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Subject: Expansions rss

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Sérgio Iglésias
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So, I am seriously considering buying Catan but in Catan's info from BGG there's a never ending list of expansions.

I was wondering and wanted to know which ones were the best.
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Irxson wrote:
So, I am seriously considering buying Catan but in Catan's info from BGG there's a never ending list of expansions.

I was wondering and wanted to know which ones were the best.


Catan: Seafarers is the best and stays close to the original game play of Catan. Catan: Cities & Knights adds more complexity; there is a whole tech-tree for developing your cities. It is good too, but it deviates a bit from the original game play.
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Daniel B
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Seafarers adds nothing, so just buy the base game. Then once your gaming group has mastered it, get Cities and Knights to enhance your experience.
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Andy Leber
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As mentioned by Steerpike, Cities and Knights adds complexity. It is very good, but you should definitely get comfortable with the base game first, if you haven't already.

To elaborate a bit on Seafarers, in case you don't know, it opens up the map. So you don't have the typical "round" island. You can have all sorts of non-standard map shapes, islands, etc...

Seafarers is very easy to add to the base game (you don't need to master the game first).

Traders and Barbarians is a box with a bunch of small additions, and scenarios. You won't necessarily use everything in the box at once. I'd say the scenarios definitely aren't recommended until you're very comfortable with the game. I'd avoid this expansion for now.

Those are the 3 main, large official expansions that have been released in North America. Some things in Traders and Barbarians have been released separately as well.

I'm not familiar with a lot of the expansions listed on the page that aren't in English.
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James Newton
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There are three "mainstream" expansions:

Catan: Seafarers adds "more of the same". You get a more spread out board, a variety of island layouts and ships, which are kind of a second type of road.

Catan: Cities & Knights changes the game, adding complexity to the game. As you can see from other responses, some like this (as they find the basic game quickly becomes too simple for them) while others prefer to keep the game like the original (and move onto other games if they want a different or more complex experience). I personally regard this as turning Settlers into a different game.

Catan: Traders & Barbarians is a collection of mini expansions (some of which were previously available separately). Some of these tweak game play a bit, others provide scenarios with specific challenges.

There are also 5-6 player extensions for the base game and each of these expansions.

I am not familiar with any of the other "expansions" but I believe that a lot of them are variations on the base game, providing custom maps for different parts of the worlds etc, or other specific thematic elements.
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Sérgio Iglésias
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The main reason why I am considering buying Catan is because of the more casual players that happen to come to my place and from what I see and after reading some reviews, the best expansion for me is Seafarers, as we will want more of the same for now and then I'll decide if they can handle cities & knights.

Thanks guys.

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chris lake
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Why not try playing online on asobrain.com
There are scenarios you can try that simulate Seafarers and Cities and Knights. Be aware that a lot of the maps you wont be able to create with either expansion, but is hsould give you a feel for the boats and the barbarian.

Personally more a richer game experience I prefer cities and knights, although somtimes ill just play it plain for simplicity's sake.

The Traders and Barbarians expansion is really more like 5+ mini expansions or maybe not even that, more like scenarios. This expansion is more for those that have played Settlers a lot and love it and just wanna mix it up some more. My favorite scenario in this lot is the Fisherman, however you can pick this little module up separately if you wish.

As for the 5-6 player expansions, if you have that number of people to play, then probably you would only want to get this for the base game.

Keep in mind that if you get Cities and Knights, the games come with additional resources cards (called commodities) and hence you may need to sleeve these and your original resource cards due the the new and shiny factor making the cards marked.
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Andy Leber
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saltis wrote:
Why not try playing online on asobrain.com


They've actually had their registration closed for a long time now. Existing logins still work, but they aren't accepting new members.
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Matt Posey
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Two things:

1) Catan: Seafarers can significantly increase the playtime of the game depending on which setup you use. Only your group can decided if this is good or bad, but I personally don't like the increase length.

2) You should still be able to find The Settlers of Catan: The Fishermen of Catan separately from the Catan: Traders & Barbarians expansion for about $5. This is my expansion of choice, and I don't play the base game without it anymore unless I am teaching Catan to new people. It adds enough gameplay without significantly increasing the game time or complexity of the base game.
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Håkan König
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mst3k4L wrote:
1) Catan: Seafarers can significantly increase the playtime of the game depending on which setup you use. Only your group can decided if this is good or bad, but I personally don't like the increase length.
In my experience Catan: Cities & Knights will add some length to the game as well, though once you're familiar with the expansion, it shouldn't be that bad.

