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In Catan, a development card costs one sheep, one wheat, and one ore, three resources in all. Here are development cards that you might be able to get for those three resources:

  • Year of plenty. Two resources of your choice. This is a 3- for -2 trade, but you get two "scarce" resources for three that are (presumably) abundant. If you are playing an ore-wheat-sheep game, you are probably short of brick, and/or wood. This may be close to a "breakeven" trade.
  • Two roads. Two brick and two wood. Four resources for three. Plus the fact that brick and/or wood is likely to be scarce resources for you as discussed above.
  • Monopoly. Depending on when and how it is played, it can be an "explosive" card, both for helping your own development, and hindering all of your opponents.' Arguably the best card in the deck.
  • Victory point. Establishes a "basic" trade ratio of three resources for one victory point.
  • Largest army. Requires at least three knights, sometimes four or more. Let's say an average of four. Then you need 12 resources to get two victory points. That works out to six resources per victory point. The difference between knights and the above is that in addition to getting you two victory points, the four knights save you resources (and hurt opponents' production) by moving the robber away from you. These can be valuable if relatively few sevens are rolled in the game.

Are there experts (tournament players or at least bloggers/you tubers) who have created tables analogous to mine that can be used for a "check?" How do these tables differ from the above? Have I missed or overlooked anything?

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    Also, knights let you steal a resource – Arcanist Lupus Jan 7 at 1:44
  • I don't know what you are expecting... a "table that can be used for a check"... if you opt to buy a development card and you get a development card, its not like you get to choose which card to get. Just use whatever card you did happen to get to the best of your ability. Each can be (but won't necessarily be) more valuable than the initial cost of one sheep,wheat,ore in their own respective scenarios depending on current game state and your production rates of various resources. – JMoravitz Jan 29 at 14:25
  • @JMoravitz: I've done quite a bit of rough research on my own. So the question is, "are there any "published" materials, (written or Youtube) by certified experts, whose findings confirm or disprove mine? – Tom Au Jan 29 at 17:08
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    That's just it... you have no findings. You have opinions. The values you are referring to are illdefined and not measurable. Even if they were, knowledge of such values would provide zero benefit as they do not influence decisions or strategy. There are unlikely to be any "published results" as the question the results would be there to answer is a flawed useless question. – JMoravitz Jan 30 at 15:10
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I'm not aware of any tables like what you're looking for, however many years ago I did read a Catan strategy article which gave the advice that you should treat every development card as a victory point. What the author meant was that generally they should be played in a way that immediately gains you points. For example, the Year of Plenty could get you the resources that allow you to surprise other players and build a settlement or the road building card might let you get to an important spot before another player to build a settlement before they can.

Overall I think you underestimate the power of the development cards, the year of plenty isn't simply trading the cost of the card for three new resources, you're getting three resources that can be called on at almost any time yet until you use the card they cannot be robbed and don't increase the size of your hand.

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