Catan: Seafarers - Board Game Box Shot

Catan: Seafarers

| Published: 1997
Expansion for The Settlers of Catan
Catan: Seafarers game in play
image © Mayfair Games

Expand your The Settlers of Catan game in new directions, add islands, pirates, gold, ships, and trade.

Explore and colonize the newly populated Archipelago of Catan. Build settlements, roads, and villages by trading commodities from the land and islands around you. Trade sheep and wood for a ship, bricks and wood for a road, build new settlements and improve settlements into cities.

User Reviews (10)

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9
Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
8
106 of 117 gamers found this helpful
“A ship, a ship, my island for a ship!”

The Seafarers of Catan introduces a small but definite game changer: the ship. All the old rules of The Settlers of Catan still apply (there is a big island, players get to choose their starting locations, villages and cities may be build, roads connect to new villages on the island), but now a player can enter the sea tiles by building ships (cost is one wood and one wool, so sheep tiles are more useful in this extension). Ships are subject to the same rules as roads, but you may move them around (not breaking the line) as long as they don’t connect to a village – more flexibility than roads!

This extension also introduces the scenario. Where previously the only difference between Catan games was the initial setup of the big island, a lot of different games are put forward in the scenarios of The Seafarers of Catan. Some are small extensions of the basic game (adding a few islands of the coast of Catan itself), while others create a whole new game concept – exploring unknown tiles by creating ships reaching into the unknown (you reveal tiles as you build a ship along a reversed tile). Some scenarios add extra ways to earn points, so playing a scenario creates a whole new game experience.

Also, a black ship is included in this extension. This is a pirate ship that will prey on your shipping lines. When a 7 comes up, a player chooses if he or she wants to use the robber or the pirate ship. The pirate ship does not block a number, but you still get to steal a resource and prevent other players from building more ships on the tile the pirate ship is in. Ships may not move away from the tile the pirate ship is in too!

The Seafarers of Catan blends seamlessly with the original game. So if you want to add new flavour to your Catan experience and are ready to explore the seas, try it out! You probably will always use this extension when putting Catan on the table. It doesn’t really add complexity, but creates new possibilities and more ways to enjoy playing Catan!

 
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6
The Silver Heart
Video Game Fan
Australia
10
67 of 75 gamers found this helpful
“Once you have it you won't want to play without it”

Gameplay
Seafarers adds islands and shipping routes to travel between islands. Shipping routes (which look like ships) can be built with a sheep and a wood, meaning sheep become a lot more valuable and therefore balancing the resource values better. Shipping routes are slightly different to roads as you have both open and closed shipping routes. Shipping routes must start at a settlement on a sea bordering hex, i.e. you cannot have roads turning straight into a shipping route (Catan settlers have not invented the boat cart). A shipping route becomes closed when you have a continuous length of ships from one settlement to another. Whilst a shipping route remains open you can move the boat at the open end (not connected to the settlement), so you can change course if you so desire.

Shipping routes act just like roads to use towards the longest road achievement. There is now a pirate (a black ship) as well as the robber which prevents boats from moving or being placed on the placed hex; when you roll a seven you can choose to move either the robber or the pirate (you still get to steal a card). Gold hexes are added which are a resource of your choice when they are rolled (a wild card).

One of my favourite ways to play with Seafarers is to have a starting island where players place their starting settlements, then have the rest of the tiles hidden, to be flipped over once someone’s ship reaches that hex and then a mystery number is added from a number token pile or bag. There are many ways you can vary this sort of exploration gameplay and the game itself includes exploration scenarios.

Who is it for?
Anyone who enjoys Catan but wants to add more variety to the gameplay and change the map up a bit, allowing for exploration type scenarios.

Pros
– Allows for a lot of variety in terms of board set up and scenarios
– Can be combined with all other expansions
– Gameplay is not fundamentally changed

Cons
– The way you move ships is a little more complicated than the basic settlement and road building
– Not great for teaching to non-experienced Catan players – stick to the base game for new players

Should you own this game?
If you like Catan then yes, yes and yes! The only time I play without seafarers is when I am teaching people who are new to the game and want to teach them the basic mechanics first. The game can be combined with all of the other expansions but you need the base game to play. A 5-6 player expansion is also available for Seafarers. This is a must buy for any Catan fans and in my opinion is the best expansion. You get a lot more gameplay variety for your money and it is well worth a buy!

Tip: With the release of edition 5, make sure you know which edition you are buying.

 
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6
Norway
I play yellow
Asmodee fan
Count / Countess
7
104 of 124 gamers found this helpful
“Got sheep for wood?”

