The Cities & Knights of Catan 5-6 player expansion
English language edition
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Now up to six players can muster their knights against the scourge threatening Catan! The 5-6 Player Expansion for The Cities & Knights of Catan allows you to expand and inject more excitement into your games without sacrificing ease of play. Designed for five or six players, it adds even more drama to the award-winning game of culture, politics, and warfare.
In The Cities & Knights of Catan 5-6 Player Expansion you control a group of settlers who must defent Catan from raiding barbarians. Field your knights, build a magnificent and impregnable metropolis, and enrich your cities with fine culture and flourishing trade routes. Culture and military might will make Catan yours!
I'm an avid gamer, having played everything from Chess to Starcraft to Torres and I have to say that Cities and Knights is one of the best games I've played ever. It's a little complicated, though, but it's a lot better balanced than either Settlers and Seafarers of Catan, as you can control the ascent of the winning players through a whole lot of methods, and losing players have many, many ways to get back in the game.
There's a lot more strategy here than initially meets the eye.
Re: the Aqueduct. Technically, the Aqueduct only gives you whatever resource you want if you're not producing anything else. Ergo, if you are producing something else, it doesn't help you any. Being able to receive one resource of your choice when you aren't going to receive anything anyway is great for smoothing out the production-luck factor but hardly game-winning. Much better to receive multiple resources and commodities every turn and then trading.
In addition, the green line of city development usually produces very weak progress cards compared to yellow and doesn't help you dominate Catan defense like blue. When you go for green, with the help of the Aqueduct, you usually go for massive infrastructure development; with yellow, you go for monopolizing resources and commodities. If you go for blue, you go for military strength, which can go a long way considering you can earn as much as 4-5 VP on winning Catan defense alone.
I've yet to find a single overpowering strategy in the game that can't be matched by another equally powerful strategy. Most of all, it's fun to be able to claw and wend your way back into the game after sitting at 4 points for 20 minutes.
I highly recommend Cities and Knights of Catan to anyone who enjoys the Settlers of Catan and is beginning to find it a bit too simple.
The 5-6 player expansion functions just as it should and just as well as the other 5-6 player expansions.
Many fans of Settlers find the Aqueduct unbalancing. I didnt find the Aqueduct unbalancing as it only allows one to trade commodities (paper, silk, and coin) and not resources (lumber, brick, ore, grain, and wool) at the 2:1 rate. Therefore, no hex is turned to gold (like in Seafarers), as cities that produce commodities only produce one at a time. However, if one was playing so that the 2:1 rate applied to both commodities and resources, this would indeed be game breaking, and an easy mistake to make.
According to Mayfair the error was an accident affecting limited numbers of the product. They will send you replacement pieces if you got the messed-up ones.
Their apology is dated Dec 31 2001, and I purchased my copy mid-Jan 2002 and my pieces were fine. So, don't worry about messed-up pieces. The problem has been solved.
We dove right into a 6 player game to try out the Cities and Knights expansion, mostly playing with only moderately-experienced players. We all had a great time and everybody agreed this expansion adds a lot to the game. I thought it might get too complicated with all the new rules and 6 players, but we handled it fine. One player was a second-time player of any version of Settlers and he was doing quite well. (He kept amassing knights and extra victory points from the Barbarian attacks).
The really nice part of this expansion is that you have more choices early in the game. In regular Settlers you have to get a brick and lumber early to go anywhere, or settle into a low-expansion, buy cards game. In C&K, you can buy or promote knights and start on city improvements before you have to go anywhere. It made the early game a lot more interesting.
Nobody got to a metropolis and nobody won because we had played for almost an hour and a half (after rule explanations) and we had to quit. But we all agreed that this is a winner. We may never go back to a basic game again.
One minor annoyance with the 5-6 player C&K expansion: one of the expansion border pieces was printed wrong, so you have to put it in upside down to get it to fit. A minor annoyance, but didn't anybody at Mayfair games even try it? It was irritating.
Settlers of Catan is one of the best board games, in my opinion. The Seafarers expansion improves the game with an element of randomness and discovery. Cities and Knights, unfortunately, turns Catan into a one-dimensional race-for-the-Aqueduct campaign. It's frustrating that this expansion would add so many bells and whistles, but actually diminish the strategic options each player has.
Basically, the Aqueduct improvement turns almost the entire board into gold for the one or two players who are able to develop the improvement. Realistically, those players who are not able to build a city on a lumber hex early in the game will lose the race for the Aqueduct, and will consequently ultimately lose the game.
This fatal flaw is easily avoided, however, with a little imagination and rule-changing. You can of course create your own modification to the Aqueduct rule, limiting the number hexes it turns to gold, for example. After we did this, Cities and Knights is now my favorite way to play Catan.
The low rating is based on the official rules, however. How did this horrible game-killing problem slip through the playtesting phase???