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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Top 10 Expansions We Own: #9

Coming in at #9 for the top 10 game expansions that we own, is the 2nd expansion for Settlers of Catan, Cities & Knights.  Let’s face it, Settlers of Catan is the quintessential gateway game for newcomers to tabletop gaming.  It released in 1995 and has been a fan favorite for many gamers everywhere.  Since it’s release, there’s been several different manifestations of it that add new environments and mechanics that provide the base game what it really needs to enhance the overall experience.  It’s time to expand the cities and the knights on the outskirts of town will guard the towns people from the invading barbarians. 
In this expansion, we have several new aspects that make this one the best expansion for Settlers of Catan. The two primary focused changes in this expansion are creating the knights to help protect your cities and improving building structures that benefit the builder.  With these various new aspects to the game, players can increase tactical planning, and length of gameplay.  It is vital to your victory to create knights.  Without them, barbarians will certainly pillage your cities and completely hinder your chances at victory.  Knights are placed at the intersection of 3 hexes in much of the same way as settlements.  However, knights do not have to observe the two-space rule.  Knights can be placed to obscure construction of other players, and they can be used to break the longest roads of other players.

In order to make said improvements to your cities, you will rely on the use of commodity cards.  In the base game of Catan, you have 5 different types of resources to manage, but Cities & Knights comes with 3 commodities of cloth, coin, and paper.  These materials are treated very similarly to the resources from the base game, but they also differ in a couple ways.  Commodities are produced only by cities and only in forests, pastures, and mountains.  When commodities are produced, they become added to your hand of resource cards.  Like resources, they can also be traded freely among other players.  They must be attained if you wish to make city improvements. 

Another new set of cards are the progress cards.  Progress cards replace the Development Cards from the basic Settlers game. You don’t purchase progress cards like development cards; instead you draw them with the right combination of the event die and the red die.  These come in three different types; trade, politics, and science.  When you want to play a progress card during your turn, (after you have rolled the dice), you may play any number of progress cards in any order.  You may also play them between other actions taken during your turn.  When you play a progress card, you resolve all of its effects, then place it face down, under the progress stack of the matching color.

The game ends the moment one of the players accumulates 13 victory points or more. This player becomes the Lord of Catan, and receives the utmost praise from his or her people of Catan.   There's a lot more to this expansion than what I've typed here.  Like our other reviews, it's informative, while giving a quick and brief run down so you can gather the general idea of the game.  If you have never played this expansion, you can rest assured that if you chose to purchase it, you would significantly be adding onto an already decent game and extending it to a considerably better overall experience for everyone at the table.  This would mostly be the case considering the tactical complexity that Cities & Knights offers you.  Seafarers was good and we always love nautical settings, but Cities & Knights delivers a lot more game compared to the other expansions for Settlers.  Settlers of Catan has not seen our table in some time now, and that's probably due to our current gaming groups since most of them haven't wanted to play Settlers in quite a long time.  This game has understandably fallen by the wayside, but there's a vast number of people who are still coming into tabletop gaming that would appreciate it.  This is one of the reasons that Mayfair Games decided to re-release the game in a new format.  I for one, am glad we own the older versions of Settlers along with the expansions.  If you are one of those people that have not been playing tabletop games very long and are much more curious about tackling a classic resource management game, I would highly recommend you add this expansion to your experience if you feel the base game is waning.

Catan - Cities & Knights:
Overall Meeple Rating: 7.5/10


New additions:
1) Commodity Cards
2) Progress Cards
3) Metropolis Figures
4) Knight Tokens
5) Barbarian Track w/ Boat Figure
6) Development Flip Charts

Have any thoughts or questions?  Leave a comment below.

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