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Subject: What path should I take through Catan? rss

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Paul Sauberer
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I have played vanilla Settlers as well as some of the closely related versions (Canaan, Nurnberg, Stone Age) but have never tried C&K or Seafarers or played with more than 4 players. I want to start using these expansions that I have owned for years, but am unsure about which order I should use to get them on the table.

Should I try C&K or Seafarers first?

Once I do one of those, should I do the other separately with the basic set or add the unplayed one to the basic/expansion combo?

Is 5 & 6 player a different enough experience to try and get that in before the expansions?

I also have Das Buch. It looks like Seafarers is used more in the scenarios there. Should I try Seafarers first and then break out scenarios from Das Buch?

What about the Historical Scenarios? I have both boxes. Is it helpful to have experience with C&K and Seafarers before trying them? Or is vanilla Settlers a good enough background?
 
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Harold Jansen
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The 5/6 player expansion doesn't change the game that much -- I'd probably only get that if you regularly wanted to play with that many people. C&K is a bigger jump up the complexity scale, so I think Seafarers is the logical next step.
 
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Robert Martin
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Seafarers is OK, but it doesn't really add that much to the game. It's a nice add-on, but it's evolutionary. It basically adds scenarios, most of which revolve around having islands out in the ocean, and ships which are just roads that can go into the water. Seafarers adds about 30-60 minutes to the game, depending on which scenario you play.

Cities & Knights is a revolutionary expansion. It is a whole new game that uses Settlers as a game system. For me, this expansion literally reinvented Settlers. There are so many new choices and new avenues to pursue that the game becomes much more interesting and strategic. Expect your games to last about 60-90 minutes longer than basic Settlers, however.

5-6 player expansions I don't care for because they introduce this funky nested turn order that is really awkward. Still, I have all the expansions because I like the extra colors.

Das Buch I've owned for many years, spent a lot of time compiling translations for, and then never even tried any of the scenarios. For some reason there is nothing particularly compelling in there.

I've never tried the historical stuff, but I've heard good things about it. My advice is to get C&K, and then if you want to round out your collection get Searfarers.
 
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Brent Mair
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I'd definitely advise to to crack open the historical scenarios and play them. You don't need to worry about complexity with them (although I don't think I'd play them with anyone unfamiliar with Catan).

If you are looking to buy something I'd buy Seafarers, explore those scenarios, then play with Das Buch.

I'm not a great fan of Cities and Knights. It adds time to the game and complexities. I still have fun playing it but it is currently my least favorite way to play.
 
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Matthan Heiselt
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I would recommend Cities and Knights. I really enjoy that expansion. It seams to create more player interaction.
 
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Paul Schulzetenberg
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I agree that Seafarers is the logical next step up in complexity, but you may not be satisfied that it's different enough from the base game. I've never played the 5-6 player expansions, but it's my understanding that they don't add much either. Perhaps you could try adding both of those?

On the other hand, if you're looking for a significantly richer experience, you may want to go with Cities and Knights. I love it, but some players despise it because it introduces a little bit more randomness with the ship and the cards. It's probably best to look at the composition of your group to make your decision.
 
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howl hollow howl
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Cities & Knights: Very cool in concept and fun to play, but a bit too long for what it is. As such, it rarely gets pulled out. I would ask for it more but I have concerns about balance issues between the different commodities; I suspect these issues aren't inherently evil, but they would require folks to adjust for them which doesn't happen when a game is played so infrequently.

Seafarers: Makes the game much longer without adding an equal amount of interest. We always play Vanilla Settlers, never play Vanilla Seafarers. However, we do love certain Das Buch scenarios which use Seafarers (e.g., Great Race), so it gets my nod just for that.

In any case, whatever you do, never mix Seafarers and C&K.
 
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Paul Sauberer
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Just to make it clear, I already own all of the expansions and scenarios I listed in my original post. So, it's too late to try and discouracge me from buying them.

