Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien: Alexander der Grosse & Cheops
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Follow in the Wake of Alexander the Great, buy settlements from him and vie for his favor. The map for "Cheops" corresponds to the historical and geographical conditions of the time. Each player represents an Egyptian family. First, the players build roads, ships and settlements. The Pharaoh soon expresses the desire to build a large pyramid. But that is not simple. Egypt is richly blessed with wool and grain from the Nile deltas and quarries in the south, but wood and ore must be imported. These will come from the productive ore regions beyond the Red Sea and the forest-rich areas of Palestine. With sufficient gold, however, a player can buy what they cannot produce. The player who contributes the most stones to the building of the pyramid is richly rewarded by the Pharaoh. Quite the opposite befalls the players who contributed fewer stones.
This edition contains the same components as Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien I: Cheops & Alexander der Groe. Only the cover art has changed.
To say this in only a few words: both scenarios are interesting and appealing. They surely add to the fun 'Catan' can supply.
I like the Cheops expansion best: buy pieces of stone for the pyramid being build.
The Alexander expansions adds a new concept to the game of Catan: bidding for settlements!
Cheops and Alexander, two historical scenarios for Die Siedler von Catan, add extra depth and strategy to an already great game system. Do not be put off by the fact that this is only available in German, there is minimal text in the game, and the rules have been well translated into English. If you have the latest Mayfair edition of Settlers, the colours of the pieces will match closely enough.
Each scenario has its own extra quirks, which will please players who may be suffering from Settlers burn out. The board is well made and illustrated, and the rest of the components are very nice.
Alexander is a scenario that starts with no settlements and a random provision deck, while Cheops starts with three that must be built along the banks of the Nile. Alexander has an Alexander figurine that moves across the map, and in Cheops, players are trying to build the Pharoah's great pyramid. Both games still require smart trading, lots of player interaction, and smart development.
All in all, a neat addition to Settlers, and one that we'll be playing until Cities and Knights (Stadte & Ritter) arrives in English, and probably later as well.
It is not through insouciance that this review for one half of the most recent Settlers expansion is being written about five months after its release. Unfortunately, the Siedler empire is now treated with a certain apathy. The core design is familiar to just about everybody in gaming circles and the add-ons have been devoured enthusiastically. So, when another one turns up with play quality almost guaranteed, it seems sensible to work instead through that ever- expanding pile we have deemed "the ever-expanding pile" in anticipation of another, well, Settlers.
Alexander, supposedly the "lighter" and "quicker" of the two games included in the package, is a stand-alone game based wholly on Siedler Von Catan, although you will need all equipment but the hex-tiles and number chits from that game. This material is made redundant by a beautifully illustrated map with the identification numbers printed permanently.
The game mechanics of Alexander are identical to its progenitor, with the simple exception that the action is driven by the manoeuvre of an Alexander figurine whose movement -- one space each player turn -- will result in either the auction of a settlement or event chit, or nothing if a mean green dot is the destination. The settlement (from your own limited supply) must be placed at the temple currently occupied by Alexander, so be careful not to invest in an unproductive area(s). Events equate to Victory Points, the highest total earning four vps. Ten more are required for overall success.
All other Settler rules apply. Each player throws the dice to determine from which area the resources will emanate from, "Alexander" is then propelled forward, the event marker or settlement is auctioned and then trade and builds are executed wherever possible. There are minimal restrictions, Alexander moves at the speed of a Derby winner, and the game hurtles along, even with beginners onboard. We reckon an hour and a half, tops.
So, why buy? Firstly, Alexander's diverse crusade pitches settlements all over the place, and they are not easily connected (although these, and other upgrades can be purchased in the customary manner). Events provide a swift cache of vps, and they also count as a gold piece. The specific resource cards needed to bid for each type of event are marked on the board, so the hub of the game is given additional credence. Best of all, all Settler players will painlessly adopt Alexander's subtleties and variations. And yes, you can continue to moan about bad die rolls. But, and consider this fair warning, if I hear "I haven't rolled an '8' since November" at any time, consider your gaming days at an end, unless you have a title that can be played whilst in traction.