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Subject: Mini Expansions: Treaties and Trade Caravans rss

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Andrew Wickham
United Kingdom
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Hi guys, just thought I'd share a few recent ideas for mini expansions to Catan with the Cities and Knights expansion and the extension for 5-6 players. Basically I started thinking that in a game of Settlers, the commodities would not be used for anything other than city improvements, and so you would often be sat with a couple cloth in front of you, going nowhere. I thought of some ways you could spend them to gain diplomatic or trade benefits:

Treaties

This was essentially a slightly more beneficial way of forming an alliance with someone. In a game, there may be a point where you wish to agree to be friendly with another player and with this mini-expansion you can get real benefits from forming an actual treaty.

The two players who wish to form a treaty can each spend one paper commodity at the same time (in the 5-6 player extension, the special building phase allows players to build at the end of each player's turn) and exchange one of their two treaty cards (these can just be a card with the owning player's colour on it) with each other. Each player is reminded of who they have a treaty with by looking at the colour of the treaty cards in front of them. You can form at most two treaties at a time.

There are a few benefits to having a treaty with another player:
-- First is the Special Trading Phase. In the 5-6 player extension, the Special Building Phase is introduced where a player may build at the end of each player's turn. The Special Trading Phase allows players to trade with their treaty partners at the end of another player's turn instead of building. So if you decide to trade with your treaty partner(s), you can not build as well for that turn.

-- Also, on your turn you can use the trade rates of any harbours that your treaty partner controls, and vice versa.

-- This is a minor thing but you can also place your own knights on roads that belong to a treaty partner. I need to add a rule to make it more beneficial to do this, but you can obviously help them by removing a robber or saving a space for their settlements.


Trade Caravans

This mini-expansion will focus on the cloth commodity and is inspired by the Trade Caravan expansion in the Traders and Barbarians box. I have bought some wooden camel tokens and some gold bar resources which I had already used for another expansion.

In this expansion players can spend one wood and one cloth to start a trade caravan by placing a camel piece (I have 20 of these and they all the same camel brown colour) on any road on the board, including an opponent's road. They can not be placed "off-road".

If you connect two of your own cities together with a continuous line of camels along your road network, every time one of those cities produce a resource, you receive one gold bar. You can trade two gold bars at the bank for one of any resource or commodity. They count towards your hand limit and can be stolen.

If you connect your city to another player's city with a continuous line of camels (again, they must be on built on roads), whenever their city produces a resource, you will receive a gold bar. Whenever your city produces resources, they will receive a gold bar. This could be used as a friendly gesture in helping each other, or you could connect a city that does not produce much, to an opponent's city that is always producing resources.


I am still trying to design a mini-expansion for the coin commodity but so far, I feel that these allow players to break the rules in a way that can give players a slight edge with their trading and production of resources. I also think this prevents players from sitting with unspent commodities in their hand.

Let me know if you have any ideas for improvement and if you like these min-expansions.
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Otto Oldridge
United Kingdom
Exeter - Plymouth
Devon
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Both of these expansion would make catan a bit more cooperative, which in my opinion is a good thing. My gaming group allows 2nd benifit of treaties anyway - if it was player A's turn, he could pay player B to use his port on that turn. The trade caravans might be a bit powerful, especially if you started with your settlements 2 intersections away and upgraded both to cites in the early game. It would also make the ore - wheat strategy much more powerful.
 
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Otto Oldridge
United Kingdom
Exeter - Plymouth
Devon
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Maybe trade caravans could be purchested for 3 commodities?
 
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