The Cities & Knights of Catan
English language edition
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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 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 The Cities & Knights of Catan, you engage in the defense of Catan and compete to build the three great metropolises of Catan. Each of these magnificent centers are even more valuable than cities and are safe from the barbarians. You must invest in city improvements, which you acquire using commodities of trade: Coin, Paper, and Cloth. If you improve your culture, muster your knights, and enrich your cities, you will be the master of the great realm of Catan!
Players: 2 - 4
Time: 120 - 180 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 750 grams
All-Time Sales Rank: #36
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
- 36 Commodity Cards, including coin, paper, and cloth.
- 54 Progress Cards, including trade, politics, and science.
- 6 Victory Point Cards.
- 3 wooden Metropolis pieces.
- A wooden Merchant figure.
- 2 Dice, including a red D6 and a custom event die.
- A Longest Trade Route Card.
- A wooden Barbarian Ship.
- 24 wooden Knights (2 Basic Knights, 2 Strong Knights, and 2 Mighty Knights for each of the four player colors).
- 12 City Walls (3 of each of the 4 colors).
- 4 City Calendars (for keeping track of City Improvements).
- 2 Cardboard sheets with Edge Pieces.
- 1 Double Hex Tile with spaces for the Barbarian Fleet.
- Game Overview.
- Game Rules.
Average Rating: 4.2 in 35 reviews
Yes, sometimes you can get broadsided by the barbarian hoardes early on and loose a city, thus creating a real challenge to get back into the running, but this CAN be overcome. My son is the penultimate strategist and can come back from obscurity to destroy his opponents, so I know it can be done.
I'm the mom in this gaming trio, but believe me, when we play Cities and Knights, no one shows me any mercy!
A great game has the ability to engage its players in a new way with every play. That's what Cities and Knights does in spades. I will play Settlers with newbies and once in a while with others in my family who don't play games often, but when I want a real challenge, I reach for Cities and Knights!
I am ever on the lookout for other games that are as good, but so far, none has engaged us the way Cities and Knights does.
I finally had the time to play Settlers with this expansion a few times recently, and it greatly increased my satisfaction with Settlers as a whole. To tell you the truth, I have always found Settlers to be somewhat repititve, though I indeed liked it. With Cities and Knights, however, it really brings a variety of new elements into the game, and increases the interaction. For instance, the Knights alone add a whole new dimension, as they can be moved and used to block other players for slicing up your roads. They also give you more of a reason to build continguously, as the knights can move around only within a single system of roads and settlements.
Cities, howevever, are the main focus, and the ways in which this Expansion changes their focus and role are too many to disucss here.
The only drawback is that if you have 3 players (like we did), the time needed to play this gfame is at least 3 hours. That's hard to come by if you're busy, but it's definitely worth it.
Cities & Knights makes Settlers a longer and more detailed game. With six players, our games do tend to take 3+ hours, and sometimes I feel like that's time we could have spent playing Settlers and Puerto Rico, or Settlers and Princes of Florence. But those games can't be played with six anyway, so when we are six we always play Cities & Knights, unless we have newbies, in which case we play Settlers twice. With Settlers veterans, I find that nothing is more satisfying than a six-player game of Cities & Knights.
The rules for this expansion are exceptionally well-balanced. There are more different types of cards, making it less likely that with seven or fewer cards you'll have the four necessary to build a settlement, so you now have the option of building city walls, which increase the number of cards you can safely hold. Also, in a longer game, it becomes more necessary to leader-bash, so in Cities & Knights, there are cards which allow you to for example steal two cards from any player with more points than you. It all fits together really well.
I can't say enough about what a great expansion this is. It adds infinite depth to the game and makes it way more strategic :) (and fun!!) The added elements of knights and barabians make you really think about your every move. We have not gone back to the original since we played C&K !!
I was very pleased with the original Settlers of Catan but was giddy after the dynamics were strengthened with Cities and Knights.
1) Not too much complexity involved.
2) Strategic possibilities increased with more variables to consider.
3) Never a dull moment- even when the game is long- always things to consider.
2) The cost! Why does it need to be that expensive? I spent over $60 on Cities and Knights plus the 5-6 player expansion. Thats over $120 for Settlers with Cities and Knights so 5-6 people can play. That seems excessive to me!
