The Sage Council G a m e
Ed it or ia l
B o a r d
Editor: Bryan Boo Sub-Editor: Renee Too Translator: Kelvin Tan Design, Layout, and Typesetting: Bryan Boo Proofreading: Dwee Chiew Yen
It has been a while since Sage Boardgame Cafe started and we are beginning to see a rise in the board gaming culture here. But many of the people here do not yet know the vast treasures that the board gaming world has to offer. Besides, many board gaming magazines have to be imported and cannot not easily be afforded by the vast majority of people. Sage Boardgame Cafe then decided to write our own magazine to expose the local people to these treasures of the board gaming world as well as educate them about the ins and outs of board gaming. We believe that as knowledge of the people increases, they will have a better grasp of board game mechanics and eventually fall in love with board gaming. In no way does this magazine exclusively promote any particular publisher or game. In essence, we just want to raise the awareness and educate our gamers. So join us on this adventure of knowledge, this journey of understanding, as we explore the vast world of board gaming. Bryan Boo.
Issue 1 | July 2012
M a g a z i n e
Table of Contents | Introduction
3| The Man Behind the Masterpiece
| The Story
5| The Beginnings of Catan 7| The Characters of Catan 9| History of The Robbers
11| Die Siedler von Catan
| Tips & Strategy
15| General Strategy Guide 18| Advance Strategy 23| Placement Guide
29| Seafarers 30| Traders & Barbarians 31| Cities & Knights
| Other Catan Series
33| Rivals for Catan 34| Struggle for Catan 34| Catan Dice Game 34| Catan: Junior 35| Candamir: The First Settlers 35| Elasund: The First City 36| Settlers of America 36| The Settlers of the Stone Age 37| Struggle for Rome 37| Catan Geographies: Germany 38| The Starfarers of Catan 38| Starship Catan
| Catan Championships 39| Playing with the “Big Boys”
| Board Game News 42| Board Game News
| Sage News
43| Sage News
The Man Behind the Masterpiece Who would have guessed that a dental technician would become one of the world’s leading board game designers, designing a popular game that will rival “Monopoly” and then become one of the best-selling board game in the United States of America.
ie Siedler von Catan”, more commonly known by the English name, “The Settlers of Catan”, has received wide acclaims and recognition worldwide. This game of negotiation and trading, hand management, and route building has captured the hearts and minds of players from every strata of society. Even the Wall Street Journal had an article of the game entitled, “An Old School Board Game Goes Viral Among Silicon Valley’s Techie Crowd”. In other words, as some put it, The Settlers of Catan is now the new golf of silicon valley. This is due to the various CEOs like Mark Pincus of Zynga, John Lily of Mozilla, and many other executives who not only expressed their love for the game, but also became some of Silicon Valley’s most talented players. The brain behind the game is none other than the prominent designer, Klaus Teuber (pronounced “TOY-burr”). Klaus Teuber was born in 1952 to a dental artisan father and a homemaker mother. Teuber was married to Claudia and in the same year of this marriage, got his first son, Guido. After University, Teuber followed in his father’s footsteps as a dental artisan and eventually took over his father’s business. It was not until 1981 that developments of his first game happened, and eventually, at the age of 36, had his first game, Barbarossa, published. As is common to Teuber, every game published magically had instant success - Barbarossa was awarded the “Spiel des Jahres” (“Game of the Year”) prize, German board gaming’s highest honor, in 1988.
After Barbarossa, Teuber continued to design and produce more award-winning games. In fact, one of his game, Adel Verpflichtet, was the first game to be internationally recognized as a “German game”. Teuber’s games started to be known for their short playing time, high player interaction, clever rules, as well as attractive and functional components. Teuber’s games were typically all family games, with enough substance to interest the more serious gamers. They all had a lot of player interaction and could be played in an hour. But what truly made Teuber stand out was his tendency to mix different game systems. Drunter & Drüber, for instance, is a game that mixes a limited supply of cards with tile placement mechanics. It was not until some time in 1993 - 1994 that Teu ber brought an idea to Kosmos. It was a game with the theme of exploration of a new island, with new settlers vying for land and space to develop on this new land. In 1995, The Settler of Catan was officially released. Germany received this game with more than just arms wide open, they were literally overwhelmed and it wasn’t very long before the game was played throughout the world in unbelievable numbers. One of the most significant achievement of The Settlers of Catan was that it finally got the Americans to play a sophisticated, “German-style” game. In fact, the response in America was so impressive that Jay Tummelson, the executive who was in charge of the production of the English language version of The Settlers of Catan, formed
Teuber got into board games for one main reason: to entertain his wife, Claudia. In 1973, Teuber, with his wife and son, moved to Western Germany to fulfil his mandatory military service. It was a new town for the Teuber family and since they knew no one there, Teuber had a lot of free time. “We played chess, but my wife always lost - and that’s no fun,” he says. “So I looked around for things we could both play.” This quest eventually led Teuber to Germany’s game culture and ultimately to creating games himself.
Thanks to Klaus Teuber, German-style games are get ting increasingly popular worldwide. The Settlers of Ca tan has become so successful in the US that other German-style games are starting to ride on this wave, even in the midst of recession. Sales of Catan Units in USA
Though The Settlers of Catan may be the hit game in the board gaming world, Teuber is no rock star. In fact, he remains down-to-earth. Every year, he makes his way down to the Spiel convention in Essen and does autograph-signing sessions there. Dressed in sensible black shoes and a blue shirt, he was so soft-spoken that fans had to lean in closely to hear him when he signed their games. In fact, he does not keep all the “secrets of the trade” to himself. On his website, Teuber offers tips and advice to aspiring board game designers who will hopefully benefit from his experience.
Rio Grande to do other German games. The only word to describe the sales for The Settlers of Catan is “astounding”. For instance, during the release of the game at the annual Essen fair in 1995, The Settlers of Catan sold out its initial 5,000 copies so fast that even Teuber did not get to keep one for himself. Since its release, The Settlers of Catan has become a worldwide phenomenon, being translated into 30 languages and sold a staggering 15 million copies. Even in 2000, five years after its release, The Settlers of Catan was still the best selling game in Germany. Again, no one was surprised when The Settlers of Catan won both the Spiel des Jahres and the Deutsche Spiel Prize Game of the Year awards.
The board gaming culture has only began to hit the shores of Malaysia in recent years. German-style games (also known as Eurogames or designer games) were never heard about until about 5 years ago. Today, it is taking Malaysia by storm. Singapore has been hit by this phenomenon. Kuala Lumpur also has the footprints of Eurogames. Even in Malaysia, The Settlers of Catan still remains one of the most popular game among Malaysian gamers. Will you ride the wave and experience the magic of Klaus Teuber?
The Beginnings The Story
Every game has a theme, a story that brings life to the game. The story of The Settlers of Catan became a novel. Unlike games like Takenoko, there is not much said about the story of The Settlers of Catan in the game itself. But as it is with every game, there is a central theme or story that brings life to it. Takenoko tells about the story of an imperial panda and the workers commanded to care for it. Dungeon Petz is about imp families starting a new business of breeding and selling magical pets to the Dungeon Lords. The Settlers of Catan is about settlers from other islands who crossed high oceans and dangerous adventures to finally arrive at a new island, Catan. In this article, we will explore the story of Catan in two ways, one through the eyes of Rebecca Gablé, author of the novel “Die Siedler von Catan”, as well as the vision of Klaus Teuber himself. Through the eyes of Rebecca Gablé. “The year is 850. In the seas of northern Europe, the small coastal village of Elasund falls prey to marauding neighbors. Their food storage pillaged, women and children stolen, livestock destroyed, the villagers are left to barely survive the harsh winter — and contemplate a drastic solution to their recurring hardships: leaving the only village they have ever known. Best friends Candamir and Osmund lead their people on an epic quest to a mythic island home, but without knowledge of exactly where the island is, they must trust the gods to deliver them safely. Lost at sea and set adrift, an extraordinarily violent storm washes them ashore the island famed in pagan lore: Catan. They quickly set about building a new society but old grudges, animosities, and social orders lead to fraternal strife. As the ideals of Candamir’s Christian slave spread throughout the village and conflict with pagan law, the two belief systems clash. When both Osmund and Candamir fall in love with Siglind, the mysterious queen of the Cold Islands, things come to a head.” The above is a summary of the novel, “Die Siedler von Catan” (or The Settlers of Catan) by Rebecca Gablé, translated to English by Lee Chadeayne. Though the book is largely based on the board game, the characters within it are Gablé ’s own inven tion. The book is set in 850 AD in the fictional village of Elasund. The village had just been raided; most of its women were taken, as were the food and livestock, and Elasund was torched. Could the Elasunders have escaped? They had boats, but the setting of the story was in late autumn, where it was too late in the year to leave by boats. Due to that fact, the majority of Elasunders decided to leave in spring - but little did they know that the coming winter was to be harsh.
Klaus Teuber’s Vision Klaus Teuber started developing the idea for The Settlers of Catan in the early nineties, being inspired by the “Three years later, she had created a Vikings. In fact, the gem for all friends of Catan: the exstory of the Vikings captivated Teuber citing and empathetic story of the even when he was people of the village Elasund who – still a child. When Teuber first develop- driven by necessity – left their homeed the game in the land Norway and became the first early nineties, he ensettlers of Catan.” - Klaus Teuber visioned Iceland. His reason was that there were birch forests on this island in the far north when the first settlers arrived; however, within a rather short period of time, the trees were lumbered for building longhouses and ships. Grain was growing only sparsely, but sheep and horses thrived on the otherwise barren volcanic island. Therefore, trade must have been the most important means for the Icelandic settlers to get the vital goods of ore, grain, and lumber.
Led by two best friends, Candamir and Osmund, the Elasunders finally set out on a perilous journey in search for a mythical island called Catan, of which no one had any idea where it was located at. Finally, with no hope of survival, no water nor food supply, they were washed ashore Catan by a violent storm. Soon, the Elasunders began exploring the island and select sites to build their settlement. But as society grew, so did conflict. The question then arose - should they adhere to old customs and traditions in new lands? How then do the Elasunders handle issues, for instance, like in the board game, the constant issue of the lack of resources?
