Catan Exp: Cities & Knights Board Game Expansion by Catan Studio

Catan Exp: Cities & Knights Board Game Expansion by Catan Studio

Flourishing trade brings prosperity to Catan. However, all this wealth also attracts barbarians. The knights of Catan are needed! The expansion can also be combined with CATAN - Seafarers and CATAN - Traders & Barbarians.

This Expansion Works With:

Expansion Pack

Setup Time
15 Mins
Play Time
90-120 Mins
Players
3 to 4
Age Level
10 and Up
Our Reviews
$59.00 USD
$59.00 USD

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Our Reviews Details What's in the Box? How To Play Rule Book Reviews and Questions

Catan - A Family Review

“Want to play a game of Catan?”

Friends of board gamers have heard this sentence for nearly thirty years. Maybe you always suggested something else, or maybe you didn’t think you’d have fun. But it keeps coming up—and now you’re curious.

Any collector worth their salt (or sheep, in this case—you trade sheep in the game quite a lot), has Catan on their shelf. It’s the Monopoly of hobby board games, and like Monopoly, it lends itself to longer game sessions. Evenings full of laughter and frustration and triumph. Catan is great at keeping everybody at the table engaged on every roll and nearly every turn, and if you want to win, you have to get in there with everybody else—trading and haggling with the best of them.

The main fun of the game is in bartering with other players (I’m looking for two wood and want to trade sheep. Anybody?) then strategically placing your roads and settlements to corner markets and score points. You have to strike at the right time though, because other players can block you with their own builds. Which definitely causes vendettas. Friendly ones, but definitely vendettas.

11yo: I loved the betrayal and bartering and making up stories about my settlements.

It’s a competitive game with only one winner, and with your hand of hidden cards, nobody is ever 100% sure who’s in the lead until everything is revealed at the end.

As hobby games go, the turns are pretty simple but can lend themselves to a bit of decision paralysis. We found that we had to remind the kids to make a choice and pass the turn or else they’d get stuck on finding the perfect thing they needed. The box says 10+ for age, and that’s pretty accurate. Our 9yo really enjoyed himself, but he wasn’t thinking a couple turns ahead—he was going after what seemed valuable on each turn.

This game is fantastic for a family with teenagers—older kids who want to plan big swings, make clever moves, and reveal a master strategy or get the best possible exchange at the right time. It’s a cool way to get a little competitive in a fun environment. Even when your plans fall through or you make a bad trade, you can bounce back within a turn or two.

The dice rolls keep players on a roughly even footing, so it’s manageable to play with people of varying skills and investment, and as competitive strategy games go, you won’t find many that fall into the hour-or-two range rather than the two-to-four hour range.

Want to be a little cutthroat and competitive around the table and all in good fun? Catan is the game for you.

Helpful Hints

  • Trading can get confusing. Work on your shorthand for who is offering what and looking for what
  • Catan Junior is a much stronger fit for a younger group

Description

Dark clouds gather over the once peaceful landscape. Wild barbarians, lured by Catan's wealth and power, maneuver to attack. Their massive warships loom against the bright orange horizon. You must be strong! Barbarians attack the weakest targets, and the victim of their onslaught will be the player who contributes the least to the defense of Catan.

Don't take any chances! Field your knights!

In Catan: Cities & Knights you engage in the defense of Catan and compete to build the three great metropolises of Catan . Each of these magnificent urban centers is even more valuable than a city. They're also immune to the dangerous barbarians. Invest in city improvements, which you acquire using three commodities of trade: coin, paper, and cloth. If you improve your culture, muster your knights, and enrich your fine cities, you will be the master of the great realm of Catan !

Details

Use the hexes of the Catan base game to assemble Catan inside the provided frame. Each of you has just finished building a settlement and a city, when dark clouds gather over the peaceful island of Catan. Wild barbarians, attracted by the wealth of Catan, sail toward the island's shores. There is still enough time to prepare for confronting the intruders, though. The strength of the hostile barbarian army always corresponds to the number of cities on Catan. In order to successfully defend Catan, the knights of all players combined must be at least as strong as the barbarian army.

Knights are not used in the form of cards; instead, they are represented by wooden tokens that are placed on unoccupied intersections. Each token has an "active" side depicting a knight helmet in color and an "inactive" side depicting a black-and-white knight helmet. A knight can only fight after he is activated; activation costs one grain. After paying the grain, you turn the knight token over so that its active side is face up. Each ring on the token counts as one strength point.

If the knights of all players combined have enough strength points to defeat the barbarian army, the danger is averted for the moment. However, if the Catanian knights are too weak, a city will be raided and downgraded to a settlement.

This unfortunate event always affects the player who had the lowest total strength of active knights when the barbarians attacked. Besides defending Catan, knights can also be used to chase away the robber or to displace another player’s knight.

When you are not busy defending Catan, you are competing for the metropolises, which represent two additional victory points. In order to establish a metropolis (which is placed on top of a city), you first need to improve your cities.

The construction of city buildings, such as the Library, Market, Abbey, or Town Hall, is indicated on development flip-charts

You pay for city improvements with commodities such as coins, cloth, or books. How do you get commodities? Instead of two resources, cities adjacent to mountains, pasture, and forest hexes produce only one resource but also one commodity derived from the respective type of resource.

With increasing city improvements, the odds to obtain new progress cards become more favorable. Cards such as "Mining," "Irrigation," or "Building Crane" allow for faster settlement activities. Cards such as "Merchant," "Merchant Fleet," "Trade Monopoly," or "Resource Monopoly" create advantages with regards to trade. On the other hand, you can bother stronger players with cards such as the "Deserter," "Spy," or "Diplomat."

Get used to a tougher life on Catan – and a longer but also more exciting game. The first player to reach 13 victory points is the winner.

Tips

In Cities & Knights, you roll 3 dice at the beginning of your turn: 2 production dice and 1 event die. 3 sides of the event die show the barbarian ship. This means, there is a 50% chance per turn for the barbarian ship to come one step closer to Catan. Considering this circumstance, it may take only 3 or 4 turns until the barbarian ship lands on Catan.

Therefore, it is important to start building knights early in the game and to activate them. Such preparation will help you avoid being the target of the barbarian army, i.e., losing a city. Grain is very important for defending Catan. Knights are of no use as long as you don't have grain to activate them.

There are certain "house rules" that may soften the impact of the barbarian attack at the beginning of the game. You can, for instance, declare the first barbarian attack void or allow each player to have one activated knight at the beginning of the game.

Personally, I am not a big fan of such variants. One major appeal of the game is attributable precisely to the threat of the barbarian army, which you have to prepare for as early in the game as possible and include in your strategic planning.

What's in the Box

  • 36 commodity cards (coin, paper, and cloth)
  • 54 progress cards (trade, politics, and science)
  • 6 victory point cards
  • 3 wooden metropolis pieces
  • 3 metropolis tokens
  • 1 wooden merchant figure
  • 1 custom event die
  • 1 wooden barbarian ship
  • 24 wooden knights
  • 12 city walls
  • 4 development flip-charts (to track city improvements)
  • 1 tile to track barbarian fleet
  • Simple rules & almanac

How to Play

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