3) Storing everything isn't as easy. I don't want to carry around 4 boxes, and they dont all fit into 1.
4) The game can take upwards of 4 hours if everyone isn't moving quickly enough.
5) I don't like how similar the new Commodity Cards look like the regular Resource cards. They can be easily confused when trading in!
6) Its hard to tell the difference between activated and deactivated knights.
Overall, the Pros greatly outweigh the Cons, which are nitpicky at best (accept for that pesky price-tag!).
I have owned this game for over a year now. It has made it impossible to play normal games like monopoly, risk, clue, etc. Everyone I know loves this game, and we play it every time we get together(at least once a week). The strategy is easy to learn, but also sophisticated enough that you won't tire of devising new ones. It can be lengthy, but isn't that what Saturdays were made for?
First there was the basic Settlers game. Great new concept and a lot of fun to play. But the problem was that points could only be earned in a few ways, giving high importance to the initial position and the throw of the dice.
Than the Seafarers expansion came. New ways of spending your money and new ways of earning points. An advancement but still the game was not 'free of luck'.
So the Cities & Knights expansion was issued. Or should we say : Cities & Knights variant? This expansion changes the original game in a very high extent. Points can be earned in lots of ways and different strategies can be followed by different players which adds a lot of fun and depth to the trading concept. Also the value of the initial position is still of importance but now one intersection might be great for one strategy but worthless for another.
To sum it up : the problems of the original version (importance of initial towns and luck when throwing for resources) has been completely eliminated. This game has gained a lot of depth and variance and is a real 'must-have' IF you like a more difficult game.
this is undoubtfully the best game we played ever.
actually i'm in this site cause i'm trying to find a new game that other 'settlers fans' might reccomand here, that could be just somewhat great as this game is.
cities & knigts is the best expantion of all expantions of settlers.
you must have it.
This expansion is the best addition to the Settler's of Catan game. Seafearers is good to make a bigger board but this is the expansion that opens up more ways to win. The addition to City Improvements and progress cards is awesome. Barbarians add another outside threat to keep everyone on their toes. Settlers with this expansion is the best game ever!
Cities and Kinights turns settlers into a way better game. After playing this expansion, I never wanted to play settlers anymore. Dont listen to those other people who arent smart enough to understand this game. The extra rules make the game so much more exciting...better than the old boring buy a road, buy a settlement, buy a road...zzz...The new development cards are the best part...so much more variety...better than the old boring soliders, road building and monoloply...you get cards that are actually exciting, and actually make the game interesting.
buy this game, you wont regret it!!!!!
The Cities and Knights of Catan provides a plethora of new mechanics to the original game. While not every one of them works as smoothly as the original game (most notably a few of the cards included...intrigue? horrible), for the most part, the additions are great.
With this addition, be ready for a very different game. The city builiding charts, new expansions, and knight aspect all give a great deal more options to the player, allowing for a great deal more variety in game strategy.
My personal favorite additions are the city building charts (and corresponding new commodities), and the aspect of the Barbarian ship. The group I play with rarely has problems with the Barbarians wrecking our cities, and I like the fact that they can both punish and reward you.
The expansion game is longer, more complex, and a little bit more cutthroat than the original. This can lead to some down time between the turns, but nothing out of control. If you find Settlers a little long, or a little complex as is, then this expansion is probably not for you. But if, like most, you could use a little more strategy with your Catan, then this is the first expansion you should buy. It's a little pricey, but worth it.
The Cities & Knights 'Expansion' makes arguably one of the best games around even better. Some people have complained that it is hard to beat a player who is winning... I disagree. C & K provides many ways in which to hold back an opponent: You can sabotage their cities, steal their cards, there are even cards which can only be used against players with more victory points than you, and the addition of the knights gives you so much flexibility in building your own things while inhibiting other players form doing the same. One of the best parts are the progress cards that they have instead of development cards. They have similar purposes but there is so much more variety. There is even a card that allows you to swap any two numbers on the board to improve your production. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first, but after playing this version, I don't know if I can ever go back to playing the comparatively simple original version.
I have played the Settlers of Catan, Seafarer, Cities & Knights, and the Starfarer. Out of all those games, if I had to pick one game to keep, it would be Cities & Knights. I enjoy all the Catan games but C&K really holds my interest for some reason.
