configuration that new players seem to have trouble deciphering and often count incorrectly.

    _
_ /   \ _
  \ _ /

The mistake I see being made is avoiding counting the loop in favor of covering the most distance between end points which results in 5 connected roads if taking the top or bottom path rather than the 7 described by ikegami with one of the roads jutting out from the loop.

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3  
And I add: this never counts as 8 –  Alfonso Nishikawa Aug 14 at 19:43

given the nature of the hex grid, and the way loops count,

A  _
  / \
  \_/ 6

   _          _   
B / \_     C / \_ 
  \_/ 7      \_/ 7
               \

   _           _    
D / \_     E _/ \_  
  \_/ 7       \_/ 7 
  /

      _             _    
F   _/ \_      G   / \_  
  _/ \_/ \_        \_/ \_ 
                     \_

A is a circle - you can only count each chunk once.
B is is a circle with a spike. You start counting at the spike, and end when you loop back.
C is similar - you can count either the second spike, or the return to the base of the first spike, but not both
D is 7 - you ignore one spike or the other, because if you go spike to spike, you get 6 the long way. E is like D - only one spike counts.
F, you ignore the either the bottom or the top of the loop - and get 9 either way
G you will ignore the one in the middle - and get 10 - because the spurs are longer (2 and 3) than the one in the middle.

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From your image, LET'S COUNT! :)

| | |2 / \ /1\ / \ | | | | | | \ / \ / \ /

You count a road of length 2.

You can do it better: | | | | | | | / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \5 /6\ | | |1 | | | | | | |4 | | | | \ / \ / \2/ \ /3 \ / \ / \ / Length 6, this was better, isn't it?

Let's try again: | | | | | | |6 / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \5 / \ | | |1 | | | | | | |4 | | | | \ / \ / \2/ \ /3 \ / \ / \ / Bad luck, we got again the same length 6 :(

I like to persevere: | |1 | | | | | | / \ / \ /2\ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \7 | | | | | | |3 | | | | | | |6 | | \ / \ / \ / \ / \4/ \ /5 \ / \ /

Hurra!!

I think I am on a winning streak: | | | | | | | |7 / \ / \1 / \ / \ / \ / \ /6\ / \ | | | | | |2 | | | | |5 | | | | | \ / \ / \ / \ /3 \4/ \ / \ / \ /

I hope this examples will be useful.

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