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dave
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A great 2-player Settlers of Catan. Players start on a small island and then explore outward to discover new lands! Author Note: Before this variant gets lost, I thought I would post this on BGG as my other web site is going to be dismantled.

Requirements: Both Settlers of Catan and Seafarers of Catan are needed (and the 5-6 player expansion sets are also nice to have as they give you even more tiles to use.)

Set up: Players receive 2 sets of pieces (30 roads, 30 ships, 8 cities and 10 settlements). Use starting island shown. Each player places 2 settlements and 2 ships/roads and receives one of each of the 4 resources (wood, sheep, grain, and clay).



Playing the Game: Play is the same as in the standard settlers/seafarers with players alternating turns. Victory conditions are 20 victory points.

Discovery: All of the area outside of the starting island is unknown. As player build ships (and later roads, too) along edges toward an intersection where the hex tile is missing, a new tile is randomly drawn from all of the remaining tiles and placed on the board. If it is a land hex, a number chit is randomly drawn and the player receives one of that resource. If it is a port hex, the player must rotate the port so that it touches land. If no land is present, then place the port tile and if a land tile is subsequently drawn, the port is rotated so that it touches the land and then it is fixed for the remainder of the game.

Special Victory points: Players receive one addition victory point for their first settlement on each new island they colonize (regardless if the other player has already colonized it). Place a seafarers VP chit under the settlement to delineate it. As long as it is not connected by land to any other island the player has already colonized, the victory point is granted--even if later the island is connected.

The Robber and Pirate: The robber enters the game once the first desert hex is drawn (place on desert). The pirate enters the game once the first port hex is drawn (place on port). If a "seven" is rolled before the either the Robber or Pirate enters the game, only the 7-card hand size rule is enforced.

Have fun and ENJOY!
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Do you have a suggestion for what to do about ports with the Mayfair 4th edition which doesn't have port tiles (it has port tokens)?
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dave
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darthnice wrote:
Do you have a suggestion for what to do about ports with the Mayfair 4th edition which doesn't have port tiles (it has port tokens)?


Hmm, good/interesting question. It seems like ports are a necessity, so somehow if you draw a water hex, there would have to be a chance that it would contain a port. A simple way would be a die roll where on a "1" you would draw a random port, and for a 2-6 roll, the water would just be water.

Alternatively, a random port could be placed on the first water hex next to a new island. Thus if you explored and found a land hex and then an adjacent water hex, the water hex would be a port. Thus, each new island would have 1 port, unless the island latter joined with another island. This method doesn't require die rolling and guarantees that the ports quickly enter play. In addition, there wouldn't be any ports placed that don't have a land tile attached to them.

If not enough new islands are formed and you wanted to make sure all the ports entered the game and entered more quickly, the rule could be to place a port on the first water tile drawn for each land tile that currently doesn't have a port. Thus, each land tile would have a port, unless no subsequent adjacent waters were drawn. Any island could then have as many ports as there were land tiles. Each water tile should probably only contain 1 port, so if there were 2 or more land tiles without ports adjacent to it, the active player could place the port at his discretion.

Let me know how this works for you.

Here's an example from the BGG files of a completed game (by Lorena Gordon (Princess Lorena))



Good Gaming.
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Vince Lupo
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Ah. So you do have to use pieces from two colors. How long does it take to play?
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dave
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Neo,
hmm, it's been awhile, but it should be less than 1.5 hrs if people roll the dice right away and move on when there's not much to do. You can change the VP total to suit your needs.

And Thanks for the tip!
 
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Vince Lupo
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dave65tdh wrote:

If it is a port hex, the player must rotate the port so that it touches land. If no land is present, then place the port tile and if a land tile is subsequently drawn, the port is rotated so that it touches the land and then it is fixed for the remainder of the game.



My solution for ports is that:
When a port is drawn it will have to be next to land eventually.