There are just so many ways to gain victory points and for some it might be confusing. But this only makes the game totally riveting. If your idea of a complicated game is Monopoly, don't even bother getting this game. But if you really like to test your 'gray matters', get this game as soon as possible.
I loved the original game of Catan, but after playing it for the last few years I grew tired of it for a couple of reasons. First, one player would often get ahead and it was nearly imposible to make a comeback. In addition to this problem, I also found that the basic Catan game was too basic. Second, I developed a couple of simple strategies that worked, and after a while I realised that the game was no longer engaging.
Cities and Knights fixes all these problems. The game is much deeper now. There are many different strategies to winning and a lot of ways to mess with the other players. It is now possible to make comebacks, and all in all, it is a much more interesting game.
This is one of the best board game of all times--a total blast.
Although I was initially reserved about tinkering with a game that had rocked my impression of 'board games', I found Cities and Knights to be a welcome addition to the notable original. The added elements of the Barbarians, the city improvements, and the knights contribute to a more balanced and deeper game play. I do not encourage newcomers to Catan to start with Cities and Knights, but to play out the original a few times and then move on to the expansions.
Coupled with Seafarers, I think that the game becomes a bit over-complex for the average player. Compared to Seafarers, I think that it is in an entirely different category, equally noteworthy.
My only misgiving is the price of the addition along with its expansion set.
The basic Settlers already is an outstanding game in and of itself. The Cities and Knights expansion, however--as Emeril might say--'kicks it up a notch' right into the gaming stratosphere. Without doubt one of the best games ever, constantly replayable, great depth and that all-important 'bet you can't play just once' flavor.
I love Catan, but when I bought this game, I expected it to make a good game too complicated.
I was wrong, this added a wonderful dimension to the original game. This is for your friends who always want to be 'nice' when playing--this does not allow room to be nice. The only way to go is to smash the competition!
This is a very biased review. I love the [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Settlers of Catan series; they are among my favorite games of all time, and I have to say this is one of my favorite expansions. I love Seafarers, but this adds so much more depth. The first time you play, it is actually daunting how much new stuff there is to watch: barbarians at the gate, growing your cities to get that beloved Metropolis, who has the most knights. Upgrading your cities is great, and the prospect cards are a lot of fun. If you love the Settlers series, this is a no brainer.
COUNTERPOINT: If you are tired of the Catan series, this will pump a little life, but don't expect it to reinvent the series, the mechanics stay the same. The city walls are not as effective as I would have liked, they allow you to hold more than 7 cards in the event of a robber (2 for each wall you have, to a maximum of 11). I wanted to be protected from a robber in the city that had a wall, but, hey, what do I know about game balancing?
Wow, this is a fantastic expansion to Settlers of Catan! Once we read through all the instructions (and it will be kind of a chore to remember all the new little facets to the game, sorta), it was really fun. Once we had a basic understanding of the expansion changes, everything flowed nicely. We loved the fact that during your turn one can do anything in any order (e.g. trade, build, then trade again, or play a progress card, activate a knight). And the pirate ship added just the right twist to the game.
As a matter of fact, the pirate ship helped me win my first game. I had more power in knights, and the overall power of the island was greater than the force of the Pirates. Thus I won the victory point for being Defender of Catan, putting me that much closer to the 13 victory points I needed.
I highly recommend this one. [page scan/se=0899/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Princes of Florence was good, but for fans of the Settlers series, I think this is much better. If you've got Settlers of Catan (basic game), get this expansion, you won't be sorry. I'm serious!
This great expansion takes a somewhat simple game, and turns it into a real gamer's game: it adds intricacies and intrigue the game was sorely missing.
The barbarians add quite an equalizing force early in the game. (The barbarians attack the island and, if the players are not prepared with enough knights, sack cities back into settlements.) Twice, I mis-chose my starting placements, but I was able to 'catch up' by manipulating the other players into ALL losing their cities. I traded items to players to allow each of them to be tied in the number of knights they built, so when the barbs attacked, they all got smacked. We were now all in the cellar. After an hour and a half, I still had only 2 points, but the others had only 3 or 4 instead of 5 to 8...
