IanTheCool's Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

The Settlers of Catan 5-6 Player: To Review an Expansion

The Settler of Catan 5-6 Player: To Review and Expansion


The Settlers of Catan has introduced the masses to the realm of Eurogaming, and along with that honour it has also introduced the concept of game expansions. Expansions are not games in and of themselves but are instead additions which you can buy which enhance already existing games. These additions can simply add new players or more space or they can add all-new game components and mechanisms. They can enhance or altogether change the nature of a game.
Since these expansions are not complete games in themselves, I have been put in the awkward position of deciding how to review them. And so for my first expansion review I have decided to choose the Settlers of Catan 5-6 Player expansion, the simplest of Catan’s many add-ons. This expansion pack allows for the possibility of adding one or two new players to the four-player game which the base game is restricted to. I have decided that instead of repeating a review of Settlers of Catan, I will simply talk about what this expansion adds to the game and a critique on how it affects the game overall. This will be followed by a different rating scale than my usual five star rank.

Additions
The 5-6 Player expansion allows for up to two extra players, which means that two new colours must be introduced. This expansion provides two new sets of wooden pieces in green and brown, both of which are very aesthetically pleasing. There are also extra resources cards and development cards which adjust the number of resources available with the extra players as well as extra terrain hexes and ports.
The biggest change which this expansion brings to the game is the extended island. With more players involved the island needs to be bigger to prevent excess crowding. There is also an added rule which allows players to trade in on-hand resources to build at the end of each persons turn. This negates the problem of being burnt by the robber easily since it takes longer between your turns and you build up more resources in that time.

Critique
The changes to Catan for this add-on are small yet work efficiently in allowing the new players accessibility. The extra hexes which extend the island provide enough room for everyone to grow their colonies with the right balance of space and constrictions which keep the game challenging. The extra trading turn allow players a chance to build even when it’s a while for their turn. This can prevent stagnation between individual turns but can also make the game take a lot longer.
This expansion is great to have when you find yourself in the situation where your group wishes to play Catan but you have too many people for the base game. But when it comes right down to it I have to ask myself, would I rather play with 3 or 4 players, or with 5 or 6? My answer is the former. Catan works better with the base game than is does with more players. The addition of players stretches the length of the game out too much and the downtime between your own turns takes too long, despite the extra build turn in the rules. So in conclusion, this is a good expansion to have if you are a Catan fan and may find yourself in the situation where it’s needed, but the base game is still preferred.
Now for my rating. I have decided to rate my expansions on a 4 star scale which looks something like this:
starstarstarstar – The expansion improves upon the original base game.
starstarstar – The expansion provides a differing experience than the base game but neither improves or detracts from the base game.
starstar – The expansion is effective and provides an interesting new aspect, but the base game is still preferred.
star – The expansion detracts from the base game.

I have also decided to provide the 5-star rating of the base game as well as a 5-star rating for the game along with the expansion.

Expansion – starstarnostarnostar
Base Game – starstarstarstarstar
Base Game and Expansion – starstarstarstarhalfstar

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