1) You draw a port tile. Place the tile. Face it towards a current land segment if already available, current players choice. It cannot be placed in such a situation that would create two ports for one settlement/city. If that is somehow impossible then draw until you find a water tile to replace this one with and then reshuffle the tiles. If no other tiles are available then flip this tile over and treat it like water.

2) If no land was available for this port then keep playing. As long as when you place this tile it is not surrounded by water. If it is surrounded by water now then draw until you find a water tile and then reshuffle the port and the other drawn tiles into the tile deck. If no other tiles are available then treat that port like water.

3) Eventually all edges of the port will be taken by a tile. If the last tile placed at that port isn't land then keep drawing until you find a land tile. Rotate the port to face the land. Reshuffle extras back into the tiles. If no other land is available for this spot then treat the port like water.


Wow. I thought that would have been more elegant, but it turned out to be pretty complicated. I guess you could keep the port tile deck separate and try to alternate ports every other land tile just like the normal settlers game.

OR

Perhaps this fairly elegant rule: The next newer water tile adjacent to this port tile to touch land gets swapped with this port tile. There are only so many water tiles, right? You might have to keep track a little bit but it should be fairly easy.
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dave
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Neo42 wrote:
dave65tdh wrote:

If it is a port hex, the player must rotate the port so that it touches land. If no land is present, then place the port tile and if a land tile is subsequently drawn, the port is rotated so that it touches the land and then it is fixed for the remainder of the game.



My solution for ports is that:
When a port is drawn it will have to be next to land eventually.

1) You draw a port tile. Place the tile. Face it towards a current land segment if already available, current players choice. It cannot be placed in such a situation that would create two ports for one settlement/city. If that is somehow impossible then draw until you find a water tile to replace this one with and then reshuffle the tiles. If no other tiles are available then flip this tile over and treat it like water.

2) If no land was available for this port then keep playing. As long as when you place this tile it is not surrounded by water. If it is surrounded by water now then draw until you find a water tile and then reshuffle the port and the other drawn tiles into the tile deck. If no other tiles are available then treat that port like water.

3) Eventually all edges of the port will be taken by a tile. If the last tile placed at that port isn't land then keep drawing until you find a land tile. Rotate the port to face the land. Reshuffle extras back into the tiles. If no other land is available for this spot then treat the port like water.


Wow. I thought that would have been more elegant, but it turned out to be pretty complicated. I guess you could keep the port tile deck separate and try to alternate ports every other land tile just like the normal settlers game.

OR

Perhaps this fairly elegant rule: The next newer water tile adjacent to this port tile to touch land gets swapped with this port tile. There are only so many water tiles, right? You might have to keep track a little bit but it should be fairly easy.


Interesting. I think your 1) is the rule w/o the exception, which I don't remembering ever coming up. It's good though, as a double port could be pretty powerful, especially early in the game.

As for 2) and 3) I think the extra drawing and reshuffling might grow tiresome. The loss of a port due to only water isn't too big of a deal. 3) would definitely make searching around a landless port a priority as you would be sure to find land on the last open spot--and the land would have the port! Interesting but it doesn't seem necessary.

Thanks for playing it and commenting. It's nice to see someone enjoying the varient.

 
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Vince Lupo
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dave65tdh wrote:

Thanks for playing it and commenting. It's nice to see someone enjoying the varient.

:)



I haven't played it yet but I plan to. It reminds me of the multicatan game online so I would love to try your variant.

http://game.playcatan.com/multicatan.php?page=4


Also, I think for ports I'll try the last thing I mentioned:

"Perhaps this fairly elegant rule: The next newer water tile adjacent to this port tile to touch land gets swapped with this port tile. There are only so many water tiles, right? You might have to keep track a little bit but it should be fairly easy."

Basically, the idea is that a port tile means that a port is nearby. Next new closest land gets the port.
 
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Vince Lupo
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darthnice wrote:
Do you have a suggestion for what to do about ports with the Mayfair 4th edition which doesn't have port tiles (it has port tokens)?