The Cities and Knights expansion adds another dimension to an already great game.
With this expansion, you gain three new resources (cloth, paper, and coin), which you can use to place new additions on top of your already existing cities. These additions give you new cards on certain die rolls. These cards are sort of like the Development cards in the original game, and they do a lot of different things, but still includes the things (like road building and monopoly) that the original Development cards did.
You can now put a city wall around your city in order to help protect it from the Barbarian threat as well as Knights. The robber is still around, and you can use your Knights to roust him, which is a great bonus.
While adding a slight bit more complexity, this expansion also increased our playing time a bit. We haven't tried it with the Seafarers expansion yet, but it is definetly something we will try!
We can't wait for the 5-6 player expansion to come out.
Despite the influx of such a huge number of German games over the past 5 or so years, we have been long-denied two of greatest, by far: El Grande and its various expansions, and the Settlers Cities and Knights. Rio Grande Games finally got El Grande right earlier this year (2000), along with the expansions, and Mayfair has followed up with the interminably-delayed anglicized version Cities & Knights.
First thing is to note that the English-language version is a huge improvement over the German version for English-speakers. While there really isn't that much text in the Kosmos version, it is nontheless a very large barrier to play as you are always looking at your cards to figure out your options.
Second thing to note is that you probably want to play your first few games to 10 or 11 points instead of the 13 recommended in the rules. Until you figure out how all the new options work, games are likely to take significantly longer, and the 13 point game can take a long, long time with new players. So 10 or 11 is recommended, and you don't really lose much of the game's flavor.
This is definitely recommended for Settlers fans who would like to try a little more complex and serious game. This expansion is really more of a new game, with many more options. Lots of interesting new action cards replace the old Discovery cards, which now tie into a well-done city building sub-game.
A lot to like here, and highly reccomended. I know a lot of people were put off by the perceived complexity of the Kosmos version, but I think if you try it with English components you'll find it much friendlier.
I played the German version at GenCon this past summer and it was really cool. The addition of the barbarian horde, knights and city upgrades changes and enhances the strategies in this game. For anyone who enjoys the basic Settlers of Catan game, but finds it a bit too simplistic, I highly recommend getting your hands on this expansion.
I love this expansion to a great game. It adds depth in important places and adds an element of adversity that can be a fun twist. It does make the game longer but because of this gameplay is often more dynamic. It helps adjust game balance by increasing the value of quarrys, pastures, and forests while somewhat lessening the importance of mountains. All the resources are important and the ammount of strategy this adds to the game is enormous, and makes it much much more rare that one player is obviously unsotppable for the last 1/3 of the game. While some people might not like the adversarial potential this expansion adds, I feel it balances because the expansion reduces the ammount of any one resource in a players hand(on accont of the fact that most hexes produce two different resources instead of two of the same) and so increases the importance of trading. The bigger jerk you are, the less likely you will be able to trade for what you need. The adversarial nautre of the game also gives options for a group of players to try and 'stop' someone winning by a landslide. All this being said there are two minor things that prevent me from givving this a 5 star rating. The first is that it significantly complicates the game which may prove overwheling for young or inexperianced players. The second is an issue with the barbarians. While they add an important dynamic, I have played a few games where there hasn't been correct resources in the game to activate enough knights to defend the island early on. If cities are raised to settlements early it can extend the length of the game even further and can be very frustrating. However, some friends and I often play with a variant that helps allieviate this: Simply don't roll the barbarians untill everyone has taken one turn.
So you've played a lot of games of Settlers of Catan, and you're getting a bit bored. You're looking for something new. Is Cities and Knights the expansion you're looking for?
The answer is: it depends. Settlers is, to a significant extent, what some people call a 'multi-player solitaire' game. You're primarily playing against the game, rather than against the other players, especially if you play in a 'friendly' game group. Except for building roads for the sole purpose of blocking another player, just about everything you do acts, at least in part, to improve your own position. (For instance, moving the robber hurts the player or players you target, but it also gets a resource for you.)
Cities and Knights changes the dynamic. The Warfare cards, in particular, introduce a much stronger element of playing against the other players, rather than playing to achieve your own goals; many of them do nothing to improve your own position, but serve only to weaken an opponent.
