Catan: Cities and Knights
Reviewed by: Andrew
Image courtesy of catan.com
Catan has been bringing joy to tables of gamers for decades. This can cause an unfortunate side-effect where some players have had enough of Catan. Either they’ve figured out what strategies to use, or just find the nature of the game repetitive. The good news for gamers is there is a remedy for this, which comes in expansion pack format. More specifically, it comes in the form of the Cities & Knights expansion.
For the handful of gamers who haven’t played Catan before, the goal of the game is to acquire resources to build roads and settlements to gain economic control over the board. Resources are gained through settlements located at junctions between tiles, and by trading with your competitors. Victory conditions are further supplemented through additional support cards, which add points to your score, or provides you with ways to use your resources with maximum efficiency. Cities & Knights revamps this game by adding some new pieces and rules. There are two major additions this expansion brings to Catan. First, it adds commodities to the game. Second, it adds the threat of barbarians. Commodities are alternate resource cards that can be produced by hexes (pastures add cloth, quarries add coin, and forests add books). These commodities can only be claimed if a player has a city next to the commodity producing hex. Commodities act exactly the same as other resources as they can be traded between players. Commodities are used to purchase upgrades for your cities, which add special abilities, and give you access to three new types of cards, which replace development cards from the base game. The final upgrade for cities is called a metropolis, which adds a whopping four victory points to the controlling player’s total. The other addition, barbarians, are represented by a ship token on a side track placed next to the board. The ship token advances along the track through the use of a third die that is rolled along with the other two resource dice. When the barbarian symbol is rolled, the barbarians advance a space. Once the barbarians reach the end of the track, they attack! When barbarians attack, they have strength equal to the number of cities on the board. If barbarians have higher strength than the defenders, they pillage a city and it gets knocked down to a settlement. If the defenders have a higher strength, the person who contributed the most defense scores a victory point. To contribute defense, players can build knights. Knights are used to defend against the barbarians, and to chase away the pesky robber. Cities & Knights adds a lot of variety, and makes you think up new strategies to succeed. It is an excellent purchase for anyone who is a fan of Catan.