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Last night I played Catan with some friends. There were two situations where we did not pay attention and did not complete our moves properly:

  1. A player paid 2 wheat + 3 rock for a city, but forgot to place it on the board. The player realized the mistake after the next player rolled the dice, and asked to upgrade his/her settlement to a city.

  2. A player rolled 7, but forgot to move the robber. The next player completed his move. After that another player also rolled the dices and bought 2 development cards with his/her 6 remaining cards. The player who forgot to move the robber realized what happened, so moved the robber to a new location and asked the third player to get back his resources, so that he can steal one of them.

Which of these two scenarios are acceptable?

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    What difference would gender of players make? The rules aren't different for different genders. – StartPlayer Nov 19 '17 at 9:36
  • @Mildly Perilous Revealing the genders would have given away which of us is the erroneous players in the two situations. The question got edited, so this is irrelevant now. – Puzzle Prime Nov 19 '17 at 16:38
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1) The player paid for the city, they should get the city. Now, if the next die roll would have given them double resources, that's where it'd get a little dicey (see what I did there?). If they have the choice of where to put the city and want to put it where you get double resources, I'd say it'd be reasonable to say they don't get double that time. If they only had one city choice, give them double.

If you can divine intent, give them the benefit, otherwise just try to smooth things out.

2) This is a weird miss. You've had 2 turns of production (and potential non-production). At that point, backing up would be a bit of a pain. The easiest fix would be to immediately have the 7 roller move the robber, steal a resource, then proceed.

This does not penalize the double-development-card player, since they might not have been able to even buy them if the robber was moved. This restores the resource parity, since the 7 roller didn't get a resource.

  • Thanks for the answer. However, wouldn't the robbing person get information about the other players' resources and positioning in the two extra turns? It is possible that they would have put the robber on a different spot initially, or steal from a different player. The second player involved could play a knight card, or something else? I posted this question on BSE and also in the other big Catan forum (on Reddit). The answers here and there ended up completely the opposite. People on Reddit suggested that the robber must be placed in the desert, or possibly moved without stealing resources. – Puzzle Prime Nov 19 '17 at 16:32
  • @PuzzlePrime Yes, but it's no different than at any other time you'd want to move the robber. You have an idea of what people have in their hand and what they want. If you do it at that point, then no other player can really do anything, similar to what could be done when a 7 actually gets rolled. – JonTheMon Nov 19 '17 at 23:46
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The mistake was not that of the player but the players. When I play games its not an individuals responsibility to remember to do things. If something is compulsory then all players should be pointing this out. You shouldn't keep quiet to try and get some sort of advantage if thats against the rules. Here is how I would handle this situation.

1) the rules for building a city are

When you upgrade a settlement to a city, put the settlement (house) piece back in your supply and replace it with a city piece (church).

To clarify this was not an optional decision. The player paid their cards so they must get there city. The player who mistakenly rolled the dice before there turn was at fault. Personally I would just have the player build the city and then re-roll the dice. That was the rules haven't been broken by a player not getting what they paid for and they did so without information of what they next dice roll must be.

2) The relevant part of the rules is

After discarding occurs, you also steal 1 Resource Card at random from a player who has a settlement or city adjacent to this new hex.

Like above this was not optional. You must steal a resource card if one is available. The second player should not have taken there turn and the player should have been reminded to move the robber.

I would have him return the two development cards (and shuffle them in) and allow the player to steal from them. I get this is frustrating and the player with the robber may be making there decision based on what happened next but that player should not have taken there turn.

as a final point you say "I can say we got in a big fight though." if your getting into fights about boardgames and trying to manipulate rules to win and falling out with your friends over it then maybe this isn't the hobby for you.

  • Thanks for the answer. However, wouldn't the robbing person get information about the other players' resources and positioning in the two extra turns? It is possible that they would have put the robber on a different spot initially, or steal from a different player. The second player involved could play a knight card, or something else? I posted this question on BSE and also in the other big Catan forum (on Reddit). The answers here and there ended up completely the opposite. People on Reddit suggested that the robber must be placed in the desert, or possibly moved without stealing resources. – Puzzle Prime Nov 19 '17 at 16:33
  • Nothing is the rules says anything that a robber must be placed in a desert except its starting point. – StartPlayer Nov 20 '17 at 12:17
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    Your solution for the robber misplay would really irk me. One player forgets to move the robber, and three full turns later, they are able to fix their error? So much could have happened in the intervening time in terms of resource collection and trading that there's no way the robbing player will be drawing from the same pool of resource cards, and on top of that, they have an additional advantage of being able to see the board state three turns later. The robber should be moved, but I don't see any way to fairly take a resource card at that point. – Nuclear Wang Nov 20 '17 at 14:09
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First, a suggestion to try to minimize future problems. Appoint a "banker," (the most experienced player) to oversee the transactions, exchanging the development pieces for resources in transactions. In theory, everyone should be watching out for these things; in practice, the more experienced player(s) will be doing most of the watching.

Regarding the two situations, the first is less serious than the second, because it doesn't directly affect other people. It's relatively easy to exchange someone's "house" for a "church," even retroactively without affecting the rest of the game. You can even give them extra resources for missed turns.

The second situation is more serious, because the person that forgot to move the robber had to force another player to "undo" their move, so that the robber could do his thing. This is an onerous but necessary part of the game. The main question to be resolved (by a "house rule") is whether to let the player with the robber steal the other player's card before or after drawing the two cards. These are "knotty" situations that you want to avoid if at all possible.

  • Thanks for the answer. However, wouldn't the robbing person get information about the other players' resources and positioning in the two extra turns? It is possible that they would have put the robber on a different spot initially, or steal from a different player. The second player involved could play a knight card, or something else? I posted this question on BSE and also in the other big Catan forum (on Reddit). The answers here and there ended up completely the opposite. People on Reddit suggested that the robber must be placed in the desert, or possibly moved without stealing resources. – Puzzle Prime Nov 19 '17 at 16:33
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    @PuzzlePrime: Robbing player gets extra information, yes. Unlike the house/church example, this is a consequence of the missed turn. The suggestions by me (and others) try to point out the least "bad result." That's why I referred to a "house rule." Perhaps the player with the robber should be forced to choose a square at random, rather than make " no move." If, say, 3-5 turns had elapsed before the lapse was discovered, I would choose this option. – Tom Au Nov 19 '17 at 17:09

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