So, it comes down to what you're looking for. If you want to add a sharper competitive edge to Settlers of Catan, Cities and Knights is just what you're looking for. If you're happy with the feel of Settlers, and just want more variation in the setting, buy Seafarers instead.
Cities and Knights is probably the most controversial of the Settlers of Catan expansion. And the reason is quite simple - it makes the game quite a bit more complex, changing it entirely. Some people welcome this change, as they feel “vanilla” Settlers is too simplistic, and this expansion adds the complexity that is needed. Others feel that the length and added rules actually detract from the game, dragging what was once a short, fun game into a dreary, endless experience.
I am in the former group, thinking that the benefits of Cities and Knights are largely for those who desire a more complex game with various options. But I do realize that Cities and Knights is a huge change from the original Settlers, and I still revert back to the original game + Seafarers often. But if you like the basic system of Settlers and would like to see it optimized and expanded, then Cities and Knights is your game. Here’s a listing of some of the changes...
1.) Commodities: Three more types of cards are included with the game - cloth, coin, and paper - known as commodities. When a city is next to a pasture, mountain, or forest, and the number on that hex is rolled, the player with the city gains cloth, coin, or paper instead of two of the basic resources. Commodities are used by players to upgrade their cities, and in most circumstances are treated like resources- can be traded, stolen, etc.
2.) Walls: Each player receives three square wooden blocks in their color at the beginning of the game. These can be built on a player’s turn under one of their cities by paying two bricks. Each city wall allows a player to increase their hand limit (when a robber is rolled) by two cards - to a maximum of eleven cards. Walls are a nice feature; but unless you’re hoarding cards, they’re not that big of a deal. I’ve seen some players center their strategies around walls, but never to any kind of game-breaking strategy. Still, another option (and another wooden piece!) is nice to have in the game.
3.) City Improvements: At the beginning of the game, each player is given a flip booklet (calendar) to show their city improvements. On the one side of each of the three sections of the calendar, the players can see all their building options and the costs of each - a great player aid! Players can also use cloth, coin, or paper to improve their cities. Each of the three sections of the city (trade, politics, and science) can be upgraded several times by paying a certain amount of commodities. For example, a player can upgrade to the first politic level - the Town Hall, by paying one coin commodity to the bank. Each time a section of the city is upgraded, one page in that section of the calendar is flipped - showing a picture of the upgrade and the improvement die numbers.
4.) Progress Cards: The development cards and largest army victory point card are removed from the game, and one of the white dice is exchanged for a new red die. Three new progress card decks are added to the game - one for each section of the city, as well as an event die. On each turn, the player rolls the red, white, and event die. After each player takes resources for the number shown on the two resource dice, they check the even die. If the event die shows a city matching the color of one of the three sections of the cities, players check their calendar and the red die. If the number on the red die matches one of the number icons shown on their current level in that section of their city, the player draws a progress card from the matching deck. If the players upgrade each section all the way, they will eventually get a card no matter what number is rolled; as long as the event die shows the color of that section of the city (one out of six). The event cards do a variety of things - many of them the same as those from the original deck, with the notable absence of the soldier cards. Each deck has a different feel to it: the trade progress cards all have to do with the resource and commodity cards, the political progress cards allow players to annoy their opponents (like removing a road, etc.), and the science progress cards allow the player to skip steps (like placing two roads for free). Players must seek to upgrade their cities as quickly as possible, because these cards can be quite useful. It’s really nice when you are getting a pile of these cards - and the almanac provided with the game clearly explains each card.
5.) Special Abilities: When player’s sections in their city reach the third progress level, they get a special ability. The aqueduct (science section) allows a player to take a resource of their choice if the production roll gets nothing for them. This is a smooth ability to have - especially early in the game, when getting the right resource can put you quite a bit ahead of your opponents. The Merchant Guild (trade section) allows players to trade commodities to the bank at a 2:1 rate. This makes commodities even more important to a player and allows them a lot of flexibility when trading. The fortress (political section) allows players to promote strong knights to mighty knights (explained later). Depending on which ability a player craves the most usually determines which section of the city they improve first, and it’s usually a good idea to get to all of them if possible.
