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226 of 232 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds complexity but in a good way...
I got this expansion along with the original game and played it after playing a couple games with the original rules. The basic changes to the original game include:

1) Instead of the development deck, you now have three progress decks (sciences, trade, and politics) which offer a broader selection of usable cards than the development deck and it's 90% knights...
Published on May 6, 2008 by Grieger

versus
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for a change of pace...
My coworkers and I loved to play a rousing game of Catan over lunch breaks and we decided to pick up this expansion. As others have noted, it does add a bunch of new features and adds complexity. It's still mostly Catan, and a decently fun game. Nice for a change of pace if you have a group of regular gaming friends.

The main negative against this game is...
Published on August 9, 2009 by E. Wise


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226 of 232 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds complexity but in a good way..., May 6, 2008
By 
Grieger (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
I got this expansion along with the original game and played it after playing a couple games with the original rules. The basic changes to the original game include:

1) Instead of the development deck, you now have three progress decks (sciences, trade, and politics) which offer a broader selection of usable cards than the development deck and it's 90% knights and 10% events/actions. These decks correspond to three possible areas of improvement (see next item) and have some interesting effects (everything from allowing you to take cards from another player to pulling resources for free).

2) Cities can now be improved. You get a set of flip cards that you flip as you purchase city improvements. There are two benefits to city improvements: a) when you achieve the 3rd level of improvements you gain some bonus like the ability to trade two of any commodity for one resource or commodity (note: as commented on, this is not like the harbor benefit of 2:1 resources which limit you to trading resources for resources; however, it still comes in handy despite the limitation), and b) each improvement increases the changes you'll get to pull from one of the three progress decks.

3) The addition of an event die that you roll along with the standard 2d6. The event die will either move the barbarians closer (50% chance) or trigger a chance to pull from the progress decks (16% chance). As mentioned, city improvements increase your chances of scoring a card when one of the progress areas are rolled (i.e. if you get a 1 or 2 on the red die and a blue icon on the event die and you have the first city improvement in the science area, you can draw a card).

4) barbarians have been added on top of the robber that still plays as it does in the original game; the barbarians show up after the barbarian icon shows up on the event die (which is more often than not). When the barbarians reach Catan and if there aren't enough knights in play to protect Catan, then the weakest player (in terms of knights) who has a city will lose that city (it gets downgraded to a settlement) as it gets razed by the barbarians.

5) knights are now pieces in play rather than a drawn card; they can bump other knights and the roober and play a crucial role in dealing with barbarians: if the number of knights who are active exceeds the number of barbarians (= number of cities in Catan), then the players win and the player that contributed the most will receive a special Defender of Catan card (ties result in progress card draws) which gives you a victory point.

6) Lastly, to make things interesting, there are commodities now, coin, paper, and cloth (which correspond to iron, wood, and wool resources) which are primarily used to buy city improvements. You get them if you have cities (i.e. instead of getting 2 iron if you have a city next to an iron spot, you get 1 iron and 1 coin).

Yes, it's definitely more complicated than the original rules but it offers a choice for anyone who wants that complexity (me!). It makes the game deeper and in some respects fixes issues I had with the previous game (like the knights being way too easy to pull up off the development deck given their numbers).

Once you get used to the rules (one or two games will usually do it), things move along and tides can turn pretty quickly (like when you were unable to active your knights before the barbarians came and you end up losing a city...or when Catan still wins but you just handed your opponent a Defender of Catan card which secured another victory point).

All in all, if you liked the original game and are either bored with the simpler rules or want to mix up the game a bit more, then I highly recommend this expansion. The added rules and expanded progress cards and city improvements really evolve the game in a good way and bring out the best of this game.

Oh, and note that you need to use this with the 4th edition (Amazon made sure to label these with that big "New 4th Edition!!!!" tag...). I never had the original versions so it didn't matter to me but some reviewers seemed to have an issue with getting the wrong edition so...
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Fun!, April 14, 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
This is a wonderful, highly addictive family board game. We got the original Settlers for Christmas and loved it so in January we saw this at the toy store and thought we would try it. Well, 3 months later my wife and 10 year old daughter and I are still playing it almost every night. It is a little more challening than "Settlers" and has even more variations and strategy so I would not recommend it for children less than 10. You have to have the original "Settlers of Catan to play. It takes about 20 minutes to learn to play and games typically take 1 to 2 hours. There are all sorts of different strategies to use and because the board varies each time you play no two games are the same. There is some cutthroat potential in the game so if your family is prone to violence you might try something else. On the other hand if you are looking for a fun, challenging game that will get your children and spouse off the computer and television to spend some time together this is highly recommended.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for a change of pace..., August 9, 2009
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= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
My coworkers and I loved to play a rousing game of Catan over lunch breaks and we decided to pick up this expansion. As others have noted, it does add a bunch of new features and adds complexity. It's still mostly Catan, and a decently fun game. Nice for a change of pace if you have a group of regular gaming friends.

The main negative against this game is the progress cards. You get progress cards whenever the third dice rolls your progress color and the red dice matches up with your city progress advancement. You can play as many as you want each turn. This, like dev cards in the original, at the start can lead to some fun surprises that mix up the gameplay. However, when you get to mid to end game where everyone has commodities advanced, it seems to us that every turn people are throwing 1-2 progress cards and the game seems to devolve into who is lucky enough to get a stack of the best cards, draw 8+ resources, score 4 points in one turn, and win. We're considering curbing the progress cards to be one play per turn, because everyone playing multiples seems to make the game border on ridiculousness.