In my experience, depending on what you're looking for in a game, Catan: Seafarers will add 'more of the same', whereas Catan: Cities & Knights is a way of making Catan more complex. Both are definitely worth the purchase IMHO. I'm not so sure about Catan: Traders & Barbarians, but we've used it a few times to mix things up. As for the 6-player expansions, only the basic one is useful at all- the others become way too long when you try to play 6.

Most of the other expansions listed here are international variants, and will most of the time not work with Mayfair Games editions, and those who do are either PnP or OOP.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Each expansion adds a significant change to the game, and for some people that means and improvement and for others it destroys what they loved about the base game.

Cities & Knights, especially, changes the game to the point where I feel people who love Catan will no longer like it but people who don't like Catan may want to give this a shot.

Note that none of the expansions are really meant to be used with each other, and some include rules that are not necessarily all meant to be used at the same time. This means that regardless of which expansion you get, you may often be playing games without the expansions at all because the base game is excellent.

Personally, I love Cities & Knights, because it lets me play Catan with my more serious gamer buddies and I can leave it out if I want a more casual game. This makes Catan the most flexible game in my collection.

As far as which expansion I recommend, I recommend just getting the base game. This isn't like other games where you want to collect all the expansions and each one improves the game. Then, when you are ready to try an expansion, we can help you out further... but not before we know what part of Catan you like the best and which way you want to improve the game.
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lordrahvin wrote:
Cities & Knights, especially, changes the game to the point where I feel people who love Catan will no longer like it but people who don't like Catan may want to give this a shot


I agree that the two are completely different games. However, I'm in a third camp - I like them both.
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Abraham Drucker
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Irxson wrote:
The main reason why I am considering buying Catan is because of the more casual players that happen to come to my place and from what I see and after reading some reviews, the best expansion for me is Seafarers, as we will want more of the same for now and then I'll decide if they can handle cities & knights.

Thanks guys.



Honestly, I have all the big three expansions, and for the most part I play without any of them. The added setup, play and cleanup time isn't really worth it to me.

I would just buy catan, play it a bunch, decide if you like it, and if you do and are starting to get bored with the base game go out and pick up an expansion.
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Check out gamerules here...
http://www.catan.com/gamerules.html
If nothing else, try looking up some YouTube videos of reviews, demos, or sessions in play to get a feel for the game. Doing that alongside or before reading the rulebook oughtta put a better perspective on the game.

Sefarers Of Catan (aka Catan: Seafarers)
has 13 different scenarios/map layouts. At least according to the Mayfair 3rd edition. It's really 7 to 9 of them since some pairs of them are the same thing, but have 2 separate versions.. one for 3p, another for 4p (e.g. Four Islands). According to the rulebook, Mayfair 4th edition appears to have 8 unique scenarios. They are nice in where they introduce special rules. For example, on The Four Islands, if you build a settlement on a foreign island, you get an additional point. Another scenario has tiles face down, and as you explore them they get flipped up to reveal what you uncovered. Some of them do indeed take long, so note the playtimes in the rulebook. 4th edition doesn't seem to mention playtimes, so unless you get info otherwise, try to play quickly and be ready for the longer haul. I do know from 3rd edition, Greater Catan takes an hour more than many of the simple scenarios of the same Seafarers edition. But then again, that one's special b/c you need 2 copies of Settlers, in addition to Seafarers to play that monstrosity

Some argue there's not much difference betw this and Sett, but that can be a good thing, as C&K may be too drastically different for some preferences.

Cities & Knights
This makes the game much more different and typically longer, but core Catan concepts are still there. You have tech upgrades, this game's dev cards called progress cards can only be obtained through the tech upgrades and lucky die rolls, or as part of an event you can prepare for. The tech upgrades sort of replaces Largets Army, and there are 3-breadth or 3 diff LA you can get in this game.

That event is whenever Barbarians attack (they have their own track), you can build knights on the board (they have their own discs you deploy onto the board, unlike in Sett and Seaf where they have no spatial relevance... they're just cards you play face up in front of you). The knights just have to be activated to go towards repelling Barbarians, but they can also move to block roads and other buildings.

Some of the Progress cards are quite "wacky", like exchange 2 chits on the board, or gives you 2:1 harbor via some Merchant card, etc. There's also new type of resources known as commodities (paper, coin, cloth) which go towards tech upgrades mostly, but do have other uses, esp. in trading.

