Author: Klaus Teuber

Publisher: Kosmos 1997

Awards: none



Released in Spring 1997, this expansion set brings 30 new cards of all types for the Settlers Cardgame. Basically, the Tournament Expansion is designed for 2 players which want to duel each other in a more tactical version of the Settlers Cardgame. The major difference to the basic game is, that now both players each need a Basic Set and a Tournament Expansion from which they build their own card-decks which they use in the game. Each player choses 33 cards for his deck, and he tries to chose such cards as fitting to his global strategy (i.e. he tries to win by Might, Trade or High Income).


The cards of the Tournament-Expansion are a perfect addition to the basic game. Now the players can build an University which allows them to build cannons, a crane and other benefits. In villages, it is now possible to build a Tower or a Wall in order to be protected from Spys, Customs Offices to strengthen trade, ot to build a castle which allows a cheaper upbringing of Knights. In cities it becomes optionable to build a Firehouse as a protection from Fire-Devils, a Parliament which allows the free choice of cards or an Embassy which allows you to have a look at all cards your opponent draws.

The Tournament-Game is similar to the Basic Game, but now each player uses cards from his own deck and it becomes possible that some cards appear twice (the Sawmill for example). Knights cannot appear twice. The player who brings out a knight first prevents the other player from playing the same knight, until the first player is forced to remove his knight. Depending on the strategy each player pursues, much more interaction between the players than in the basic game will arise. So, if a player choses to try to win by Might, he is going to build much knights, and the Knight-Token will enable him to play some special action cards which he was able to include in his "deck". Likewise a player can decide to try to win by trade, building buildings ensuring his holding on the Mill-Token and allowing him to play special cards as well. By using only 33 cards for a deck, the luck factor in the game becomes somewhat reduced, since now the players know which cards they can still build and this allows them to search for them more directly.

Also included are variant rules in which each player choses a character he wants to represent in play. By chosing a Character (Barbarian, Knight, Philosopher etc.), a player is forced to include 12 cards into his deck, while the rest of 21 cards still may be chosen freely. Since each character has two buildings which are representative for him from the beginning on, it becomes quite interesting to see how each Character develops.

My impression of the Tournament-Expansion really is quite good. A lot of new cards is introduced to the game, which allows players to pursue even more different ways in order to win. Another good point is the strenghtening of the Strategy-Element in the game. Now the players know which cards they may still draw, which results in a careful planning in the "decks" used. But the game offers even more than just the Tournament-Rules: It is even still playable with the basic rules and just one Basic-Set plus one Tournament-Expansion used by both players. When the expansion was released, it was said that only the Tournament rules would be useable while using the Expansion, but this resulted in much protest from Settlers-Players which complained that they would have to buy 2 Tournament-Sets and one additional Basic-Set in order to use the Tournament-Expansion. For this reason, the publisher decided that he will add a second University and an extra rules-page to each Expansion-Set, which makes it possible to use one Expansion with one Basic-Game. Personally I think that this was quite a good compromise, since now it becomes an option to still use the basic rules while playing with the cards from the Tournament-Expansion. Another point is the fact that now players wonīt have to buy 2 Basic-Sets and 2 Expansions in order to play the expansion, which allows using the Expansion still at a moderate price.

To sum it up, I must admit that I am quite taken by the game. Using the Tournament-Expansion, the Settlers Cardgame becomes even more attractive, and I got to the decision that the Cardgame finally became even better than the Boardgame. Now players have a fascinating and complex 2-Player-Game, which guarantees fun for many rainy days !

As an additional bonus, three blank cards are included in the game. Now everyone gets the opportunity to design his own cards, and these cards even might be sent to the publisher which runs a "Creativity-Contest". Itīs said that the best ideas might be published in an additional Extension-Set.

Note: The results from this creativity-contest could be seen a few years later when Kosmos released the so-called Theme-Sets for the Cardgame. These five new sets actually replaced the Turnierset and introduced a number of new cards in addition to those already known from the Turnierset.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany