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Catan» Forums » Variants

Subject: Fantasy Settlers rss

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This is not my user name.
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Or I guess it should be called Fantasy Catan, now.

I came up with this idea a long time ago, and have playtested it a little bit. The idea is that each player represents a fantasy race or group, each of which provides a different special ability. I want them to be as balanced with each other as possible, so they might need some tweaking.

Dwarves - Dwarves are miners who live in the stony mountains. Collect double the usual amount of ore when you collect ore. If someone calls a Monopoly on ore, you only give half your ore (rounded up).

Elves - Elves live in the woods, and build their cities in the trees. When you upgrade a settlement to a city, you may substitute one or two wood for ore. So you could build a city with 2 ore, 2 grain, and 1 wood; or with 1 ore, 2 grain, and 2 wood. You can still build cities the usual way, if you want.

Gnomes - Gnomes are lucky. When you roll a 7, you may change it to any other number.

Halflings - Halflings are small and live in closely knit communities. You may build settlements one space apart from your other settlements. You may not build two cities next to each other, and you your settlements must still be two spaces away from other players' settlements and cities.

Fairies - Fairies are mischievous and small enough to hide and watch others without them knowing. When you move the Robber, you may take a card of your choice from the bank instead of from the another player, or you may look at another player's hand and take the card of your choice. Once you look at a player's hand, you may not then decide to take from the bank instead. When another player steals a card from you, you choose which card he gets.

Giants - Giants were the first inhabitants of Catan, before all other peoples arrived. At the beginning of the game, you place your two settlements before all other players place theirs.

Orcs - Orcs are violent and savage, continually warring and pillaging. When you move the Robber, you may steal an additional card. This can be from the same player or a different player who also has a settlement or city adjacent to the Robber.

Dragons - Dragons accumulate and hoard massive amounts of wealth. You may hold any number of cards without having to discard on a 7. The player moving the Robber cannot steal a card from you.

Wizards - Wizards use powerful magic to create wondrous transformations. When you trade 4 for 1 (or 3 for 1 and a generic harbor), the cards you trade in need not be all the same. When trading 2 for 1 at a specific port, you may substitute a different commodity for one of the cards you trade in - e.g. you may trade one sheep and one grain for a card of your choice at a sheep port.

Priests - Priests are holy, well respected, and prestigious. When you buy a development card, take the top two from the deck, look at them and keep one of your choice. Return the other to the top of the deck.

Knights - Knights bravely roam about the land righting wrongs. Before you roll the dice, call a number other than 7. If that number comes up, move the Robber and take a card as if you had rolled a 7. Then normal production occurs.

Thieves - Thieves make their living by stealing. When the number that the Robber is blocking is rolled, you get one of that commodity regardless of whether you have a settlement there.

Bards - Bards are very social and friendly. You may trade with other players or the bank on any player's turn.

Sailors - Sailors travel to distant lands to trade goods. You may trade 3 for 1, as if you had a generic harbor, even if you don't. If you have a generic 3:1 harbor, you can trade 5 for 2. If you have a specific port, you can trade 3 of the commodity for 2.

Pirates - Pirates roam the seas, stealing from passing ships. Whenever anyone other than you trades with the bank, you get one of the cards traded in.

What do you think? Any suggestions for improvement? Better balance? New groups?

I had another one called Nomads, but I realize now that they didn't really work at all.
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Billy McBoatface
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It's a neat idea, but yeah, some seem much better than the others. Compare Elves vs. Dragons, for example, and I think the Elves come up pretty short! But only playtesting can tell for sure.
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Agreed. I wanted to present them pretty much the way I originally made them. But yeah, the Elves might be short changed a bit. How 'bout if I added this to the Elves:

In addition, when you build a settlement, you need not spend a wood. So a settlement only costs you a brick, a grain, and a sheep.

And it seems the Priests may be a bit too weak as well, so maybe add any or all of these:

1. When you play a Year of Plenty card, you get three cards instead of two.
2. When you play a Monopoly card, you get one additional card of the type specified from the bank.
3. When you play a Road Building card, you get three roads instead of two.
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Daniel Piovezan
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How about a pie rule of sorts?

Player 1 picks a set of factions. If all other players approve it, then each player will choose a faction from that set, in reverse player order. Or maybe, they can be distributed randomly. If they disagree, a different player picks a different set.

I think it's particularly interesting because like, some factions have greater advantage when other factions are present (Pirates benefit from Sailors, for example), so it would be difficult to balance them all against each other, but not so hard to find a balanced subset.
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It occurs to me that the Bards might be a too weak as well. Here's an ability you could add to them that I thought of:

On your turn, after the dice roll, you can give one card from your hand to each other player in the game. If you do so, you may take an equal number of cards from the bank of your choice. You may not use this ability if you don't have enough cards to give to all the players.

This might seem too powerful, but remember it also helps the other players. You trade one-for-one for exactly the cards you want, but you're giving other players cards for free. If it's still too powerful, maybe try this instead:

At the end of your turn, after all building, you can give one card from your hand to each other player in the game. If you do so, you may take an equal number of cards from the bank of your choice. You may not use this ability if you don't have enough cards to give to all the players.

This way, you don't get the immediate benefit of the cards, but have to wait until your next turn to use them.

So what do you think? First version / Second version / The Bard is strong enough without this ability.
 
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Daniel Piovezan
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Another possibility: bidding. Randomly select some factions, and make players bid for them. The winner of every bidding round picks first, but gets minus points equal to how much they bid.
 
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