It was after the game was published in 1995 that Teuber felt the island of Catan seemed more fertile and climatically more stable than Iceland. Teuber had the resolution that if it had to be anyone to discover the island of Catan, it would be the Vikings. The Vikings that Teuber envisioned and learned about were not one who wore horns on their helmets. Instead, they were mostly hardworking farmers and clever merchants. Only those who set out to raid called themselves Vikings. It was with this characteristic of farming, settling and being clever merchants that The Settlers of Catan was built upon. It was a theme of different settlers finding the island of Catan and, using the resources that they could cultivate or find, start building settlements and ultimately show their dominance on that island. But the expansion of their new settlement was not that easy. It was not just merely blood wars and pillages that we see on television. Rather, as much as the settlers were all vying for position and power, they still had to help each other develop by means of trade. Not every settlement could produce the required resources and that is where clever negotiation come into play. At some point, Teuber realized that although the Vikings was what in spired The Settlers of Catan, the game components were not really expressing that fact. With this in mind, Teuber designed the Viking Edition of the game. It featured wooden pieces with designs based on Viking originals. The settlement pieces have typical gables of Viking houses, and the city pieces are modeled after Nordic stave churches. The Viking pieces are available not only for the basic edition but also for all three expansions. Wooden pieces of the Viking Edition
The Characters The Story
No story is complete without characters. Klaus Teuber knows that and therefore created some characters that he used as guides in his website as well as the characters in the digital version of the game. Each has their own unique characteristics and play a certain role, especially in the story found in the digital version of the game.
laus Teuber is really a humorous one. He took a step further than most game designers and decided to bring in characters into his game. Though these characters are not used in the board game itself, you will see the characters come to life in the digital version of the game (I have only played the Mac version of the game and there even is some sort of story line to the game), for Candamir, Vincent, Marianne, Siegfried, Louis, Jean, Hildegard, and William are your computer opponents in the computer game “Catan: Cities & Knights”. Let’s take a look at their individual personalities. Candamir
Candamir is the protagonist in the novel “The Settlers of Catan”, in which Rebecca Gablé tells the story of the first settlers on Catan. Candamir is a master carpenter and a down-to-earth character. Securing his resource income comes first for him.
His favorite saying: “The best diplomats are a sharp axe and a keen sword” testifies to his rather harsh tone. However, this should not belie the fact that his heart is in the right place. Vincent Vincent is a born merchant. Therefore, he loves the Longest Road, while knights seem rather suspicious to him. He is game for all kinds of trades. He is said to have sold his grandmother for a sheep, but that’s sheer rumour. His greatest dream is to become a trade master one day. His greatest nightmare are monopolists, which he refers to with the phrase: “Monopolists are worst than robbers, which at least don’t take away more than they can carry in one go”, for the monopolist leaves Vincent with nothing else to trade with. Marianne
Marianne has a big farm as well as a big heart. People who send the robber to her farm only temporarily fall from grace with her. It won’t take long until she offers a cup of her delicious apple cider again. It’s easy to imagine her controlling an extended family of twenty people comprising four generations, always staying calm and kind. She loves to build the Longest Road, because she wants to make sure that her farm always gets enough resources and commodities from Catan.
Siegfried is more of an arrogant knight. He haughtily alleges to be far superior to everybody else, by virtue of his ancestors’ achievements and the fact that he even knows the names of these people. If he trades with someone, it means that he is granting that person a favor. If he places the robber next to someone, he is only collecting the tributes he is rightfully entitled to. This is something he often comments on with the phrase: “You are nothing but my vassal on this island; therefore, part of your harvest is mine anyway.” If his resource income allows it, Siegfried will always try to get the Largest Army. But, and this counts in his favor, he also can lose with honor and acknowledge the success of his game partners.
Louis is a respectable Catanian craftsman. He is very irritable and tends to have choleric fits. Only if he leads the field, he can be quite charming sometimes. This is when he generously lectures his game partners with expressions from the craftsman milieu and tells his adventures as a young master craftsman in France. But the moment he falls a little bit behind, he seems to only have snotty answers ready. Then his favorite line is: “There’s no law and order anymore on this island!”
Jean Jean is a pretty pirate woman with an honor code characteristic to her guild. “Robbed is not stolen” is her motto when she uses the robber to appropriate other people’s resources. But for the same reason, she isn’t too resentful if she gets robbed herself. However, she detests Trade Masters, Spies, and Monopolies, because she considers them simply as dishonorable and insidious robberies. Negotiations and compromises are not Jean’s cup of tea. She says things straightforwardly, and if she finds someone likeable, it may happen that she kills a bottle of rum with him.
Hildegard is the abbess of an abbey somewhere on Catan. One of her greatest wishes is to be venerated as a saint. Malicious gossip has it that she already made good progress by being sanctimonious. Hildegard has no problem combining unctuous talk with furthering her personal welfare, and she often uses biblical quotations, be they adequate or not. When she takes something away from a game partner, she likes to accompany this act with the comment: “Please do not regard this as robbery! Regard it as a relief, granted to you so you can give alms to the needy.” However, if someone takes something from her, she might wish him to turn into a pillar of salt.
William Magistrate William is a scholar and author of the famous treatise “The World as a Buildup Strategy Game.” He spares no effort for his university and his studies – occasionally, he may stand up to the waist in the mud to dig for treasures somewhere on Catan. He likes to lecture his game partners, and he analyzes their behavior based on scientific laws. If William takes something from a game partner, he is only complying with the laws of nature; however, if a game partner takes something from him, it seems to be completely against nature. William is not an easy opponent in the PC game “Catan – Cities & Knights” – he has no preference for a certain strategy but adjusts it completely to his resource income. The Robbers of Catan No doubt, every Catan player has held him in his hands countless times - the robber. Until 2002, he used to appear in the shape of a black, lathe-turned game piece, to plague the terrains of Catan and stall their resource produc tion. The truth is that the robber is a harmless fellow who is merely taken advan tage of by the players, for the sake of their own benefit. He is pushed around from terrain to terrain, unable to escape his occasionally harsh destiny.
History of The Robber The Story
Anyone who has played The Settlers of Catan know about the robber. In fact, many of us dislike when the number 7 is rolled. We dislike the robber landing on a tile adjacent to our settlement or city. We dislike the fact that we have to discard our hand down to seven cards. But the robber that we know and the robbers that Klaus Teuber had in mind are two distinctly different characters. Here is a brief history of the robbers of Catan as written by Klaus Teuber himself.
o doubt, every Catan player has held him in his hands countless times - the robber. Until 2002, he used to appear in the shape of a black, lathe-turned game piece, to plague the terrains of Catan and stall their resource production. If credence can be given to what people told me in e-mails I received during those years, it was a time when the robber caused more than just raised tempers. Even marriages are purported to have broken up because of him. The truth is that the robber is a harmless fellow who is merely taken advantage of by the players, for the sake of their own benefit. He is pushed around from terrain to terrain, unable to escape his occasionally harsh destiny. What happens is that the robber doesn’t always end up safely in the box after a game. Many e-mails sent to Kosmos Verlag during the past years that were bemoaning the loss of the robber reported a bitter end for the fellow in black. For example, it seems that he was swallowed by dogs, which surely happened because he was touched with hands still sticky from clasping burgers and fries. Children, not knowing anything about his importance, apparently threw him into the toilet and sent him on a long journey through the sewer pipes. Some robbers experienced a hot finale in the fireplace, and others were simply lost. To me, the robber never was the villain many people see in him. Actually, I always saw him as a group of three harmless, maybe even likeable robbers. I materialized this perception in 1997, when I created the game piece “Teuber’s Robbers,” as it was called later. Based on my wax model, several thousand pieces were cast in plastic and painted in China. Later they were given away for free at various events. The game piece “Teuber’s Robbers” was very coveted; therefore, in 2006, I decided to rework it and commissioned a German manufacturer of pewter figures to cast and paint the pieces. Since then, they are available for everyone at the Catan Shop. The robbers had matured, and each of the three cronies had been given his own distinctive character. Now the idea of telling little stories suggested itself – stories that would make the daily routines of the robbers on Catan come alive. As an introduction, I would like to acquaint you a bit with the robbers’ personalities.
Lucky is a bit slow and, thus, more of the naïve type. He is the unlucky fellow of the group. But he is good-hearted and couldn’t harm anybody, not even a sheep.
The gang boss is called, “Chief”. Chief is a sly leader who takes care of his group as long as it works to his advantage. However, if his own interests are threatened, charity begins at home.
Bert is always hungry, which is why not getting enough to eat is his greatest concern. He is sluggish and is not exactly crazy about work. His favorite dish is – how could it be otherwise – roast lamb.
The next time a “7” is rolled, I hope you would not be too mad at the three fellows blocking the production of your terrains after getting an idea of how tough their lives are from the comic below:
Die Siedler von Catan Review
As we all know, Die Siedler von Catan, or better known as The Settlers of Catan, by Klaus Teuber was the game that was not only declared viral, it was described as a phenomenon. Sales were over the roof and were constantly on the rise. Today, some of the high-ranking executives of prominent companies in Silicon Valley have not only have expressed their love for the game but have also become some of the most talented players. But how does this game fare in the local Malaysian context? In this article, Bryan looks to evaluate this game from a local context.
oard games were nothing new to me. Since young, I have had various exposures to the world of board games. As children, sometimes we received board games as gifts. I remem ber those precious memories board gaming with my cousin and my siblings. In essence, we grew up playing board games. At that time, we were playing populars like Monopoly and Scrabble. My cousin had some of the not-so-common ones like “Money” and “Careers”. It was not until college where I was exposed to a whole new ocean of board games called “Eurogames”. The first game that I played was actually “Saboteur” by Frederic Moyersoen. I remember the first time I was introduced to The Settlers of Catan, I was at a local board game cafe with 3 other friends. The game coordinator there taught us the game and initially, I did not like the game at all. It was slow moving and there was nothing exciting to it. It was very different from my experience with Carcassonne (of which I fell in love with immediately). It took me a lot of courage to try the game a second time and I did not regret it ever since. Today, we play Catan every once in a while and it is one of the more commonly played games in my circle of friends. Even friends whom I did not know play board games have expressed to me that they too love The Settlers of Catan. The Settlers of Catan is a game for 3-4 players and takes an average of about an hour per session. It is a game suitable for (in my opinion) kids aged 12 and above. This game has won the Spiel des Jahres (German Game of the Year Award), Meeple’s Choice Awards, Deutscher Spiele Preis, Origins Awards, Ludo Award, and many more. In fact, The Settlers of Catan has also found its place as an inductee in the Games Magazine Hall of Fame. With that much acclaim, this game must be really good. Or is it just purely hype? Components
The Settlers of Catan consists of hexagonal resource tiles with cardboard number markers. There are 4 player pieces, distinguished by the different colors (red, white, orange, and blue), with a total of 16 cities, 20 settlement, and 60 roads. There is 1 grey wooden robber, 2 dice of yellow and red, and a whole lot of resource cards and development cards. The components are of wood or solid cardboard and therefore will be able to last the average gamer for quite some time. Probably the only flimsy component to the game is the sea that encloses these hexagonal tiles to create the board. It can easily be bent and then you might have problems setting up the board. The other thing that I did not really like was the resource and development cards being so small. Sleeving them was a total chore but if you don’t sleeve your cards, you shouldn’t have a problem with it.
