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Star Trek Catan – Questions and Answers

 
January 3, 2013
Sebastian Rapp

Why isn't Star Trek Catan a remake of The Starfarers of Catan? Why do all players play on the side of the Federation? Why are there so many Enterprise starships? Why is the robber a Klingon?

Star Trek Catan - German game box / front view

These and many similar questions have kept Catanians and Trekkers busy since first details about the game were made public after Star Trek Catan was announced (see also here).

Below, I would like to answer some of these questions. First, the question that is of particular interest to Catanians:

Why did we adapt The Settlers of Catan base game to the Star Trek universe if a science-fiction Catan (which has been out of print for years) already exists?

 

There are several reasons for this – the main reason being that this time we didn't want to create a new or stand-alone Catan game in the Star Trek universe, similar to „Anno 1701“. We intentionally wanted to adapt the Catan base game to the Star Trek universe – giving well-known, proven, and relatively simple game mechanics an entirely new context.

Die Starfarers of Catan – German game box

The Starfarers of Catan – German game box

Of course, Starfarers would have been appropriate, but it is a notably more challenging and longer game. After all, there's a certain intention behind combining a brand such as Catan with another brand such as Star Trek: you want to reach people the Catan games haven't been able to reach so far.

We didn't want to scare away people whose interest in Star Trek Catan is based on the Star Trek brand by offering them a Catan game that is too expansive. Another aspect is that the German edition of Starfarers wasn't an inexpensive game, and redesigning it for Star Trek definitely would not have made it more budget-friendly – in fact, the German edition of Star Trek Catan would have been considerably more pricey than the Starfarers in 1999. And that might have been even more of a deterrent than a game that is too lengthy, at least as far as the German edition is concerned. So, Starfarers wasn't an option for us.

Why do all players play “on the same side” now, as the Federation? Wouldn't it have made more sense to let them compete with each other as the Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans, and ... perhaps the Cardassians or the Ferengi?

 

Enterprise from “Star Trek Catan” – PrototypeThis question indeed surprised me. As a matter of fact, it isn't always love, peace, and harmony between the races within the Federation. There are countless examples of conflicts within the Federation that involve intrigue, power, riches, and ideology. And even though economic interests are rarely the subject of the series (and if they are, they play a minor part), they definitely do exist. For this reason, it even is self-evident that the players act as different members of the Federation. After all, they all settle within the same space.

The idea that Klingons, Romulans, and the Federation peacefully coexist in one space sector is almost absurd, given that we are in a time of cold war between Klingons and the Federation (the Khitomer Accords are still in the future), with a neutral zone and no diplomatic contact with the Romulans. And Klingons, Romulans, and the Federation together on one planet? That didn't work out on Nimbus III either …

The last question concerns the Klingons:

Why do they – and not the Ferengi or the Orion-Syndicate, for example – represent “the robber”?

 

Klingon Battle Cruiser from “Star Trek Catan” – PrototypeWell, it's easy to rule out the Ferengi. The first official contact with them isn't made until 2364 by Captain Picard, even though Captain Archer also had an encounter with the Ferengi once. Therefore, in the 23rd century the Ferengi are irrelevant.

Essentially the same also applies to the Orion Syndicate. Admittedly, the Orion Syndicate would have been a good fit, even if it only operates on the borders of Federation space. Although there is contact with the Orions during the Kirk era (the term "Orion Syndicate" isn't introduced until later), it is undeniable that the Klingons are the major enemy of this time. The term "Orion Syndicate" only means something to people with a lot of insider knowledge – and even many of them will wonder whether the Orion Syndicate already existed before the 24th century. Klingons, however, are well-known by everyone.


Are there still unanswered questions? I'll be glad to receive them as comments to this blog post and will answer them either personally or, if the questions are of general interest, in the context of another blog post.

