Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Evolution of Catan

At this past Gen Con, wife and I picked up a copy of the Cities and Knights expansion for the Settlers of Catan board game. Catan was our gateway game into the world of board game geekiness, and we've spent much of our convention time at the Mayfair booth the last couple of years. So, a month after buying it, last night came time to finally give the expansion a try.

Our first game of Cities and Knights in progress.

This expansion places a large emphasis on cities (the upgrades from basic settlements in Catan.) Rather than producing 2 standard resources, cities now produce 1 resource and 1 of the new commodity cards (paper, cloth or coin.) Those commodity cards are used to make upgrades to your cities (market, churches, etc.) These upgrades are what allow you to draw the new Progress cards (which replace development cards from the basic Catan game.)

Knights are soldier units that can be built mainly for the purpose of defending Catan from the barbarians that periodically lands on its shores to pillage its cities. Successfully defending Catan from the barbarians yields the strongest defender a victory point. Knight and cities each cost stone, and with these 2 elements being so key to the game, good resource management is key with this add-on.

Running a Settlers of Catan demo at the Mayfair Booth, Gen Con 07.

Long story short, Cities and Knights adds more complexity and strategy to basic Settlers of Catan game. Wife and I didn't get a chance to finish our game (it was late and the front room was filled with poison*) but I'm looking forward to giving it another go, and seeing how it works out with 3+ players. It was overwhelming at first, but after a few turns we got the hang of it pretty well. All in all, Cities and Knights adds a lot to the game. Next on my list is the Seafarers of Catan add-on.

*We had been using a large card table in the game room, which was still a little too small for our needs. For example, the Gangsters board game itself fit, but did not leave enough room for everyone's cards, game pieces and whatnot. On our front porch was a circular wooden table we'd bought at a garage sale a few years ago. It was on the front porch because we lacked the space to store it inside. After donating the recliner that was in the game room, it was time to bring the wooden table inside.

Now, there is a large roof covering our porch which has 2 effects:
- It protects the porch (and the table) from the elements.
- It has made our porch a haven for spiders.

The porch has become a warzone, pitting humans vs spiders. This table had been sitting on the porch for about a year, meaning it was crawling with spiders. First I took the broom to it and broomed the shit out of it. Spiders and nests begone! I then flipped the table and sprayed the hell out of the little nooks and crannies with pest killer. The resulting cloud of green poison made us evacuate the game room a little early. It is currently under quarantine and will be open again soon.


Blogger JohnH said...

First time I played Settlers at all, a couple years ago, was a 5-player round of C&K, and only 2 of the ppl had played once before. Took us 4 hours (until 2:30 am!). I became obsessed, and in a few weeks had bought Settlers, C&K and Seafarers, including the 5-6 expansions for each. Discovered BGG in the process.

Games don't last nearly as long now, usually 3 or 4 players. C&K continues to fascinate me. Seafarers is ok, and we pull it out sometimes, but some of the scenarios are so slow to get started, and it seems that it isn't as balanced during play to me.

Anyway, good to know you're into it, C&K is one of my fav games -- got me back into realizing I'm a gamer at heart -- along with Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, and Oasis. More games in the house to learn, and more on the way. What an adventure!

October 9, 2008 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Gamer Guy147 said...

This is my favorite expansion for Catan. combine this expansion with Seafarers and the map is massive. It can be lengthly and it does add complexity, but that adds to the fun and strategy involved with this game.

I'm only starting my game collection, but I hope to have a room dedicated to games in the future.

June 19, 2011 at 9:54 PM  

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