A player’s turn can be divided into 2 phases, with 2 possible actions in the second phase (trading & building): 1. Production - Each player rolls a pair of dice. The result of that dice roll will determine which tile produce their resource. Only the players with a settlement or a city (cities get double resources) adja cent to the tile producing the resource can get them. If a “7” is rolled, the robber, who initially starts at the desert tile, is activated. The robber is moved by the active play er to any tile of their choice (except the tile that the rob ber currently is on). The active player can then randomly steal 1 resource card from any 1 player who has a city or settlement adjacent to the robber’s new home. That particular tile will not produce re sources in the future until the robber is moved away. Also, when a “7” is rolled, any player with more than 7 resource cards in hand has to discard half of it, rounded down. 2. Trading - More often than not, you will be faced with a situation in which you require a particular resource but you do not have it. It is then that trading is vital. There are two options - trading with another player, or with the bank by offering 4 cards on 1 resource type in exchange for 1 resource card of your choice. These ratios can be much better if the player controls a port.
3. Building - Players can opt to build either roads, settlement, or cities by paying the required resources. Besides just building structures, players can also opt to buy development cards. These development cards have a number of in-game effects, special victory points, and knights (Knights can be used to chase the robber away). Development cards can only be used once, one card per turn, and can only be used after the round that it was bought (not the same round as the card was bought).
The game goes on like this until someone reaches 10 victory points and wins the game. There are 2 bonuses that can be obtained. The first player to build the longest unbroken road of at least 5 segments will be awarded the Longest Road worth 2 victory points. The first player to play 3 Knight cards will be awarded the Largest Army, also worth 2 victory points. But don’t forget, if at any point of time, another player has a longer road or a larger army than you do, the award goes to them and so do the 2 special victory points.
The Verdict I would personally recommend this game to anyone who is new to Eurogames. Like Ticket to Ride, The Settlers of Catan is a game where new players will just fall in love with. There are a few commendable areas that need to be pointed out. Having Control: As with any game that involves dice, The Settlers of Catan has the element of unpredictability. You never know what the next dice roll may be. But the game is designed to give you a certain limited amount of control over this randomness. Firstly, players decide for themselves where to place their settlements. This allows them to decide what sort of rolls they require. A player can choose to cover 6 different numbers with their intial 2 settlements, or only cover a few numbers but on different resources. In fact, there are dots on the number markers to help you identify the probability of that particular number being rolled. Geared with this information, players can make their decisions. Surprise Victory: The Settlers of Catan combines both visible victory points (counting the number of settlements and cities) as well as the possibility of invisible ones (victory point development cards that are not revealed until the end of the game, or even a plan that involves building a road that grants you the Longest Road bonus, thus winning the game). As such, players never know who has what and when the game will end. This ensures a very strategic gameplay for those who love strategy games, yet for those who don’t really care for strategy, can still play as equals with those who do. Trade: One vital element for victory in The Settlers of Catan is trading. This ensures a very balanced game. A player might have his or her settlement built on a few limited resources thus having lots of it but may not be able to get some of the rest (every resource is used in one way or another when building). This makes sure that trading must happen. In the event that the player does not wish to trade and wishes to keep the bountiful resource cards until they are able to trade with the bank, the “7” roll is there to ensure balance in the game. Luck Factor: It is common knowledge that any game that involves dice has a certain amount of luck involved. The Settlers of Catan is no exception, which is a good thing. Games like Dungeon Petz that has no or little amount of luck is only playable by heavy gamers. Having a luck factor in the game ensures that even casual gamers can enjoy it. The luck factor is balanced so the game does not become overly luck dependent. With that being said, there may be instances of streaks of bad luck. Sometimes a settlement can be built on the popular number “8” but the “8” roll is scarce. Is not your fault - it’s the dice. Ultimately, one of the very reasons that make me very happy with the game is its high replayability. The tiles as well as numbers can be randomly arranged, which ensures you a fresh new map every round. All-in-all, this game is one that Malaysians will easily fall in love with, and I’m sure you will too.
Tips & Strategy
General Strategy Guide As with many other games, a successful strategy is vital in winning the game. Yes, one may play The Settlers of Catan without any form of strategy but the chances of winning is like getting a bullseye in darts from one hundred meters away. One or two people might hit it, but the majority will not. Here, we discuss the common strategies used in winning The Settlers of Catan.
o each his own strategy, some may say. Some might even claim to have a secret winning formula. But one cannot deny the importance of a strategy. You might be new to the game, or a seasoned board gamer, either way, this guide will make sense to you. While this guide will not guarantee you a win, it sure will open your eyes to the key areas of a working strategy. Even if you do not want to use the strategy written out here, your own secret winning formula will have to consider these areas for it is the foundations on which this game is built on. There is an assumption that has to be made though. This guide assumes that you are already familiar with the rules of the game. It would definitely give you a better advantage in benefiting from this guide if you have played the game at least once. Without further ado, let’s get on to these basic strategies that will truly improve your game. Early Expansion One thing about The Settlers of Catan is that everyone begins with the same limitations. Only 2 settlements to start with, and only 2 placement possibilities: The possibility of having it on tiles that have all five resources with low chance of getting resources due to the numbers being spread out on different tiles, and the possibility of having a few resources but higher chances of getting them due to the different numbers on the same resource, thus increasing the probability of getting the resources but denying themselves of the variety of resources. Either way, each player has their own limitations. With that being said, early expansions will allow you to firstly, cover more numbers thus increasing the probability of resource production, and secondly, give you a variety of different resources, therefore allowing you the freedom to do whatever you plan to do later on in the game. With this in mind, it will be good to focus first on building more settlements before aiming for the longest road or buying development cards. Also, do constantly take a look at the board and see if you can expand into areas where you are contending with other opponents over a single spot for a settlement first, but make sure you have the ability to build it first or else it will be a waste of your own resources. Another point to note is that one might think building a city also increases production. While this is true, it is generally better to build settlements early in the game since settlement increases the variety of resources you generate while taking away opportunity from your opponents to generate them.
Brick or Ore?
There are only 3 brick and 3 ore tiles in the game while there are 4 of each of the other resource tiles. This makes brick and ore more valuable than the rest. A decision has to be made then. In the event that a decision has to be made between choosing either brick or ore, which do you choose? Here, we will need to evaluate your strategy. Are you taking the settlement / road strategy, the city / army strategy, or the hybrid strategy (more on this later)? Whichever it is, roads are important and before you get cities, settlements have to be built first. Looking at what is needed to build roads and settlements, brick therefore becomes more valuable than ore in the early stages of the game. Remember this when trading or when deciding where to place your settlements. A note to remember: While this advice is good in most games, ignore it if you are playing a game in which there is a huge surplus of brick. Just remember that overall brick is the most useful resource out of the five.
To win in The Settlers of Catan, one must be a shrewd trader. To be one, you need to trade intelligently and aggressively. Trading intelligently means making sure that in every trade you do, you are progressing further than your opponents. In that sense, it is okay to trade with someone 3 points behind you but be mindful when you trade with someone who has more points than you do. You don’t want to push them closer to the win than where they already are. Trading intelligently requires you to always be in the know, to the best of your ability, what resources your opponents have and what they are looking for. Trading aggressively means trading as often as you can, without enabling your opponents. Every trade you do should be helping yourself. When two of your opponents trade with each other, that is two people you are competing with who have just been given advantages. If you are part of a trade only one opponent is being helped, so you should always try to be part of a trade before an opponent (as long as the trade is an “intelligent” one). Trading in general also requires that you evaluate the board and see which resources are going to be rare, and which will be abundant. Then make sure to treat the rare resources as more valuable in order to get a greater deal for them. Don’t be afraid to ask for 2, or even sometimes 3 resources in return for a single rare one.
Tips & Strategy
3 grain for 1 brick!
Losing friends 101: the robber Everyone hates the robber. When you see the robber next to your city on the number 6 brick, you just cringe inside. On the other hand, people love to use the robber to steal resources. The robber is a means for players to keep one another from getting too far ahead of the pack. However, many times when you roll a 7 there won’t be a runaway leader and you will need to decide where to place it. Here is some advice for these cases. First, you should be placing a robber on a tile with a 5,6,8, or 9 since it will deprive your opponents of more resources that way. Second, if an opponent is currently competing directly with you for a spot to build a settlement, try to target them with the robber. Third, try to place the robber on someone you know has a rare resource, or a high amount of a certain resource you are in need of at the time. Fourth, try to hurt as many opponents as possible when placing the robber by placing it on a tile which 2 or three opponents have cities/settlements on. Fifth, and finally, target cities over settlements with the robber since it will stop more resources from being produced that way. I Hate geography! Well, you do not need to be a geography expert to win the game. But the common question that many players ask is this: “Where to place my starting settlements?” This is EXTREMELY important because at the end of the initial placement of the first 2 settlements, some players have already lost the game because their settlements are on poor production tiles and / or they do not have any place to expand. This is a topic so important that there will be a guide on initial placement later on.
Tips & Strategy
Three paths to victory There are actually 2 distinct paths to winning The Settlers of Catan, with a third path in between them. The first way is what I call the brick-wood method or the settlement-road. In this strategy, the player builds a whole lot of settlements and gets the longest road. This one relies heavily on brick and wood and requires very little wheat or ore. To win using this strategy place your initial settlements such that you get a lot of brick or wood and some access to the other. Also, make sure you have plenty of space nearby to expand to. Then, start building settlements as fast as possible, pausing at some point in the middle to build one or two cities. Once you are at 6-7 victory points, start making a real push for the longest road if you don’t already have it. You can also build your roads (which only cost 1 brick and 1 wood) to cut off the expansion of your opponents. It can also cut off resources of opponents who cannot build as fast as you do. If either brick or wood are very rare in this game and you aren’t on the largest supply of them, this strategy will probably not work for you. However, I have found it to be the most effective when it is possible to use. The second way to victory is the wheat-ore or city-army route. This requires your initial 2 settlements being placed on a good supply of ore and wheat, ore being the most important of the two. To begin you should try to build a quick settlement either on a nearby port, or on a good spot ore/wheat/sheep nearby. Then, focus on building cities, and buy one development card almost every time you get the chance. Since getting largest army is much harder than largest road (due largely to the fact you can only play one soldier card per turn), you need to start building your army in the early game. After building one or two cities you should focus on building one more settlement. Then, stay put and focus on getting all four of your cities built and keeping largest army. If you’re lucky you might even get a couple of victory points from development cards along the way. Remember, never show these until the turn on which you declare victory. This strategy will fail if you do not have good initial placement which gives you plenty of ore. Some people argue this strategy is hurt more easily by the robber. While this is true, you will have plenty of soldier cards which you can use to move it off your cities. Remember that you can play a soldier card on your turn before rolling the dice. The third route is one that mixes the above two. The trick to this strategy is making sure you are always on a wide variety of resources which produce well. It grants you greater flexibility to the changing winds of the game, but its greatest weakness is it is harder to get largest army or longest road using it. It is almost necessary for you to have one of these two bonuses in order to win. So, at some point early in the game while using this strategy, you need to pick which of these two bonuses you will strive for and hold back from pouring resources into the other. This strategy works well when neither of the above two is available, but requires better skills at trading.
