Die Sternenfahrer von Catan
original German edition of The Starfarers of Catan
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Catan in space! Not an expansion to Die Siedler von Catan, but a complete game in its own right, you will get a huge array of components with this game--which is reflected in a rather hefty price tag!
The game takes place in outer space around year 2700. The known world is lying at one end of the game board where each of the 3 or 4 Catanians have their own solar systems, each with 3 planets producing raw materials in the familiar fashion: 2 dice determine which planet becomes productive. Instead of settlements, each player begins with 2 Colonies and a Space Port (all components are made from plastic) placed between the hexes. The latter is responsible for the production of the spaceships, which will take you further out into space where other 3-hex solar systems are awaiting discovery. Only at arrival will you discover the type of raw material produced there, at which point you must decide whether or not colonizing is worth the trouble. Some worlds are inhabited by troublesome pirates, but if they are outgunned they will surrender without combat....
Ice planets are hard to mine, so you will need special equipment before mining can begin. Each player has a 13-cm high, fully equipped Mother ship. This model acts like a 3-dimensional reference tool, as all the small spaceships on the board are equipped exactly like the Mother Ship.
Alien races with different characteristics will inhabit some planets. You may build a Trading Station on such a planet, allowing you to draw a Friendship card and thereby benefit from their knowledge or powers.
The game play is close to the original Settlers of Catan game: First you throw dice for the production of raw materials, but as in Cheops/Alexander, the players will receive free supplies from home during the early stages of the game. Then you may trade and build (maybe a piece of new equipment for your Mother Ship or a new fleet), and then you move! This is a totally new action which is done with the aid of the Mother Ship: 2 of 4 colored "Drive Balls" will be visible from a transparent cylinder at the lower end of the rocket. Shake the Mother Ship and you will generate a new mix. One of the balls is black, and when this is visible, another player will draw an Encounter card on your behalf and read the first part of text aloud upon which you will react.
Later in the game you will need to build new Spaceports as the distance home will be far too long, but first you must build a colony--and for that you will need to transport all the necessary equipment from home. The transport system is built into the components: a Transporter rocket may be placed on top of a Colony, which can then be dragged along the hex edges until it reaches its destination. When a Colony is expanded into a Spaceport, a Spaceport-ring is attached.
As usual, the real goal is Victory Points. Players earn Victory Points by establishing colonies, mining Ice planets and cleaning out Pirates. Bases in contact with other races bring 2 VPs (these are not safe, however, as they will be lost to another player who establishes more bases than you). Fame is another way of scoring VPs, and you earn a Fame ring for your Spaceship through successful Encounters.
The components are very pleasing, as you would expect from an artist like Franz Vohwinkel, and the game details bring out a Jules Verne mood.
- 1 game board
- 100 resource cards
- 32 encounter cards
- 16 friendship cards
- 4 mother ships
- 24 laser cannons
- 24 engines
- 20 cargo rings
- 40 fame rings
- 36 colonists
- 28 trading outposts
- 12 spaceport rings
- 12 transporters
- 4 victory point markers
- 38 resource chips
- 4 friendship chips
- 4 overview cards
- 2 dice