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A player has 6 resource cards.

If they play a year of plenty development card then they should pick up two cards. This means they would need to discard 4 cards if robber is activated by another player.

Can they choose to only take one resource card from the supply?

What if there is only one resource card in the supply? Can they use year of plenty to pick up that one card?

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    Is there a misunderstanding of timing of when to play a development card? I can't think of a reason why a player would go from 6-8 resource cards and put them selves at risk. Are you playing the card as soon as drawn or keeping it until a player chooses to use it. I can only see your situation occurring if the card if played immediately which it doesn't have to be. Jul 20, 2022 at 8:55
  • Two answers say it would be a bad time to use the card. And while normally true, I can think of two potential exceptions: 1) You know you'll want to play another Dev card on your next turn, and you want to be sure to have certain resources. 2) There are very very few of one type of resource in the supply, and you want some of them before they are gone.
    – ikegami
    Aug 26, 2022 at 23:26

3 Answers 3

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The year of plenty is played on your own turn (at any point during your turn, so before rolling the dice, before trading, before building). So playing it when you don't need the resources at that point might not be advised.

Following the rules that can be found at catan.com:

Year of Plenty: If you play this card, you may immediately take any 2 Resource Cards from the supply stacks. You may use these cards to build in the same turn. [bold added]

So the big take away from this is that you MAY take any 2 cards. This means it is not mandatory.

The wording on the card is as follows:

Take any 2 resources from the bank. Add them to your hand. They can be 2 of the same resource or 2 different resources.

This indicates that you always have to take 2 resources.

Advice: Don't use the year of plenty card unless you can use the resources you get.

Picture of 4 development cards, including the year of plenty card for clarification of the wording on it

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    Not sure if the logic here is complete. Yes, you may take 2 cards, which means you don't have to; you can take 0 or 2. It doesn't say you may take just one. Not saying it couldn't be that way, but the rules you quote don't make that clear.
    – Samthere
    Jul 20, 2022 at 8:38
  • @Samthere, I edited my answer with the card text itself. The rules and the card don't really align.
    – J_rite
    Jul 20, 2022 at 9:24
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You must take either 2 cards or 0. You cannot take 1.

The game rules have extended text for the card, which generally trumps the text of the card itself:

Year of Plenty: If you play this card you may immediately take any 2 resource cards from the supply stacks. You may use these cards to build in the same turn

They say you "may" take 2 resources, so the ability is optional, meaning you may also not take 2 resources (i.e. you could take 0). But it does not say "up to 2", so 1 resource is not an option.

There is a rules exception for how to handle resource shortages in production ("If the shortage of resource cards only affects a single player, give that player as many of these resources as are left in the supply, and any extras are lost"). However, under a strict reading of the rules, Year of Plenty is not "resource production", so this exception does not apply. Thus, if there is exactly one resource of any type left in the supply (an incredibly rare situation), you cannot take it with Year of Plenty.

Year of plenty probably ought to say "up to two", but that is not how it is worded in the rules, and changing that behavior would be a house rule.

Strategic note: using Year of Plenty to take resources that you aren't going to immediately spend is almost always a poor use of the card. The advantage of Year of Plenty is that it gives you 2 wildcard resources that aren't in your hand from the perspective of 7s and the robber. Playing Year of Plenty when you have 6 cards in hand and not immediately making a purchase or trade is a poor use of the card.

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TL;DR answers:

Can they choose to only take one resource card from the supply?

No.

What if there is only one resource card in the supply? Can they use year of plenty to pick up that one card?

Yes.

Details

Can't choose to take only one if you can take two.

This is just straight card text. Card text only allows for "take any 2 resources". So the player cannot choose to take just 1.

Can take only one if there's only one to take.

In the case of the resources being exhausted, I'd say the general rule for resources being exhausted should be followed: since only one player is taking resources, that player takes what is available. So if there's only one resource card left in the supply in total and you play Year of Plenty, you take just that one.

EDIT: Catan Studio customer service confirms via email:

Wow, where are all the other resources? In everyone's hands? That seems weird. :)

At any rate, you take what is there, even if it is one card

The general rule (i.e., the rule for the more common case of a resource being nearly exhausted and then coming up on the production roll) from the FAQ:

production: If there are not enough resources of a type for all players, nobody gets any. (*) exception: if only one player would get this resource, he gets what's available.

This interpretation/conclusion has come up before on this SE:

If the instructions are impossible to follow, then you just do what you can. The same would go for playing a Year of Plenty if there's only 0 or 1 resource cards left in the resource piles.

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  • That FAQ answer specifically talks about the production step from normal spaces, so I don't think the rules explicitly support this, but I would still play it this way :D
    – Samthere
    Jul 20, 2022 at 17:27

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