The above 6 are only but the basic strategy guide for you to refer to. Again, you can use it completely, mix and match some points to your own strategy, or create an entire strategy altogether by using the above as reference. In any case, these basic strategies will allow you to improve your game. Next, we will look at some advance strategies and finally, look at the most important and deciding factor of winning the game - the initial placement of your first 2 settlements.
ere in this advance strategy section, you will find some in-depth strategies and useful ad vice. They may be about repeated areas, with more general and useful advice, then we will move on into more specific areas. Again, the prerequisite is that you must already know the rules as well as have read through the basic strategy.
Eavesdrop like a spy This is actually a simple strategy but very hard to carry out, unless you have an amazing memory. This strategy is basically to always keep track of what cards your opponents get when the dice is rolled. Naturally, it is also important to keep track of what they play so you roughly know their cards in hand. This will enable you to use the robber more effectively. Also, pay even closer attention to the trades being made and offered, as those will tell you what sort of strategy your opponents are using. With this information, you can identify when someone is close to building something they need and warn others away from trading with them. You can also make more informed trade offers and acceptances. While you don’t need to keep track of every card every player has, you should at least be paying attention to the strategy each opponent is using and when they are close to building a new settlement or city.
Tips & Strategy
Lucky Seven Seven is a key number in this game. Once a player has seven points, they are much closer to winning than the number suggest, especially if they still don’t yet have the longest road or largest army bonus. The reason for this is once you have seven victory points, you are generating resources at a much faster rate than you were initially since you have more settlements and probably at least one city. This increase in resources decreases the amount of time before you can build more settlements/cities. It also means it is easier for you to divert resources to building the largest army or longest road, and it means you are less likely to trade with others because you are more self-reliant. If someone has seven victory points and doesn’t have largest army or longest road, they are probably 2-3 turns from victory because all they have to do is build one more city/settlement and grab one of these. A good advice is to try never to get to seven victory points while having longest road or largest army, since it makes others focus the robber on them while they are actually still a few turns away from winning. The one exception to this is when you are in strong competition with another player for one of those two awards, and need to start investing in it from the start of the game. Seven is also a key number because you should go through great lengths to make sure you don’t end your turn with over that many cards in your hand. I have met people who have said that development cards is one of the routes to win. This is because there is a possibility of using “Road Building” to get the longest road, possibility of getting victory points, and also the possibility of using “Year of Plenty” or “Monopoly” to get the resources they want. While this is a good strategy to reduce the gap with the score leader, it does not give you the victory. In fact, I have not yet at this point of time seen a game being won with a majority of development cards. The following is the reason why:
Tips & Strategy
Why development cards may be a bad idea Let me make this exception: The only time development cards may be a good idea is when you are looking at the city / army strategy. Otherwise, it will be wise to stay away from this. They just aren’t worth the amount of resources you put into them on average. Here is the breakdown of the development cards: Knight: 48% Monopoly: 12% Road Building: 12% Year of Plenty: 12% Victory Point: 16% Based on this, logically, the only time you will want to get development cards is if you wish to get the largest army. Otherwise, it is not worth the resources you spent to get it, two of which could be used to build a city for more production and resource points. If you get monopoly, use it well or else you would have just wasted the 3 resources spent. But even though the percentage of monopoly cards is only 12%, chances of a good use is usually much less as there is the factor of timing its usage right. (On a side note, if you do get the monopoly card, consider trading away a lot of one resource you have, then playing the card to get those resources back. Be prepared for a lot of angry friends if you do this). Road building might also be argued that it is worth the investment since 2 roads equals 4 resources, which is more than the 3 you just spent. Also, roads are probably hard to come by for players focusing on the ore-wheat path to victory. Again, though, the chances of getting this card are very low and you are better off using your resources to build your own roads. Year of Plenty may also be worth the 3 card investment, assuming you use it to get resources that you have no access to. If you are playing the middle road strategy, however, this card is much less useful. Also, just like the previous two cards, the chances of getting this are so low you would be better off trying to trade or use a port for those two resources you need. Finally, victory points are the best thing to get. However, this is just a 16% chance per card. That means you would need to spend 12 resources on average to get 1 victory point. Obviously, this is a far worse choice than just building those roads and settlement, or building that city. Both of those options also increase your productivity as well. So, overall there are some beneficial development cards, but your chances of getting them are very low and it is almost always worth it to invest your resources elsewhere. There are possibly only 3 instances where investing in development cards might be worth it. First, if you have a lot of cards in your hand, well over 7 and need to dump some but have no options what to buy. Second, if you are using the city-army strategy. Thirdly, if a lot of cards have been bought already and the vast majority of the cards are knights. This means the probabilities of getting a good card (especially victory points) are higher, and may be worth the 3 resources spent, especially if you are using the hybrid strategy. The Monopoly
One thing that I love to do, and am consequently always paranoid that others are trying, involves the monopoly development card. When you have this card and are deciding whether or not to play it, a great idea is to test the waters and see what other people have. Offer trades for different resources, even trades which you actually can’t do. The point of this is to get players to reveal what resources they have and how much. Then, with this information you can decide whether or not to use the monopoly card and take whatever resource people were just offering to trade you. If you are counting cards you can spot when someone is using this strategy when you notice them offering a trade you’re pretty sure they couldn’t do.
It’s time to once again discuss the ever-important initial placement of your two starting settlements. There is a habit which I see many new players practice, namely placing one of their two starting settlements on a port. Don’t do that. Or, I should say, try to avoid doing that. The reason is that you get far less dots by placing it there, and unless you are landing on a 2:1 port which you have at least 9 dots on at the end of placement, you will be very slow to expand. Placing on a port limits not only your productivity early in the game, which is crucial to success unless you’re lucky, but it also means you have less good spots to expand to. Think twice before doing it, even if you are taking a 2:1 port away from an opponent which would otherwise help them out a lot. This brings me to my second topic in this section: using initial placement to hinder your opponents. It’s mean, I know. As such, you should probably avoid doing it. When placing your initial settlements you should focus more on what placement helps you the most, than what it does to your neighbors. If the placement happens to block them from expanding to someplace they were planning, then all the better, but it’s not worth a worse initial placement to accomplish this. It’s in early expansion where you can really stick it to your opponents, robbing them of the spots they had been looking to expand to themselves. Another thing to consider in initial placement, if you are going for longest road, is whether or not your second city you put down can be easily connected by road with the first. This usually isn’t that important, but if you notice that another player is gearing up for a longest road race, it can be a deciding factor. Connecting your two starting settlements means you have to pay 1 brick and 1 wood less to get longest road, and it also means that you can have a road 15 segments long. Normally a player’s two settlements are separated for the whole game. This means that one segment is lying uselessly in some corner of the board and you only have 13 more you can place, making your maximum road size 14. This situation rarely occurs, but it is something to consider when placing your second settlement if you’re going to try to get longest road. The last piece of advice I have on this topic is to try get as many different numbers to place your settlements on. While it is awesome to have settlements on 6’s and 8’s, if you have both starting settlements on 6’s then you are taking a big gamble. If a lot of 6’s are rolled, then you’re going to do great. However, if none are rolled, then the game will be very boring for you. To ensure this doesn’t happen, place on a 6 and an 8 if you can, and make sure to be on 5 or 6 different numbers to start off with. Otherwise, you might get a turn of bad luck and miss out on that crucial early expansion piece.
Tips & Strategy
Dice Roll Probability
Tips & Strategy
The Robber So you’ve just rolled a 7 and have to move the robber. Right now he’s on one of your cities so you’re glad to get him off, but you’re winning the game right now or there is no obvious leader. Also, the earlier advice I gave still isn’t making the decision clear to you. Well, here are a few more tips that might help. If it is still early in the game (everyone has 2-4 victory points), consider putting the robber on the desert. This will make you friends with everyone and also make sure no one holds a grudge for that time when you put the robber on them and the number he was on was rolled 8 times in a row. Let’s say it’s later in the game, though, and there’s still no clear leader or you’re the leader. It’s your turn and you roll a seven. Do you place the robber on a 6 or an 8 which a couple of opponents are on, or do you block the largest source of brick in the game, which has been extremely hard to come by so far? Well, I usually opt for nailing more than one player at a time. Partly because it is more fair and partly because it prevents a single player from feeling threatened by you. And if that single player isn’t winning or isn’t competing with you directly in some way, then you should probably just try to stop the most amount of resources possible from falling into your opponents’ hands. Alternatively, you could place the robber on a spot which would help your opponents the most if it is rolled. For example, your opponent wants to take Longest Road away from you, but only has access to brick through one tile next to a city. Even though the number on that tile is low (2 - 4, or 10 - 12) it might be worth it to block, ensuring a dearth of brick for that player. Now, I’ve been focusing a lot lately on what to do when you are moving the robber. However, odds are most of the time you will be on the other side of the robber, cursing him as he steals from your settlements and cities which have worked so hard to gather resources. Apart from wallowing in depression over this ill-fate, what can you do? Well, the best thing is to play a soldier card or roll a seven. However, both of these are pretty unlikely so just let it go. Don’t let it distract you from your main goal. Don’t start investing in development cards just to get it off unless that spot being opened up immediately is the cornerstone to your victory. It will move eventually, after being satiated off the fat of your land. If you feel particularly nasty, do something to hurt whoever put the robber on you (keep it in-game though). Extra Advice
When expanding early in the game, do so using the following additional priorities on top of the ones mentioned in the basic strategy section: First, try to go for the spot with the most dots, second try to increase the diversity of the resources you produce, and lastly try to get to a nearby port. Try to buy something every turn. At least make sure you never end a turn with 6+ cards in your hand since you will probably get over 7 before your next chance to use them. However, if you’re just one resource away from getting a city or settlement you’ve been trying to build for a while, then ignore this advice and take the chance you’ll lose half your cards. Look for every combination of cards which will give you what you need to build. This is accomplished most importantly by remembering which ports you have access to. For example, if you have a 3:1 port, 1 brick, 1 wheat, 2 sheep, and 2 stone and no one will trade stone for wood (which you need to buy that settlement you’ve been working on for the past 4 turns), then remember your 3:1 port. Try trading that extra sheep for a stone and convert the three stone to a wood. Or, you could even try trading the two stone for two sheep and trade the three extra sheep for a wood. Last but not least, a great secret to doing well in Settlers of Catan is to keep a low profile. When you build something new don’t loudly announce it to the world. Constantly point out when someone else is winning or doing very well. Keep the focus off yourself by being kinder-than-normal with the robber. This will hopefully keep other players from early notice of when you’ve hit seven victory points and are geared for victory. It will also usually keep the robber off yourself more than you would think.
