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Players draw resources, commodities (Cities and Knights), and fish tokens (Fishermen of Catan) during the course of various Catan games. It is almost always advantageous to draw your earned "goods" whenever possible, but is it required?

Forgetfulness

Players sometimes forget to draw the goods they are entitled to. If play passes to the next player before they remember, we often forbid the forgetful player from drawing what they forget. They should learn to pay attention, although I am very lenient with new players.

Strategy

I was recently in a situation where purposely not drawing all my goods would have been to my advantage had a certain number been rolled. A player may do this to avoid having more than 7 resources in hand when a win is otherwise clenched, or to avoid drawing the Old Boot in Fisherman of Catan (which requires the owner to have one additional victory point to win). Had someone reminded me to draw all my goods, I might have suspiciously declined.

What do the rules say (or imply) about this? Are players required to draw all their goods? Are forgetful players allowed to gather previously forgotten goods?

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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

You must draw all of your goods.

From the FAQ:

Resource Cards - Can I voluntarily take less resources or none at all after the production roll?

Answer

No.

I don't believe there is any official guidance on what to do if draws are forgotten about. If it is noticed fairly quickly, the draws should be made up. But if you've gotten to a new round of trading, or a 7 has been thrown, it is probably too late.

You can consult this past question that gives general advice on Take Back Privileges that might be helpful in resolving the situation.

The answer stays the same for Cities and Knights

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There are some games (chess comes to mind) where every turn is a "must move" situation (if legal). "The right to make the next move" is usually an advantage. But not always! Sometimes it can be a distinct liability, and you have to accept that liability as part of the game. This situation chess is called a "Zugzwang," and part of the game is maneuvering your opponent into one.

Other games such as Go, are more "constructive." Having the move is always helpful (or neutral) meaning that it's "your privilege" NOT to move.

Because having too many resources is actually bad if the robber is moved, Catan seems to fall into the first category--you must move because it's possible to be in a situation where not moving may be beneficial. (But the "newbies" who fail to draw hurt themselves more often than not.)

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Why the downvote? –  Greg Jun 14 '11 at 19:42
    
@greg: If you like the answer, you can "upvote" it and basically cancel the downvote. –  Tom Au Jun 14 '11 at 19:44
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-1 because there's no rationale for why Catan falls into the first category. As far as I know forced draw is not in the actual rules (like taking a jump if you have one in checkers). Please add why you think Catan is a game of the first type, or why it should be. –  Adam Wuerl Jun 14 '11 at 21:44
    
@adam: Why Catan is s/b game of the first type? Because "bad" things happen to players occasionally, (like "blowing up,)" which they might be able to avoid if they were allowed to "pass." I call it a "chutes" and ladders phenomenon. All ladders, everyone should roll every turn. But if there are a few chutes, it might be advantageous to refrain from rolling, until the other guy hits a chute. –  Tom Au Jun 14 '11 at 22:04
    
Well I buy that, but the site won't let me change my vote unless you edit your answer. –  Adam Wuerl Jun 15 '11 at 3:32
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It's really important that everyone draw all their goods. One of the core elements of Catan in my mind is the need to keep your hand size to 7 or below as much as possible, to ward off the attentions of the robber. This "problem" is in fact hugely beneficial to the flow of the game, because it encourages people to trade with their opponents, when they might otherwise just play solitaire.

Also, if I have a plan to steal your resources with a Monopoly or the like, you'd better keep on drawing them, or I'll be angry!

I would recommend employing the services of a "banker" who is responsible for giving out resource cards to every player after every die roll. Letting people draw (or forget to draw) their own resources is a recipe for disaster!

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Great suggestion! –  Pat Ludwig Jun 14 '11 at 18:00
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