Now I understand. My brand new copy of seafarers has tokens for the ports too. I wonder if this is a problem because my copy of settlers of catan has tile based ports.

Also, this makes random port allocation harder. Dice rolls do seem to be a logical way to handle it. Or first connections to new land tiles from the water.

You could have like the regular game (every other water tile is a port). The starting area wouldn't have any but you could start with the tile just to the right of the starting area and state that this tile is the start of the ports. Every other water tile from here that can be a port is a port. The basic rule being that no ports could ever be on adjacent hexes.
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Another solution would be to allow players to purchase ports. This would provide a bit of a race to buy the good ones, or potentially deny the other player something useful.

Perhaps 2:1 ports could be 2 of whatever the port is for and one of something else (eg: wool port would be 2 x Wool and 1 x Wood) and the 3 to 1 ports could be any 3 resources (not all the same?)
 
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Greg Cornell
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I downloaded your rules a year (or maybe 2 years) ago. I never got a chance to play them until last weekend, and man was it fun! My wife really enjoyed it, too, because you just don't know what's coming up in front of you. This makes the board so completely different in layout and shape every time we play it. Bravo!

In our rules, it says not to use the water hexes with ports, so we decided to just use the port markers from Seafarers and that worked out very well. It started off slowly because we got few rolls that gave resources at first, but when we started to expand it really moved along.

When the robber appeared, my wife used it frequently on my Gold Field with a 6 chit on it. Guess which number started coming up more often when this happened. She showed no mercy and won the game handily. We decided that when she was at 16 VP and I only had 9, that there was no way for me to catch up, and it was getting late, too.

I'm going to try these rules with 3 players and see what happens. Has anyone experimented with that idea, yet?
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Vince Lupo
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darthnice wrote:
Another solution would be to allow players to purchase ports. This would provide a bit of a race to buy the good ones, or potentially deny the other player something useful.

Perhaps 2:1 ports could be 2 of whatever the port is for and one of something else (eg: wool port would be 2 x Wool and 1 x Wood) and the 3 to 1 ports could be any 3 resources (not all the same?)



Building ports sounds neat. But perhaps the port is random selection. It think it would cost 4 or 5 resources like a settlement or city. Minimum should be 3. Perhaps Wood, Wool & Stone. Or 2 wood, 1 wool & 1 stone? Or at 5 cost, 2 wood, 1 wool, 2 stones. And then you would draw a random port. Or, maybe if it costs more, then you can choose the port. Also, you still couldn't place two ports on adjacent hexes.
 
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Robert Adducci
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This is a great variant, we usually play two players on our other versions of Catan so finding this two player Seafarers is great. I really like the exploration aspect.

Here are the changes we make.

1) Roll the dice twice for each player, re-roll duplicated rolls (same total), so you get 2 resources each players' turn.

2) Each time you draw a tile where there could be a port(water touching land) you roll a die, on a 1 there is a port. If there is a port the player who rolled picks where it is. (We found that 1 on 1d6 was not often enough, we're thinking next time roll 2d6 if either die is a 1 then there's a port) The port is randomly selected.

3) We used 15 VPs.
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Vince Lupo
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Also, I think 2 player catan NEEDS my market variant for the robber.

The market variant (I posted it in the catan variants forum) basically makes the presence of the robber a positive thing, instead of a negative thing by making the tile he's on PRODUCE 1 more resource instead of being blocked.


The robber is now called the market.


And when you would normally rob someone's hand, you instead get a copy of that card that you randomly pull from their hand.

edit: (the hand it was pulled from gets the card back)
 
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Robert Adducci
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The Market is an interesting variant VL, but I don't think it needs it. We use both the Robber and the Pirate and it seems to work fine.