Tips & Strategy
Nothing can express how important the initial placement of the first two settlements is. In a certain sense, it determines the “life and death” of your game. Your failure can be determined by a bad placement, thus giving you a boring game. On the other hand, place your settlements wisely and you will be on your way to be titled the “Lord / Lady of Catan”. This guide serves to open you eyes to a few important keys when it comes to the initial placement. Please note that this is a step-by-step interactive guide.
he following is a board randomly generated for this guide. The first thing to note is when ever you play a new round, always take a minute to examine the board before anyone has placed any settlements. I have had encounters with various players who would rather not look at the board until it is their turn to place the settlements to avoid the disappointment of their opponents beating them to it. While this is true, your initial examination of the board should not only give you 1 or 2 places. You should be able to evaluate the various places, bringing all the variables and come up with a reason why that place is the best place for you based on your strategy. So, go ahead and try now. Try to identify which resources will be rare in the game, and where do you consider the best 1 or 2 spots on this board. (Try to answer this without looking at the answer below. All the rest of the questions should be done this way as well.)
Make sure you’re not cheating! Well, now that you’ve looked at the board, let’s see how good your analysis was. The first thing you should have noticed was that there is going to be a heck of a lot of wheat in this game. With three wheat hexes on a six or eight, there will be no starving settlers for sure. Next, you should have noticed that there will be a shortage of sheep and rock in this game. This is slightly unusual since sheep is rarely an uncommon resource when you play. Now, if you haven’t done so already, try to identify what you consider the best spot on the board. In case you are unable to have a clear picture of the board, i drew the board out on the left.
Tips & Strategy
There you go, the best spot on the board. Blue, or player 1, wisely placed his first settlement on this spot. Hopefully this was also the spot the you identified. In case you cannot really see it, it is in the upper right corner touching the “10” pasture, “5” wood, and “8” brick. Now let’s go over the reasons why this is the best place for Blue’s first settlement. (1) Count Dots - The first thing you should do to evaluate a potential site for a settlement is count the number of dots on the numbers it is next to. To understand what I mean by this, take a look at the circular tiles with numbers on them which mark the number to be rolled for a resource tile to produde. You should see under the number on each of these tiles a number of dots. Each dot represents a combination of dice which could be rolled that will result in that number being rolled. All you need to understand, though, is the more dots under a number, the more often that number will be rolled, and therefore the more resources you can expect to get from a tile with that number on it. The best numbers (six and eight) have five dots, while the worst (two and twelve) have one dot. So, to get an idea for how many resources a specific settlement location will give you, total up the number of dots on numbers on the three adjacent resource tiles. The highest total you can expect to see is 13. A settlement spot with a total number of dots 11 or higher will give you a lot of resources. As you can see, the spot the blue player picked had 12 dots. This is tied for the most number of dots a settlement location on the board has. (2) Resource Types - Next to the number of dots a potential site for a settlement has, you should also look at what type of resources can that site produce. If you have not yet picked one of the three overall strategies for victory in the game, a site with wood and brick or with rock and wheat is the most valuable, since it sets you well on your way to winning with one of those two strategies. If neither of those is available, then try to find a site with some other set of resources which work together. Just make sure to avoid something like a site with wood, ore, and sheep, unless you are set on using the middle road path to victory. As you can see, the blue player picked a great spot by choosing one with a lot of brick and a lot of wood. He could have picked the 9 (wood), 6 (wheat), 10 (sheep) spot nearby, since that one also has 12 dots. However, the resources on that one don’t work as well together since there is no brick-wood or wheat-ore combo. (3) Nearby Ports - The last thing to consider when placing your first settlement is what ports are near your settlement. I list this piece of advice third because it is pertinent to the placement just made, though when you are placing settlements later in this initial phase you should value expansion opportunities (which I will discuss later) more than ports. You should never place a settlement on a port start to begin, but it is always nice to be near a 2:1 port of a resource you will be generating a lot of. In my opinion, this part of your strategy should considered if the above two pieces of advice don’t make it abundantly clear which spot to put your settlement on. In any case, though, you can see that this starting spot for the blue player is even better than normal due to the nearby brick port. Since he/she already has a settlement on an “8” brick, the blue player can be sure that 2:1 port will get a lot of use.
Tips & Strategy
Now that the first player has picked the best spot on the board, the second player now must do the same with the remaining open spots. The second player should follow the same advice as the first player since there are usually two great spots to start the game off. Look at the map on the previous page again and identify which spot you would put your first settlement on if you were the second player, then keep reading to see if you picked correctly. * * * * * * * * * * * * This is difficult to see with the limitation of space but White, or Player 2, has cor rectly picked the new best spot on the board - between tiles “9” wood, “10” pastu re, and “6” wheat. Not only does this site is tied for the most amount of dots on the board, it is also next to a 2:1 wheat port, which the player can be getting a lot of since it’s nearby 6 wheat tiles. The only thing this settlement site is lacking is a good brick-wood or rock-wheat combination. Instead, it has wheat, wood, and sheep. This combination is actually not too bad either as these three resources are needed in building settlements. It is rather obvious at this point that the Blue Player has decided to go on the settlement / road (a.k.a. the brick / wood) path to victory, but the White Player is keeping his/her options open. White is poised for a great brick-wood strategy, though since there aren’t any good brick spots, White will probably have to end up using the hybrid strategy. Now that 2 good spots are taken, if you are player 3, where will you place your settlement? This will probably be the most difficult decision in the initial placement process. I personally hate going 3rd since you don’t get a great starting spot for a settlement and your next settlement doesn’t necessarily end up in a place which works with your first one, like the fourth player gets to do. Anyways, take another gander at the map and figure out where you would go as player three based on the three points of advice outlined before. * * * * * * * * * * * * This is truly a difficult decision for Orange, but the best spot was chosen. From the advice that I have given you thus far, you will notice that the site Orange chose has a total of 11 dots. The bad part of this choice is that the site has no resource synergy wood and ore don’t go together. The following is some extra advice to take into consideration when placing a settlement, which makes this the best spot for Orange.
Tips & Strategy
(1) Expansion Opportunities - The biggest reason why this site is the best option for Orange is the fact that there is a total of 11 dots. However, what solidifies this spot as the best option is the amount of decent spots around it. There are spots with 6 to 8 dots in all three directions of the initial spot. Once the game begins, all the good spots would have already been taken, so anything with 7 or more dots is a great place to expand to. Most starting settlement sites have only one or two expansion spots with such potential, but this particular spot has 3. To add more cream to the pie, there is a fourth spot with 5 dots and a 3:1 harbor. This means that after the first two or three settlements are on the board, Orange has to decide where to expand to. However, also bear in mind that that if a spot is too good, someone else will probably put one of their starting settlements on it. Judging by the potential of the areas around Orange’s spot, there is a risk that someone might just take one of his expansion spots, but we’ll see what happens. (2) Resource Rarity - The other reason why this is a great spot for Orange is that it provides great access to two resources that are going to be quite rare in this game: wool and ore. We noted earlier that these two resources will be rare and therefore any player with easy access to either will be able to use them to get better trades. Having access to both makes it seem like taking candy from a baby. This does, in a certain sense, make up for the lack of any good combinations of the three resources this settlement provides. (Do note that the ore-wood combination will be especially frustrating in the later parts of the game, when Orange will have a lot of both but will be unable to use them.) With that over and done with, there is another difficult decision to be made. Player 4 is stuck with 2 mediocre settlement spots, but has the amazing advantage of being able to make sure they work well together. Which 2 spots will you pick? * * * * * * * * * * * * * Whoops~ Player 4 (Red) was left with some tough deci sions, and I believe Red did make a mistake here. Red de cided to place his settlement on “6” and “11” wheat with “5” wood, and the other at “4” ore and “8” wheat, with the other tile being the de sert. The placement of the “6” wheat, “5” wood, and “11” wheat is quite obvious, since it has 11 dots. However, wood and wheat don’t work well together, thus leaving Red to pick a good spot for the other settlement to make up for this. There are 3 spots on the board which have a decent amount of dots left: the “10” wood, “8” wheat spot, the “4” ore, “8” wheat spot, the “6” wheat, “4” brick, “2” sheep spot, and the “11” wheat, “4” brick, “9” ore spot. The other wheat-wood spot should obviously be eliminated since it leaves the player with only wheat and ore overall and no 2:1 ports for either. While Red probably made a poor decision here, which will greatly aid another player later as you will see, he had a good reason for doing so.
Tips & Strategy
(1) Number Diversity - It is understandable why most people would have chosen the 11-9-4 spot at this point. There are more resources there, and now Red has some brick to match up with the wood. Overall, I would say this is a better spot for Red to place his/ her second settlement. The only big downside to it is a minimal amount of expansion opportunities. However, Red must have missed this spot when evaluating the board (it happens) and instead of picked between the 6-4-2 and the 8-4 spots. If it were down to these 2 spots, then Red made the right choice because otherwise Red would have had 2 settlements on very similar numbers (2 sixes). I have found that it is extremely dangerous to put your starting two settlements on two sixes or two eights. It’s even worse if you are also on two 9’s and two 5’s. The reason for this is the resources you get will come in much larger bursts and you will probably have to discard half of them more than once in the game. But, if you have a large amount of different numbers that your settlements are on, then your resources will come in at a more steady rate. Also, you won’t be as subject to chance. Sometimes some numbers just aren’t rolled at all in a game. If that happens to you when you have many settlements on these numbers, it will be a very boring game. So, don’t forget to keep in mind the diversity of numbers factor when placing your second settlement. We’re halfway done now. As usual, where do you think Orange should place his second settlement? * * * * * * * * * * * * * Luckily for Orange, there is a great spot left on the board which matches up perfectly with his/her first settlement. The 6-4-3 spot not only has the most number of dots left on all spaces on the board, it also gives Orange decent access to the 2 resources that he/she was lacking: brick and wheat. This spot also gives Orange a great diversity of numbers with not a single repeat between the 2 settle ments. The only down side to this spot is few expansion opportunitites, but the amount of expansion opportunity’s his/her first placement allowed should make up for this. Orange has a lot of options with this placement, and could either take the ore-wheat route to victory or the hybrid route. Hopefully this choice was obvious for you, since it follows very well from the lessons taught thus far. Remember to first look for the spaces with the most dots, and then look at those locations using the other bits of advice presented. When placing your second settlement you should solidify which path to victory you will be taking (ore-wheat, brick-wood, or middle-road) and have a few expansion possibilites. It is also good to be near a port which you can use. Orange will probably be taking the hybrid path and, as you can see, doesn’t have an access to any one particular resource. This means that a 3:1 harbor would be perfect for Orange. Now, with this done, where do you think White should place the second settlement?
Tips & Strategy
White is now able to take advantage of Red’s mistake. By picking the 9-4-11 spot, White adds a great resource of ore and a decent supply of brick, both of which White was lacking. With this spot White, much like Orange, has opened up the possibility between using a hybrid strategy or the ore-wheat way. The extra wheat from “11” wheat will be useful for White at the 2:1 wheat port nreaby. The only 2 negative reasons is a limited amount of expansion sites, and two settlements being placed on both “9”s. Finally, where do you think Blue will place his second settlement? * * * * * * * * * * * * * Well, Blue placed at the best spot available. It is not a great location by the standards we were looking at with Blue’s first settlement, but it does give a little more brick, and access to wheat, which is necessary to build settle ments while using the brick wood method. Perhaps more importantly, it gives player one some expansion oppor tunities, which he/she needs badly because his/her first settlement is so blocked in. Now, this brings us to the end of our placement tutorial. Hopefully you now have a better grasp on what your priorities should be when placing your initial settlements. Remember to always look first for the most number of dots and secondly for resource variation which will be in line with whatever strategy you are using for victory.
