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Catan: Cities & Knights» Forums » Variants

Subject: The Cities of Catan. And The Knights of Catan. rss

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Steve M
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Is it just me, or does playing with Cities and Knights feel like playing with two different expansions?

Cities is definately the richer of the two. Starting with a city on the board speeds up the early game, The commodities add complexity to trade, and hand management, the progress cards give you a lot more play options, and metropolis pieces give you additional routes to victory. See, there's plenty there.

Knights, by contrast... just sit on the board. At least in my play sessions. The early game narrows, becoming a scramble for everyone to build a knight before the barbarians burn down their lone city (letting your city burn, and then not caring about knights, sounds like an interesting strategy but I've never seen it work in practice.. progress cards are just too good to pass up). Turning on your knights every 14 turns is a chore. They rarely move around, or displace, and the vast majority of times they get upgraded, or new ones are built, seem to be as a result of progress cards stealing or upgrading them. 'Defender' cards certainly are an interesting new route to victory, but that strategy relys on being lucky with knight-influencing progress cards.

I'm all for game mechanics which don't become a feature of every single game you play (like monopoly cards in original Settlers, for example), but the knight rules seem so complex for stuff that hardly ever happens.

I'm wondering therefore... could you 'split' the two expansions, and still have a worthwhile game to play?
 
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Richard Pakpreo
United States
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I'm not sure where you got the idea of those two being separate mechanics. The Knights replace the action of Soldier cards from the base set with all those abilities as well as needing to defend against the barbarians. Without the Knights, it's just an building race and not really that great. One can't exist without the other. Think of it as ability and tact. You can have the abilities, but without tact, the game is just a race. You can have tact, but without any abilities, the game just sits there. I've played a lot of games where the Knights were integral to the strategies of the players and moving the robber, activiating all knights to steal the VP, and to kill the longest road, and so forth. It's not two separate expansion/mechanics.
 
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I also don't understand why you don't utilize your knights.

1) Knights chase away the robber.
2) They stake out potential settlement sites. Much of the knight use in our games is fighting over a spot of ground to build a settlement on.
3) They break up the longest road if it belongs to your opponent.
4) They are worth points if you defend Catan. This is one of the basic strategies of Cities and Knights. Go big on the Knights as fast as you can and scoop up defender of Catan points all game. It's common for a player to get 3 or 4 points this way in our games.
5) Everything but defending Catan from barbarians often requires moving knights.

I don't think it's easy to separate the knights from the rest of the expansion. If I were to try I would probably get rid of the barbarian and include the development cards from the base game for the soldiers. The blue metropolis will have to have its special power changed.

The city wall could easily be integrated into the base game. In fact, when were playing the base game it’s easy to forget that it doesn’t include city walls.
 
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Steve M
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Well, y'all obviously get more use out of moving knights around than I do. Perhaps this is an area of strategy that I haven't fully explored yet.

Obviously, I use my knights for scoring points and moving the robber, but then, I used Soldier cards in the original game for precisely the same purpose. 'Going Big on knights' seems to me to revolve around getting lucky with progress cards; upgrading a knight to level 2 by paying for it really doesn't seem worth the effort, it's more likely to be a detriment to you by having it stolen with the Deserter than a boon.

The blue metropolis needs it's power changed anyway. I've never seen a level 3 knight on the board.

I agree that removing knights from the game would require the inclusion of development cards, but I think I would just include the soldier cards, occasional cards like 'monopoly' and 'road building' are now catered for by the progress cards.



 
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Quote:
'Going Big on knights' seems to me to revolve around getting lucky with progress cards; upgrading a knight to level 2 by paying for it really doesn't seem worth the effort, it's more likely to be a detriment to you by having it stolen with the Deserter than a boon.


Upgrading a level allows you to get more knight power for less wheat. If I have a level three knight it takes one wheat to instantly jump up to three defense points in my favor for defending Catan. I can now re-use the knight I removed from the board.

Do you not have competition for where to build your new settlements? I can spend a wool and an ore for a knight and lock down a future building site and build when I'm ready. If someone else wants to take the position from me they have to build a bigger knight.

You make it sound like there's nothing but deserter cards in the blue card pile when there are only 2 or 3. The short term benefit of a knight almost always outweighs the slight possibility of him deserting, not to mention the long term benefits. Typically if you're pushing knights you want to be dominant in blue anyway, so you are more likely to get the deserter cards.

Quote:
The blue metropolis needs it's power changed anyway. I've never seen a level 3 knight on the board.

You can hold on to a settlement location indefinitely with a level 3 knight. You can chase away most other knights who are staking out a position you like. Most importantly they are MUCH more efficient at defending Catan from barbarians. If you have two you can activate them for two wheat and have 6 defense points. Another player would have to have all of their level 1 and 2 knights in play and spend 4 wheat to activate them to match your score. So basically you are trading a wheat or two for a VP every few turns.

Army cards in the original game could never get you more than 2 points and you can lose them if someone builds a bigger army. I've seen players get 5 or 6 points in a game from defending Catan and they can never be lost.

Quote:
I agree that removing knights from the game would require the inclusion of development cards, but I think I would just include the soldier cards, occasional cards like 'monopoly' and 'road building' are now catered for by the progress cards.

My sentiments exactly.

Your group clearly plays this game different from the folks I play it with.
 
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Susan F.
Canada
Lethbridge
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To diminish the power of the Deserter card, you can also keep one level one knight for the sole purpose of defecting. You don't even need to bother spending a wheat to activate him if you don't want to. Since you get to choose which of your knights defects, you then get to keep your nice activated level three knights.
 
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Bought with Blood
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While we are not as active with our knights as some I would never remove them from the game the constant need for wheat and the anxious battle over who will be the defender of catan, sitting on rivet waiting for a wheat or you lose a city, its just an awesome addition like everything in the expansion.
 
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Paul Kidd
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Yes, the wheat is the key. Remember that there is less wood, wool and ore than in the base game, so there needs to be something to use the extra bricks and wheat. Hence the need to feed knights and build city walls.

If you just see the whole expansion as a replacement for the development card deck it all makes sense.
 
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