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Subject: 2 Player variant - The Lake rss

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I have written this scenario to restrict resources and movement just enough to make it feasible for a 2 player game using standard rules. This uses the basic game components; however having an expansion may help with the sea tiles.

Setup: The same as for a standard random 3-4 player game; however first remove one of each tile type except mountains (ore). Also remove the desert. Replace these tiles with 5 sea tiles; if you don’t have an expansion with sea tiles, flip the unused tiles over to be used as sea tiles.

Randomly set up the frame as you normally would with harbour sides facing up.

Temporarily remove the sea tiles and shuffle the rest. Then randomly place the tiles around all the inside edges that directly touch the frame. After this you should have 2 tiles left in your hand and there should be 7 spaces available in the middle of the layout. Now include the 5 sea tiles with the 2 you are holding, reshuffle and place them randomly in the remaining 7 spaces.

For the number tokens, remove the 2, the 12, one 6, and one 8. Randomly place the rest on the land tiles. Remember that two red numbers cannot be adjacent. I also suggest that there should not be two identical numbers next to each other either.

Those with Seafarers should note that shipping lanes cannot be built in this game, neither across the lake or anywhere else.

Optional robber rule: When a 2 or 12 is thrown, the robber is forced back to the desert/edge of board.

Alternative robber rule: Whenever a number is thrown in which no resources are generated (exception: blocked because of the robber), the robber is forced back to the desert/edge of board.
 
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New Zealand
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I have been reading problems that other similar two-player variants have such as no need for trading or one player running away with the game.

Here are some options to hopefully help address this.

ONE:

Instead of removing 1 of each resource (except ore), pick two random resources (also except ore) and remove TWO of each of them or THREE of one and ONE of the other. Perhaps that will limit the resources enough to force trading. The secret is to unbalance the map as regards resources but not the game.

TWO:

Remove the remaining 6 & 8 from the number tokens and replace them with two blank tokens (which can be found in an expansion) or simply flip them over. When randomly distributing the number tokens, make sure the two blank tokens are not adjacent. These tiles can be built around but simply cannot produce. This limits these resources.

As an additional option to this (for some crazy fun and chaos):
Whenever a player throws a 6 or 8 (since there is no longer any harvest for these numbers), he may swap a blank token on a tile in which he has at least settlement access with any other numbered token as long as he does not break the adjacency rules as per the OP. Also, no numbered token can be moved that has the robber on it. I think this option will certainly stop one player running away with the game. :)

THREE:

When setting up the tiles, all seven in the middle become a lake. After doing the land outskirts, the remaining two tiles are replaced with sea tiles or flipped over with the other 5 to become a great lake. In this way, two random resource tiles are removed. The remaining 6 & 8 are removed as number tokens.

Additional trade option:
When a player throws a 6 or 8, he is forced to trade with the other player, providing they both have at least one resource. He selects a resource in his hand to part with but takes a resource from the other player's hand at random.

 
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