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Subject: Historical Scenario: Troy - a review rss

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Chris Hawks
United States
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Troy is one half of the Historische Szenarien II expansion for The Settlers of Catan, in which players take sides in the great Trojan War. (The other half is the Great Wall scenario, which I will not be reviewing here.)

I own almost all of the Settlers expansions, and Troy is by far my favorite -- in fact, it's my hands-down favorite way to play Settlers.


Troy comes packaged with The Great Wall (GW) in a flat, square box containing 1 gameboard (Troy on one side, GW on the other), a few sheets of cardboard pieces, full-color rule/history sheets in German, and black-and-white English translation sheets.

The individual components for Troy are:

1 gameboard
42 ship disks (7 in each of the 6-player colors)
6 allegiance tiles (3 Troy, 3 Mycenae)
10 2:1 trade chips (2 each of the 5 resources)
1 Troy victory point marker
1 Mycenae VP marker
1 pirate ship w/ stand
Lots of square yellow "trade point" tokens

The components are of nice, sturdy cardboard -- much thicker than that used for the Alexander/Cheops historical scenarios -- and punch out cleanly. The pirate ship and trade point chips are fine, but we prefer to use the Cities & Knights Barbarian ship and yellow stones. The board looks great and is nice and large, showing a "Settler-ized" version of Greece and Turkey, with the printed hexes just a bit smaller than the standard Settlers hexes.


The main trick to Troy is that it is a team game, and as such is only playable with 4 or 6 players. (The Special Building phase is used with 6.) During setup, the allegiance tiles are shuffled and passed out, randomly assigning an equal number of player to fight for Troy and for Mycenae (Greece). Teams are secret, and half the fun of the game is trying to determine who's on your side and who's not.


Though the game represents an epic war, there is no real conflict between players; the game still plays out essentially like normal Settlers. But the war is represented by the ability to donate cards to the war effort. At the beginning of the game, 1 card each of Sheep, Wood, Grain, and Ore are shuffled and placed facedown next to the board to begin the Support cards. A player may, during his turn, secretly choose up to 3 cards from his hand and donate them to the war effort by placing them facedown with the other Support cards. As a reward for assisting the war effort, the player receives 1 trade point token.


Once a set number of Support cards is reached (10 with 4 players, 13 with 6) the game immediately pauses and a battle takes place between the 2 teams. The Support cards are shuffled and then a portion of them are dealt faceup to the table: 7 cards with 4 players, 9 with 6 players. Wood and Grain count as support for Mycenae, Sheep and Ore count towards Troy; Brick is neutral. If one team comes out with more support than the other, the winning team moves their victory point marker 1 space along the victory point track printed on the board. The VP track has 5 spaces (aside from the starting space) worth from 1 to 6 victory points. Each team member counts towards their VP total the number of VPs given by the position of their team's VP marker on the track. Once a battle is resolved, the used Support cards are discarded, and the unused ones are placed back down beside the board to be used later.


The other unique addition to this scenario is the boats. Each player gets 7 round, two-sided boat tokens in their color. The boats are numbered 1-7 and must be built in that order. One side of each token shows the cost to build a boat -- 1 Sheep, 1 Wood, and 2 trade points -- and the other side shows a special ability that activates once the boat has been placed on the board. Boats are placed ability-side-up on ocean hexes (only 1 boat per hex) and must be placed either adjacent to a settlement or another boat of the same color. The special abilities granted by the boats include:

- additional VPs
- the ability to trade 3:1 with the bank
- the ability to trade 2:1 with the bank for a single resource (drawn from the available 2:1 chips)
- the ability to look at a Support card and replace it with one from your hand
- the ability to remove a Support card from the war effort

The pirate moves when a "7" is rolled or a ship is built, and blocks the special ability of any ship he is placed on.


The game ends either when a player reaches 15 points on his turn, or when one team reaches the final space on their victory point track. In the latter case, the player with the most points wins.


Besides the new map, the Troy scenario adds 3 new elements to Settlers: secret teams, war effort donation, and specialized boats. All of these elements work smoothly and elegantly. The boats especially are a nice addition: a big part of the game is building your fleet to cut off another player's access to the ocean. And the elements all mesh together smoothly: to build boats, you must donate cards to the war effort; building the higher-level boats lets you affect the Support cards more, and investigate which player is on which team. The team element also adds a nice bit of strategy: each player is trying to win individually, but there are a lot of VPs to be gained by assisting in the team effort -- and thereby helping out the other players on your team. And if you don't help your team, chances are the other team will be grabbing those points!

As I said, this is by far my favorite way to play Settlers. It's especially fun with 6 players, as it takes longer to figure out who's on which team. If you enjoy Settlers and/or team games, this expansion is a must-have.
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