2012 Winter Season

It has become something of a custom to send a message at the start of each new season reviewing our progress over the past season and taking a forward look at what we hope to achieve over the next six months. This has been a very easy message to write over the past three season, as we have made steady progress term after term, culminating in being crowned Capital of Catan and filling our park with statues for dice, desert sons solo, tournament and the Rivals marathon. It is harder to write now that our park is bare and our statues have all been claimed by other cities.

But I think it is important to remain positive. There is no question that last season we suffered something of a hangover from our championship winning campaign. This is not unnatural (and it is surprising how many former champion cities warned me that this might happen). The reality is that, in going for capital, we pushed ourselves really hard and demanded levels of commitment from our players that would always be difficult to sustain. As a result, we lost a number of key city players due to burn out. Others remained but became less engaged. And others still just decided to take a different approach to how they played the metagame, opting instead for the fun stuff such as early gardens and pets over the key income producing expenditure. There is nothing wrong with this. Everybody in this city pays to play the game and they are entitled to play the way they think provides them with the right blend of competition, entertainment and basic fun. After all, if you are not having fun, why play at all?

My approach to the game is exactly that - that it is important to enjoy every aspect of the game. The motto for our city is "Play Often, Play Well, Have Fun". This because we believe that the more often you play, the better you play, the better you play the more fun you have, the more fun you have the more often you play …. and so it goes on. For me, personally, having fun is about being able to compete. We can't always win, but when I lose I want it to be because those who beat us were better. But that competition needs to be fun, otherwise people lose interest quickly.

So where do we go now? If, like me, you are sad to see the park empty, how do we go about reclaiming some of those statues. We all know the successful formula, but how committed are we to making it happen again? Personally, I think to set specific goals of making capital, or winning one competition or other is unrealistic and will create pressure that nobody wants. But if we play the metagame positively, doing the things we all know will support the city, then success will naturally follow. So the steps which I would like to promote this season include:

  • Building up our production: As tempting as it is to plant our gardens, buy clothes, and carry a monkey early in the season, I think we all understand that these things cost to build, cost to protect and provide nothing in terms of income to help us develop. They do provide valuable culture points, but these count for nothing until the final stages of the season. By building up the key production buildings in the city quickly - the assembly hall, park and bath house (which in turn churn out city donations to build the other structures); the arsenal and wall (which substantially reduce our guard costs); the library (which gives us all gold as weekly bonuses); the bank (which gives us better coin exchange) and the Town Hall (whcih gives us more city gold to play with) - and then focussing our efforts on housing, which increases both individual production and storage, then we will have much more income at our disposal to do the fun things like garden, pets and clothign later in the season.
  • Defending what we build: If we don't make our guard donations, then we risk losing what we have alredy built. It is kind of like spending all your money building a house and then having to rebuild it every time it rains (or snows). Guard donations are like insurance premiums, except that we have the benefit of knowing exactly when disaster is going to strike and paying exactly the premiums we need to avoid it.
  • Playing tournaments: The tournaments are a great source of city income and the gold goes directly to those who participate. It is also a good way to get our of your comfort zone and practise different scenarios. And of course, the more different games you learn, the more likely you will earn gold at the end of each month for the different gold categories.
  • Playing dice and DSS games: These activities, through the Assembly Hall and Park respectively, provide us with valuable city donations which in turn build the city faster and put more revenue in the hands of our players. These games take about 5 mins or so to play and are actually a great way to fill in time when you don't want to start a new game because you are waiting for market. I don't want anybody to feel so much pressure that they feel they are not fulfilling their duty if they miss a day, rather to create good habits so that people get used to playing on a regularly basis. And, of course, there is gold for the top 15 players in each category at the end of each month.
  • Working as a community: This is the key to everything. Katimavik Bay built its reputation based on community. We teach each other games. We help each other to find trades. We stop and give advice to new people we bump into in the market square. We chat in skype - about city stragegy, games, trades and life in general. And it is this, more than anything, that makes playing the Metagame worthwhile.

I hope people will agree with me that these are the keys to our success and that if we can work towards this without piling on unnecessary pressure, then we can be successful and have fun at the same time.

I also think that this period has again brought home to me the importance of ensuring that we are engaging new players to ensure that they are ready to take up the baton when interest starts to wains. Most importantly, we cannot rely on the same few individuals to carry all of the burden of making things happen and we need to ensure that we have players in the city who are ready to step forward and lead the city in the future. I am happy to say that we have a group of new, energetic players who have joined us in recent months and who have agreed to play important roles in the leadership of the city. With that in mind, I would like to present to you our new Executive Council:

  • Deputy Mayor: I have appointed umop_apisdn as Deputy Mayor. Also known as upside down (and UA, because his name is ridiculously hard to write), umop is embarking on his second full season and has already shown that same eagerness to become involved, learn (and teach) all the games Catan has to offer, and work for the good of the city that I had in abundance when I first joined KB. I believe UA is an exceptionally strong candidate to lead our city and hope that you will give him the same fantastic support that you have always given me. As with Islandwonder, he has also already shown that he's not afraid to stand up to me and tell me when I'm wrong, which is unquestionably one of the most important roles that a good DM can play.
  • Minister of Defence: Sadly, the brains of our city has decided to call time on Catan in order to spend more time with his family. Fleet has left the most enormous boots to fill, but believe there is nobody better to take over this pivotal role than Islandwonder.
  • Minister of Community Affairs: Friendly has agreed to take on what continues to be one of the most important roles for our city, in terms of welcoming new arrivals, ensuring they know about our wiki site and skype chats and providing all the assistance they need in settling into our community. I am grateful to nikkio and drinksonme for fulfilling this key position in the past. Friendly will also take on the position as Second Deputy Mayor.
  • Minister of Information: tjhoopster, who joined us recently from Settlers Gate, has agreed to take on another key task of ensuring that our wiki is kept up to date (something which slipped badly last season whilst that position was left vacant. I hope that everybody will welcoem tj and help her in her endeavours to keep the wiki as a positive resource for everybody in the city.

There are still a couple of vacancies for games meister (helping people to learn new games and getting us rallied and ready for tournament) and Ambassador (making sure we send out appropriate messages to other cities in the forum). If you are interested in either of these rolls, please let us know.


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