I came. I saw.
I lost miserably.
This is an expansion to the base Settlers of Catan game. I like it because it makes the game playable by a larger number of players, but it does not drastically change the game.
Components: Additional land, water, and port hexes are included to make a larger board. New number chips are also included for the larger board. 2 new colors (green and brown) are also added. These new colors are not color blind friendly. The best solutions I have seen include painting them different colors or putting a single dot on one color and 2 dots on the other since these two colors along with the red from the base game all look alike. There are also additional resources and development cards. I do wish they would have marked the cards and hexes in some way so they could be easily removed when playing the base game. We simply marked our cards and hexes for this game with pen to allow us to remove them.
Setup: This is setup similar to the base game, with a roughly circular board. Make sure to use the new numbers since there are not enough of the old numbers and the distribution would be off.
Game Play: Game play is similar to the base game with two exceptions. There is no distinction between the trading and building phase during a player’s turn. Hence, they can build a settlement on a port and use that port in the same turn.
Next, after a player has completed their turn, each player gets a chance to build if they wish. They may not trade during this phase and may only trade with the player whose turn it is during that player’s turn.
Explaining the Game: Explaining this game is nearly identical to explaining the base game with the rules as above.
End of the Game: The first player to 10 points wins with one exception. A player can only win the game on their turn. Thus, if a player gets their tenth point on another player’s turn, they must wait until their turn to claim victory. This never occurs in the base game since players cannot buy or build during other players’ turns, but it occurs occasionally in the expansion.
Conclusions: I love the expansion, probably more than the base game. The robber plays less of a role in the game since players rarely have more than 7 cards. However, it still can get stuck in place for long stretches, so it is not useless.
The 5 player game plays similar to the 3 player game (open, with building room) while the 6 player game is more competitive for space.
While some claim that the expansion takes too long with more players, I have not found this to be the case. For us, it adds at most 15 minutes. There are more resources in the game since people lose half their cards less often, and the building phase allows players to get more resources by building quickly.
I thin this expansion is great and simply makes the game playable in more situations. I think it is a must have for people who liked the original.
Rating by Number of Players:
Thanks for the review. I've been debating getting the expansion for a while now. The big thing holding me back is the added length to the game. I'm glad to hear it can be as low as 15 minutes. We often play with four but have a game group of six. Looks like this may be finding my Thought Hammer cart soon.