Updated: Sep 19, 2019
After a long voyage, the settlers have reached Catan and built their first settlements. Harbours are built and new, seaworthy ships are being developed. Daring Catanians sail across the ocean.
Before long, rumours appear that many smaller islands are out there at sea, not too far away—it is even said that gold has been found on some of them. Gold is highly appreciated in Catan. Ships are fitted out, and soon Catanian ships set sail to find the gold of the islands
For this scenario you will need all the components from the base game, plus 15 ships for each player, 15 sea tiles, 2 Gold Fields, 2 mountains and 1 field, hill pasture and forest. You will also need one additional 2,3,4,5,8,9,10,11 number chit.
The main island is assembled as in the base game of Catan, the additional hexes are then used to create four smaller islands separated from the mainland by 1 sea hex.
You will need both the Pirate Ship and Robber, plus 1 special victory point chit for each player in the game.
This is the tutorial scenario for Seafarers. The game play follows the same rules as basic Settlers but using the following additional rules:
Players may build boats at a cost of 1 Sheep and 1 Wood. Boats may only built on water and adjacent to either a settlement or another boat.
A player may move up to one boat built on a previous turn to any other legal space following the rules above. Only a boat that is only connected at one end may be moved.
Gold Fields generate resources exactly like other hexes, except the player may choose which resource is created.
The Pirate Ship can be moved instead of the robber. No ships may be built on or moved from the hex containing the Pirate Ship. In addition when you move the Pirate Ship to a new hex you may steal 1 resource from a player with at least 1 ship on the new hex.
Players may only build their starting Settlements on the main island.
The game is played to 13 Victory Points
Each player may score 1 additional point by building a settlement on one of the smaller islands.
This is a great introductory scenario for seafarers, it has the main island that all players will recognise and be comfortable with. The restriction on building your starting settlements only on the main island eliminates any fears players may have about placing settlements on islands.
The fact that you only need to build 2 ships to reach any of the smaller islands from the mainland means that players are not going to waste time on a massive fleet of ships only to find themselves cut off by another player (as can happen in later scenarios).
As well as introducing ships the scenario also introduces the gold fields, which coupled with the bonus victory point for settling a foreign island, add a great incentive for players to explore and use their ships.
All that said, it is exactly what it’s supposed to be, an introduction. It just feels like a tweaked version of the base game, rather than a fresh experience. So while it’s a good way to get started with Seafarers you’ll find yourself wanting to move on quickly and I doubt you’ll ever return to this scenario.