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I am trying to get our family to try out Settlers of Catan, and am wondering which version would be the easiest to begin with. I figured the original, but some sites say that some of the other ones may be better since there is a fixed board. Any advice is greatly appreciated, thank you!

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The original set will do just fine; it comes with a pre-arranged layout for new players who'd rather not deal with the randomness. If your family has more than four people, you'll also want the 5-6 Player Expansion to expand the board.

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I also find that if you play the first game with roll 7 lose half your cards over 7 but don't move the robber then that removes an element of the game enables a quicker flow. You need to add the robber in quickly once they get hooked. –  AlexC Dec 9 '11 at 9:00
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Are you sure you want to remove the robber? Maybe it's fun for them to sabotage for James "because he always wins". Giving some kind of handicap for the new players. –  AndSoYouCode Dec 9 '11 at 10:14
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@AndSoYouCode No, I can see the wisdom in that. If this is a family that's just trying out Settlers, they'll be figuring out things like strategy and trading -- adding in a "punishment" element like the robber could sour things. It's easier to put bad things under the category of "bad luck." –  Jadasc Dec 9 '11 at 14:05
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Keep the Robber, it's a core part of the game. Playing without the robber is a very different feel. –  aramis Dec 10 '11 at 19:11
    
If you want them to like the game, leave out the 5-6 player expansion, it ruins the game. –  xorsyst Dec 13 '11 at 11:54
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