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Subject: Two Castles of Catan: Combining barbarian scenarios! rss

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Jon
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My family loves to play Catan, but we're not extremely cutthroat. My wife and boys have this idea of justice in that it's ok to get a temporary advantage by stealing a card, but having the robber stop production of a hex turn after turn just seems unfair to them. They know they can get knights from the development cards to move the robber, but instead what would happen is knights would get played as soon as they could by the boys in an attempt to get the Largest Army card. The robber wouldn't get used in the early game (like in the Friendly Robber variant, but more so), and later the robber would be placed on a player's lower producing hex (e.g. a 12) more to get the stolen card and less to harm the player long term.

A side effect of this style of play is that it really made my dislike the standard development cards. If the robber is less of a threat there's less incentive to get knights, and I personally don't like to earn victory points by the development cards as it feels cheap, and the remaining cards like road building are much less likely to be drawn.

After playing through all of the Traders and Barbarians scenarios, I really liked both the Barbarian Attack and Traders and Barbarians scenarios. Knights in Barbarian Attack were fun to play for the entire family, and I loved the replacement development cards, especially that they resolved right away, the various actions all made thematic sense, and I even liked the Intrigue card as it didn't give a full victory point. The fact that three barbarians could conquer a hex to make it stop producing resources was acceptable to everyone; unlike the robber who immediately stops production, the first and second barbarians on your hex is a good warning to get knights in play.

Meanwhile, we also liked the Traders and Barbarians scenario due to the wagons actually making the roads useful and deliveries between the trade hexes was an enjoyable goal. However, I felt the barbarians in that scenario were too weak, and I didn't like the development cards there as much. The obvious goal was to combine the scenarios, so we did after finding rules to do so, which worked well but I discovered a few problems. People preferred to upgrade their wagons than to build knights due to potential knight losses and there was a lot of gold on the table.

This led me to drafting some house rules which I've been play testing with my family. The following adjustments have worked well for us. Some of the rules below have been gathered from other resources, while others are my personal tweaks.

What It Is About:
After a new land was discovered by Heading to New Shores, one of the Princes of Catan has commisioned the building of a new castle for extending the kingdom. Catanians are transporting commodities as in the Traders and Barbarians scenario, while defending Catan from invading barbarians as in the Barbarian Attack scenario. The Fishermen of Catan work along the coast and at a newly discovered lake, while others find gold in the new land and along the Rivers of Catan. Finally, the Caravans may also arrive at the new castle...

This scenario combines elements of Seafarers and various scenarios in Traders and Barbarians.

Special Preparation:
From Settlers of Catan, remove the robber and development cards. The Largest Army and Longest Road cards are used.
From Seafarers do not use the pirate, but use the two gold hexes, additional hexes, and number tokens.
From Traders and Barbarians, use the following:
The Friendly Robber variant may be used as follows: Barbarians may not be moved onto a road of a player who only has 3 victory points.
The Catan Event Cards and Harbormaster variants are used.
Players have the option to use either the regular dice or an event card for resource production.
For Catan Event Cards, ignore the events Earthquake and Robber Flees; for the event Epidemic, Fishermen at cities may only draw one fish tile.
From the Fishermen of Catan scenario, use the fishing grounds on the main land and the lake on the new land.
From the Rivers of Catan scenario, the rivers will be in the new land. The wealthiest/poorest settler cards are not used.
From the Barbarian Attack scenario, use the Knights and Development Cards.
From the Traders and Barbarians scenario, use the Wagons and the Baggage Train Cards.
The Caravans scenario is not used.

There are two castles: the "Knight Castle" from Barbarian Attack and "Newcastle" from Traders and Barbarians.

The general look of this scenario is similar to the Heading to New Shores scenario in Seafarers. Catan is the main island with the Knight Castle at the center; the Glassworks and Marble Quarry are on the coast. Instead of four small islands there is one connected land for New Catan with Newcastle as the focus point in the southeast. The Rivers of Catan also runs in the southeast and along the eastern border, while the gold hexes from Seafarers and the lake from Fishermen of Catan on the southwest.

Catan:
Coastal hexes: 2 Fields, 3 Forests, 2 Hills, 1 Mountain, 2 Pastures, and the Glassworks and Marble Quarry.
Inland hexes: 2 Fields, 1 Forest, 1 Hill, 2 Mountains, Knight Castle from Barbarian Attack at center.
Number tokens are assigned so that each number is represented on the coast.
The Glassworks and Marble Quarry do not get assigned numbers nor produce resources.
The inland hexes receive the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
Make sure that red numbers are not placed next to each other.
The Knight Castle receives both the 3 and 11 numbers and produces wool.
The 5, 6, 8, and 9 fishing grounds are placed on the north/northwest side of Catan, far away from New Catan.
The 4 and 10 fishing grounds are placed closer to the other side.
Harbors are distrbuted so that many are also on the north/northwest side.

