Chieftains of Catan Rules (Jan 18, 2013)


It might not look like much now, but give it a couple turns and we’ll see how it develops.

Over the weekend I speculated a bit on how a game using the Chieftains of Catan rules I designed might play. For example, using the rules for knight movement to relocate a chief (and from a narrative perspective, the village), it would take at least four “years” (rounds) to construct a settlement in a four-player game with no trading.

I broke it down into resources as acquired on a “seasonal” basis, ignoring “trading” season because our hypothetical players don’t play well with others. There are three opportunities to accumulate resources each year, during each of the growing and harvest seasons, and on the player’s turn (I refer to the latter as “surplus”).

G = Growing, H = Harvest, S = Surplus

Start of Game:
place chieftain on brick/clay pit

Turn one: grain (G), brick (H), brick (S)
pay 1 grain to activate chieftain

Turn two: grain (G), brick (H), brick (S)
move chieftain to forest, reactivate

Turn three: grain (G), wood (H), wood (S)
move chieftain to pasture

Turn four: grain (G), sheep (H), sheep (S)
build settlement, build road

While it’s totally up to you where you choose to build, I have to recommend building your first settlement on an intersection between brick and wood, the third resource really doesn’t matter. You want to be able to build a road every turn, and a settlement every other turn, when possible. Alternate between sheep and grain.

If you can bring yourself to trade, the game plays very differently. Even a single trade can make the game very different, and if you set yourself up with a trading partner, you can easily rule the island together in only a few short “years.” It’s so easy in fact, that I’m thinking I might need to restrict trade to roads between settlements.

Say that instead of going it alone, you park yourself on a clay hex, next to your partner in crime. Here’s the difference:

G = Growing, H = Harvest, B = Bonus, S = Surplus

Start of Game:
place chieftain on brick/clay pit

Turn one: grain (G), brick (H), wood (B), brick (S)
“gift” one brick to neighbor, draw one wood from bank in “trade”

Turn two: sheep (G), brick (H), brick (S)
build settlement

You get your first settlement on your second turn if you make a successful gift of a single resource to another player. It’s funny, it’s almost so good you would expect players to exploit it for the profit of all, but I can almost guarantee you they won’t.

I’m thinking that while trading should be easily possible between adjacent chiefs and hexes, this is only because chiefs (and villages, by extension) are so mobile. I think the roads becomes necessary for “gift-giving” between settlements.

These roads become trade routes almost by necessity, and building near your neighbors is critical.

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