Settlers Helper

Settlers Helper provides two utilities for the popular board game "Settlers of Catan". These utilities reduce the randomness of the game.

The first is for setting up a "random" board. After setting up (or downloading) scenarios, the utility will layout a random board that attempts to a) distribute the number tiles evenly across hex type. b) distribute the hex types evenly across the board. c) prevents the same number from appearing too close. d) tries to make large land masses. You can keep generating till you get a board that you like.

The second utility is a dice roller that will reduce the randomness of the dice and make sure that over a short time all the dice combinations come up in their expected proportions. If you roll two fair dice enough times the distribution of numbers rolled will be very close to the expected distribution. You will have 1/36 twos, 2/36 threes, 3/36 fours, 4/36 fives, 5/36 sixes, 6/36 sevens, 5/36 eights, 4/36 nines, 3/36 tens, 2/36 elevens, and 1/36 twelves. However, if you roll the dice just 36 times, you will be pretty unlikely to have rolled the correct number of each value. In a single game of Settlers the dice are rolled around 100 times. So the actual distribution will probably be significantly different than the “correct” distribution. This utility fixes that. To make the distribution correct, this program keeps track of how many of each number has been rolled compared to how many times it should have come up. If a number has come up more frequently than it should, the probability of rolling that number is reduced. In Cities and Knights of Catan, there are still two dice, but they are colored. So instead of having a distribution like what is above, we need to make sure that each die is evenly distributed. Keeping each die correctly distributed will keep the total correctly distributed too. When the program starts, it asks for a tightness factor. This number is used to determine how much to change the probability (how tightly to make the results match the expected distribution). A smaller number tells the program to keep the actual distribution closer to the correct distribution. If you enter 2 as the tightness, when a number has come up 2 more or less times than it should have, it will have it's probability halved or doubled respectively. I recommend a tightness between 1 and 2. The dice will still feel random, but by the end of the game each number will have come up near the correct number of times.

Download the Program.
Pre-built scenarios. These are the scenarios listed in the Seafarers of Catan Almanac.Scenarios

You will need to have Java Web Start installed on your computer to run. If you don't have Java Web Start or just wish to download the program as a jar file, then get this zip. It contains the scenarios too.