Sebastian Rapp


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Comments

Is it possible to make a "Cities and Knights" expansion themed to "The Next Generation?" Like the Ferengi as the merchant and the Romulans as the Barbarians?
Is there or will there be a 5 & 6 player expansion to ST Catan?
The board is very inaccessible to people with certain types of colour-blindness. The Food planets and the Dilithium planets look identical to me unless I examine closely enough to make out the textures. Did you not include any colour-blind play testers?
I can't find sleeves that fit the cards for Star Trek Catan. Can you recommend a brand and size of sleeve for the cards?
Aside from the Kirk Era movies as of late, is there another reason why you chose this particular Era? Is there a plan to release any extensions, expansions or perhaps even Star Trek The Next Generation series?
As a Star Trek fan, I would like to say it would have been nice to incorporate starship combat and movement into this game where a starship just needs it's move to end up adjacent to a star base or a supply route (line of starships to a star base). Standard Catan rules would apply in that you need min of 2 starships to build a star base. Combat for a space lane would be resolved by dice. Scouts and light cruisers, product of bases, would only have 1 die to resolve combat. Scouts have no shielding can take only 1 hit but take only 1 turn to build while Light cruisers can sustain 2 hits but take two turns t build. On the other hand, heavy cruisers and battleships, product of upgraded star bases, would have 2 dice to resolve combat. Heavy cruisers can sustain 2 hits and take 1 turn to build with an upgraded star base. Battleships can sustain 3 hits due to dual level shields but require double resources to build with an upgraded star base.
Gero Zahn
@Mark / @Luke: Neither a 5/6 player extension nor an extension like “Cities & Knights” for Star Trek Catan are planned ATM. As stated above: Ferengi clearly aren't part of the TOS era.
Gero Zahn
@Christin: Unfortunately, I have no information about this. As you describe it, it is safe to assume that the emphasis during the design process lay more on the recognizability as a Star Trek product than on clear color discriminability. Sorry!
Gero Zahn
@Shannon: Sorry, no we can't.
Gero Zahn
@Mark: We went towards TOS because we loved this show (or its reruns) so much when we grew up. The game is clearly related to the 60ies show and not so much about the reboot motion picture franchise. As I already said as a comment on my blog post, we are currently tossing around different ideas, whereas I am not yet at liberty to go into detail about this any further.
Gero Zahn
@Kan: When we conceived the notion of combining “Star Trek” and “Catan”, we were convinced the game couldn't bear the name “Star Trek” if it wasn't true to the show, and it couldn't bear the name “Catan” if it wasn't true to the philosophy behind the original game. Looking at it from this perspective, you can see that starship combat is not an option for a themed and slightly expanded original game of Catan. What you describe sounds like a totally different game - however, it wouldn't really catch the Catan spirit.
Is the Star Trek version of Catan compatible with the other expansions (if you count the Star Trek resources as regular resources, converting them)?
I was hoping for a 5-6 player extension. I noticed that the Star Trek character "support" cards have A1-A6 indicators to determine which ones to distribute at the beginning of the game. We can only go up to A4 now...
Gero Zahn
@Jesse No, unfortunately it's not. It's hard to imagine the spaceships from Star Trek Catan with the naval ships of the Seafarers expansion. @Mike No, a 5-6 player extension is currently not in the pipeline. It's true, we added the numbers 5 & 6 “just in case”, as we had them on the original “Helpers of Catan” cards (see my blog post a bit further in the past).
Helpers of Catan Cards? What are they? Were are the english versions?
I purchased the Star Trek Catan from Gen Con where it came with the additional Planets? board expansion? How does it fit into the game?
Gero Zahn
@Mark “Helpers of Catan” (or “Die Helfer von Catan”) is a small Catan expansion that we've published in Germany, but that has not yet been published in English language. There is no immediate time frame for it, but it might be out eventually. @Kathu A 5-6 player extension is not planned at the moment.
I got this a few days ago and finally just played tonight, LOVED IT! I want to add to the chorus of 5-6 expansion support :-) but well done guys, great game with the right amount of added features.
As you indicated, in the heading paragraph, that this would be answered here, but doesn't seem to have been, I'll ask: Why are there so many Enterprise starships?
Gero Zahn
