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the world of Catan

Released in 1997

Catan – Seafarers Expansion

Catan – Seafarers Expansion

Build ships, set sail, and conquer the magnificent island world of Catan. Nine voyages of discovery are awaiting the settlers of Catan. The expansion can also be combined with “Traders & Barbarians” and “Cities & Knights.”
Requires the Base Game to play.

About the game

A campaign with many varied scenarios awaits you. First, you head for new shores. You leave Catan, land on neighboring islands, and receive special victory points whenever you are the first to settle an island. Then your ships explore entirely uncharted regions and discover either sea or land. Soon, you will meet the mysterious forgotten tribe and court its favor. Meanwhile, the pirates are becoming more audacious. You defend yourself and conquer the pirates' nests. For the glory of Catan, you finally compete with your opponents to build the most imposing wonders of the world.

The Seafarers – The Ships

The Seafarers expansion contains new frame pieces, which can be used to assemble frames of variable size. In these frames, you lay out combinations of islands that are always different, using the hexes from the Catan base game and additional hexes from the expansion set - either as shown in the scenario diagrams or according to your own imagination.

15 ships of each color are included. Building a ship costs 1 lumber and 1 wool. When you build a new ship, place it adjacent to a coastal settlement or a ship you have already built. As you can see, the rules for placing ships are similar to the rules for placing roads on land.

There is, however, one important exception: you may change the position of the front ships of a shipping route! That way, you can respond more flexibly to your opponents' actions and possibly be the first to reach an unsettled, productive island.

Other new features are the gold fields, which help their neighbors obtain any type of resource, and the pirate, who causes unrest on the peaceful seas.

Possible Combinations

Possible Combinations of “Seafarers” with Other Expansions

1. Combination with the “Cities & Knights” Expansion

Cities & Knights

You can use the possibilities of the “Seafarers” expansion together with "Cities & Knights". In our experience scenarios such as "Heading To New Shores" and "Through the Desert" are suitable. The exploratory scenarios and all other scenarios with many smaller islands are unsuitable. When playing with the Seafarers” expansion, you must ensure that certain actions that apply to roads are also possible for ships.

Rules for "Cities and Knights" with the "Seafarer" Expansion

  • For scenarios with several islands, the same rules apply to an attack by the barbarian army as in the basic game.
  • Knights can also be moved over the sea, when start and finish are connected by roads and ships, or by ships only.
  • A player may move an activated knight to a sea crossing, if one of his ships is adjacent to this sea crossing (the knight is then on the ship).
  • When a knight stands on a crossroads, where the last ship of a line of ships borders, the ship's line is closed. In other words, the connection of a knight to a settlement of the same color must never be interrupted.
  • If a player interrupts an foreign line of ships with a knight (or a settlement), this line of ships is interrupted in the sense of the "longest trade route". Nevertheless, the owner of the line of ships may not dissolve it by transferring his ships, which are adjacent to the foreign knight.
  • If a player deactivates an active knight that borders the field with the pirate, he may move the pirate.
  • The number of victory points specified for each scenario should be increased by 2.
  • For a city on a gold river field, one always receives only raw materials, never merchandise.
  • The dealer may not be placed on a gold river field.
  • The rule, that the robber must not be displaced before the barbarians have reached Catan for the first time is also true for the pirate (who, of course, is not in the desert), should he be in the game.

2. Combination with the “Explorers & Pirates” Expansion

Explorer and Pirates

In the “Seafarers” expansion, you build ships adjacent to each other, thus forming shipping routes along the sea hexes that connect the islands. If your shipping route has reached a new island, you may build a settlement there. With two exceptions, the rules for ship building are the same as for road building in “Seafarers.” The first exception is that roads may not be built on sea routes and ships may not be built on paths. The second exception is that open ships may be moved.

While in “Seafarers,” the ships are strung together in a static fashion, in the “Explorers & Pirates” expansion, the ships can cross the seas like real-world ships. If your ship, which has been loaded with a settler, reaches a new island, you may build a settlement there.

In these two expansions, the ways of using ships and settling new islands are so fundamentally different from each other that it is impossible to combine the expansions. Besides, combining them doesn't make much sense anyway. If you use a settler ship, you reach a new building site for a settlement faster and more cost-effectively than when stringing together various ships.

3. Combination with the “Traders & Barbarians” Expansion

Traders & Barbarians

Many of the "Traders & Barbarians" scenarios combine well with the "Seafarers" expansion.