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Catan: Cities & Knights» Forums » Rules

Subject: Settlers of Catan 'City Walls' rss

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Bob Munson
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I have a rule interpretation question based on the single first line on page 5 explaining city walls. It says: 'City walls protect your cities from the robber.'

Original interpretation: allows you to hold more cards, nothing more, nothing less.

New interpretation: 'real' protection from the robber, that is, with a city wall, you are still paid resources when your number is rolled, even if the robber is there. You only fail to get resources if you have a settlement or a city with no wall.

Arguing for the new interpretation:

Why not say 'City walls allow you to hold more cards when a 7 is rolled. Without city walls, you may only hold 7 cards. With each additional city wall (up to 3) you may hold two more cards when a 7 is rolled without loss of cards. However, if you hold more than your limit, you still lose 1/2 of your holding (rounding down).'

But since it doesn't say that, but rather 'protects your cities from the robber' - we chose to interpret it that when a robber is on a number, if you have settlements and cities on that number, the settlement gets no payout when the number is rolled and the robber is present, but the city will get full payout if it includes a city wall (protection from the robber).

Clearly the rules could be more bluntly stated to eliminate ambiguity. But we have played the game for years and never really thought about it. Then we had a relative newcomer (son-in-law) reading the rules and he read it the new way and we decided to go along with him and provide payout to cities with walls in spite of the robber being present.

One other aspect - there is the Bishop (blue progress card) that moves the robber without a 7 being rolled. When this happens, there is no issue about how many cards you hold, so the only issue deals with payout of resources and commodities while the robber is on your number. So, it seems as though the definition of 'protection' would only pertain to payout.

Has anyone ever played this way before? Does anyone have a definitive place in the rules to make a determination, or is it merely judgment and personal interpretation?
 
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Charles Donnell
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Don't have a definitive answer for you, but my group plays it the same way (city with walls ignores robber and gets its normal production). Seems to have worked very well for us.

Chaz
 
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Steve Oliver
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Is this one of the expansion games? There aren't any city walls or bishop cards in the basic game.
 
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Mik Svellov
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Don't know about the English rules, but the original German rules are:

City Wall:
Each City Wall increases the number of Resource cards a player may hold after a roll of "7" by 2 cards.

Bishop:
Works like a powerful Knight card (from the basic game). The Bishop allows you take a card from each player with a building around that hex, not just one player (as in the basic game).
 
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Carl Johan Ragnarsson
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Could you specify what you mean by "powerful knight" card. There are none in the basic game as far as I know?
 
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Jan Siwanowicz
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We've had this issue come up in our group. Answer from the Catan FAQ (paraphrased):

The only function of the city walls is to give you the ability to hold two extra cards when the hand limit is checked (which only happens when a 7 is rolled).

City walls do not affect the robber's ability to shut down the hex production.

Should probably be phrased "City walls help you when the robber causes you to lose half your cards, and have no other effect"

Moving the robber by means other than rolling a seven (which includes Soldier cards, the Bishop card, paying the appropriate number of fish, deactivating a knight, knocking the robber over accidentally, etc, etc, etc,) does not trigger the "discard half your cards if you have too many" effect. You only discard half your cards if a seven is rolled and you have too many (8 or more, or 10 or more if you have 1 wall in play, or 12 or more if you have 2 walls in play or 14 or more if you have 3 walls in play.)

This info was taken from the Catan FAQ (available online at in German) (not sure of the URL)

Hope this helps!
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Richard Pakpreo
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What Great Dane said is correct from the interpretations that I have played with. City walls only increase your resource/commodity hand size by 2 so instead of 7 or less being safe, it's 9 or less for one city wall with each city only able to have one city wall under it. It's pretty much useless as in the games I play, we rarely have too many resources as we spend them all really quickly because of shortages and clay/brick is too valuable to be spending it on city walls. I keep hearing clammering for clay/brick and rarely have had a game where there was too much clay/brick.