The first major expansion for The Settlers of Catan was released in 1997, with the name “Seafarers”. This expansion is rumoured to be closer to what Klaus Teuber had imagined while designing The Settlers of Catan. Some have also argued that this is one of the best expansion to the game. Let us delve deeper into the game and you be the judge if you will enjoy this expansion or not.
hen Teuber was designing The Settlers of Catan, he envisioned an expedition to a new island, which, as we discussed earlier, was probably by the Vikings. Seafarers was so a part of the original plan that it is said that the Seafarers rules were part of the original game design. Teuber was so facinated with ocean exploration that he also created another game called “Entdecker” around that same theme. To play this, one needs to have the original base set. Also, if you want to play this with 5 or 6 players, you would have to get the base set with the 5-6 player expansion as well as the Seafarers with its 5-6 player expansion set. The idea of Seafarers revolves around the fact that Catan is an island. Look at Indonesia or, Japan, and Philippines. The one thing they have in common is that even though they are made up of many islands. Now, imagine Catan as being part of a geographical landscape like theirs. Seafarers takes that idea and brings it into the basic game. Now, there are islands besides Catan that can be explored. Let’s take a look at how the game has changed.
What has changed? The one thing you notice when first setting up is that there is just no way to randomly arrange the board. There is a series of scenarios for you to pick from written in the rule book. In fact, there are separate maps of the same scenario depending on the number of players. Each scenario is independent of each other. This means you would not need to play the scenarios in successive order. Each scenario has its own winning conditions, special rules, and even resource tiles. There is also a new thing that can be built: ships. Ships act just like roads except that they must touch a sea tile. They also contribute to your longest road bonus (Longest road sounds kind of weird so in Seafarers, that is changed to “Longest Trade Route”). The unique thing about the ship is that, unlike its counterpart, the ship, under certain circumstances, can be moved. The final change is the addition of Gold River Tiles. These are encountered when exploring and are usually very far away from the starting settlements. Due to its uniqueness, they usually have low probability numbers on them. Why make them so difficult? The reason is that the Gold River tiles gives you any 1 resource when you have a settlement next to the them. Now, imagine what happens if you have a city there in stead of a settlement? Well, then you get any 2 resources of your choice, whatever they may be.
Catan has now become very different from how it initially was. It has been enriched with fishermen, rivers, castles, trading routes, and even desert-dwelling camels. This once simple island with its hexagonal terrain, wild and waiting to be explored, has now had every corner and crevice explored and exploited. Will this be to the island’s advantage, or will it muddy Catan’s once simple pleasures?
Traders & Barbarians
t was a very long time before this expansion was released. But when it really was released, it was as if Klaus Teuber had taken all the years planning many expansions to Catan and finally, threw it all into one expansion. Traders & Barbarians is really five expansion in one. As a result, you certainly get your money’s worth in terms of quantity. But how do these expansions fit with the base set? Additions: Traders & Barbarians offers Catan settlers 5 new scenarios to try out: The Fishermen of Catan, The Rivals of Catan, Caravans of Catan, Barbarian Attack, and the titular Traders and Barbarians. Each one increases in complexity. I will just briefly summarize the individual scenarios here. Fishermen - The simplest of the five. It simply consists of fish as a new resource with rolling numbers now set up along the coasts and on a lake which takes the place of the desert. These fish can be traded in for a number of different items or actions, such as other resources, development cards, moving the robber, etc. Its an easy addition which adds an extra level of options and makes the coastlines a little more desirable to build on. Rivers - Two rivers are added to the board in this scenario which increases the value of settlements and cities built beside them. Bridges are also added in order to cross rivers with your road. Coins are introduced in this game, which gives victory points to the wealthiest player and takes away points for the poorest players Caravans - Caravans sees the desert playing a larger role as camels merge and form caravans across the island. Settlements, cities and roads build on caravan routes are worth more. The direction of the caravan is determined by a voting round, which is interesting but seems un-Catan like. Barbarian - In this scenario, barbarians are constantly showing up on the coastal hexes, and players must use knights to scare them off. Barbarians can conquer cities and prevent resource collection. Traders & Barbarians - This scenario adds a whole new element to Catan as commodities are transported around the island by wagons. It brings in the railroad element into Catan. Other additions include event cards being used instead of dice, a Harbor Master card (similar to the largest army but uses harbors instead), and rules for a 2-player game and a friendly robber game.
Cities & Knights Cities and Knights bring a whole new dimension to Catan as we know it. You get to control your soldiers on the map instead of just having cards representing them, you get to research new special abilities, and barbarians now attack the island regularly. This game adds many layers of complexity to Settlers, making it much more interesting from a strategic perspective.
here are many changes in this expansion. For one, there is no longer the largest army bo nus and there are no more development cards. Instead of drawing knights from the devel opment cards pile, you now need to buy them and place them on the board. These knights can then be upgraded to be more powerful. Knights are used to harass opponents, restrict your opponents expansion by blocking their path, but more importantly, to fend off the barbarian hordes which attacks Catan every so often. These enemies live on a black ship which slowly moves closer to the island. Once they arrive at the island you resolve the attack. If the barbarians are defeated, the person with the most amount of knights gets an extra victory point. Otherwise, the player(s) with the least amount of knights turns a city into a settlement. While knights are important in the game, let’s not forget the other half of the title: cities. These are your major source of a new type of resource card which this expansion introduces, called commodities. There are three commodities: coin, paper, and cloth. Coin comes from ore, paper from wood, and cloth from sheep. You use commodities to increase your knowledge in three areas: science (paper), military (coin), and trade (cloth). Eventually, when you increase the research of an area enough, you will get a metropolis in that area. A metropolis is worth 2 victory points and is placed on top of any of your cities. That city can now never be destroyed by the barbarians. Much like the longest road, if someone researches more than you in an area then they take that metropolis from you. On your way to getting a metropolis you can also get useful special abilities from your research. One new feature in this expansion is that instead of merely rolling 2 dice, Cities & Knights have 3 dice to roll - the same 2 red & yellow dice from the original set and a third one with different symbols on it. This new die is used to determine if the barbarians get closer to the island and to determine if anyone gets progress cards. Progress cards give a player many special advantages and have replaced development cards in the game. There are three different decks of progress cards, one for each area of research. Each deck has a different feel to the sort of bonuses they give. Blue progress cards usually deal with knights or the robber, yellow ones usually deal with trading, and green ones provide advatages for building new settlements or cities. These cards can be extremely useful and are far more powerful than the old development cards. The great difference with the original in this area is that now you can also play as many of them as you like per turn. Cities & Knights add so much depth to the game. You now risk losing your cities, win bonus points by being the “Defender of Catan” (fend of the barbarians with the strongest army to get this point), and even the progress cards add unexpected twists to the game. For instance, there is one green progress card which you can play to switch any of the two numbers on the board (except 2, 12, 6, or 8). The addition of research via commodities is also a bonus to the game as it adds many new options to players when forming a strategy for victory.
Every Catan expansion has its own share of challenges and fun. But imagine how much more fun it will be when we combine the base set with more than 1 expansion! I remember the first time I played The Settlers of Catan with Seafarers and Cities & Knights. It was such a different experience and I truly enjoyed it. The question is always which expansions go well together?
ith 3 expansions and a whole lot of scenarios and components, some combinations can be rather exciting and make sense, while others are not recommendable. In this section, we will be looking at some rules for the various combinations to those of you who enjoy trying new things out. But really, the sky is the limit. Let your creativity flow freely. These rules are only there to aid you but are not rigid. You can continuously improve and optimize them through the experience you have gathered while playing.
The Fishermen of Catan - The Rivers of Catan This is playable. In this combination, the lake is not included and also if you play 6 fish, you can build a bridge. The Fishermen of Catan - The Caravans This is also playable. The lake replaces a forest tile. This is placed next to an oasis. The number “12” is placed next to the number “2”. This tile produces one of the two numbers rolled. The game ends when a player has achieved 12 victory points or more. The Fishermen of Catan - Barbarian Attack Playable. In this scenario, the lake is not included. It is not possible to drive away the Robber by paying 2 fish. If you do pay 2 fish, you may move one of your knights over a distance up to 5 tiles. You must not build a road next to a coastal tile conquered by the barbarians, not even if you pay fish. The same rules that apply for using harbors apply for using fishing grounds adjacent to conquered terrain tiles. The Fishermen of Catan - Traders & Barbarians In this scenario, the lake is also not included. It is not possible to drive away the Robber by paying 2 fish. Instead, you may pay 2 fish as a substitute for grain, to continue moving the baggage train across another 2 tiles. The Rivers of Catan - The Caravans Before setup, remove the following tiles from play: 2 mountains, 2 hills, 2 pasture, 1 field, and the dessert. Place the rivers following the setup of The Rivers of Catan. Place the oasis at the center of the island. The remaining tiles are randomly placed. Before placing the number tokens, set aside “2” and “12”. Now, distribute the remaining number tokens at your discretion. (Because 2 tokens were removed, placing the tokens in alphabetical order won’t work!) Make sure that the red numbers are not placed next to each other. Once you have distributed the number tokens, place the “2” and “12” tokens next to the two “3” tiles. These tiles produce whenever one of the two numbers is rolled. Camels can also be placed on building sites for bridges, no matter if the site already has a bridge or not. Camels have the same effect on bridges as on roads.
Other Catan Series
Other Catan Series The Rivals For Catan The Rivals for Catan is the reimplementation of the Catan Card Game. It adds one additional mechanic to the original - card drafting. The Rivals for Catan is a 2 player game. In this game, Each player portrays a prince for Catan trying to develop their individual provinces and competing to build a more successful province than the other. The basics of the game is similar to the original Catan Card Game, where players expand their provinces by building settlements connected by roads. Players may also build expansions in their settlements that aid them in various ways, or upgrade their settlements to cities to allow more expansions to be built. They build these additions by using resources that they accumulate each turn, which are determined by the roll of a die. Cards are drawn on each turn to replenish the players’ hands. The players may also use action cards that directly affect either their own province or their opponent’s province. The Rivals for Catan: Age of Darkness This is a 90-card expansion (30 cards for each theme) for The Rivals for Catan. It includes three separate theme sets that can be used with the base game. They include: The Era of Intrigue - You will witness the confrontation of followers of new and old beliefs and take part to determine Catan’s spiritual balance. “Religious Dispute” causes both players to lose cards while Churches and Temples minimiz es the loss. Temple cards also strengthen your access to your own draw stack. Church cards lure opposing heroes and earn gold. With a Church and a Temple, you may build the Great Thing stead and end the conflict. The Era of Merchant Princes - Using the “Commercial Harbor” and the “Merchant’s Residences”, decisive buildings in the struggle for trade advantage, players try to control Catan’s commerce. “Maritime Trade Monopolies” and the “Master Merchants” enhance trade ships. “The Shipbuilder” reduces the building costs of ships. Dominate trade using clever card combinations! The Era of Barbarians - Use Castles, Border Fortresses, the Strategist, the Caravel, and new heroes to fend off both the barbarian attacks and your rival’s efforts to dominate your holdings. This expansion will definitely take your game to another level.
