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The Rivals for Catan - Board Game Box Shot

The Rivals for Catan

| Published: 2010
85 4 11

Enjoy playing The Rivals for Catan, the comprehensive, revised edition of the successful former Catan Card Game!

Submerge yourself into the bustling life on Catan - be the prince or princess of Catan and decide on the fate of its settlers. In addition to settlements, roads, and cities, you also construct the buildings where your subjects work, hire heroes that make your opponents' lives as gamers difficult, and build ships to boost your trade.

The Rivals for Catan game in play
images © Mayfair Games

User Reviews (3)

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Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue
30 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“Catan For Two...”

Rivals For Catan is a two player update of the out of print Catan: The Card Game. Prior to my trying Rivals For Catan, I had zero Catan experience. The theme and concept were entirely new to me. The game comes in a compact box that holds the components fairly well, although the plastic insert is not optimal for oganizing the stacks of square cards. The game is well designed; It has an introductory “Base” set of cards and three “Mini Expansions”. The base game is recommended for the first few games, then players can add one, two, or all three of the expansions. Each of the expansions has a distinct emphasis and character, and they give Rivals a ton of replay value.

Rivals contains a detailed instruction book that fairly thoroughly explains setup and game play. There is also an online interactive tutorial that is quite helpful. It took me a couple of plays to understand the cards, the die symbols, and turn sequence. The cards that make up a player’s principality (his area of control) have resource symbols that indicate how much of each resource (like gold or wool) a player has. Players can spend resources to expand their principality and gain victory points. Keeping inventory of one’s goods uses a clever system like that of the monster tokens in Castle Panic. Players turn their square cards 90 degrees to add or subtract goods as they earn, spend, or trade them. Goods are acquired by rolling of two six sided dice.

There is one regular die, and its numbers correspond to one of six resources. A second die has symbols that have players complete specific actions. Dice rolls mean randomness, and it can be frustrating trying to get a specific roll for a needed resource. A nice twist in Rivals is that both players gain resources on each turn. It helps keep income flowing, and it encourages both players to be engaged during their turn and their opponent’s turn.

The base game is played to seven victory points, and the full games go to 12. Games take 30-45 minutes, and the time passes quickly. I separated my game’s three expansions and placed rubber bands around each stack. That way I can easily choose which of the expansions I want to play, and they don’t slide around in the oddly shaped box insert. The cards are a bit thin, but their artwork is quite nice. The dice and two marker tokens are of good quality. I like Rivals For Catan, and I recommend it to anyone seeking a light to middleweight game for two.

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Z-Man Games fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Stone of the Sun
49 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Lives up to it's title”

Okay, we have all played Settlers of Catan, haven’t we? I mean who on this site hasn’t? If you claim to have an interest in our hobby then Catan should be one of your first ports of call and a potent weapon to be used in bringing any non-fans into our world.
We all know Catan rocks with all four players and is interesting with three due to the multiple options you have for winning. It doesn’t matter what is being rolled or where the roads are built there is always a way to win.
But have you ever played Catan in two player? Sure, you all say, but not many of us bother with two player because it is more the luck of the dice and it can get very one sided.
Basically, it is not the same balanced beautiful game it is then when it is played with more people. It’s not the same game and there are better two player games out there so why would we choose Settlers of Catan for two?
Well here is the answer.
I got this as I needed some two player games to bring on my holidays to sun-kissed Lanzarote for two weeks.
Both players start with two settlements and a road and access to six different regions containing one of each resource, Brick, Ore, Lumber, Wool, Wheat, and Gold. One each card is a dice number ranging from one to six on each card. Also it is worth mentioning that neither side has the same number on each resource.
You roll two dice at the start of each turn, production, where you gather the resource from the number that shows up and an event dice where youe resolve whatever shows up. it could be a random event, a brigand attack, a plentiful harvest, basically good and bad things that affect everyone differently each go depending on how far along you are.
Afterwards you can play action cards from your hand to help you or hinder your rival.
And then you can build, spending resources to build either buildings, heroes or ships from your hand for your settlement or cities or building roads to add more settlements and cities for even more options.

The best way I can describe this is… Settlers is a view of the island of Catan from afar focusing on what is generally happening and Rivals is more tightly focused on what is happening within the settlements and cities you build.
The rulebook does a stellar job of teaching you to how to play with a starter game, that players compete to get to seven points in. It recommends that you play this a number of times to get used to the mechanics before moving on. I would say a good five games does the job. After this you play with each theme deck incorporated, The era of gold focuses the game on the struggle for trade and wealth the trade advantage becomes very important, the era of turmoil focuses on the attacks and fighting between the two players with the strength advantage becoming more important and the era of progress focuses the game on upgrading buildings etc.
When you have played everything enough you can them play the full game which incorporates all the decks called ‘The Duel of Princes’. Every game after the starter goes to 12 points.

There is a lot to take in but the rulebook does really hold your hand. My wife is an avid Settlers fan and she loved this, only taking two games to get into it and understand what is going on.
Settlers is a brilliantly balanced game when played with four as it was intended for, Rivals is a brilliantly balanced two player game as it was intended to be.

Replay Value: The more you play, the more you will want to, as you start to see extra layers of strategy revealing itself.

Components: Nice sturdy cards with fitting artwork. Word to the wise: You will need a wide table to play this game. You will have a lot of cards down by the end.

Easy to Learn: As stated the rulebook does everything for you but there is a lot to learn, so you will consult it a lot before you are through with the base game. People familiar with Settlers will pick this up quicker.

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7 of 10 gamers found this helpful
“Challenging experience for two players.”

I think, that the version I own might be older but from what I’ve seen, only looks have been changed so far.

This was one of games I had laying around for a long time, but when me and my girlfriend started playing it, we were surprised about how much fun can be fit into such a small package. I like games where I can manage resources, my girlfriend enjoys when there is element of action in the game. But this was honestly blast for both of us. We played for long hours with game being on tie most of the time. I liked the times when action card would just change outcome of next turn such as in moments, when my commerce harbor would be taken away and so was my token. Sometimes, luck would be really important and sometimes insight was the decisive factor.

Some of the cons were poorly made game manual (which I hope was updated through years) and lack of larger variety of “?” cards. This game could be improved by just adding an expansion pack…


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