The Catan development card cost simulator: The app

As I wrote in an earlier post, or discussed with some readers, writing apps based on the content I develop for this blog was always something I had in mind.

So as a start, I decided to make an app version of my Catan development cards cost simulator!

The calculator was written for a post on this blog: The 143 ways to win at Catan – Part II To consider the real cost of each possible victory when taking into account the drawing of development cards. The article goes into great details about it, and you can still use it there.

But having an app version is both easier to use, and offered a good opportunity to add some customization options.

The app is available here: App Store page of Development card cost calculator.

What it is

It’s an app where you enter what you would like to draw, either a list of cards, or a number of victory points. The calculator will tell you how many cards you are expected to draw before reaching your goal.

For example: To get 2 victory points through either drawing 3 knights, or 2 victory point cards (or any combination). In the beginning, you will, on average, need to draw 4.43 cards.

The thing is, as you draw cards, the remaining expected card to draw will vary greatly! Sometimes in surprising ways!

  • Draw 2 knights, and you will still be expected to draw 1.73 cards on average.
  • Draw 1 victory point and 1 knight, the expected cost remaining is 2.35 cards.

This is not the same thing!

The simulator allows you to draw random, or specific cards, for you, or your opponents, and see how the actual probabilities evolve.

This is where I think the app shine, allowing you to play and see how the expected cost change as different cards are drawn by you or your opponents.

The actual cost of cards

More interestingly, the calculator gives you the real cost of buying cards.

Drawing a knight cost 3 resource cards. But allows stealing one card from an opponent when played.

Its real cost is 2 resource cards!

And this discounting mechanism change not only your incurred cost, but also the remaining real expected cost!

Did you know that buying the whole development-card deck of 25 cards do not cost 75 resources cards, but merely about 41 resources cards, once the returns are taken into account ?

Each card you draw have a certain card returns, and the real expected cost should influence greatly your strategy when buying development cards! Try it and see for yourself!

Advanced options

For those who want to play with the number of cards and their returns, I added an advanced options menu:

(With a helpful reset button at the bottom to get everything back to default settings)

  • Deck content customization – Change the number of cards in the deck
  • Resource discounts for each card type – Change the number of resource cards to consider for the discount
  • Knights needed for the largest army
  • Number of Road Builder cards to consider for a discount
  • Value considered for extra victory points – How much an extra victory point is worth discounting for.

Here is a screenshot for the curious minds

Hopefully, some of you will find this interesting, maybe even useful!

Since this is my first app, any comment about the app or its design are welcome (through ratings, comments, or messages)!

I will now turn my attention to write more posts, and probably another app or two!

Have a great day!

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