Catan: Explorers & Pirates is the fourth major expansion for Catan (following Seafarers, Cities & Knights and Traders & Barbarians) and it includes five scenarios and three missions; some of the scenarios make use of the missions while others do not.
Catan: Explorers & Pirates differs from the Catan base game in three main ways. First, instead of having only a single island in the game on which players build and compete for resources, three islands are present – but the landscape of only one of these islands is known at the start of the game. Players start on this island, then build ships and bring settlers into play so that they can then travel to new lands. When a ship ends its movement on unexplored territory, that hex is revealed and a randomly-drawn number chip placed on it, with the player earning one resource as a reward – assuming the hex produces resources, that is. (The number of unknown tiles varies from 16 to 32, depending on the scenario.) A settler and ship can be transformed into a port settlement, from which roads and new ships can be built to enable further exploration.
Second, instead of using cities, Catan: Explorers & Pirates allows players to build port settlements for two corn and two ore, with a port settlement supplying one resource when the adjacent number is rolled at the start of a turn. Like cities, port settlements are worth two victory points (VPs), and the number of VPs required to win depends on the scenario.
Third, if a player receives no resources during the production roll (other than on a roll of 7), she receives one gold in compensation. Two gold can be traded with the bank for a resource of the player's choice. Gold has other uses as well, such as helping you escape from pirates.
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Catan: Explorers and Pirates Expansion
Published in 2013, Catan: Explorers and Pirates expansion is entirely dedicated to exploration!
Sent out by the Council of Catan, you set out for uncharted areas to build new outposts. The sketchy information available indicates that dangerous pirate lairs, rich fishing grounds, and helpful indigenous villages await you beyond the horizon.
To set up the game, you need the game components from the Catan base game as well as new frame pieces and hexes from the expansion. This provides you with quite large a game board, allowing you to go on exciting journeys of exploration and discover new land.
The new Explorers & Pirates expansion is based on Catan game rules but also contains a number of new game mechanisms. For example, ships are now equipped for expeditions and can be moved freely across the board. In the ships you transport settlers, crews, fish, or spices across the seas. Your goal is to build new outposts on the islands that are still undiscovered and to complete the Council of Catan’s missions in the most skillful way possible.
Your missions are varied. First, you must prevail against pirates who terrorize the coasts of Catan. Equip your ships with crews and search for the pirates’ lairs. The Council of Catan rewards the bravest fighters with fame and gold.
On your way, you will encounter rich shoals of fish just waiting to be hauled aboard your ship. If you bring the fish back to the home island, the Council of Catan rewards you.
Finally, you will encounter peaceful and helpful villagers who trade valuable spices to you. The Council of Catan will be delighted yet again when you deliver spices to their stronghold. You also benefit from the villagers’ extensive knowledge and will learn how to sail faster across the seas or how to better fight the pirate ships.
Picture yourself in the era of discoveries: after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan: the race to settle the island has begun!
The women and men of your expedition build the first two settlements. Fortunately, the land is rich in natural resources. You build roads and new settlements that eventually become cities. Will you succeed in gaining supremacy on Catan? Barter trade dominates the scene. Some resources you have in abundance, other resources are scarce. Ore for wool, brick for lumber – you trade according to what is needed for your current building projects. Proceed strategically! If you found your settlements in the right places and cleverly trade your resources, then the odds will be in your favor. But your opponents are smart too.
Setup includes randomly placing large hexagonal tiles (each showing a resource or the desert) in a honeycomb shape and surrounding them with water tiles, some of which contain ports of exchange. Number disks, which will correspond to die rolls (two 6-sided dice are used), are placed on each resource tile. Each player is given two settlements (think, houses) and roads (sticks) which are, in turn, placed on intersections and borders of the resource tiles. Players collect a hand of resource cards based on which hex tiles their last-placed house is adjacent to. A robber pawn is placed on the desert tile.
Points are accumulated by building settlements and cities, having the longest road and the largest army (from some of the development cards), and gathering certain development cards that simply award victory points. When a player has gathered 10 points (some of which may be held in secret), he announces his total and claims the win.
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