The Bishop is intepreted as using a solder, either in card form in basic or an activated knight in Cities and Knights expansion, to move the robber and steal one resource at random from each player, excluding self of course, who has a settlement or city at that hex. The Bishop card can be played after a 7 is rolled, after a solder action, or any other way that the robber is moved providing that it is that player's turn.

BTW, Both are not in the basic, but in the Cities and Knights expansion.
 
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John N.
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Our group really enjoys Cities and Knights. We have played it constantly for the past 3 years. The "protection" that a city wall gives you from the robber is really the protection from a 7 being rolled and you having to give up half your cards, by allowing you to hold 2 extra cards per wall built. Allowing you to keep producing within a city that has been blocked by the Robber would, in my opinion, make a city wall too valuable for the price you pay for it (2 bricks).

We only really start building Walls when we have too many cards in our hand and a couple of them are bricks and we need to quickly reduce the cards in our hand. (Usually one person will have at least one really good brick spot and be the go to guy for brick, and loves to rub it in everyone else's noses that he has brick to spare, enough so to waste it on a city wall.)
 
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Adrian Montoya
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My group plays City Walls as written plus the house-rule that they protect the city they are built under from the Robber when placed in a hex to steal a resource card...City Wall = Can't steal from that city/owning player
 
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Chris Hawks
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The first line about City Walls in my Mayfair rules booklet reads (emphasis mine):

Mayfair C&K rules, p.5 wrote:
City walls reduce your vulnerability to card losses when a "7" is rolled. They have no other effect.

Certainly no ambiguity there. I bought my copy in 2004, so perhaps I've got the revised manual?
 
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Mik Svellov
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minismurf wrote:
Could you specify what you mean by "powerful knight" card. There are none in the basic game as far as I know?


It works like the Knight cards from the basic game (you may draw a card from one of the players that have a building adjacent to the hex you are placing the robber on) EXCEPT it is even more powerful - which is why I call it a powerful Knight card:

You may draw a card from EACH player that has a building adjacent to the hex on which you place the robber.
 
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Dave G
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Thanks everyone for talking about this. In my rules it does state that the walls protect you from the robber while another part of the rules, maybe in the almanac or something, is more specific that it only works to increase your hand limit on '7' rolls. My parents tried cities and knights and they also figured the wall was protecting them from the robber somehow.

Anyway, here's something I haven't tried yet, but I want to see if it will go over with my group. This rule would give players more incentive to build city walls, as well as make wall-placement more strategic...

Variation idea: when you move the robber, you can only steal a card from players who have a settlement or an unprotected city on that hex. A walled city may not be stolen from. Resource production on that hex remains blocked regardless of walls.

If anyone plays this and likes it or has any comments (+ or -) please post back and let me know.
 
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Jon Ivar T.
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Yldarr wrote:
My group plays City Walls as written plus the house-rule that they protect the city they are built under from the Robber when placed in a hex to steal a resource card...City Wall = Can't steal from that city/owning player


grubby wrote:
Variation idea: when you move the robber, you can only steal a card from players who have a settlement or an unprotected city on that hex. A walled city may not be stolen from. Resource production on that hex remains blocked regardless of walls.

If anyone plays this and likes it or has any comments (+ or -) please post back and let me know.

I like this idea, it is logical and it should be no problem to implement it.

The original idea in this thread (city with a city wall produces resources even if the robber stands on the hex) is not that good. It makes the cheap city wall (2 resources) too powerful and it is not logical. shake

If you want an item that protects permanently from the robber you should try the castle-rule from Die Siedler von Catan: Das Buch zum Spielen.
 
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Dave G
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Yldarr wrote:
My group plays City Walls as written plus the house-rule that they protect the city they are built under from the Robber when placed in a hex to steal a resource card...City Wall = Can't steal from that city/owning player


Oops. I guess I pretty much repeated what you already, so eloquently, said. Good call. Thanks for the feedback too joni.
 
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