Explorers & Pirates – The New Expansion for “The Settlers of Catan” – Part 3
Part 3: Land Ho! - The Introductory Game
The Introductory Game gives less seasoned Catanians the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the most important basic rules of the expansion. At the beginning, each player builds one settlement and one harbor settlement on predetermined intersections of the starting island. Each player places a road adjacent to his settlement and a ship loaded with a settler (settler ship) adjacent to his harbor settlement. That way, on his first turn each player can immediately move a ship toward the unexplored area.
As is usual, on your turn you roll two dice for production; the roll result applies to all players. What is new is that you receive 1 gold as compensation if a number - other than the “7” - is rolled for which you don't receive a resource.
Afterwards, you may trade and build. As a general rule, you may trade 3 resources of the same type with the bank, for any 1 different resource of your choice. In addition, up to two times during your turn you may pay 2 gold to buy any 1 resource of your choice.
In “The Settlers of Catan” Base Game, your turn ends after the trade and build phase; in “Explorers & Pirates,” however, a movement phase follows. You may move each of your ships (up to 3 ships are possible) a distance of 4 sea routes (A). If, along its way, one of the ship's ends points toward the corner of an undiscovered hex, the ship's movement ends (B). The hex is then turned over and marked with a number token (C). As a reward for your discovery, you receive 1 resource of this hex (D).
If you want to speed up your ships' movement, you have to pay wool. For each wool you pay, you may extend the movement of one of your ships by 2 sea routes.
By nature, roads cannot be built on sea routes, which is why the first settlement on the coast of a discovered area can only be built with the aid of a settler ship.
If one of the ends of one of your ships loaded with a settler points toward an intersection of a terrain hex (A), you may build your settlement there. For this purpose, you return your ship together with the settler to your supply (B) and place a settlement on the intersection of the terrain hex, at no additional cost (C). Of course, when you build a settlement with the aid of a settler ship, you must also observe the distance rule.
There aren't any further additional rules the players of the Introductory Game are expected to keep in mind. If you want to win “Land Ho!” you must reach 8 victory points by building settlements and harbor settlements, which normally won't take longer than 30 minutes.
Experienced players can omit the Introductory Game and immediately take on the first mission, where the new expansion exhibits its full potential for the first time.
How come the new expansion is called “Explorers & Pirates”? “Where the heck are the pirates?” you'll probably ask.
In the Introductory Game, the pirates don't play a role. And neither does the robber. In fact, the robber stays in his game box during all scenarios, which some Catanians definitely won't be sad about. ;-)
However, in the second scenario the pirates get their chance. On the one hand, the pirates have entrenched themselves in fortresses in the unexplored areas (more about this in the fourth part of my blog post), and on the other hand, their ships terrorize the seas.
In contrast to the Seafarers expansion, the Explorers & Pirates expansion not only includes a neutral pirate ship the players can move when a “7” is rolled - in addition, each player also has a pirate ship of his color, which in due course he can use to “play pirate.”
The first player to roll a “7” places his pirate ship on a sea hex. Except for the frame pieces and the hexes around the starting island, any sea hex is allowed for this purpose. The player will probably place his pirate ship on a sea hex adjacent to which his opponents have placed as may ships as possible.
The reason is that in addition to being allowed to steal a resource from the owner of one of these ships, all adjacent ships are blocked as long as the player's pirate ship stays on this hex. It goes without saying that the ships belonging to the owner of the pirate ship – maybe we should better call him the current “friend of the pirates” – are not affected by this blockage.
What can the affected players do? There are several options:
They can patiently wait until the next “7” is rolled, because when this occurs, the player who rolled the “7” can use his pirate ship, and the “established” pirate must return his pirate ship to his supply.
The players may also pay 1 gold for each ship they want to move along the edges of the pirate hex.
The last option is to chase away the pirate ship. A player can do this with any of his ships if one of its ends points toward a corner of the pirate hex. All he has to do is roll a “6.” If he succeeds, the “friend of the pirates” must return his pirate ship to his supply, and the lucky player may gladly move his ships toward their destinations. In addition, he is now the new friend of the pirates and may use his pirate ship for his own benefit.