Author: Klaus Teuber

Publisher: Kosmos 1998

Awards: none



Finally KOSMOS has released the final part of Klaus Teuber´s "Settlers of Catan (Boardgame)"-series. With the new expansion "Städte & Ritter" the game-depth of the "normal" Catan game increases incredibly and now the players have some more options during the game.

One of the most important innovations to the game is the introduction of knights. These knights are divided into 3 different strenght ratings (weak, normal and strong), and each player may have up to 2 of each class at the gameboard. Knights have the cost of 1 Wool and 1 Iron, and they may be placed onto any free crossroads in a players road-grid. They may be trained to next level for 1 Wool and 1 Iron, and in order to become available for actions they must be activated at the cost of 1 grain. An activated knight may give the owning player a strong tactical advantage during the game since he may be moved to any free crossroads in the owning player´s network. If the knight has arrived, he may perform several tasks:

  • If the robber is on one of the landscapes adjactent to the knight, the player may remove the robber and send him anywhere he pleases and steal a resource from a player adjactent to the robber´s new position.
  • He may just stand and occupy the crossroads. This means that no other player may build a road across this crossroads, since it is blocked by the knight (But a knight may be removed by a stronger knight).
After performing an action, the knight becomes passive again and must be activated again if he should perform any other task.


Knights also serve the function of defending Catan from vicious Barbarians. At the beginning of each players turn, a 6-sided random event dice is rolled to give a special event for that turn. There is a chance of 50 percent that a ship full of Barbarians will move a further step on its 8-step-voyage to reach Catan. Once the Barbarians reach Catan (having a strength corresponding to the number of cities on the gameboard), the knights of all players have to work together in order to defend Catan. Now the strength values of all activated knights are combined, and if the combined total is bigger or equal than the strength of the Barbarians, the Barbarians are defeated and the player who has given most knight-strength to the defense receives 1 victory point for being the "Heroic Defender of Catan". But beware if the Barbarians are victorious ! In this case they will plunder a city of the player who was the weakest defender, reducing that city to a village. After this, the Barbarians will embark on a new trip to Catan and once again the Lords of Catan might be forced to unite against the agressors.

The second big innovation in this expansion set contains the development of cities. Now the players can build several city-buildings, allowing certain benefits during the game and possibly additional victory points. These buildings are divided into three different categories (Politics, Science and Trade) and each of these categories has its own special "abilities". In order to build these new buildings, three new kinds of city-related resources had been introduced to the game. These resources are money, fabric and paper, and they are collected from mountain, sheep and woods landscapes. For this, the rules for collecting resources had been altered. In the new rules a city adjactent to one of these landscapes doesn´t collect two standart-resources anymore, but now it collects one standart resource and one city resource. Only clay and grain landscapes next to a city still produce two resources. Even the game setup had been changed to fit these new needs, since now a player receives a village and a city at the start of the game.

If a player decides to build any building, he has to look at the "city-calendar", which shows all possible city expansions. In each of the 3 categories a player can build up to 5 buildings in a predetermined order. Trade-buildings cost fabric, Politics-buildings cost money and Science-Buildings cost paper. The first building in each category costs one resource, the second costs two resources etc. . If a player succeeds to build the third building in a category, he gets a special advantage for the rest of the game:

  • Trade: He now may trade city-resources at a 2:1 exchange rate.
  • Politics: He now may build strong knights.
  • Science: He gets a resource even if none of his numbers is rolled.
Still more important is the fourth building in a category. The first player who reaches the fourth building in any category will be able to upgrade one of his cities to a "Metropolis". This city is imune agains Barbarians and it counts for 2 additional victory points. A player may only lose the Metropolis if another player succeeds to build the fifth building in the same category before the owner of the Metropolis suceeds to do so.

A final important aspect of these city buildings is the possibility to draw discovery-cards. Three decks of discovery cards (Trade, Politics and Science) are available for drawing. A player may draw a card if the following conditions are met:

  • At the beginning of a turn the random event dice is rolled. As said above, Barbarians may be rolled, but there is also a chance that a trade symbol belonging to one of the three groups appears.
  • If one of these symbols appears, each player has to look at the corresponding city-buildings he owns. Each building of a category increases the chance to get a discovery card.
  • After checking for the buildings, the players take a look at the resources-dice-roll (i.e. the "2" to "12"). One of the resource dice has been replaced by a red D6. If this dice shows a number listed on the city buildings of the players, each player who has the number listed may draw a card from the corresponding discovery deck.

There are many different discoveries, giving the players various possibilities to change the course of events. For example:

  • Defector: Get an opponents knight.
  • Road building: Receive 2 free roads.
  • Marriage: Each player with more victory points than you must give you two resources.
  • Monopoly: Get up two two resources of your choice from each player.
  • Constitution: 1 Victory Point !
  • Scientist: exchange two resource-income markers on the board.
  • Secret Plans: Remove an enemy knight from a crossroads.
  • Trader: Place the traders figure one a landscape next to one of your towns. He is worth 1 victory point and you can trade that landscape´s resources 2:1 as long as the trader remains there

The new expansion set has given the "classic" settlers game an amazing new depth. Now the players have much more possibilities to build and to trade, and the strategical impact of the knights is immense. Played with four players, the game duration increases to about 2.5 hours and is becomes a real challange for a gaming session. I don´t want to downgrade the "standart" Settlers by this evaluation, but I think that the "expanded" Settlers is even better for strategically pretentious gamers. There exists an additional expansion to play the game with 5 or six players, and the game can even be played in combination with the "Seafarers Expansion". A little flaw might be the number of players required to play a fair game. Four players guarantees a fair and balanced game, but already with 3 players there is a chance that one player might get quite an advantage near the end of the game - too much for the other players to stop him. This mainly results from the increase of building spaces in a 3 player game, and it possibly might be fixed by adding a desert or two. Otherwise the game is great, and because of the new expansion Settlers climbed high in my personal "Top Ten" of games.

Some final expansions to the Settlers-Series are planned at Fall 1998. These are:

  • The Cardgame-Contest-Cards: A box containing the best cards from the cardgame-creativity contest.
  • The Settlers Book: Containing player´s scenarios for Settlers and Seafarers.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany