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Add Stories To Your Catan Adventure
on January 12, 2011
If you've read my other Catan reviews, you know by now that my friends and I are some pretty advanced Settlers of Catan players. If you've added Seafarers and Cities & Knights expansions, then here is the final expansion to Catan. This one is different than the others though. This expansion presents you with different scenarios or storylines, if you will, to the game. I'll outline them and tell you what we think:
Fishermen of Catan: This adds fishing ports and a lake to Catan. You can use the fish to trade for things or take small actions. Easily added to any other expansion. We often do, just to throw something extra in.
Rivers of Catan: This actually came out a long time ago; the pieces were in a gaming magazine. But there are elements added in this set to make it more interesting. Build along the river and you get gold coins; bridges can be built over the river, as well. But the main challenge is the idea of "poor settler/rich settler". If you have the fewest gold coins you lose victory points; maintain the most and gain a victory point. We don't play this one too much because the river really doesn't add anything to the game.
Camels: This is our name for the scenario. Basically there are desert nomads that must come out and trade for wool and wheat, things that are hard to come by in the desert. When you build a settlement, a camel may be placed like a road, except that everyone bids wool/wheat on the camel. The person who bids the most gets to place the camel. Camels let your road count twice for Longest Road, but more important, if your settlement/city gets a camel on both sides, it is worth an extra Victory Point.
Barbarian Attacks: This is a variation of a scenario that was also previously released. The outer rim of catan is subject to barbarian attack. Three barbarians land on a spot and that spot no longer produces. To get the barbarians off you land you must build and send out knights. Get more knights than barbarians and you drive them off. Collect the barbarians for victory points.
Traders: There are special land tiles that produce commodities such as glass, tools, and marble. Each tile produces one thing and requires two things. You have a wagon that travels between these spots and drops off an item, picks up another, and goes off to deliver that. Victory point earned for each delivery. The catch is you can only move your wagon so many times and it costs you more if you don't travel on your own road. And there are barbarians that can block the way. This is my personal favorite.
There is also a game that replaces the dice with cards, but none of us likes to play that way so we never do and I can't speak to that scenario. There is also a new card to try and obtain, the Harbormaster. We play with this card EVERY game now, no matter if we are playing out of this expansion set or not. It gives you two victory points for controlling 3 points of harbors, but it also adds a victory point to the total needed to win.
All that said, we have taken the ultimate challenge and combined all three expansions into one game. The official rules are at catan.com to print off. Our favorites are to have a random board from Seafarers, along with Cities & Knights played with either the Barbarian Attack or Traders. There is A LOT to keep up with and it is very complicated. I daresay that 90% of Catan players play just the base set; very few even get Seafarers alone or Cities & Knights alone. So just know that if you come this far, (not to sound snobby) you're in an elite group of Catan players. This is our favorite way to play. Games typically last about 2-2.5 hours with all expansions added together. Check out the combined rules if you are interested!