6.) Metropolis: Three golden metropolis wooden pieces are included with the game, looking like a city gate. They slide on top of a city piece, making a city look pretty fantastic. The first player to achieve the fourth level of improvement in each of the three sections gets a metropolis gate to place on any of their cities on the board. A city with a metropolis is worth four victory points rather than two! This makes them a hot item to acquire; and if a player can snag two of them, they are all but assured of victory!
7.) Knights: Each player receives six round knight pieces at the beginning of the game - two of three different types (basic, strong, and mighty.) Sticker pictures of the knights are placed on both sides of the piece - one with a black and white picture (the inactive side), and the other in full color (active side). A player may build a basic knight for one wool and one ore at any unoccupied intersection connected to one of their roads, placing it on the inactivated side. A player can activate any basic knight to a strong knight for an additional wool and ore, and can upgrade the strong knight to a mighty knight for the same price, if they have the fortress upgrade. Any inactivated knight can be flipped to their activated side for the cost of one grain. Since this is something that happens a lot in the game, the value of grain is increased greatly. When playing a game of Cities and Knights, try to get a city next to a field - you won’t regret it! Knights keep players from building past them and can be moved to another intersection (following roads), but only if they are active. A Knight can move to a spot where the opponent has a knight, but only if they are stronger than the opposing knight (mighty>strong>basic). If the player does so, they “displace” (we like to call it a battle), forcing the opponent to move their knight to an open intersection. If there are no open intersections, the knight is removed from the board (killing, in Catan!). Knights can also move the robber if they are adjacent to the hex the robber is on. The knight then basically behaves as a soldier in the original game, moving the robber to a new spot and stealing a resource/commodity from another player. When moving a knight, displacing another knight, or chasing away a robber, the active knight must be flipped to their inactive side. Knights allow players to be a bit more aggressive in the game. If you ignore them, you’ll find that the robber lands on you quite a bit more!
8.) Barbarians: Two conjoined tiles are placed as part of the original setup, depicting a small track showing the movement of a barbarian ship. A ship counter is placed at the first spot on this eight-space track and is moved one space every time a barbarian ship is rolled on the event die. When the barbarian ship reaches the last space on the track (a burning city), the barbarians attack. The strength of the barbarians is equal to the number of cities owned by all players. The players then total the strength of all defending knights (only active ones). Each knight is worth a certain value (basic = 1, strong = 2, mighty = 3). If the knights win the battle (have a equal or higher sum), then they win. The player who has the greatest value of knights on the board in the battle receives one of six “Defender of Catan!” victory point cards. (Ties do not award the card, instead each player gets a free progress card.) If the barbarians win the battle, then the player(s) who contributed the lowest value of knights to the battle have one of their cities reduced to a settlement (a crushing blow!). Either way, the barbarian ship goes back to the beginning of the track, and all knights are turned to the inactive side.
9.) Barbarian evilness: Some people don’t like the barbarians, because they attack often and tend to hurt the weakest players. I myself play with an optional rule where the first barbarian attack doesn’t count to give players a little time to build up. I think the barbarians are a good thing - they keep the players in check, forcing them to build knights, and provide an opportunity to get more points.
10.) Merchant: A yellow conical wooden piece is included with the game to represent the merchant. Some trade progress cards allow a player to control the merchant, placing it on a hex adjacent to one of their cities or settlements. That player can then trade that resource 2:1. Also, whoever controls the merchant has an extra victory point. The merchant isn’t game breaking but can put a lot of power into the hands of the person who has it. This will keep players interested in improving the trade section of their cities.
11.) Variants and Seafarers: Cities and Knights works with Seafarers, but it does make the game longer and a bit more complicated. The rules provide detailed instructions on how to seamlessly merge the two expansions. Also, there are some variants on play included in the rules - one of them being the one I mentioned above, talking about easier barbarians.
12.) Component Quality: Cities and Knights comes with a LOT of stuff, much more than Seafarers, and is definitely worth the price. The little calendars are really nice quality and show the players their eleven options for building each turn. The three decks of progress cards are also pretty neat to look at and offer more choices than the simple deck with the original game. The commodity cards have the same backings as the resource cards, so they can be hidden, mixed up, and stolen; although having one of them stolen can be a bit more annoying than a normal commodity.