Note: Klaus Teuber recently wrote about a new expansion for The Rivals of Catan called the “Age of Enlightenment”. It is yet to be released.
A year after the release of The Rivals for Catan marked the release of The Struggle for Catan. This time, as compared to The Rivals of Catan, the card game goes beyond just 2 players. The Struggle for Catan is a game for 2 - 4 players (can be played with 5 to 6 players with 2 sets). Just like the original board game, players need to manage their resources in order to build settlements, roads, cities, city improvements and knights, all of which grant victory points or special abilities. Control of roads and knights can change hands during the game, so don’t assume that what’s yours will stay yours. City improvements are expensive, but they bring you additional points and other bonuses, so strive to spiff up your cities! The first player to have ten points wins the game.
Other Catan Series
The Struggle for Catan
Different from The Rivals of Catan, this game is dice-less and resource gain and exchanging is based on each player’s developments making this version less luck dependent than the original. A twist in the game is that certain developments are limited and can be stolen from other players once there are no new ones left. Catan Dice Game Being true to the original board game, the Catan Dice Game is too about building settlements, roads, cities, and hiring knights. The only difference with the board game is that the Catan Dice Game has no board. Every player has their own score card called the “building sheet”, which depicts a mini Catan. You build by drawing the settlements and roads on your score card. You would still require resources to build. These are collected by throwing 6 special dice (that depicts the different resources) up to three times. After each roll, the player can select which dice to keep and which to roll again. In the end, he may build using the thusly determined resources, and is awarded victory points for any finished buildings, which are recorded on the score card. This game is for 1 - 4 players, lasting about 15 - 30 minutes.
Catan: Junior Explore the seas! Catan: Junior introduces a modified playing style of the classic Settlers of Catan, giving players as young as five a perfect introduction to the Catan series of games. Catan: Junior takes place on a ring of islands where 2 to 4 players build hideouts and encounter the mysterious Spooky Island, where the Ghost Captain lives. Each island generates a specific resource: wood, goats, molasses or swords, and players can acquire gold. Each player starts with two pirate hideouts on different islands, and they can use the resources they acquire to build ships, hideouts or get help from Coco the Parrot. By building ships, they can expand their network; the more hideouts they build, the more resources they may receive. Just watch out for the dreaded Ghost Captain! Be the first player to control seven pirate hideouts, and you win!
Other Catan Series
Candamir: The First Settler With the new Catan-game "The First Settlement", Klaus Teuber distances himself the most from the well-known game mechanics of the Settlers series. 2 to 4 players take on the role of newcomers to Catan and learn how the adventurous life in the first settlement played itself out. They explore, using a new movement mechanic, for the raw materials they need to build the settlement. Along the way, they discover useful natural products - but also encounter wild animals and are confronted with adventurous situations. Those who survive these encounters obtain the raw materials they sought as well as experience points that improve the abilities of the player's character. Over time, then, the player becomes stronger, smarter or more charismatic and is better and better suited for the dangers of the wild. Back in the village, the natural products can be used to brew beverages while the raw materials are used for building. Through this building, the settlement grows and players obtain victory points. The main attraction of the game lies in the exploration of the island and the development of the individual player characters. But trading and interaction between the players is also important. The game take a total of about 60 minutes. Elasund: The First City Elasund? The little settlement on the coast? Well, those days are long gone. Elasund is growing rapidly and Catanians are streaming into the city eager to make a fortune! You are appointed to help the city develop. You heed the call to drive the city’s growth and prosperity forward. You have already hired workers and acquired bulding materials. What will your next build ing project be? And, just as important, where will it be? You are not the only developer in town, so you will need to be savvy and resourceful. Your competition is eager to outperform you and claim all of the credit! Fortunately, you’ll get the hand of this business quickly. Despite having limited resources early on you have enough gold to construct your first few small buildings. Your influential connections will provide you with all the necessary building permits! Once a building is constructed, it can start generating gold or influence for your use. Soon this flow of materials will allow you to start going after bigger projects! You may even become involved in the construction of the town church or the city walls. But beware of your competitors! They may try to leverage their way into your neighborhood with their own permits! If you don’t watch themclosely enough, they might even attempt a hostile takeover of your buildings! Will you emerge as Elasuand’s most influential city developer? Find out in this new Catan adventure! Elasund is a game for 2 to 4 players with a gaming time of 60 - 90 minutes.
The 19th Century has arrived and America is heading west. Wagon trains of settlers seeking fresh lives and opportunities strike out to tame the wild land of the west. From the vast prairies they wrest fertile land for crops and grazing lands for their voracious cattle herds. As more and more settlers head west, new cities pop up like mushrooms. Due to the distances between them, these new cities quickly come to rely on young railroads for the transport of vital goods. Trails become rails and create great wealth. Soon, a complex railroad network develops, and steam belching iron horses connect the thriving cities.
Other Catan Series
Settlers of America - Trails to Rails
Experience the pioneer days of the Wild West! Send your settlers west to found cities and to develop the expanding railroad network. If you are the first to use your trains to deliver 8 goods to your opponents’ cities (or 10 goods in a 3-player game), you win the game and fulfill your manifest destiny as the era’s greatest pioneer. Settlers of America “Trails to Rails” utilizes the simple, fun Catan hex-tile grid to map the young United States. Collect and trade resources in order to purchase and move settlers, build cities, lay rails, and acquire and move trains. Create rail links to acquire gold, which lets you buy resources and use opponents’ rails. Use trains to distribute goods to rival cities. But, as your settlers populate the West, they deplete the resources of the East. Still, your options always abound! A fun game for 3 - 4 players over 120 minutes. The Settlers of the Stone Age
Come join in the adventure that is the dawn of Humankind! Will your tribe journey far and fast ? Will they surmount the pain dangers of this world? Will they bring you victory and survival ? Are you ready to play in this newest creation of Master game designer Klaus Teuber Based on the awardwinning Settlers of Catan game system, but presenting players with all-new challenges unique to the dangers and opportunities of the Stone Age. The first branches of this family began a journey that spanned thousands of years, eventually leading them to Australia and America.
In this exciting game, you will guide the journey of one of these branches. You must struggle to spread your people over the whole world. In order to expand your branch humanity you must develop certain talents: advances in the preparation of food will allow your people to spread faster and wider, while new hunting techniques can protect them from dangers. This game of 3 - 4 players spreads over 90 - 120 minutes.
Other Catan Series
Struggle For Rome Struggle for Rome is a new Settlers of Catan game for 3-4 players over 120 minutes. The game can be compared with the Settlers historical scenarios. On the board you have a fixed map that represents southern Europe. The players represent Germanic tribes that are marching on Rome. Each player has two armies that start in the northeastern corner of the board. These armies will move across the board, pillaging cities for resources. The Romans rule over an enormous empire. It stretches from Great Britain to North Africa, from Spain across the Black Sea. But now, Rome holds its imperial breath. The empire is weak, and wild barbarian hordes from the vast eastern steppes surge across the frontier. You are the ruler of one of those barbarian hordes, pouring into the rich and decadent West. Fast horsemen and dangerous warriors - lured by the rich Roman cities ready for plunder - follow your every command. Your noble tribe is strong, but rival princes stand in your way! Are you wily enough to outmaneuver them? Can you find a swifter way to your rich goals? Can you concentrate your savage forces at the crucial moment? Can you outpace the other princes as you pillage city after city? But before your warriors grow weary of wandering, will you have enough wealth from plundering to found your own kingdom? Your fate is in your hands: civilization is ripe for conquest! Will you forge a mighty new kingdom? Or disappear into the vortex of history? Will you be the one to inherit the storied glory of Rome? Catan Geographies - Germany Germany was founded in 1949 and reunited in 1989. Therefore, the year 2009 will be Germany’s 60th birthday and the 20th Anniversary of the Reunion. Klaus Teuber and the Kosmos Verlag wanted to do something special for this event and will bring out this gorgeous version of their The Settlers of Catan game - a game for 3-4 players over 60 minutes. It will feature a map of Germany, designed by Michale Menzel, and some slightly simplified rules. You will be able to build city landmarks as for example the ‘Brandenburger Tor’ or the ‘Dresdner Dom’ in one of the 12 possible cities. All these landmarks will be in the box as plastic miniatures of significant detail. In short: A must have for all German Catanien and a good addition to the collection of every other wood-for-sheep-enthusiast.
Explore and settle the storied land of Germany using the elegant, award-winning game design from The Settlers of Catan. Here, you will find great social interaction, simple rules, beautiful German geography, rich history and lore, and 12 wonderfully-sculpted landmarks. Catan Geographies: Germany is a game about trade, building, and settlement. Start with town halls in 3 cities. Then build roads to neighboring cities, where you can purchase landmarks and new town halls. Town halls create resource production, while the unique landmarks generate special awards. Both yield victory points - as do the Longest Road, Largest Army, and historicallybased victory point cards. So, have fun with friends or family while casually discovering the novel geography and history of Germany.
The foray into space, sometime near the year 2700 A.D. Compete for the prestigious post of Ambassador to the Galactic Council. To attain this lofty position, players must leave Terra and the known planets to explore and colonize the galaxy, while working to establish trade with alien cultures, encounter aliens, and defeat pirates. Glory and victory go to the brave and astute explorer upon whom luck smiles. The known worlds lie at one end of the game board, where each of the 3 or 4 players begins from known solar systems, each with 3 planets producing raw materials needed for the travels into deep space. Each player begins with 2 Colonies and a Space Port (all components are made from plastic). The Space Port makes starships to transport your new colonies and trade posts to distant lands. Throughout the game, all the colonies and spaceports enable the production of resources when the dice match the numbers of adjacent planets. Resources are traded for colony ships, trade ships, and fleet upgrades of freight rings, booster rockets, and cannon. Beware as you explore—some planets are covered in ice, and some conceal dangerous pirates.
Other Catan Series
The Starfarers of Catan
This “out-of-space” experience is for 3-4 players over 120 minutes. Starship Catan Starship Catan is a 2-player card game over 60 minutes that is themati cally similar to Starfarers of Catan, but has different game play. Players ex plore randomly shuffled decks of cards looking for potential colonies, good trading deals, opportunities to help planets, and either avoid or combat pirates. Players can upgrade their ships’ systems, including weapons to combat the pirates, thrusters to be able to explore further each turn, scan ners to see (and avoid) cards that are coming up, and several others. Victory points are earned by establishing colonies, building upgraded ship’s systems, having the most friendship points, and having the most hero points. The first player to 10 VP’s wins.