Finally! The sheep is useful again. From the core game of Catan, there’s usually not much use for sheep other than trading in for other resources. That’s always been a shame, since all the other resourcer are so high in demand.

Seafarers corrects this by adding ships. In order to build a ship you need sheep and wood. No more need for clay, in other words. And not only that, but ships can be moved from their location as long as they are not connected on both ends. And that’s another thing: islands!

There’s a new tile type avaliable now: gold. Gold isn’t a new resource in the game, instead, it acts as a wildcard, where you may choose one of the existing resources instead. And reaching an island first grants victory points.

It seems so little, at first. Boats. But it adds a lot more to the game, including several scenarios in the rulebook. Over half the content in the games rulebook are scenarios, in fact.

If you want a new experience for Settlers, either try this, or Cities & Knights – my favorite of the expansions.

 
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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
10
76 of 101 gamers found this helpful
“What Catan was meant to be!”

I really enjoy Catan with this expansion. Some people say that it doesn’t add much to the base game, and I agree. However, what most people don’t know is that this game is what Catan was originally designed with Seafarers. So when you play Seafarers, you play Catan the way Klaus Teber originally designed it. When Catan was published, they cut out the boats and pirates to give it wider appeal, lower the complexity level, and lower the cost.

I love the boats and the feeling of exploration. It really makes Catan more Civilization like, and really completes the game. The complexity doesn’t ratchet up too much with boats, which I like. It finally makes wool more useful. The one thing that I don’t like about Cities & Knights is that it completely changes the game I enjoy, but Seafarers only enhances the base game experience.

I highly recommend it. This is the way I want to play Catan!

 
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9
Gamer - Level 7
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Petroglyph
Explorer - Level 3
4
86 of 130 gamers found this helpful
“will ewe or won't ewe?”

This is one of the 1st 2 expansions for the game and reflects the divided approach to the game expansions. If you are a big fan of the original game, but don’t care as much about later editions you may really like this expansion. There are 2 primary differences added to the game. The 1st is an additional use for sheep which puts it on a level of necessity with the other resources. Sheep now are used to help generate boats which overall work as roads to help span water areas. The second difference is scenarios which result in variations in the board and gameplay depending on the scenario. There is also now a 2nd robber which gives you a choice of which to use when 7s are rolled. Overall, the game changes are slight enough that you can add this and it is an extra minor change that did not add much of a “new” feel to the game. If you like later editions like “Trails to Rails” you will not find enough to warrant adding this, however, if you are purist you may very well enjoy this addition to the game.

 
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1
Gamer - Level 1
9
84 of 129 gamers found this helpful
“I can't play Catan without this anymore”

After playing with this expansion I don’t think I will ever play just the base game again. Anyone who says that this expansion doesn’t add much is crazy. A couple of simple additions (mainly multiple islands and ships) open up a wealth of different options for gameplay strategies. If you haven’t tried Catan with Seafarers, what are you waiting for?

 
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9
84 of 142 gamers found this helpful
“An Improvement in Every Way”

Seafarers adds boats, sailing, and a pirate to Settlers. The boats work like roads on the water. They cost a wood and a sheep, raising the relative value of sheep. The pirate works like the robber allowing one to steal from another player. The pirate also block more boats. The game comes with many scenarios so there is even great possibilities for play. Some scenarios add new bonus points, usually for building on an island you did not start on. The biggest help is the larger board makes it harder for a player to be completely blocked in.
This expansion makes the game better in every way.

 
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2
Critic - Level 1
 
81 of 144 gamers found this helpful
“A use for sheep”

While Seafarers takes a little longer to play than basic Settlers, it offers a more varied, slightly better balanced experience.

While I recommend Cities & Knights as a first expansion, Seafarers really deserves table time in its own right (not to mention that they completely cross-compatible!).

 
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3
Amateur Reviewer
9
84 of 157 gamers found this helpful
“The Best Expansion”

This adds so much to the base game of Catan – just the fact that there are sea tiles and a larger board opens it up for a much wider range of interesting strategies. Seafarers is what every expansion should strive to emulate, adding an interesting twist without taking anything away.

Recommended for anyone with Catan. Particularly people who have become bored with the base game. A must have.

 
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3
Rated 10 Games
Novice Grader
7
75 of 160 gamers found this helpful
“This is a must for Catan playes”

I have Catan since 1998 and fron the start of the game i wondered why this game has no ships.
This expansion give a big depth to the game.
The rules are the same and the sheeps now have a bigger perpose for the game.

 

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