13.) Fun Factor: I greatly enjoy this expansion, if only for the sheer amount of options a player has now. Players must balance building the longest road, with upgrading their cities and with building knights - a fine balance must be maintained. It’s very easy for a player to fall behind if they don’t watch out, and controlling commodities and grain can be rather important. All in all, it’s a pretty impressive expansion but could very well overwhelm new players. We had fun fighting off the barbarians, but I could see how some could get frustrated at having continual conflict appear in a game that beforehand had none of it.
All in all, I think this is a worthy expansion to Settlers of Catan. Mr. Teuber did an excellent job where he took a good system and added a lot of unique mechanics to make it basically a totally different game. And that’s what the whole matter comes down to. If you liked the basic Settlers game, or even Seafarers, and are looking for more of the same - you just might be disappointed. Cities and Knights changes the basic game of Settlers to a longer, more strategic event. If that’s what you want, you’ll be quite pleased. If you prefer quickness and simplicity, then stick with the basic Settlers, and try out some new scenarios for variety. Either way, it’s amazing the things that can be done with the base system of Settlers.
“Real men play board games.”
It took me a while to form an opinion of this game. My initial experience with the game was bad. It seems to me now that the problem encountered in that game is a flaw in the game and not a beginner's strategy error. I am a huge fan of Settlers of Catan and have found most expansions and games in the series to be fun, but to pale in comparison to the original. Cities and Knights is no different.
Glancing through some other reviews on this site I see that this is a game that you either love or hate. After several plays I can understand the reasons. If you thought Settlers of Catan was dry, Cities and Knights does add a lot to the game. In fact, Cities and Knights changes the original into a very different game, it is much more than a typical expansion. Likewise, if you liked the original this expansion may change it too much for your taste.
My biggest gripe with the game is that if Catan does not have enough knights for the first, second and possibly third barbarian attack and one or more players lose their initial cities they can usually never recover. The player(s) who lose the city are playing catch-up for the rest of the game. As far as I am concerned, this is not only a problem for the affected players but makes the game less interesting for those winning the game. If the dice just aren't rolling wool and ore in the early phases of the game you can't produce knights. After the knight is built, you need to spend a grain to activate him. Basically, as a group you need one active knight each to counter the barbarians. That is a lot of ore, wool and grain.
House rules, such as, not moving the robber until after the first barbarian attack, or adding a couple spaces to the barbarian attack line may alleviate this problem. A game shouldn't need house rules to make it a good game. Problems should be identified in the pre-production phase. The almanac alludes to this problem, and suggests fixes for 'new players'. Horse-pucky, these 'fixes' should be the regular rules and the regular rules should be for experienced players.
Apart from this Cities and Knights does take quite a bit longer to play than the original. I would much rather play 2 games of a great game such as Settlers of Catan than 1 game of a lesser game. Lots of items are added to buy, mainly buildings for your empire. These buildings allow you to draw special cards which add even more to the game. Some of the special cards add in a good way to the game, some negatively. City walls let you hold more cards in your hand after a '7' is rolled.
Cities and Knights takes a great game and turns it into an average game, not a bad game, an average game. Anything in the Catan series is better than 80% of the games being produced today, and better than 100% of the games at the toy store in the mall. Still, play before buying.
If you figured that Settlers of Catan would be a lot more fun if only the playing time could be doubled and the rulebook made twice as thick, then this is the expansion for you.
This is not a simple expansion like Seafarers was, it's a complete makeover of the game. New commodities, city upgrades, knights, knight upgrades, knight activations, barbarians, city walls, and progress cards (which replace development cards) are introduced. In short, you must now spend a lot of time and resources (commodities, too, now) investing in your cities to protect and upgrade them.
The only thing this really adds to the game is the time it takes to play. Seafarers can take up to 3+ hours to play a large board. Why would I want to double that time? I think that Settlers (along with the Seafarers expansion) is great fun as it is. Complicating it and lengthening it did not make it any more enjoyable. At least that's the consensus of my gaming group.
Guys, you don't have to go ape over every game! ('Fun fun fun, did I say fun or what...') Don't get me wrong, this is a good game, but it's certainly not the best thing I've ever played. It has variety and a fairly simple system of play, but it lacks a good deal of 'color' in that you aren't anyone in particular and there is no real 'story' behind it. The worst thing about the game is that you really can't do much to stop a player who is doing well. The game is about playing your own stuff, doing a few trades, doing what you can; but it is really hard to tackle the guy who is kicking everyone's rear. I find this frustrating. He will soar to victory fast, while you're collecting sheep somewhere.
