|2 Players||45-90 minutes|
Settle the Land of Catan --
establish settlements, roads and cities while competing for resources
with your rival.
To set up, each player
chooses a starting colored deck. Players set out their initial
two settlements (linked by a road) and the six region (aka resource)
cards as per
the rules. The arrangement is specified, but which resources are in
slot is up to the player.
There is a large deck of
expansion cards. These are separated into five stacks in the
center of the table. To begin, each player chooses one
stack of cards. From these cards, they draw three starting cards
for their hand. Then they replace the stack on the table.
On each player's turn, the
player rolls the six sided die and the event die. The rolled
event takes place immediately. Then each player collects the
resource that matches the number on the six sided die. (Yes, both
players collect the resources.)
Next, the player may do any
of the following in any order:
At the end you your turn you
replenish the cards in your hand.
The basics of play are
fairly simple, to put a card into play, you need to have the correct
combination of resources to purchase it. Once purchased, your
resources are gone and you need to produce more, or trade for different
resources with your opponent.
When building your
principality there are a few things to remember. First,
settlements may have at most one green card above and one green card
below them. If you upgrade your settlement to a city, then the
city may have two cards (green or red) above and below. To add
additional settlements, you need to have one road leaving a settlement
before placing a new settlement.
There is a slight difference in
road costs form the Settlers of Catan
-- you need 1 lumber and 2 bricks in this version.
The yellow action cards have
no resource cost to use them, but some have special abilities that can
only be played under certain conditions. The yellow action cards
let you steal a resource from an opponent, destroy a green or red card
of your opponent, attack one of your opponent's knights, or counter an
action card played by an opponent.
There are a few principality
additions that help the game progress, items like the abbey allow a
player to hold more cards, and cards like mills and fleets double
resource production for certain regions or allow better resource trades.
The Event die is the
randomizer of the game -- there are 5 different events: 1) Tournament
-- the player with the strongest knights gets an additional resource;
2) Commerce -- the player with the most commerce points can take a
resource from their opponent; 3) Brigand attack -- if you control more
than seven unprotected resources you lose all of your wool and ore
resources; 4) Year of Plenty -- players get an additional resource of
their choice; and 5) Event card - draw an event card...some are good,
some are bad.
To get commerce points you need a
city and a red card with a commerce symbol on it.
To win, you must be the
first player to control 12 victory points. Victory points are
found on cards as a small flag symbol -- usually on red cards.
Settlements are one point and cities are two. The player with the
strongest knights gets one additional point, and the player with the
most commerce points gets an additional point, too.
If you have
played The Settlers of Catan,
then you understand the gist of this 2-player version. However,
if you are like us, the reason you enjoyed the original Settlers is one of the big reasons
you won't like this card version. The game tries to reduce the
3-4 player version down to a card game: in the original game, players
must interact to build their settlements and roads on a common
map. In the card game, there is no common map, and players
honestly do not need to interact much and can even forego trading with
each other so as not to help their opponent. With the exception of a
few action cards that are used for sabotage, players virtually play
solitaire in a race to the 12 victory points. Admittedly, this is
a little bit overly harsh, because any player familiar with the
original will automatically begin to trade with their opponent, this in
itself helps move the game along -- but the rules don't really
encourage player interaction beyond the sabotage attempts.
It is difficult to play this
card game without comparing it to the original, but we'll give it a
shot. The game is balanced insofar as both players have equal
chances at receiving resources early in the game. The resource
tracking system, however, is cluttery and prone to error: You rotate
the region cards to show how many resources you have, one brush with
your arm, or slight gust of wind and your economy is disrupted.
There isn't a lot of action
to describe most turns. Early on, neither player can control a
knight or any commerce points, so the event die usually doesn't do
anything. If your resource luck is bad, you'll have trouble
getting your game moving. Luckily you can trade out cards for other
cards in the five central drawing stacks. If your luck is good,
you'll put a new card into play every other turn or so until you get
some of the double production cards to get your game going well.
The game requires a fairly
wide playing surface. You need several feet of lateral space as
you add settlements, you gain more resource cards -- and those really
spread out on the table or floor fast. If you are looking for a compact
card game, this isn't it... I've seen Magic the Gathering games that
have smaller space requirements.
The primary reason for the
thumbs-down rating is that most of the reviewers expected to play more
like the original Settlers --
this card game tries to look like it, but doesn't feel the same...You
can't block someones road with strategic planning; You can't really
negotiate well when trading because you only have one opponent;
Resource production is very slow and because of the way you track
resources it is easy to lose some by overlooking them.
This game is best suited to
fans of the original that can never get a third player -- If you can
get a third player, stick with the original. If you are curious
about the Settlers of Catan series, don't start with this one -- it's
only a so-so game. It's balanced, but there are much more fun
card games out there.
Where to buy:
Your local game store or
stores -- it costs about US $20.
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