Basics of Cities and Knights of Catan
The addition of Knights, commodities and the barbarian make Catan that much more interesting. Refer to the Settlers node for Catan basics (thanks for the info, neil
!) The changes from Settlers are few, but one important thing is that if you have a city on a Forest
, or Mountain
, instead of 2 wood, sheep or ore, respectively, they will now produce Paper (forest), Cloth (Plains), or Coin (Mountain). These are commodities, and can be used to upgrade your cities to different levels of civilization.
There are 5 levels (the cost is 1 for the first, 2 for the second, and so on) and at level 3 your people receive a benefit given by that type of commodity. At level 4 you receive a METROPOLIS. This is placed on a city (one per city; if you receive 2 metropolises, they must go on 2 different cities). At level 5 that metropolis becomes permanent, and even if another player achieves level 5 in that commodity after you, the metropolis will not move. However, if you're level 4 and someone else achieves level 5, THEY get the metropolis! METROPOLISES ARE WORTH 2 VICTORY POINTS EACH.
Knights are placed on the intersection of hexes like cities are. There are three levels, and a knight of a higher level can displace a knight of a lower level (i.e. KILL IT). They can block road building through them, and they have the ability to cut roads off (which can split roads and change ownership of longest road).
Knights cost a sheep and an ore for a level one knight. You can add another sheep/ore to upgrade it to level 2, and with a castle (see below, coin
commodity) you can build the level 3 knight, for, of course, a sheep and ore. BE ADVISED: Knights are not considered activated until you spend a wheat to activate them!!! Until then, they are dormant and cannot be used.
The Three Commodities
Coin: Blue Cards
This is the political commodity
. As you upgrade it, you create more political buildings. Level 3 brings you a Castle
, and with it, the ability to build Mighty Knights
, which are the 3rd-level knights and the most powerful. This upgrade costs the normal amount, but it's great to have a military unit that people without mighty knights can do nothing about. Note: there are exceptions using development cards.
The associated type of development card for Coin
are blue cards, which are the nasty political cards that you do evil
Cloth: Yellow Cards
Cloth is your generic trade commodity, and at level 3, you get a commodity market
, which allows you to trade 2 commodities of the same type for any other commodity.
card type is Yellow, the trade cards. For the most part, these are harmless...
is, oddly, the construction commodity. At level 3 you receive an aqueduct
, which can be the most useful development
. On a turn when the dice roll meant that you collected no resources, an aqueduct
will give you one (1) resource of your choice.
The associated development cards of Paper are construction cards, generally, that help you build and repair and such. Usually they're harmless to the other characters.
Receiving Development Cards
had people rolling 2 dice. C&K now has 3 dice. Two are the six-sided dice we've come to know and love
(but one is red
and one is white
now), but the third, while six-sided
, has 4 different images: 3 barbarian pictures, a yellow castle gate, a blue castle gate, and a green castle gate. As you upgrade commodities, you will see that you also have red dice images on your commodity sheet. Level One
: You have 1 and 2.Level Two
: You have 1, 2, and 3.Level Three
: You have 1, 2, 3, and 4.Level Four
: You have 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.Level Five
: You have all the numbers.
Anyway, when the picture die is rolled, it has four events that can take place. If it comes up with a barbarian
picture, the barbarian moves closer. I'll explain the barbarian later. If it comes up as a yellow, blue, or green (which correspond to the commodities) gate, you check which level you have in that commodity. Then you look at the red die, and note the number. If you have that number on the commodity sheet in that commodity, you get a development card of that type. Therefore, say you have level 3 in Green (Paper). The picture die comes up as a green castle gate. The number on the red die is 4. You would get a green card. If the picture die came up as any other picture, you wouldn't get a card. If the number on the red die was 5 or 6, you would not have received a card. If you had any lesser level in Paper, you would not have received a card. Get it?