Wo r l d
The highest honor in the competitive realm of The Settlers of Catan is to win the World Wide Catan Championships. It is held annually in different countries across the nation. Malaysia has been a part of this tournament too. But what really is the World Wide Catan Championships? History
he World Wide Catan Championships began at the 2002 Essen Spiel (The biggest gaming convention for board gaming, role-playing games, etc., in the world with over 154,000 guests in 2011. Known as the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL, often called Essen after the city where it is held, the convention is a four-day game trade fair held in October at the Messe Essen exhibition centre in Essen. In this convention, many Eurogames are released) and featured 32 contestants from 18 countries around the world. Ireland’s Jacques Kieft raised the trophy as the first ever World Wide Catan Championships champion. Since then, the World Wide Catan Championships has gone through many changes, year after year. In 2005, the tournament boasted 52 players from 28 countries and in 2007, 56 players participated. 2008 marked a major transition for the World Wide Catan Championships as the tournament went from an annual event to semi-annual event that would alternate between Europe and the United States. With intervening years filled with regional championships such as the European Championships, Pacific Rim Championships (held in Australia) and the NACC (North American Catan Championships). In 2008 the tournament came to America for the first time and took place at Gen Con, the largest consumer gaming show in the United States, held annually in Indianapolis, IN. Participating countries included: Taiwan, Austria, Australia, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. This tournament saw the first American to win the champtionship, with second place going to Australia. In 2010 the World Wide Catan Championship became a standalone event, instead of something held during the hustle and bustle of a gaming convention. With the 10th anniversary of the world championships, the event returned to Germany in the spectacular medieval castle Wildenstein. In this magnificent setting, Erwin Pauelsen of the Netherlands secured first place. In 2012, the WWCC will return to the United States, to a location steeped in American history, Normandy Farms near Valley Forge, PA.
The highest placed Malaysian in the championships is Triona, finishing 4th in the 2007 World Wide Catan Championships. This year, the championships is on again and it will be in USA. Sage Boardgame Cafe is proud to be a partner in hosting the Malaysian Qualifiers. The format of the qualifiers were as such: Every participant must buy a Catan set (this can be the base sets or the expansions, or 2 small expansions). Rounds were held every Saturday and Sunday, from 12pm to 6pm, beginning April until the end of June. Participants are allowed to play as many rounds as they can during the competition hours. Each round must consist of 4 players - no more, no less. Scores for every round is recorded and placed on the national leaderboard. Of all the participants, 16 will be chosen to enter the finals, which will be held on Sunday, 29 July 2012, at Bangsar Village I, being part of a major gaming convention known as THINK-CON 2012. Of the 16, 8 will be chosen by means of having the highest total scores throughout the heats, the other 8 having the highest average score. From these 16 finalists, only 1 will win an expense-paid trip for 2 to USA to compete in the 2012 World Wide Catan Championships.
Sage Boardgame Cafe is also proud to announce that 4 participants from Kluang will be competiting in the finals, by entry of having the highest total scores. They are Isaac Wong, Tan Chee Rui, Renee Too, and Bryan Boo. The Sage Council is privileged to interview Isaac Wong about his board gaming history and his feelings about the tournament. Sage: Isaac:
What was your first impression of board games? I remember walking into a board game cafe once and the first game introduced was Ticket to Ride. I really did not enjoy that game at that time. I felt it was boring. It was after I went to another board game cafe that I started to enjoy board games. Today, I’m an avid board gamer who is in love with Ticket to Ride as well!
Sage: Being a dance instructor and all, did you ever expect yourself to become an avid board gamer? Isaac: To be honest, no. After the first experience at the first cafe, I did not have much of a good impression of board games. It took quite some time and much persuasion before I plucked the courage to walk into a board game cafe again. This time, my friend brought me to Sage. From that moment onwards, I just fell in love with board gaming. On the outlook, it may not seem the case. In fact, I was recently asked for my reason for taking leave end of this month. When I answered that it was for a board game tournament, my boss laughed. I think no one will expect me to be an avid board gamer. Sage: Isaac:
What kind of games do you like and dislike? Generally speaking, I enjoy strategy games. Games that require me to plan ahead, reason, create a game plan, and execute while making sure my opponents do not beat me. Games like Tikal, The Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Cluedo, and 7 Wonders are among some of my favorite games. I really do not like Chicken Cha Cha Cha and Geistesblitz. Maybe it is just not my kind of games. I also do not yet know how to enjoy really heavy strategy games without the element of luck. One experience was when I played Dungeon Petz. It was so heavy and had no luck element in it that I was wrecking my brains to play it. Maybe I’m just not at that level yet. Maybe someday.
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On the subject of The Settlers of Catan, what made you join the competition? It initally was to support my friend. My first experience with Catan was not a good one as I was tired after a day’s work. I didn’t enjoy the game at all at that time. But my friend told me that Catan was really an excellent game to play so taking his words for it, I played it again. Lo and behold, I loved it! Based on this two reasons, I joined the competition.
Which version of Catan is your favorite? I own the Seafarers expansion but possibly due to my busy schedule that steals time away from me to play this expansion, I have been playing the base set only. So, I would say that my current favorite is The Settlers of Catan, the original game.
We all know that initial placement is important in Catan. What do you look for when placing them? I have played a lot of Catan and therefore I pretty much know what numbers appear quite often. With this information, I look for high probability numbers put together on a variety of resources. If I were to choose, I feel that ore is the most important resource and will look to secure it.
How has board gaming benefited you? Board games help me relax. In the line of work I am in, I need to always choreograph new dances, settle admin issues etc. Board games help me relieve stress. Yes, though strategy games require thinking but it is an enjoyable one. It is very different from the thinking required at work. Of course, it has made me closer with my friends who come board gaming with me.
Before we end, is there anything you would like to say to the readers? Board games are fun and healthy. It helps strengthen bonds between friends and family. There will be games that is not our genre, some we grow to love, some we just simply love. There will be times where we win, other times we lose. No matter what, board games are truly a fun and healthy way of entertainment. It is not a waste of time. Instead, it builds our critical thinking, social skills, reaction, etc. And for those of you who think board games are for kids only, try playing and you will see that you are wrong. Board games are played by adults throughout the world. Even CEOs of large corporations play board games. Try playing and you will find the joys and fun of board games. I’m sure you will find your kind of games and enjoy it with your friends and family.
Mayfair Games announced that Star Trek: Catan will be released at Gen Con, Indianapolis in August 2012 and will be sold exclusively through U.S.A. based Target® stores beginning in the autumn. Star Trek: Catan™ transports the timeless game play of The Settlers of Catan™ to the final frontier of the Star Trek universe. Designed by legendary Catan creator Klaus Teuber, this game features a randomized game board so the game is different each time you play. Star Trek: Catan™ brings the beloved characters of the original Star Trek series to life through a series of support cards. Enlist the aid of ten classic Star Trek characters including Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura as you settle and develop worlds necessary for the expansion and survival of the Federation.
Board Game News
Board Game News
Fantasy Flight Games announced the upcoming release of “Seekers of Knowledge”, a deluxe expansion with a strong focus on Miskatonic University and the first release in a new distribution model for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. Dedicated to the daring faculty, scientists, investigators, and explorers of Miskatonic University, Seekers of Knowledge and its 165 cards (three copies each of fifty-five individual cards) provide a significant boost to the hopes of humanity. This expansion is scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter of 2012. Stay tuned for more updates.
Donald X. Vaccarino’s “Kingdom Builder” from Queen Games has won the 2012 Spiel des Jahres award, Germany’s “game of the year” award. This is Vaccarino’s second Spiel des Jahres award after winning in 2009 for “Dominion”. “Kingdom Builder” sells for RM 239 at Sage Boardgame Cafe.
“Al Rashid” is a new game from a new publisher called “Yemaia” but not-so -new designers Giorgio De Michele and Pierluca Zizzi. It is a game based on worker placement, influence, resource management, and the efficient scoring of points. This game is scheduled to be released at Spiel 2012 in October.
DC Comics Deck-Building Game is scheduled to be released in August 2012. In addition to this, Cryptozoic Entertainment has announced a nondeck-building, Batman-specific two-player game due out in September 2012 titled “Batman, Arkham City Escape”.
Sage Boardgame Cafe News Sage News
Sage Boardgame Cafe will be having weekly LCG nights. We will be designated one night every week for LCG nights. It will be a night where LCG players can meet other players, and pit their decks against others. Besides just being a platform to meet other LCG players and put your custom decks to the test, LCG nights also serve as a competition. Scores will be recorded every round in terms of wins and losses. Scores will be accumulated and the player with the highest average score for the month will receive a cash prize. Updates will be up on our Facebook page soon. So do like our Facebook page at www.facebook. com/sageboardgame so that you are sure you won’t miss any updates.
In support of this event, Sage Boardgame Cafe will be offering a special promotion for base LCGs (Warhammer Invasion: The Card Game, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game). Purchases of 4 or more sets in a single purchase gives you a 10% discount for each set. You can find out more about LCGs at Sage Boardgame Cafe and enquire more about this tournament too. This promotion is only until 31 July 2012.
Sage Boardgame Cafe is currently looking for a lady Game Coordinator. So if you love to have fun, love to work with people, enjoy making people happy, and love playing board games, email your resume to [email protected]
or make your way to Sage Boardgame Cafe for an interview! Note: Basic ability to read English is required.
Sage Boardgame Cafe offers corporate training services in the area of critical thinking, team-work, resource management, social skills, etc. These training will be done through the usage of board games and board game-related activities. To find out more, do visit us at the cafe.
Thinking of having a board game competition but have no idea how? Want to have a board game retreat somewhere but need someone to plan and run your events? Sage Boardgame Cafe does offers board gaming event management services. Like the above, do visit us at the cafe for more information.
In the event that you would like to purchase any game, do email us at [email protected]
or call us at 07-7083797 or 07-7080731. Beginning from our next issue, we will be having a Bulletin section. If you have any announcement or game you would like to sell, or even to arrange a meetup, do email us at [email protected]
sageboardgame.tk. We will try to accomodate as many as we can. Also, if you want to contribute to the magazine by writing an article or a review, or submit a drawing, or anything related to board gaming or Sage Boardgame Cafe, do submit it to [email protected]
for review. If it is suitable, we will publish as many as we can in this magazine. The next issue of The Sage Council will be about Living Card Games (LCG). Do keep a lookout for it
The Sage Council is brought to you by Sage Boardgame Cafe. Address: 11 (First Floor), Jalan Manggis, 86000 Kluang, Johor. Tel: 07-7083797 or 07-7080731 Email: [email protected]
Website: www.sageboardgame.tk Online Store: www.sageboardgamestore.tk Facebook: www.facebook.com/sageboardgame