Top critical review
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Additional elements of fun, but disappointing quality of components
on July 2, 2014
I am mixed on my thoughts about the Seafarers Expansion. I'd give it five stars for fun and additional strategies and playability, and subtract three for really poor design and manufacture of several of the components.
* The addition of water and ships, and a smaller main island, make your typical base-game Catan strategy inadequate; I really like having the additional requirement of setting sail and exploring other islands to win, and it keeps the old game from getting anywhere even close to repetitive.
* Custom scenarios for each game. Seafarers comes with pre-designed scenarios that let you play out the 'history' of the Island of Catan, and you can easily play them over and over without being bored - in this case, it's like the base game: You get one big island every time. In these scenarios you get several smaller islands every time. Plus, you *can* create your own maps - you aren't absolutely locked into the same boards every time.
* Quality, when it's present, is the same as the base game, for the Meeples (ships) and island hexes... but there's an additional point here and it's not a good one:
* I was incredibly disappointed with the quality of several components of the expansion overall. The ship and the additional hexes are the same sturdy quality as the base game, but the border pieces that expand the board are very poorly fitting. I have at least 1/8" inch of empty space between many of the hexes once the board is assembled. This makes it really hard to play without continually being worried about upsetting the board and the settlements, and even then some hexes just slide out of place and you have to readjust and put everything back. It's worse quality than you'd get in a game that costs *half as much*. Almost $40 for such poorly fitting, poorly designed components is really hard to take.
* The additional "Cards" or "Tiles" that let you play The Wonders of Catan scenario are *nothing like the Longest Road and Largest Army cards. These Wonders of Catan "cards" are simply printed inside the instructions booklet and you're told to cut them out... of the flimsy, easily-torn paper the instructions are written on. For a game of this price and stature, it really, really irks me they require players to deface the otherwise good looking instructions book.
The upshot is that if you simply want an expansion to the rules and don't care about quality, this will be more than you could want and it adds a lot of fun to an already wonderful game.
If you expect good quality and sturdy construction to match your base game, you will b really disappointed - especially when they charge almost the same price for much lower quality materials.