The barbarian moves across the water. He has something like 9 or 10 moves to make, though. Every time the picture die
comes up as a barbarian picture, he moves one space closer to land. When he lands, a calculation takes place: (Number of cities - Number of knights activated (level 2 counts for 2, level 3 (mighty knights) count as 3). If there are more cities than knights, then the person (or people) with the least amount of knights has to remove a city from the board and demote it to a settlement
. Sucks for them
. However, if there are more knights than cities, the person with the most knights gets a victory point. If there's a tie, the accepted rule is to give them both development cards of the colors of their choice. This, of course, gives rise to all sorts of evil strategies
to be detailed later. Then the barbarian returns to his starting point to make another run on Catan.
Get it? Got it? HUZZAH.
To continue, here are several strategies that I consider worth the effort.
Knight blocking: Beefcake at 12:00
Knights can be used to block roads. You can cut off someone's longest road in this way, or prevent them from building a settlement where your knight is. Or, just place a knight where the other players
are building their roads just so that you can block them from going in that direction.
The Barbarian gamble: You don't have to be the fastest, you just have to be faster than the person behind you.
The barbarian only has any effect if there aren't enough knights, and even then, only on the person with the least knights. There are several points at which you can screw others over.Wheat
: It takes one wheat to activate knights
. If knights aren't activated, THEY DON'T COUNT! Therefore, you can have 3 mighty knight
s, but count for 0 when the barbarian attacks. So all you have to do is grab all the wheat
, and make sure that nobody else gets it. Then you can receive your golden, golden victory point
for having the most knights. Side note: Nothing beats the screams of anguish
of someone who has no wheat, no knights, and the barbarian's one space away.Knights bordering your territory
: This one's simple. If their knights are NEAR you, all you have to do is strike them down
with your higher-level knights. Of course, you DO have to reactivate your knight after that.Development cards
: Several development cards have effects on knights, most of them blue. The blue card "Deserter
" allows you to remove one of their knights and make it yours. Limits: You CANNOT have more than 2 knights of each level. If you take a level 2 knight, and you already have 2 level 2 knights, you must demote it to level 1. Also, if you cannot normally build mighty knights, you can't steal one. Well, you can, but it'll be demoted
. The other player gets to choose which knight you get!
The blue card "Intrigue
" makes them move one of their knights along their roads. If the knight has nowhere to go, it's destroyed. Ha ha!
The Robber - or - Steal from the rich, keep the proceedings!
One variant of the rules says that you can attack the Robber with a knight. The knight is deactivated, but you can place the robber wherever you want. A good strategy is to roll a 7 (which lets you place the robber) and put it on a hex that borders one of your knights and another player's city. After you steal from them, attack the robber! You can place it and steal from another person... and you can even do it again if you have the knights to do it with.
Several dev cards can be interesting to use. Note that this is not all of the cards, just the ones I end up using a lot.
Yellow CardsTrade Monopoly
: Name a resource
. If they have it, other players must give you 2 of that resource
. Benefits obvious.Commodity Monopoly
Name a commodity
. If they have it, other players must give you 1 of that commodity
: A 2-to-1 port on everything. Benefits still obvious.Merchant
: Put it on a hex. You have a 2-to-1 port on the resource of that hex. The player controlling the merchant also gets 1 victory point.
: Remove one of the opponent's roads. Or remove one of YOUR roads and relocate it.Constitution
: One victory point. Permanent. Nice to get, can be important later on.Card that's a lot like Constitution but it's green
: Uh, I forget its name.Road Building
: 2 roads. Anywhere you want.Alchemist
: You choose what's going to be rolled this turn. You can choose the outcome of the 2 number dice, but NOT the picture die.This led to an interesting quote: "God does not roll dice, he plays Alchemist."Green Card, forgot the name
: Lets you swap 2 numbers on any 2 hexes. 2, 12, 6, and 8 are immune to this effect!
I'll add new strategies as I remember them. Peace