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

The Seafarers of Catan: Bigger and Better

The Seafarers of Catan: Bigger and Better

So you have discovered the island of Catan and have traversed the land from coast to coast to coast. You have harvested the wheat in the fields, sheared the sheep of the pastures and mined the mountains for ore. Cities have been raised, roads have been built, and armies have been trained, leaving the robber to cower in the desert. You have explored Catan to the fullest.
But wait! What is that beyond the shore? New islands, new waters, new possibilities! Seafarers of Catan, the expansion to the phenomenon hit Settlers of Catan, allows you to go further. If you want more than your regular nineteen-hex island, Seafarers adds new lands and includes new gameplay scenarios to keep Catan fresh.

The Seafarers expansion gives you many more land and sea hexes which allow you to expand the board beyond the regular island and surrounding coastal hexes. The rulebook includes seven scenarios which you can choose from which provide great variability in board lay-out. These scenarios range from building the full regular island with smaller islands just off of the coast to having four completely different medium sized island separated by the seas. One of the most interesting scenarios is the “New World” scenario where the board remains hidden until you reach any given hex with a ship or road.
Ships are the other major addition which comes with this expansion. Ships act much like roads but are used to explore the oceans rather than the land hexes. Ships require wood and sheep to build, giving more significance to the sheep resource in this game. A pirate ship is also added which acts like a robber on the sea hexes. There is also a new terrain hex; the gold mine hex, which allows you to choose any of the other resources when you produce.

The best thing about Seafarers is that is gives you more options and more variability in gameplay. Whereas Catan already has a good amount of variability with the ever-changing island lay-out, Seafarers takes it to a whole new level with the added islands and choice of scenarios. Seafarers really does make you feel like an ocean explorer venturing out into unknown territory.
The new scenarios require players to acquire more than the usual 10 victory points in order to win the game, which usually forces players journey out to new islands. This was a smart move to make the new islands necessary. The one problem with this game is that the addition of the pirate ship, along with the robber, makes it too easy for one particular hex to constantly be blocked by the robber since there is not a choice to move either the robber or the pirates on a 7 roll. However, this is a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent expansion.
Seafarers takes a very literal interpretation of the term board game expansion; it expands the area of play, and it does so brilliantly. No longer are you confined by the stormy shores of Catan. For those who wish for more variety and a fresh new take on a great game, adventure awaits with Seafarers of Catan.

Expansion – starstarstarstar
Base Game – starstarstarstarstar
Base Game and Expansion – starstarstarstarstar


2 Responses to “The Seafarers of Catan: Bigger and Better”

  1. I started playing Settlers of Catan last year. It is no doubt the most addictive board game I’ve ever played.

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