Overall, I like games with more direct competition, where you can give your opponent a swift kick now and then when he needs it. Isn't this how multiplayer games are supposed to be balanced, after all, by letting the underdogs pull down the big boys with their combined weight?
Tom does an excellent job in his reviews, and in large part I can agree with his rating (I could rate it somewhere between 2 and 3, depending on the day). But I would like to make two notes:1) While the progress cards are interesting and, sometimes, fun, they can also be a huge detriment to the game. When everyone has fistfulls (OK--their max of 4 cards), the game turns into mass chaos. If you are into German games because you like the outcome of the game to be determined by your and your opponents' choices, beware because there are times when it comes down to who gets which cards first. You can play several cards in a turn, and it gets crazy and totally random. 2) This game increases the chances of a run- away leader or someone being totally out of the game early with no possibility of catching up. I've seen it happen in Settlers, but the frequency is low and, to me, acceptable. But it happens very often in this expansion (up to 50% of the time, in my experience) and it is absolutely no fun to sit there for 2+ hours (it can be a long game) and have absolutely NOTHING to do! You absolutely MUST play with the rule Tom mentioned where the first barbarian attack is ignored, but it still can happen that one person is totally out of it early. If you lose a city or can't get the cloth or paper commodities like the other players can, you are DONE! I have occasionally played Cities & Knights and had an enjoyable time. The commodities, progress cards and barbarians are interesting at times, and if everything balances it can be good. But most of the time it is, as I pointed out, too chaotic and lopsided. In my experiences, one player can end up with 3 or 4 points in 2 hours. Not fun.
This expansion adds in cities and knights (obviously.) But it does two things which I really didn't like. First, it made one of the resourses almost utterly useless. Second, by adding in movable knights it can screw players over by limiting their building options and making the game less pleasant for them. We tried the expansion once and did not care for it.
I had several friends who raved that this expansion was great. So, I bought it and was sorely disappointed. It made Catan overly complex and extended the game to such proportions that I have yet to complete a game using the expansion. Usually, everyone gets tired for the game and we just give up. Even my friends who raved about it before have since admitted they prefer the basic game.
Why muck up a good thing? The original Settlers has a nice flow to the game that is missing from Cities & Knights. This expansion adds complexities and time to the game without improving the stratagies or feel of the original. If original Settlers is not complex enough for your tastes try El Grande or even Tikal, don't try to turn Settlers into something it's not. On the positive side, I liked the flip books which helps to keep you out of the rule book any more than you already are.
This one made my stomach hurt, it turns Settlers into a real cuthroat game and it wasnt before. Im talking about doing things like 'Oh lets see, I have activated knights and no cities, so I cant be hurt by the barbarian.. hmmm I guess I will just deactivate my knights by moving them opps! looks like the barbarians outnumber catan, I guess everyone loses a city now... oh thats right I dont have any cities!' Which is a common state for most players, which is why I think its odd that game is called Cities and Knights when its nearly impossible to keep a city for a long time. I think some improvements might have been allowing the city wall to stop a city from being barbarian food. but make it cost 4 brick.
I also cant stand the split commodities for Ore/Coin Wool/Cloth Wood/Paper. I think if you have a city you should have to choice to produce 2 Wood or 2 Paper or 1 Paper 1 Wood. but no, they make you get 1 of each every time. Which is really silly if you think about it, you mean to tell me that the people that chopped down the trees simple could not stop themselves from turning it into paper?
Anyway I like to pretend Cities and Knights was never made. Ill stick with Basic Settlers and Seafarers of Catan expansions (and 5-6 player for both of course)
Cities & Knights does to Settlers of Catan what Phantom Menace did to Star Wars. It adds rules and about an hour and a half to the original's play time without adding significant depth or any new ways to have fun. If your goal is to get a more strategically compelling game, I'd recommend Torres, Tikal, or El Grande. All three games are more straightforward, offer greater strategic depth, and Torres & Tikal cost less than Cities and Knights.