Author Topic: The Settlers of Catan expansions  (Read 5214 times)

Offline MrNumbers

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The Settlers of Catan expansions
« on: February 21, 2013, 12:24:13 PM »
Though I am very familiar with all Carcassonne expansions, I'm a newbie with Catan expansions. I don't have any, but want to buy one or two. There are different opinions throughout the Internet about which expansions are the best.
What can you suggest? Which Catan expansion is most interesting to play?

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=114.0
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Offline Carcking

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Re: The Settlers of Catan expansions
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 12:38:57 PM »
Do you have Sea Farers and Cities & Knights? Those two are a must, along with the 6 player expansions for all three sets. The Fishes expansion is worth while.

We have a huge Catan game scheduled tomorrow night. We usually play the Base game with Sea Farers. Once in a while we mix in Cities & Knights - that depends on the mix of people we have. Tomorrow night we will have 8 players which is a common thing for us (we painted two sets of figures in Yellow and Purple). We use the All Caps border pcs from Sea Farers - as though you were setting up for 6 players, then add in a couple more single X pcs to expand the board. We prorate the land tiles and water and add in the extra tiles. (we actually took two of the "River" mini expansions and cut up the tiles so we could add 6 more tiles on top of all the tiles we had available from the three sets.) All the tiles are placed face down in one of the box lids, shuffled, then flipped face up into place on the board in random fashion. The result is anywhere from 3 islands to 7 islands or so. We almost alway plays with Fishes. It makes for a very interesting game - and a boat load of fun!!
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Offline Joff

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Re: The Settlers of Catan expansions
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 12:50:11 PM »
I have Seafarers, Cities and Knights and Traders and Barbarians. Traders and Barbarians is really a set of modular mini-expansions that you can add in as you feel. Seafarers is more of the same (although you are exploring uncharted territory (hidden hexes), which is good fun. Cities and Knights changes the game and makes it into more of a gamers game; some don't like it this way, but I have found it quite enjoyable.

One thing I personally won't do though is play with more than 4 players - the 5/6 player expansions spoil the game.

I think you'll find that Whaleyland is the guy who can best advise about Catan expansions :)

Offline kettlefish

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Re: The Settlers of Catan expansions
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 12:58:10 PM »
I liked the Historical Scenarios II with Troja and the great chineese wall.
The Cities and Knights - I didn't like it much.

Offline MrNumbers

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Re: The Settlers of Catan expansions
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 02:00:17 PM »
Thank you all for the opinions!
The point is that our company blames Catan for having so big luck element: you don't have to think much, just wait for right numbers. What expansion mostly, if not neutralizes, but shrinks element of luck?

For now I see Joff's told "Cities and Knights changes the game and makes it into more of a gamers game" more appropriate.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 02:02:54 PM by MrNumbers »

Offline Scott

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Re: The Settlers of Catan expansions
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 03:26:01 PM »
I haven't played any Catan expansions yet, but Cities & Knights looks the most interesting to me.

Biggest problem I have with Catan is getting blocked on all sides. I'd be inclined to add the 6-player expansion even in a four-player game.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 06:17:24 AM by Scott »

Offline meepleater

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Re: The Settlers of Catan expansions
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 06:01:41 AM »
It's hard to say which is the 'best' expansion, since they're all so different-

Seafarers adds more variety, since it has infinite possibilities, but none of them are particularly game- changing, although some of the last scenarios can shake it up quite a bit (like adding extra objectives required to win the game, e.g. capture a pirate fortress or complete a world wonder). Seafarers is by far the most flexible of the expansions (one of the best aspects of this one is the ability to create your own scenarios) but the least groundbreaking.

Cities and Knights adds more complexity and depth of strategy, games go for longer and can be more nasty (particularly if playing the nasty knight variant), and the added strategy makes it a different (better IMHO) game, although I wouldn't say it reduces luck, in fact it adds a third die to the game, although if you build an aqueduct it takes a lot of pressure off the production dice. Probably the least flexible expansion.

Traders and Barbarians is a collection of a whole lot of neat but unrelated variants and scenarios. If you don't like luck then the Event Cards (also available separately) remove the dice from the game and replace them with a deck of cards, leading to a more statistically settled game (no pun intended). Fishermen of Catan has been recommended by others, and while this is available separately an expanded version of that scenario is included in T&B. The other scenarios can be a bit hit and miss (in my opinion) but the real winner is the title scenario- adds a lot of strategy (although not quite to the level of cities and knights) without quite as much complexity, and is one of the best scenarios made for the game.

And finally there is a fourth expansion, Explorers and Pirates, due to be released 18/4/13, which is similar to Seafarers in that it involves exploring over oceans and islands but uses very different mechanics and is in fact incompatible with Seafarers- whereas Seafarers was more of the same but with a lot of flexibility and variety, this is a set containing 5 linked scenarios, although 4 of them are only there for preparation as the 5th one combines everything from the other 4, and according to K.T., the 5th scenario "is the game". Apparently this expansion will be oddly incompatible with the others (which were all compatible with each other to some degree)- being completely incompatible with Seafarers and almost incompatible with Traders and Barbarians (with Fishermen being the exception), in fact it is still undecided whether a 5-6 player version is possible, so if they decide not to release a 5-6 player version then this may not be that good for large groups.

There are also other separately released senarios, such as Oil Springs which makes the game volatile (and from our experience a bit unbalanced) and Frenemies, as well as Fishermen of Catan (I don't think this is sold anymore since it is in T&B). There is also a collection of german scenarios called Das Buch which also contains some great scenarios (such as The Colonies which is another one of my favourites). This one is hard to find as it is long out of print (being made for the first German edition), and the maps use the old, square boards (although catan.de has updated most of them to use the later elliptical board). While I quite like this one, I admit it has a lot of disadvantages- the artwork obviously doesn't match the English version, the text is in German (although some copies come with an official English translation of the rules), some scenarios cannot be played with the current versions of the game and nearly all of the scenarios require Seafarers.

So sorry that took so long- that is my way of saying it is hard to tell which expansions are the best or most interesting since they all have their merits, and while I don't like every scenario contained in every expansion, there definitely isn't an expansion (that I own) that I don't like.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 05:06:54 PM by meepleater »

Offline MrNumbers

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Re: The Settlers of Catan expansions
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 01:11:59 PM »
meepleater, you must not feel sorry for such detailed overview of all Catan expansions (even future one, that I didn't know)! Merit for that! :D
After all I decided that Cities and Knights definitely worth buying, because strategy is the thing, that I needed in Catan, but could not find.
About Traders and Barbarians I have to think: from one side this is what I wanted - less luck, from the other side I never hadn't played board games with some kind of scenarios. Maybe it is only question of habit or experience.

Anyway, thank you once again for great introduction to Catan expansions! Now I feel ready to continue discover world of Catan :)


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