Haven't checked this out for myself (and might not bother; I've never gotten in these sorts of arguments) but it sounds interesting.
Date: Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 11:58
Subject: Better Settlers Board Generator
[bcc: local games lists]
If you don't play or are not interested in Settlers of Catan, stop reading now.
My friends and I really enjoy playing Settlers, but we got tired of
the set up time for a good board layout. We found that one of two
things always happened: one person got a much better position that
everyone else and dominates the game, or we spend 45 mins arguing
about whether a certain board set up is fair and moving the
probabilities around a dozen times. Taking the Googley approach to
this, I decided to write a computer program that would set up a fair
board for us, but still be mostly random. I've used this board
generator a couple dozen times with friends and it generally seems to
give a very fair and enjoyable game of settlers.
I'd like to open it up to folks in the hopes that they find it as
useful as I do. I'd also love to hear feedback about how you think it
works, and what works well, or doesn't work well.
You can read about it on the About page, but it's not meant to be an
online version of the game, but rather just enhance offline play. It
uses variables such as resource distribution, probability clumping,
and harbor placement to try to make it as even as possible. It
currently supports a standard board and expansion boards for 5 and 6
ppl. It also actually supports custom maps so if you want to
draw/design your own map and play it that's possible too.
I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think.