@Jim Let me paraphrase the answer that has been given above, and let me add another aspect. I assume, together they'll sufficiently answer your question: (a) All ships need to be Federation ships. For means of story consistency, we couldn't add famous alien ships, like Klingon Birds of Prey or Romulan Warbirds, as they would have been behind their respective Neutral Zone. (b) It requires an expensive tool to die cast these plastic pieces. To create four different kinds of game pieces would have required four die casting setups instead of one, which would have significantly increased the retail price. So for economic considerations, we went with four differently colored NCC-1701 ships.
I would love an expansion!
Add my vote to the 5-6 player expansion idea. It would be the killer app for this game to help it sell bundles more I'm sure. As it stands, though Star Trek and Catan are my 2 favorite things, there would be no point in my buying this, I always have 5 or 6 players in my Catan games :-(
I would also love to see Expansions. Keep up the great work! ^_^
I vote for a 5/6 player expantion set. Two more colors of ships and space stations. You could throw in mission cards, there were 79 original TOS episodes, each one could have printed on them what recorces are granted with each card. Any time travel episode would allow you to put a space station any where with out a space ship first. Any other ideas?
Add another vote to the Expansion request for me. My friends and I love breaking out Catan for our weekly game night. And a 6 person Star Trek Catan night would be fantastic. I also have an idea to add to Keith's "mission cards". It's more of an anti-development card. Tribbles. Draw a Tribble, lose a resource at random. Keep up the great work guys!
I think the game works very well, always going to have the haters but this is a good edition to Catan - Live long and prosper
Gero Zahn
@Peter A Tribble "anti-development card" would certainly not diminish a random resource, but only grain i.e. food. ;-)
Granted, tribbles are best known for consuming the grain stores of K-7. I was just trying to keep the aspect of the card open. In my head, if the "tribble card" were limited to grain, then there would need to be a similar card for all resources. That could potentially bog down the Development Card Deck. Although, thinking about it, you could probably do something similar with a "Harry Mudd Card". P.S. You don't have to post this on the Q&A page. It's just meant as an explanation and rebuttal to my original post.
Gero Zahn
@Peter Sure – while talking purely hypothetically, if one resource would be consumed, there would certainly have to be four other ways to consume the others as well. But as I said: Hypothetically speaking. There are no immediate plans to add something like this to the game. But you're certainly welcome to build your own expansion if you and your friends like to play it this way.
I would really enjoy seeing not only a 5-6 player expansion, but other expansions for this version of the game as well. I have played many catan expansions with friends but recently decided to purchase the Star Trek version for myself. It would be really great to see this version add 5-6 players as well as some expansions similar to seafarers. Certainly adding space ports can fit the theme of the current iteration.
I'd love to see an expansion also.EIther a 5/6 expansion or something new like the mission cards mentioned above (preferably both options in one box) I would definitely buy that.
Gero Zahn
@m. We are currently wearing our thinking caps - that's all I can say about this at the moment.
I add another vote for 5-6
"This question indeed surprised me. As a matter of fact, it isn't always love, peace, and harmony between the races within the Federation. There are countless examples of conflicts within the Federation that involve intrigue, power, riches, and ideology..." Yes, except that Starfleet is the military and exploratory wing of an alliance of planets with a unified command structure. Such competition would exist at the level of politics, diplomacy, and perhaps creative paperwork. Having different star fleets in open competition for resources looks as silly as the Army fighting within its own divisions, or against the Navy and the Airforce, and its quite rightly the first thing that enters everyone's heads when they look at the Star Trek Catan board. Your answer is highly tenuous, and I think admitting that the truth much closer to the one you stated elsewhere - that it was much more economic for you to stick to a limited set of models - would be less silly.
Gero Zahn
@Richard I think I have already elaborated about this in my comment on 01/31/2013 - 16:37. The Catan/Star Trek crossover obviously required compromises to be made on both sides, and we have heard from so many fans, coming from both franchises, how much they like it – which encourages us, as we consider ourselves both Catan fans and Star Trek fans. Doubtlessly, some people complain that either Catan or Star Trek or even both are presented in a wrong way – which, due to the given compromises, is partly true. For what it's worth, “Star Trek Catan” is certainly non-canon – for both franchises. But at the end of the day, it combines two great fictional universes to a very fun and enjoyable game.
