Die Siedler von Catan: Städte & Ritter
new German edition
Your Price: $44.95
(Worth 4,495 Funagain Points!)
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from 5 customer reviews
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Experience the rise of Catan! The cities flower and prosper, some grow into magnificent metropolises. Flourishing trade brings prosperity to the island. But this wealth also attracts barbarians! Wild hordes threaten the island. Who will protect the cities, if plunderers approach? The knights of Catan are summoned. They oppose the barbarians together. The cities will suffer if the knights are defeated!
This expansion contains many new elements! Cities can be developed into metropolises with commodities, city walls are helpful. All knights should fight the barbarians together; but some refuse while pursuing their own goals. However, that can also go awry: If the barbarians win, then the player who provided the fewest (or no) knights has a city plundered and reduced to a settlement.
Because of the various, new possibilities this expansion is meant for the experienced Cataner (at least 12 years old). The more complex set of rules also brings an extended game duration. For your trouble you are recompensed with an intensive play experience. And -- do you really want to stand aside when the call goes out, "Who will save Catan from the barbarians?"
I agree with the previous reviews: the game is considerably more complex than the base game, but the changes make a fun new game of a classic old game.
I just wanted to point one thing out: if you have the Kosmos (German) version of the base Settlers, you should get this version of this expansion. If you have the Mayfair (English) version, you should wait for the Mayfair expansion (if there ever is one). This is because the expansion adds commodity cards to match resource cards, and the Kosmos cards are a different size and have a different back than the Mayfair cards. If you have the Mayfair base game but the Kosmos expansion, then you can tell the difference between the old resource cards and the new commodity cards. This makes a big difference at card-stealing time!
This is not so much a simple expansion as a whole additional level to Settlers, adding new city development and production options. Unlike the base game and the Seafarers expansion, whose tremendous staying power seems based on being very easy to learn but still having challenging play, it will take a time or two through to understand the nuances of Stadte & Ritter. It is very much a different game rather than a simple expansion along the lines of Seafarers. But it's well worth the effort.
That having been said, this is not actually that complex on the scale of German games. No more complex than, say, Euphrat & Tigris if you already know the basic Settlers. Plus, it's got a lot of big wins over the basic game which make it worthwhile: the new Progress cards are a huge improvement over the basic Entwicklug cards, being more varied and subtle. They are worth the effort and price of admission alone. The extra VPs gained from building City advances and defending Catan provide much-needed extra avenues to victory; it's now possible to win with a relatively small empire. And being able to use Knights on your opponents (especially in conjunction with the Politics advances) adds an extra level of player interaction. Although the Knights in general are not that powerful, their use is somewhat subtle, and is one of the harder aspects to of the new game to grasp. Once you get it, though, it's a very nice extra detail.
Stadte & Ritter takes a little longer to get comfortable with than basic Settlers, but it is well worth the effort if you are intruiged by a more involved game. It results in a game that is more varied and strategic, with more options and very interesting play.
I've been playing Siedler with the Stdte & Ritter expansion for about six months, and I can't think of anything about this version of Siedler that I don't like. In short, this expansion allows for considerably more diverse strategies than the base version of the game and leads to a much richer gaming experience.
I particularly like the addition of the new commodities, which allow the player to develop their own civilization in different directions, gaining various advantages and kinds of development cards as play progresses.
These days, I only play the base version when pressed for time, or when my gaming companions aren't up for the additional complexities of the Stdte & Ritter version.
The latest Siedler expansion sees a game that builds on the success of the basic game and uses the card game as further inspiration for development. Whether this is viewed as a positive improvement depends on your relationship with the earlier Siedler models.
The game is basic Siedler, with city development added on. This means that the new aspects of the game only come into play when you have built your first city, which you receive at the start. Instead of receiving two resources when you get a hit on a city, three of the resource types -- ore, wool and wood provide a development resource instead of the second resource. These can be translated into city developments such as libraries, markets and cathedrals. It reminds me of the progress you make in Civilization and there is something addictive to this process.
There are three tracks to follow and progress is recorded down these routes on a binder device, which you flip over to reveal new developments. Rather than represent enhancements to a specific city, the developments represent growth across your community in science, trade and the political sphere.
Two other significant changes are included. A third die is rolled each turn, with a chance that a ship of invaders moves closer to Siedler-land. When it lands, there is a fight. The strength of the invaders is the value of the cities while the strength of the settlers is the value of the activated knights. This is a further change. Players are able to train knights through resource payments and activate them. This gives a feeling of Republic of Rome, because every player can assist or not with the defence by choosing when or if to do so. If the settlers lose, a city is reduced to a town (another aspect of Civilisation?) and provides a limited opportunity to reduce a leader back to the pack.
If the third die does not move the invaders nearer, then there is a chance that a player will receive a card benefit. This is dependent on a player having made a city development and the chance grows as progress is made in each of the three spheres. These cards are really good and lead to a player having many more options. For example, a player could activate all knights with one of these cards, or force a trade of city development cards.
The quality of components are up to previous standards -- the only exception seems to be the surround to the tiles, which is more flimsy than I would like.
The "problems" of this expansion are the same as the original but magnified by the additional time for this game. If you fall behind in building cities, then some of the enjoyment that stems for seeing your community progress is lost. Not only that, but to see your competitors enjoying the fruits of their improvements can be frustrating.
My opinion after a few games is that this is a further positive evolution of the Siedler system. One might say a natural development as the system becomes more integrated. Is it more enjoyable? I think so, because it adds more into the game. I like the set up because the inclusion of a city means that you want to consider where to place your first city, since it provides you with the means of development. At the same time, you need to get knights out because the invaders will arrive early on.
I wonder if this had been the first game in the system whether a simplification (à la Elfenland) would have developed? As it is, more detail is not for everyone. If you like more involved games that last longer, this is for you. If you like more simple games, stick to the basic version.