Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Catan: Traders & Barbarians» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First playthrough of the Traders and Barbarians scenario rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
CJ Kucera
United States
Unspecified
flag msg tools
static
badge
static
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I picked up Traders and Barbarians last week and got a chance to play it with a few friends last night. Briefly, the expansion adds in four variants and five scenarios to the base game, which can theoretically be combined in any combination. The five scenarios comprise the "meat" of the expansion, and the manual recommends that you start with the first (The Fisherman of Catan) and work your way up to the final one, Traders and Barbarians. We were most interested in doing the main scenario, though, so we skipped right to Traders and Barbarians.

T&B adds in three "trade hexes" which take in certain commodities and produce others. The quarry needs Tools, and produces Sand and Marble. The glassworks needs Sand, and produces Tools and Glass. The castle needs Glass and Marble, and produces Tools and Sand. You carry these commodities across the board using your wagon, which can be upgraded over the course of the game. Deliveries give you victory points and gold; the gold can be spent to buy arbitrary resources, or pay tolls to use other players' roads. The scenario also replaces the robber with three barbarians which hamper wagon movement and can steal resources when moved (similar to the robber).

There were only three of us available for this round, though the game didn't feel imbalanced like three-player base games tend to. Since this was the first run-through, none of us started the game with a strong sense of strategy, other than wanting to get into the new wagon action. One player pretty quickly established a rather impressive highway which ran from the castle to the glassworks (and later managed to branch off all-but-one-road to the quarry as well). I was pretty short of gold for most of the first half of the game because I kept having to pay tolls to other players to get where I needed to go. Eventually I realized that the other two players were spending most of their resources/energy into getting their wagons across the board while not doing a lot of actual development (new settlements / cities, etc), so I shifted my focus to being an ordinary producer and ended up stealing the win solely by virtue of that.

The scenario was quite fun, and all of us were eager to play it again. The extra VPs acquired by delivering commodities with wagons weren't as significant scorewise as we were expecting. I ended the game on my fourth delivery (so four VPs), and I think the other two had four and three VPs from deliveries. Since the game goes to 13 VPs and there's no Longest Road points in this variation, you'll still probably be scoring about the same number of ordinary VPs as you would in the base game. I'd recommend making sure that you continue to focus on ordinary production instead of getting caught up in doing everything you can to optimize commodity delivery.

I really enjoyed that this scenario didn't include the robber. The three roving barbarians were a nice substitution. They're certainly annoying when they've been placed right where your wagon needs to go, but they're not nearly as inhibiting as the robber can be (especially in a three-player game). Once you've upgraded your wagon at least once, you've got opportunities to displace the barbarians, as well, so they're more of a hindrance than a punishment, as the robber often feels in base Settlers games.

I also enjoyed that player road ownership makes more sense than in the basic game. The concept that you can still use your opponents' roads, for a fee, makes a whole lot of sense. Since you're allowed to trade for Gold as well, there's a nice new avenue of trade negotiation available in the game. Early in the game, I had run out of gold before being able to make a delivery, and I needed two gold to get into the castle hex (both roads belonged to the same player). I was essentially able to barter some of my resources for free passage along the road. I suspect that we'll probably allow a house rule in the future where free passage could be negotiated even if the person owning the road doesn't have enough gold to enable the other player to explicitly pay for it.

Other observations: The box design (with respect to fitting everything back in the box) is pretty hideous. There's already two threads about that, so I won't elaborate further. I feel that the rules are pretty well-written, though the game does introduce some ambiguity about road placement which we've yet to figure out. The T&B scenario includes two frame pieces to replace 4th-ed pieces, and since we only had 3e games, we just did without and used 3e random-port-placement as-usual (based on how the ports were placed in the sample picture in the rulebook). I suppose I should probably acquire that 3e conversion kit thing.

Anyway, all in all it was a great time, and we're looking forward to playing again. Most of the other scenarios seem quite fun as well (Barbarian Attack and The Caravans especially), so I'm eager to give those a try. I'd hesitate to give the game as-a-whole a rating (hence why I'm posting this in Sessions) since there's so many different components... My gut feeling is that it's well worth the money for the expansion, though. Anyway, will post more as we play 'em, unless somebody else gets there first.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim W
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am hoping to give this a spin for my upcoming birthday. It seems that as far as the expansions go this is one of the best values... is that accurate in you opinion?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CJ Kucera
United States
Unspecified
flag msg tools
static
badge
static
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Winzzy wrote:
It seems that as far as the expansions go this is one of the best values... is that accurate in you opinion?

I couldn't say, really. I don't actually own Seafarers or Cities+Knights myself (other friends do and we just use theirs), and I've never actually played the official Seafarers expansion, only variants which incorporate the various Seafarers rules. I've only played maybe a sixth of what's available from this expansion, too, so questions of value are kind of out of my league at the moment.

What I can say is what I've mentioned above, in that I think it was worth the money I paid for it, and given the general longevity of Settlers in general, I'm sure I'll be enjoying the expansion for years to come. Whether or not I'd rate it as better/worse than, say, Cities+Knights isn't something I feel capable of comparing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ronald Lew
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
mbmb
I'll have to agree that T&B adds a lot of variety to the base game. These variants can easily cater to the casual crowd (friends and significant others) while the scenarios will cater to the more hardcore crowd (BGG regulars).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Harding
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have Seafarers & T&B expansions and my brother has C&K.
The way I see it is...
C&K turns Settlers into pretty much a brand new game,
S turns Settlers into a longer but basically the same game,
Whereas T&B adds variety to the base Settlers game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim W
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well I just got it (bit earlier than my birthday but I wont complain) and I am excited to give it a spin. I am pretty happy with the amount/quality of the bits. As everyone else has mentioned however the packaging is the pits... Maybe I will make a custome Catan box or something.

I think Cities and Knights will be my next purchase if Seafarers just makes it longer...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ronald Lew
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
mbmb
I'll have to agree with David Harding (huffa2) post since it best describes the various expansions perfectly. What's your take on the dice game and the card game? I personally think the card game is like Magic Cards.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.