Another vote for 5/6 expansion. This would make it a more family playable game. Having introduced my children to both Star Trek and Catan, we would love to ALL be able to play Star Trek Catan. Pleeeeease. :-)
Gero Zahn
There will be some Star Trek Catan related news not too far in the future. I am sorry that I can't tell you anything beyond this right now, but we are convinced that you are all going to like it.
Not to thread jack, but will we ever see a reprint of Starfarers? I *really* want to buy a copy of this game.
Gero Zahn
@Mike There are no immediate plans in this very moment. But who knows – the sky is the limit!
What about this, you get a whole set of romulan ships and outposts/starbases and a romulan specific deck of cards, 5-6 players and each player can choose who they want to play as. the build requirements for the romulans are different from the existing starfleet ones and are maybe biased towards dilithium or tritanium and their cards are more manipulative?..
Gero Zahn
Well – do you think that it's plausible, story-wise, that Romulan Warbirds would cross the Romulan Neutral Zone and start settling in direct vicinity with Federation outposts and Constitution class Federation ships? No, I am sorry, but I don't think that this could work.
Add my voice to those clamoring for a 5-6 player expansion! My wife and I played it with friends recently and loved it, but our typical game circle is three couples, not just two, and as such, we won't be able to play it regularly until a 5-6 player expansion is released. I'd also love to see a Star Trek version of the Catan event cards as well.
Gero Zahn
@James Unfortunately, a 5-6 player expansion is still not in the pipeline. The only recommendation we have is to get a second copy of the game and (spray) paint two new colors. I am sorry, for the time being, there is no other solutions. — However, you might want to follow the news about Star Trek Catan. I can't tell you more about it yet, but there should be an announcement real soon.
Just got this game for fathersday... LOVED IT !! You can add my vote for expansion pacs; - 5/6 player expansion - ... Also almost directly tought about a possebility to make photon-torpedos with a combination of resources... these photon-torpedos would then allow to shoot at adjectant space-ships (once/turn) which would then be destroyed... this would then allow to make dissapear the card "Biggest Starfleet"... Although I have to admit that this does not directly comply to the Cattan gameplay, It seems to me that this would add gameplay fun to the overall game (certainly in the second half of the game) while staying thruthfull to the Star Trek theme.
Gero Zahn
@BlowGun Thank you! We certainly encourage you to experiment with “house rules” like the one you described. However, as you already observed, a combination of the two franchises “Catan” and “Star Trek” needs to be as true as possible to both of them. We have a lot of expansions and variations for our regular Catan game, so any of those that translate well into the “Star Trek” universe would be worth trying out. As a matter of fact, the character cards in Star Trek Catan originally were a small Catan expansion called “The Helpers of Catan” (which unfortunately hasn't yet been released in English).
Bought this for Christmas and finally was able to play with my friends last week. We loved it! Add my vote in for a 5-6 player expansion set!
Gero Zahn
@Lee and @ all the others: Sorry, no 5-6 expansion for now. But you might want to have a look at this page: “Star Trek Catan – Federation Space” – http://www.catan.com/game/star-trek-catan-federation-space
I had my first experience with Settlers of Catan this week...i LOVED THIS GAME!! I remembered seeing Star Trek Catan recently, I read the above comments that there is No Expansionfor 5/6 players Planned? This game lost a customer...My regular gaming group is 5-6 players and I dont want a game that only supports up to 4. Why is there no expansion planned?
Gero Zahn
@Brandon A 5-6 player extension is not totally impossible, but for the time being, it's not in the pipeline.
While a 5-6 would be nice and I would definately buy it. I would really like to see a contraction as opposed to an extension, that would make a 2 player game effective.
Gero Zahn
@geneticus You could try to use the 2 player adaptation found in the “Traders & Barbarian” expansion. In short: The 2 real players also act for 2 additional players along their regular game actions. Please look up the T&B expansion (click on “Board Games” in the upper left, you can't miss it). Afterwards download the game manual and read the chapter about “Catan for Two” on page 6/7. You'll need 20 Trade Tokens, you could use pennies or paper clips.
Thanks a lot for your hard work in Star Trek Catan!! I loved it!! However, I have to add my vote to the 5-6 player expansion... I think this is the most important expansion right now. In my group of friends we allways are more than 4, so we have only been able to play it once since Christmas!! :S ... thanks again!!