A negative for us (but not for others) is that since we play over lunch break, the original catan we could finish in under an hour with 4 players. Cities and Knights usually takes 4 of us about an hour and a half, most of this being due to the more complex resource distributions (remembering commodity cards, moving the barbarian ships, distributing progress cards, etc). One is almost tempted to institute a rule that if the players forget to ask for a card, they don't get it, because it's too much for a banker to keep track of and slows the game. If you're not under a time constraint though this isn't an issue I suppose.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable expansion! (partially compatible w/ 3rd edition: Ask for free dice!), May 7, 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
This expansion makes the basic game very very enjoyable, although it does extend the playing time quite a bit. In short, the expansion introduces two new aspects. One is building "knights" to protect from pirates that invade the island from time to time (decided based on a third "event" dice). The second aspect is a suite of 'new development cards' that give you much more options than the original set of development cards e.g. you can temporarily downgrade your opponents city, remove their roads, steal their knights etc. in addition to the monopoly, free road building etc. How do you get these development cards? Instead of buying them (like in the basic version), you get them also based on the event dice. However, to get them you need to 'flip' a book to get city extensions. In the basic version, all resources are doubled for a city - here three of the resources give you one resource and one commodity and these commodity cards are used to flip - so it is a cycle: you get commodity cards, you flip - flipping increases your chances of getting the development cards. This makes the game very very interesting with a lot more strategies involved.

One thing to know: The currently available version is 4th edition. The backs of the cards do not have any difference compared to 3rd edition. So they are *compatible*. The artwork in the flip books are a little different, but still recognizable (I have posted pictures). However, the basic 3rd edition has two 'natural' dices. The expansion needs a 'colored' red dice to decide the development card acquisition using the event dice. *UPDATE*: I contacted Mayfair customer service and they said they will ship a red dice 'free' to customers on request!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Expansion to Settlers, January 11, 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
If you are into hardcore board gaming, once you play this expansion, you'll never go back to the base set or just Seafarers alone. As I've said in my other reviews of the Settlers family of games, my friends and I are avid players. We play every Sunday with every expansion. It can get pretty epic at times.

Well, this expansion adds elements that completely change Catan. You've built cities but now it is time to improve them. You have a city "Calendar" of improvements to build and you do so by obtaining and trading a new type of card, the commodities. These come from forests, mountains, and pastures that you have cities on. You'll collect paper, coin, and cloth, respectively. Build these improvements and you can draw offensive cards, defensive cards, or cards that give you trading advantages. But all the while, the Barbarians are looming to attack your cities. So you also have to build Knights, which replace the Knight cards from the base set (no more Strongest Army). Get enough Knights and your city is spared; defeat means losing your city! You definitely have the opportunity to stick it to your opponents with something other than the Robber, so if you want a brawl, this is the expansion for you. And that is what makes this expansion so thrilling.

You can easily combine this expansion with Seafarers (and any of its scenarios) for a fully immersive experience into the land of Catan. We typically just play a fully random board from the Seafarers and base set, then add the elements of Cities & Knights in easily.

There is a greater learning curve to this expansion, so be ready to take it slow a few times. If you don't like complexity, better stick with just the base set. And don't forget, if you want to play with 5-6 players, you need the extension set too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cities and Knights- The Standard for Catan Players, October 17, 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
As a Catan ADDICT, I can honestly say this is one of THE.BEST.EXPANSIONS. It turns regular Catan into a wayyyyy more complex version of its original self. It's like going from simple math to Calculus, but once you learn it it is the most fun you will ever have. It's interesting because of the Barbarian addition, gameplay changes drastically. Resources that would have originally gone to houses, cities etc. now go towards knights, or city walls, or city improvements. And the cooperative part to beat the Barbarian is a nice added touch. The best part are the commodities and Progress cards. Instead of the 5 resources, you have them + the 3 new commodities. (Tip: The best one is books/paper). And the Progress cards each have their own personality. (Tip: The best to choose is Green). It may not make sense now when you're reading this review but you will not regret buying this game. The strategy makes your brain feel amazing when its all over.
CAUTION: Only play/buy if you're ridiculously in love with Catan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cities and Knights Settlers add on, January 15, 2012
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
I really like the increased challenge and variation offered by the Cities and Knights Game Expansion. Do not expect the game to take only 90 minutes, as the box says. Minimum of 2 hours for each game, even as one gets very familiar with the rules, at least in well played, challenging games. Worth the time and effort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much more fun than Settlers, a little too long though, October 9, 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
This game adds a lot more complexity and fun to the original game. It adds way more unpredictability and the progress cards are a lot more fun than the original development cards. The game ends up being longer though, primarily because lot more trading happens and you can play any number of progress cards in a turn. But that is a key part of the game, the game can change in just one turn! If you love Settlers, this is a must buy! Well worth the price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the experienced Catan Players Only!, August 5, 2011
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= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
I love "Settlers of Catan" and when I began to research the different expansions for it I was very intrigued by "Cities and Knights".

I have really enjoyed this expansion every time I have played it! However, some people may not like it for the following reasons.

1.) Game Time: This expansion takes about an hour to an hour and a half longer to complete than a normal game of Catan.

2.) Levels of play: Where as in "Settlers of Catan" you must be thinking on anywhere from 4-5 levels of play at one time; in "Cities and Knights" you must be aware of more like 6-8 levels of play so turns can be lengthy.

3.) More competitive: In Settlers the game is somewhat competitive; in Cities and Knights there is much more competition because there are more opportunities to take down and really hurt your opponents.

This expansion pack should be played and enjoyed by mainly those who want more from their Catan experience and are willing to put a couple of hours and a lot of mental work in to victory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but tough on newbies, July 12, 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion (Toy)
I love Catan, and enjoy playing the expansion with other fans. However, the expansion gets a bit confusing with new players, so I often still play the regular Catan instead. This is a good game if you're playing with other experienced players.
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Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion
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