Combination with the Cities & Knights Expansion
In Explorers & Pirates, building cities is not allowed; you build harbor settlements instead. This makes sense when playing Explorers & Pirates independently of other expansions, because its strategic emphasis is on exploration and transporting commodities, crews, and settlers.
In Cities & Knights, the strategic emphasis is on city expansion and city defense.
Theoretically, it is possible to combine the two expansions and thus create a game that provides an even larger variety of strategies and possibilities to win.
If you want to combine these two expansions, you should be aware that the resulting game is rather complex and perhaps even a bit confusing. However, a group of players who know both expansions well may definitely give it a try. At least for the first attempt, scenario 4 with its Fish for Catan and Spice for Catan missions should be used
Rules suggestion for combining Cities & Knights with Explorers & Pirates
A) Building Cities
You are allowed to upgrade settlements to cities. You can choose whether to upgrade a coastal settlement to a city or to a harbor settlement. Subsequent conversion of a city into a harbor settlement or vice versa is prohibited.
B) Setting Up the Starting Island
When choosing the terrain hexes from the CATAN base game to set up the starting island, remove 1 forest hex and add 1 fields hex instead.
C) Set-up Phase
Instead of building a settlement, each player builds a city and thus begins the game with 1 harbor settlement and 1 city.
Knights cannot be transported by ship. Therefore, they stay on the island where they were built. Unlike crews, knights you have built on an island occupied by a pirate lair are not allowed to participate in the battle for the pirate lair. You are not allowed to use them as merchants in the villages of the spice hexes either.
Knights may neither be built on intersections nor be moved onto intersections adjacent to an undiscovered hex.
E) Barbarian Attack
When determining the strength of the barbarians, all cities are considered – that is, the cities on the starting island as well as the cities in the discovered areas. Harbor settlements are not included in the count.
The strength points of all knights are also taken into account.
Crews are not counted for the defense of the cities against the barbarians.
You are not allowed to buy commodities from the supply by paying gold.
If you have the “Fast Gold” advantage, instead of a resource you may also sell a commodity for 1 gold.
H) Progress Cards
Medicine: By paying 1 ore and 1 grain, you can convert a settlement into a harbor settlement. Converting a settlement into a city costs you 2 ore and 1 grain.
Bishop: Instead of moving the robber – who doesn't exist in the Explorers & Pirates expansion – you may place or move your pirate ship. If you place the pirate ship, the owner of the pirate ship that previously occupied the sea hex must return it to their supply.
Mining/Irrigation: For a harbor settlement adjacent to a mountains/fields hex you also collect ore/grain.
Deserter: The card only applies to knights. Crews are not allowed to desert.
Inventor: Except for the 6, 8, 12, and 2 number tokens, you may swap all number tokens – that is, you may also swap number tokens from the starting island with number tokens from the discovered areas and number tokens from defeated pirate lairs.
Road Building: You may only build roads – not ships.
If you have built the Aqueduct, and the production roll (not considering the “7”) doesn't provide you with any resources, you may take – according to the Cities & Knights rules – any 1 resource of your choice. In addition, under the Explorers & Pirates rules, you receive 1 gold.
J) End of the Game
I recommend to calculate the victory points required to win the game as follows:
- Victory points of the Explorers & Pirates scenario + 5 (for cities, metropolis, and Defender of Catan)
Combining scenario 4 of Explorers & Pirates with Cities & Knights would result in 22 victory points.