Gero Zahn
Unfortunately, this isn't so much of a vote – I'm sorry. As we are dealing with a licensed cross-over game, we decided not to add (quote/unquote) “just” two more colors to the original Star Trek Catan, but to actually create more real content with the “Federation Space” expansion, adding the planets, the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. We couldn't do both, so we had a tough decision to make. At the moment, a 5-6 player extension is not in the pipeline. As I told all the visitors in my booth at GenCon: The easiest DIY solution would be to get another copy of the game and spray-paint it to get two additional colors. I am sorry that I can't tell you anything else. ... BTW, the “Federation Space” expansion plays great with 6 players, we made sure that it would.
I'm in trouble, because I was gifted this by an awesome friend, and my regular Catan group (playing 10 years+) is dying to try this, but we're a group of 6. Please release an expansion for 5/6 players so that we can play together!
"BTW, the “Federation Space” expansion plays great with 6 players, we made sure that it would." GREAT! Then why is it billed as a 3-4 player? I'm glad I read this.
Gero Zahn
@Dawn I am sorry, the 5-6 player extension is currently not planned for the near future. When we had to decided whether to add “just” more colors or to add more content in terms of the “Federation Space” expansion, we decided to do the latter. So if you really need to have two additional colors, the only way is to buy a second copy of the game and spray paint two sets of the game pieces in different colors. — “Federation Space” is meant to be played on either map 1 or map 2 with 3-4 players, as you need the game pieces of the “Star Trek Catan” base game, which contains only four different colors. If you have two more colors (see above), feel free to play “Federation Space” with 5-6 players. You could even try to overlap the two maps to play over the whole of the explored galaxy! ... I wouldn't recommend to play with 8 players, as only 2 of the character cards would remain under rotation among the players.
Love this game, really a nice crossover. Instructions are a bit unclear for support cards though. I usually play with a larger group of friends, so I must join the chorus above hoping for a 5/6 Player expansion sometime in the future, it's really a drag having to decide which friends to invite over for a game. Keep the good work up! Love you guys.
Gero Zahn
@Andrew I'm sorry, but license-wise, a 5-6 player edition is not planned for the near future. The only recommendation I can give you is to get a second copy of the game and spray paint two sets of pieces to get two additional colors. This way, you will be able to play with up to 5-6 players – as well the map expansion “Star Trek Catan – Federation Space”. (I would advise against playing with more than 6 players, as too few of the support cards would remain on display at the side of the board to choose from when putting one card down.)
We would like to cast another vote for a 5/6 player expansion. If its not in the works, is there any way you could guide us in making one ourselves as you mentioned? We are new to the catan series... star trek being our first game as we are sci fi nerds. But currently we are a fam of 5 so two of us are currently having to play on a team...
I Feel like your Missing a BIG Opportunity by Not putting out a 5/6 Player Expansion for Star Trek Catan ! I Very Recently Was introduced to Catan, and I now have 3 Core Sets with a 5/6 Player Expansion and I, this week, Received the Star Trek Catan, with the Federation Expansion, And my Core group of gamers is 6 People, And I cannot Play this on my weekly Game Nights. I Really feel like you need to Re Consider the Star Trek Catan 5/6 Player Expansion!!
Gero Zahn
@goingypsy @Brandon Metchooyeah I am sorry, a 5-6 player extension is not in the pipeline. The most obvious explanation is: Every addition to the game needs to be negotiated with CBS. When we came to the decision to do a second Star Trek Catan game, we went for something that added new content to the crossover, not “just” two additional colors. We do understand the problem, but we can't really offer a solution. The only recommendation is: Find a friend who owns another copy of the game, and spray paint two of the sets of pieces in different colors. Afterwards, you have enough game material for a 5-6 player extension, that also works nicely with the “Federation Space” map expansion.
I received Star Trek Catan as a gift and I love it. After reading through previous comments I know I'm probably beating a dead horse here, but I would like to add my my vote for a 5-6 player expansion to the growing number.
Gero Zahn
@Ryan Thanks for your input. But unfortunately I have to tell you that a 5-6 player extension is not very likely to come. I'm sorry!