New Catan:
Newcastle should be placed where the mountain with the 8 token is shown in the example Heading to New Shores scenario.
The shorter three hex river should be placed so that the hills and mountain border the interior paths of Newcastle while the swamp will end up to the west, located where the mountain with the 10 token is shown in the example Heading to New Shores scenario.
The larger four hex river should start with the mountain adjacent to the other river mountain, and moving directly up the eastern coastline. The lake is placed below the mountain next to Newcastle; the other side of Newcastle is a gold hex. The second gold hex can be off to the west as a separate island.


Setting Up:
Set up the first settlement as usual, with the option to build either a road or ship for the settlement.
Instead of a second settlement, build a city instead. For initial resources, still receive only one resource for each terrain hex adjacent to the city.
Wagons are placed alongside the city.
Each player receives 5 gold.

Barbarians:
Barbarians replace the robber and the pirate in this scenario.
Knights and Barbarians battle on Catan only and never travel to New Catan.
Barbarians arrive on one of the six paths of a specific hex which may or may not contain a road.
While both are placed on paths, knights are between hexes and affect two hexes at a time while barbarians are only on one hex.
Knights are described as being on a path, while barbarians are described as being on a "hex/path."
Only one barbarian may be on a hex/path at a time.
Barbarians may not be placed on a hex/path if there is already a barbarian on the other hex side of the hex/path.
When a hex contains three barbarians that hex is conquered and may not have any more barbarians.

Arrival:
Start with two barbarians on the 2 and 12 coastal hexes of the main island on a coastal hex/path.
Three new barbarians arrive on any building of settlements or cities.
While not required, singing "Bar-bar-ians, bar-bar-ians!" to the tune of "Nine Pirate Girls" by They Might Be Giants is encouraged.

Roll the dice then assign a barbarians to a coastal hex/path corresponding to the rolled number, or to a non-coastal hex that both corresponds to the rolled number and has a barbarian on an adjacent hex. Repeat rolling dice until there are a total of three new barbarians on different numbers.
Barbarians really shouldn't be placed on the Knight Castle. If that hex were conquered, then the barbarians would win.
When barbarians are on multiple hexes of the same number, the inland hex cannot contain more barbarians than the coastal hex.

Movement:
Barbarians may be moved on a roll of 7 or by the Treason development card, or driven away to another hex/path by a wagon.
When a 7 is rolled during resource production, check hand limits, then move a barbarian to any hex/path.
If road is there, then take a card from the road's owner.
When the Treason development card is played a barbarian is moved but do not take a card as you receive gold instead.
When a wagon drives away a barbarian a barbarian is moved but do not take a card as you freed the path for your wagon.

Conquered Hexes:
When a hex has three barbarians on it, the hex is conquered and no resources are produced.
Roads may not be built a on a path nor settlements built a on an intersection adjacent to a conquered hex.
Unlike roads, ships may be built on the edges of conquered hexes.
You can not use harbors or fishing areas of conquered hexes.
You cannot expand/modify a ship route if it originates at a conquered settlement or, respectively, is not connected to one of your own, unconquered settlements. In order that a ship route may be expanded, one of your ships must be directly adjacent to one of your own, unconquered settlements.

Knights:
Knights travel on paths between hexes.
Knights are created using development cards during the trading and building phase.
When a player has three knights or more the Largest Army card may be taken.
The Largest Army card is surrendered if knight losses lowers the army to less than three.

Knights move and battle after all trading and building is completed but before the wagons take action.
Knight have three movement points (MP) to move on paths without roads.
Knights may move on any road without using movement points. (Unlike wagons, knights do not have to pay a toll due to the service they provide.)
Each path or road may only have one knight.
Knights may return to Knight Castle to fight barbarians on adjacent hexes. Knights should be moved away from Knight Castle when possible to allow more knights to be summoned.
Once all knights are moved, battle begins. Hexes are resolved in order determined by the active player.
All knight battles are resolved by the rules in the Barbarian Attack scenario.
After battle, if a knight's path is on the orientation of the loss roll, then 3 gold can be spent to not be removed from the board. Medic!
One victory point is earned for three barbarians.

Wagons:
Wagons begin the game at the city of each player.
Wagons travel on the intersections of hexes. Any number of wagons may occupy a given intersection.
Wagons receive gold for delivering resources between the Glassworks, the Marble Quarry, and Newcastle.
Wagons may travel across water using imaginary ferries.

During resource production, any player who did not receive a resource may spend 1 gold to receive 1 Resource Card if their wagon is on the intersection of a terrain hex marked with the number rolled. This does not affect the spending limits of gold during the player's turn.

Wagons may travel once the knights have finished battling the barbarians.
Wagons move using Movement Points (MP) along paths from intersection to adjacent intersection.
At the beginning of the game, your wagon has 4 movement points to use each time you take your turn.
On your turn, you may pay 1 (and only 1) grain to increase your wagon’s MP by +2 for the current turn.

When you move your wagon along a path, the MP cost varies based upon whether or not the path is occupied by a road and/or a barbarian:
The MP cost is 2 if the path does not have a road or ship.
The MP cost is 3 if the path crosses a river without a built bridge.
The MP cost is 1 if the path has one of your own roads, ships, or bridges.
The MP cost is 1 if the path has another player’s road, ship, or bridge, but you must also pay 1 gold to that player.
The MP cost is increased by an additional +2 if there is a barbarian on the path.

