The Manufacturer's Board Game Review of Seafarers of Catan:
Expand your Settlers of Catan game in new directions, add Islands, Pirates, Gold, Ships, Islands and Trade.
Explore and colonize the newly populated Archipelago of Catan. Building settlements, roads, and villages by trading commodities from the land and islands around you. Trade sheep and wood for a ship, bricks and wood for a road, build new settlements and improve settlements into cities.
Rainy Day Game's Board Game Review of Seafarers of Catan:
After playing Settlers for a couple of years, even we at Rainy Day Games had to admit that we were getting a little weary of the exact same scenario over and over again. The first expansion we ever bought was The Seafarers of Catan, and we fell in love with this great game again.
The basic theme of the Catan series of board games is exploration and development. Arrive on a distant island and colonise. While the original Settlers of Catan focused on the playing of development, the exploration theme wasn't explored fully. Now in The Seafarers of Catan expansion, you finally get to play the role of explorer and set out across the game board in ships, discovering distant islands in the archipelago.
The thing we love about The Seafarers of Catan is that it expands the scope of the game while preserving the feel of the original. The additional pieces and tiles take Settlers the next logical step without substantially changing the game. You get to play the game that you love while keeping it new and fresh.
There is an entire Catan universe to explore, but for most gamers, the Seafarers of Catan is the best first step to take beyond the basic game. If you're looking to take your Catan gaming to the next level, The Seafarers of Catan is the perfect buy.
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Kevin's Board Game Review of Seafarers of Catan:
For my money The Seafarers of Catan is the best expansion to The Settlers of Catan. People say that it doesn't change the game much, and I understand where they're coming from. If you're really interested in changing the dynamic of Settlers a lot then I think The Cities and Knights of Catan is a better choice for you.
But really, what I wanted was a way to extend the replayability of my Catan game. And Seafarers, combined with other information on the net, gives you dozens and dozens of scenarios to choose from.
There are some interesting new strategies that arise from the islands of the Seafarers board game. For example, there are now two robbers; one for land, and a "pirate" for the sea. Because there's two of them, each one of them moves only about 1/2 as often as the robber of the original Settlers. If you're trapped with a robber not moving on one of your resource hexes, it can seem to take forever for him to move on.
Also, you can apply your ships towards your longest road, and the movement of ships means that the longest road card can change hands frequently during the end game.
So yeah, anyway, if you don't want to play Settlers, don't buy Seafarers. They are similar in a lot of ways. If you want to play in the Catan world but want something more different, then go to Cities and Knights. But don't pass up the chance to expand your Catan board game collection.
Glenn's Board Game Review of Seafarers of Catan:
The Seafarers of Catan can only be played along with The Settlers of Catan. Essentially this expansion contains more water hexes, more resource hexes (with number chips) and wooden ships (15 per player). With these additions, islands can be created around the original Settlers setup (or other scenario). Reaching these islands, and gaining their resources, is done by creating water routes or shipping lanes. Each ship can be purchased with one lumber and one wool resource card and placed along the hex edges as one would place a road (in Settlers).
In this way, each player can 'sail' off to explore new regions. Arriving at an island and establishing a settlement gains an extra victory point. Also added to the game are two hexes that contain gold. While gold cannot be used as a resource, it can be used to purchase anything. Thus, if a player has a settlement on a gold hex (which is usually on an island and more difficult to reach) and the resource number is rolled, that player may choose any one resource card he desires. Also, instead of only having a Robber, Seafarers also adds a Pirate - a black ship. This can be moved onto a water hex and halts any player from building a shipping lane on that hex. The player who rolled the seven can choose to move either the Robber or the Pirate. This usually means they move less frequently...adding to the fun.
In some ways Seafarers does not change the overall game. Shipping routes are essentially roads across water that connect your settlement or city to new resources. (If you want a dynamic shift in game play you may want to consider Cities and Knights of Catan.) But while it is overpriced, for ultimately offering more of the same, it is an excellent addition to Settlers of Catan. What it does contribute is a myriad of possible hex/water combinations and scenarios. The instruction book offers ten layout ideas and rule variants for each setup. Most games take about 90 minutes to game play and are extended to 12 or 13 victory points to win. But the game is only limited by imagination and experimentation.
This expansion, simple as it is, allows the player to take their Settlers of Catan game into a whole new direction. While the Settlers rules are only slightly altered, the game can be dramatically changed. It is an excellent expansion that makes the game scenarios and possibilities seem endless.
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