How many votes would it take to get that 5-6 player expansion set?
Gero Zahn
@David It's not really a vote, you know. ;-)
I understand the viewpoint of contracts with CBS with rights of Star Trek. But, this seems like a no brainier in the terms of revenue. I'm curious to see the business cash revenue projects of a 5/6 player expansion verses the current Federation Map that's available. To me, this is a lost opportunity from a business side decision not to create a 5/6 player version. Only way I can see it not working is if the cost production was too high in making of the pieces and the sales didn't meet the projected cash revenue.
Well, after a year of seeing you post "no 5-6 player expansions", I guess there's no point in "voting" for it yet again. Really quite surprising that it wasn't part of the original plans for the game, since it is such an important part of the Catan universe. I guess we'll just have to keep this one on the shelf and blow the dust off when a couple of players can't show up.
Gero Zahn
@Sean / @Robert I am really sorry, but unfortunately, there's nothing else that I could tell you. Even if I had them, I would not be at liberty to discuss revenue figures. All I can say is: We decided to put more content to the game — instead of counting our fingers, estimating the percentage of players who would actually buy a 5-6 player extension in addition to the base game, but not adding the beautiful and rich episode based “Federation Space” map expansion. … Rest assured, this is actually far from being a “no brainer” in the way you see it.
I just picked this up last night and my group would also LOVE for there to be a 6 player version. While I appreciate the other expansion and will probably get it...I would like to be able to play with more than 4 people. :( This is my first time playing Catan and it was a blast, but I think maybe I should have gotten settlers due to all the expansion opportunities.
Since the base game of Star Trek is pretty much the same thing as base Catan, one can easily incorporate the role cards from Star Trek and use them for base Catan along with its expansion/extensions. My family has played Catan so much that we were able to translate the terms used in Star Trek into regular Catan terms. We've yet to pick up the actual expansion for Star Trek, though. It'll likely come within our collection in the future. Haha. Of course, for those that don't already have the regular titles, wanting to play with more people for just Star Trek does present a problem.
Gero Zahn
@Neil Indeed – the card functions of the Enterprise bridge crew members actually derived from a small Catan expansion that had been published in German language already before Star Trek Catan. Just last year, we published this small expansion in English language as well, it's called „The Helpers of Catan“ – you can find it here: http://www.catan.com/game/catan-scenarios-helpers-catan This transports the enhancements in the game-play back from Star Trek Catan to regular Catan.
Gero Zahn
@Scott As I already said a couple of times: I'm really sorry, but the 5-6 player extension for Star Trek Catan doesn't seem to be very likely. The best if not only way would be to get a second copy of the game and spray-paint two sets of pieces in different colors. That way, the “Federation Space” expansion will work greatly with 5-6 players.
We brought the Star Trek Catan board game at Christmas, but unfortunately when we opened the box we discovered the star ship pieces were missing. We have lost the original receipt. Do you know where we can purchase replacement pieces?
Gero Zahn
@Khan I am sorry that the game material wasn't complete. Please contact the good guys at Mayfair Customer Service <custserv@mayfairgames.com> – I am sure that they will find a way to solve this problem.
Another vote for 5-6 because I have so many friends who want to play this. ;) Also.. GUYS.. the ships aren't really NCC 1701 USS Enterprises.. they're just Constitution class starships. The workhorse of the fleet at that time.
Gero Zahn
@Joseph A good explanation that I will remember for the next time when somebody asks me. Certainly, the Starfleet at that time consisted of more ship models than just Constitution-class starships. :)
I just purchased the game +Federation Space and it's a blast! Though I have to agree, adding 5-6 player support is important to me as well as so many others posting here. Since it seems unlikely that game would come any time soon, would it be possible for Catan to simply sell "replacement packs" of the Star Trek ships? This would allow a cost-effective solution for players who want to try 5-6 player games, and Catan would not have to admit that it's a play-tested/supported expansion, because they are just "replacements."
Gero Zahn
@David I can't tell you for sure whether or not whole sets of pieces are available as “replacement sets”. Please ask the good guys over at Mayfair Games customer service about that: custserv@mayfairgames.com

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