Traders & Barbarians
I've only played Harbor Master as part of some computer game. It's interesting to say the least. 1 harbor pt for each sett you have built at a harbor, 2 for every city you have built at a harbor. The rest works jst like LA, 3+ gives you Harbor Master and 2 pts, but if someone surpasses you, then they get HM and the 2pts. You don't need special compoennts to try this out, but the other flamboyant ones, I'm sure you definintely will.

Settlers Of America
Standalone exp. You can buy this game on its own and play it. It has some semblances to the more complex train games (Steam, Age Of Steam, Railroad Tycoon) where you set up a transportation/supply chain line from point A to point B via tracks, and then you get VP based on delivery of cubes between them and other. This also takes long, and you're at the mercy of the dice just like any other Settlers game, but knowing the game and skilful trading help.

Starships Of Catan
this is supposed to be a 2p game, but I tried a 4p variant with 2 copies of the game. Card game, but there is a board which u ue to track resources and teck upgrades. You'd think with a d3 that the resources woudn't be so lopsided, but... eh. Our first game too 3+ hours since 2 of us were new, and so was the fact that this was the first 4p variant game. You run through a card deck to see if you can get VP and good resources. You need to buy the lv2 tech upgrades ASAP, as those give VP, and you can be at a disadvantage to have to find VP elsewhere (e.g. in Sett, you got cut off and can only build 3 buildings, so at best, that's 3 cities, and hopefully VP cards, LA, and/or LR from then on)

Setters Of Nurnberg
Die Siedler von Nürnberg. Let's get one thing out of the way... it'll probably be VERY difficult to find this game. It won't be in English either, but translated rules are readily available online.
It's still a Catan game for sure, but this one breaks the mold in MANY ways, including but not limited to:
--No tiles to assemble the board... it's just one big solid board
--There's a map, and a "workshop" which is a 2nd map
--roads are just built from a center point going out... whoever has at least one road may build any # of sett along that path
--person with most roads owns that stretch of highway or path
(view the images to get a clearer picture)

--Gold can obtained as a resource, similar to Settlers Of America and surely many other Catan spinoffs
--Much like how there are 3 "Largest Armies" mechanic in C&K (represented by the 3 different tech trees), this one has 5 different Longest Roads!
--The LR also pays tolls (gold tokens) to the player owning them
--the equivalent of LA in this game goes 3 levels deep! (2 for 3p games). E.g. 1st player to get 3PP (prestige points, not to be confused with Victory Points) gets a tile that's worth 4 VP. The 2nd player to get 3 PP gets a tile that's worth 3 VP. If that 2nd player gets 4PP vs. p1's 3PP, p1 is now in 2nd and he exchanges his 4 VP tile with p2's 3 VP tile. Later on when p4 gets 3PP, he gets the 3rd and final tile worth 2 VP.
--No dice... the game comes with its own set of dice/event cards that are designed for the game. The cards have some events that may popup




EDIT: forgot I also played Sett Of Nurnberg a long time ago...
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Jörg Baumgartner
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I don't bother playing vanilla Catan any more. Usually I apply at least one expansion set, more often a combination of several expansions and/or variants.

Seafarers is extremely useful if you want new hex types. It also has rules for scenarios which add new elements like exploration.

The (out of print, German language) expansion "Das Buch zum Spielen" (English translation available on BGG, maps available for download on catan.com and elsewhere) adds numerous variants and twists which allow for a very variable game.

Traders and Barbarians introduces new gaming material and variant rules to the basic game and combines quite well with several scenarios of the Seafarers extension, too.

Cities and Knights adds research to the game and replaces the development cards of the basic game with progress cards that are obtained based on the research you have done in the three areas of trade, politics and science. A periodically recurring outside threat has to be defended against with knights that are not represented by development cards but by tokens placed on the game board. Game play changes somewhat if you use this expansion. With occasional creative twisting, Cities and Knights can be applied to almost any of the aforementioned scenarios and variants. The added complexity might deter the occasional gamer, but appeals to experienced boardgamers who are used to strategy games like Civilization.

The expansions for 5-6 players are worth getting even if you hardly ever play with more than 4 players, if only for the added game tiles and pieces which give you more flexibility in designing your own scenarios.

The basic game might lend itself to fast competitive gaming, and in that form there are championships for the game. If you enjoy different twists in your game, the expansions give you quite a bit of flexibility. You can still be as competitive as in the basic game, but the game will develop differently and often will take longer. If you enjoy playing the game over seeking to crush the competition, that's far from being a negative factor. If you're only in it for the quick kill, stick with the basic game, or the Cities and Knights expansion for different nasty options to harrass your competitors.

It's really all about gaming style.
 
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