Die Siedler von Catan: Städte & Ritter 5-6 player expansion
original German edition
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The S & R addition to Settlers really makes an interesting game. As some of you may know, this addition lets you expand your settlements in 3 different areas; Trade, Politics and Science. By using the new trade goods (cloth, coins and books) you advance your settlements (cities) by erecting various kinds of buildings in your 'town' which can pay off later in the form of unique cards that may offer further options as well as increased privileges after a certain level of development has occurred in each category. In addition, each player tries to advance to the 'Metropolis' level in at least one category which is worth 2VP's and provides permanent protection from the persistent raids of the next-to-be mentioned Barbarians. All the while you and your fellow settlers have to prepare for the Barbarians who will eventually arrive on the island and may plunder cities.
In the 5-6 player addition, more resource tiles are added, an extra desert tile and green and brown wooden bits for the extra settlers, along with a few extra resource and trade cards to keep the supply proportioned correctly (and some extra number tiles sequenced properly so as to be able to assign a number to a resource hex and not have the 6's and 8's next to each other).
The major difference with this version (besides a bigger island) is that each player can build in another player's turn (if the active player builds something). Resource cards can accrue quickly in this version and without the ability to trade away some of them, a '7' rolled on the dice will be a disaster. Played in this manner, the active player could thwart his opponents' chances to build by not building him/herself - a nasty thing to do occasionally!
I must admit that in our circles we have found that this constant trading/building slows the game down considerably. We have opted for 2 slight changes:
Played this way you do not get to trade in another player's active turn unless you decided to spend one of your tokens. Being able to hold up to 9 cards gives you more breathing space in the eventuality of an untimely '7' being rolled.
Please note that this is not an official variant, just a home brewed one.
Otherwise the 5-6 addition is a good one (and the green/brown colors easier to discern than the red/orange that plagued some sets). It is nice to be able to accommodate an extra settler in case everyone you invite over to play games actually shows up for a change!!