Fish:
At setup, the second settlement receives a fish token if built adjacent to fishing grounds.
In addition to the normal fish abilities:
For 2 fish, you may move one barbarian to an unoccupied hex.
For 2 fish, as a substitute for grain, you may increase the MP for knights by 2.
For 2 fish, as a substitute for grain, you may increase the MP for wagons by 2.
For 5 fish, you can build a ship.
For 6 fish, you can build a bridge on a river.
Ships do not have any effect on fishing.
Fish may not be traded among players.
Fish cannot be used to make roads next to a coastal hex conquered by the barbarians.
Conquered terrain hexes do not produce fish.

Rivers and Gold:
At setup, all players receive 5 gold at the beginning of the game and 1 gold for each settlement, road or ship built on the river.
Gold may be earned by rivers, gold hexes, wagon deliveries, and knight battles.
Gold may be spent by wagons during resource production, knights during battle resolution, and to buy resources.
Gold may be traded among players for other resources.
Building a road, ship, or settlement along the river gives 1 gold. Building a bridge gives 2 gold. Cities do not receive gold.
If you move a ship away from a building site at the river, you have to pay 1 gold.
You must not build a ship at the estuary of a river; these two building sites are reserved for the bridges.
Moving a wagon across a river (without a built bridge) costs 3 Movement Points.
Moving a wagon across your own or another player’s bridge costs one Movement Point.
During a player's turn, 2 gold may buy any 1 resource to a maximum of 6 gold coins spent per turn.
During a player's turn, 4 of the same resource may be traded for 1 gold (4:1) with the bank.
During a player's turn, harbors may be used to trade 3 of the same resource for 1 gold (3:1) at a generic port, or (2:1) for the specific ports.
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"Let each man pass his days in that wherein his skill is greatest" Propertius Sextus
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Wow.

What point total do you play to?
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Jon
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darthnice wrote:
Wow.

What point total do you play to?


Haven't decided on an "official" total yet. We've gone from a low of 15 (that seems about right) to a high of 20 (which was much too long). In addition, we've had an understanding that a player has to have made at least one delivery to Newcastle, and ideally they'd have one victory point from each of the three trade hexes.

While I'm pretty happy with how these adjustments have turned out, I'm still open to ideas and would love to hear how other people have combined the Barbarian Attack and Traders and Barbarians scenarios to see if there are ways to improve this.

I'd specifically like feedback on the following:

- How to balance building knights vs. upgrading wagon.

- Allowing wagon to be used to get resources. I was inspired by the Aqueduct in Cities and Knights and felt this could encourage taking slightly different routes in making deliveries.

- Allowing knights to be "saved" by spending three gold vs. receiving three gold for his demise.

- Allowing knights to use roads for free. This means they can move pretty much anywhere later in the game. I felt like knights should be able to use roads, and while wagons are charged a toll for using other player's roads it seems you'd want other knights to come defend your cities so I didn't add a tax for that.
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Gary Walts
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Would you be able to post a photo or two of the setup? That would be awesome!

As for feedback...

-There is no problem with the balance between building knights and upgrading wagons. The way I see it, players will have to do both regardless, but will choose early on which of these two to focus more on (more knights vs upgrades and trade routes).

-I wouldn't allow the wagons to produce resources. The board will be very busy as is, and players will miss it more often then not.

-I do like having the option to save knights. Every knight you have to replace bogs down the game.

-And agreed, knights can use roads for free. Since all the players are defending Catan and keeping each other's hexes safe, taxing would make no sence.

Question: Why three Barbarians for a VP instead of two?
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Jon
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garywalts wrote:
Would you be able to post a photo or two of the setup? That would be awesome!


We haven't played Catan recently, but next time I set this up I'll try to remember to take some photos. Probably one at the beginning and one at the end.

Quote:
-I wouldn't allow the wagons to produce resources. The board will be very busy as is, and players will miss it more often then not.


Since originally writing this, we've pretty much ignored it, for exactly the point you make.

Quote:
-I do like having the option to save knights. Every knight you have to replace bogs down the game.


This has worked well for us.

Quote:
Question: Why three Barbarians for a VP instead of two?


I'm trying to recall now. I think the first time we tried this we used two and it made earning VP by this method work faster than by other methods. The goal was to balance things so one method of earning VPs didn't dominate. This was also the reason why the total VPs to win was a little fuzzy. The game needed to be long enough to be worth the effort to setup, but not so long that it gets bogged down. I'd say if two feels more natural then go ahead and try it that way.

The main thing I like about Traders and Barbarians is that the pieces do work well as a toolkit to allow one to make their own customized complex version of Catan. While many people have gone to Catan: Cities & Knights for this kind of experience, I enjoyed putting the parts together in this way.
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Ben Peacock
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There's official combo rules on Catan's site for combining Traders scenarios or Traders with Seafarers and/or C&K. You can cross check some rules you came up with.

http://www.catan.com/service/combinations
 
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