I have adopted a goal of trying to actually play these things over teh course of the next few months and am wondering what the best order would be to get that done without getting bogged down with too much complexity at one time or getting a feeling that we keep doing more of the same and lose interest before long.

Should I mix up the expansions and scenarios (e.g. get C&K under my belt and then take on one of the historical scenarios, then go to Seafarers, then a scenario from Das Buch, then play C&K and Seafarers together, then hit some more scenarios)? Or would it be better to get the expansions taken care of first, then go in order through the historical scenarios, then Das Buch?

I am getting the impression that 5 & 6 player versions are not really different games in themselves and that I should save them for times when we have 5 or 6 players who are in a Settlers mood and break them out then. Is that right and I should keep them in their own category?
 
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Arthur
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I have a new suggestion.

Buy the Event Cards deck. It makes Settlers of Catan so much better by reducing a large amount of the luck involved. There is still a fair amount of luck, but the luck is no longer game-breaking.
 
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Tootsie Roll
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Since you already own them all, I would start with Seafarers. This adds little in the way of complexity, but the scenarios will be interesting. Some are better than others, but that is the way scenarios always are. (60-90 minutes) Set up for this game also adds some time (5 minutes).

Next I would go with C&K. As has already been described, this addss a lot of complexity to the game, but it also adds new layers of strategy and new decisions. It takes longer for the first few plays, but the time again decreases as people adjust to the new choices. (60-105 minutes) Some may say this time is low, but we only play 2 hour games with the 5-6 player expansion.

Finally, I would play all of them together. Be warned that these games can be very long, and the addition of Seafarers simply adds boats and scenarios. Thus, this may not be worth the 2+ hours for each game.

The 5-6 player expansions are good if you play with that many people, but they do add time to the game.

Disclaimer: All times based on playing with experienced people who do not waste time with useless trades. For other groups, add 30-60 minutes.
 
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John Crowe
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Seafarers is the next logical step, but a disappointing one. Only the exploration scenarios (unknown waters) add anything to the game, other than changing the relative importance of brick and sheep.

I agree with the statement that Cities & Knights is what makes Settlers what it is. I haven't played basic Settlers in years, aside from online or when teaching new players. C&K is just much more interesting.

I also agree, however, with the imbalance criticism of C&K. The green cards are much more powerful than the yellow or blue. It helps if everyone knows this, but the imbalance still exists.
 
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Psauberer wrote:
I am getting the impression that 5 & 6 player versions are not really different games in themselves and that I should save them for times when we have 5 or 6 players who are in a Settlers mood and break them out then. Is that right and I should keep them in their own category?

The only substancial difference is the addition of the special building phase. When a player declares their turn over, everyone else gets a chance to build before the next player starts their turn. Otherwise, if you can only build on your turn, the extra resources from the additional rolls between turns makes rolling a seven an absolute nightmare to deal with.

Save the 5-6 player expansions for the times you describe above.

Seafarers adds little to the base game. I've played it online a few times, but it doesn't interest me anywhere near enough to buy a copy.

C&K adds a lot to vanilla settlers. I do enjoy it very much, but it can drag a bit. It is a much different experience for me than plain Settlers. The big knock I have against it is that you can be put at a huge disadvantage early if you can't get an activated knight on the board before the barbarians land.

If you want to get a feel for how each play (except the 5-6 player expansions) before subjecting it to your game group, go to games.asobrain.com and try it out there for free.
 
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Robert Martin
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jentinma wrote:
Since you already own them all, I would start with Seafarers.
...
Next I would go with C&K.
...
Finally, I would play all of them together.


This is good advice since you already own everything. This is the best logical sequence. I'd say forget about the 5-6 player expansions entirely. There are better games with 5 or 6 players. Just use the expansions for the extra colors. If you're not overly anxious to get to C&K, you can throw in Das Buch after a few games of Seafarers because most of the scenarios require Seafarers.

 
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