Ports:
In playing with Rolling two dice and if either comes up 1, it was still too few ports. The next game we went to roll 1d6 and if a 1 or 2 comes up there's a port. It sounds like there would be a lot, but we ended up only used 5-6 ports that way.
 
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Raddu76 wrote:
The Market is an interesting variant VL, but I don't think it needs it. We use both the Robber and the Pirate and it seems to work fine.

Ports:
In playing with Rolling two dice and if either comes up 1, it was still too few ports. The next game we went to roll 1d6 and if a 1 or 2 comes up there's a port. It sounds like there would be a lot, but we ended up only used 5-6 ports that way.



We felt like the robber and pirate were too brutal in 2 player when one person keeps rolling 7s. I mean, who else are you going to block? Nobody.

And sure, if you kept rolling 7s with the market, you'd still have an advantage, but at least it'd be a positive advantage for you and not a negative detriment for the other player. It'll be harder to fall behind and it's not brutally cutthroat.

 
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Nick Bornschein
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It would be really nice if someone could summarize the 2 player rules in file. That would be great.
 
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Kopernikus wrote:
It would be really nice if someone could summarize the 2 player rules in file. That would be great.
I don't understand your request? The not very long rules for my variant are posted above.

 
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Nick Bornschein
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Sorry I overhead them somehow.
 
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James Hron
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I got a chance to play this with my wife last night. It's my favorite 2-player scenario with any settlers so far (though I haven't played many). We both decided we would try it again.

There were a few issues that came up (some were mentioned in the above posts).

-Different versions: I glued all my Catan hexes onto wooden hexes, to give them a better feel. My Catan game has the wooden backs, but my Seafarers game has plastic backs. Because of this, it was easy to tell if the hex we were drawing was land (from the base Catan game) or land/water possibility (from the Seafarers game). We ended up rolling a die every time a new hex was explored. 1-3 was a hex drawn from Seafarers, 4-5 was a hex drawn from the base Catan game, and 6 was a port (see below).

-Trading Ports: When the first port was drawn, we realized it was awkward because it may not necessarily connect to land. We decided that, based on the dice rolls above, if a Trading Port was discovered, that also meant you had discovered a land hex. We then drew a hex from the base Catan game, and attached the port to it.

-Shorter Game: We made the game shorter (and a bit easier to understand) by giving 1 point to each land hex you discovered. This made the game shorter, but also a bit more based on luck (whoever got more ships ended up winning...in this case my wife). I liked the change because it helped us out on what we were looking for out of the game. It also meant that you could score points even if you didn't have the right resources, just by moving a ship around.

-Only Ships Can Explore: We mis-read the rules, and said only ships could explore. This was not a good idea, because my wife got lucky with a few sheep discoveries and I didn't. Next time, we will play with roads also leading to discovery.

-Market/Robber: We didn't use the market variant for the robber during our game, but I think we will the next time we play. It seems like a much better idea.

Like I said, it was a lot of fun. It was shorter, but worked way better with 2 people. I liked most that exploration was the main focus of the game, and even though I lost 12-20 (yikes!) there was still a 'points race' feeling at the end of the game. Lots of fun, thanks for sharing!
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my gf and i have been playing this variant a lot. we have combined it with the welfare variant to keep things a bit more even.

one extremely important rule we added to this variant, was that you cant connect the 2 villages on the starting island... because this almost guarantees that player will hold longest trading route... and since it is worth 2vp's, any reasonably experienced player will make it their #1 priority. and the only thing required to get it is to build 2 roads. and since so early in the game, both players get the same resources, it is completely dependent on who rolls the second brick or wood.

we havent figured out a good rule for ports.. the best we have done is after you find an island, you mark the discovery point with a chit. you must turn over 2 more hexs connected to that hex that has the chit on it, and then that chit becomes a random port. this gives each island a port. it still needs improvement, but i like that it is similar to discovering land irl.
 
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dave
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Glad people are still enjoying this. I find something very compelling about exploring and flipping tiles.
 
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