Author: Klaus Teuber

Publisher: KOSMOS 2005

Awards: none



G@mebox author Marco Klasmeyer writes about the game:


During the years after the seafarers had discovered and settled Catan, the population grew steadily. In the country and at the coasts new colonies were founded and the exchange and trade of goods between the regions of the island became more and more important. Thus, one central trading place became necessary. This was to be a place with a harbour, with houses for craftsmen and merchants, with a branch office and an inn and a large church in the middle. Thus the Catanians built their first town. They called their town after a place of their old homeland, from where their ancestors have left for Catan: ELASUND.


Elasund is settled in the context of the Settlers of Catan, but it is a game of its own and has not much in common with its ancestor. Elasund is an evolving small town with a harbour, city walls, several different buildings and a church. The game board consists of 90 squares which represent the building ground for the houses. The number of squares depends on the number of players. With four players all 90 squares are used, with only two players the town size is almost halved. Each player chooses a colour and places his two start buildings onto the marked fields. Each player obtains five building licenses (values from 0 to 4), 3 gold and 1 power card.


The Buildings of Elasund

In the course of the game the players try to build more buildings and let the town grow, hence increasing their resource income of gold or power cards. Each building type provides either gold or power cards. Some larger buildings additionally provide victory points. There are buildings that occupy one, two, four or six square fields. For placing a building a player needs to fulfil three conditions: first one or more square fields must be allocated with building licenses with a value corresponding to the building type he wants to build (larger buildings need higher building licenses than smaller buildings). Building licenses of the other players can be used as well, but he must pay back the value of the license to their owners. Second, he has to pay an amount of gold for the costs of the building (smaller buildings are cheaper than larger ones). And third the building space must be suitable, which means larger buildings can displace all smaller, i.e. a 4 square building replaces all overlapping smaller 2 or 1 square sized buildings. But it is not allowed to displace buildings of equal or greater size. By discarding a collection of three equal power cards it is possible to displace equal sized buildings. In addition to normal buildings like Pub, Market Place, Shop and Well there are two special building types: the city wall and the church.

The City Wall:

Each player has got 9 parts of the city wall. No building license is necessary for the city walls. Building a part of the city wall in the direction to the harbour costs 2 gold cards and in the direction of the town it costs 4 gold cards. Each built city wall part provides immediately but only once the resource that is displayed (gold or power cards). City wall elements with a tower bring about additional victory points.

The Church:

In the centre of Elasund a church can be built in the course of the game consisting of 9 single square tiles, but its exact position is not clear at start up. Building one part of the church costs 7 gold cards. The church has the highest priority in Elasund, so every building has to be completely removed from the board, if it is blocking the church building. The first player who decides to start building the church gets two church tiles and chooses one of them. The placement of the first tile determines the further building of the church.

The Harbour of Elasund

At one side of the town the harbour is located. The town area consists of 10 rows, each ending at a dock in the harbour with a ship and values from 2 to 12 printed on it. When a player starts his turn he rolls two dices to determine the row in which the ship is placed during his turn. Every player whose building covers a square of that selected row obtains the resource income of his building (gold or cards). All harbour fields show a windmill symbol which represents trade points. For each trade field occupied with a building the player receives trade points and may advance his marker on the border of trade points. When a player has achieved a certain level of trade points, he obtains a victory point. Whenever he looses trade points and falls under a certain level, he can also loose the victory points again.

The Building Licenses

For placing buildings you need appropriate building licenses on the town squares. Each player is allowed to place one building license per turn on the board. Each player has 5 building licenses with values from 0 to 4. The license can be only placed in the row marked by the ship in this turn. If there is no space left, the row above or beneath can be chosen instead. For placing a building license its value must be paid in gold. With two equal power cards it is allowed to choose an arbitrary row without considering the position of the ship. With three differently coloured power cards it is allowed to place an additional building license on the board. With two equal power cards it is possible to upgrade an already placed building license (the zero license would be otherwise nearly useless). For upgrading the value difference has to be paid in gold. With two equal power cards it is also possible to move an already placed building license onto an arbitrary free town field. If several players share the building place of a new building only the player with the majority of building license values is allowed to place the building. Of course he has to pay the others. If a player does not want to place a building license during his normal turn, he can take two gold cards instead.

The Buccaneers (you have rolled a "7"):

When a player has rolled a "7" there is no such ship showing that number. Instead the player can choose a row where the ship is placed, but the ship turns into buccaneers then. There is no income this turn from this row. For each victory point in this selected row the owner has to discard gold or power cards. If a player has built and occupied a tower of the city wall, he can take one of the discarded cards for each occupied tower. He is the only one who might benefit from the buccaneers' occurrence.


Elasund fits in nicely with the Catan game series. It has simple collecting and building elements, but there are so many ways of gaining victory points that it will never be boring to try the one or the other strategy. However, there will be no progress without resources, so the importance of a regular income (gold and power cards) is essential. Like in the standard Settlers of Catan the lack of important resources can hardly be retrieved. Especially since Elasund allows no trading among the players, each player is responsible for his own income. In contrast to just collecting and building, it is possible to move/destroy buildings from other players, thus forcing them to rethink their own strategy. Collecting victory points is also possible by building a church which may turn around the whole course of the game as it changes the overall appearance of the town district. Additionally building the city wall offers an alternative strategy for it provides rare victory points or cards. Sometimes it is better to build a city wall than to spend a lot of more money for a building at an uninteresting place at the border of the game board.

The design and look of the board is very appealing. The buildings, the church and city wall elements are nice drawings. The wooden markers for the victory points let you have a quick overview about the current status of the players. With the building licenses, the buildings itself, the city wall and the victory points, there are many pieces to be placed and moved on the board.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany