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Tips & Strategies (17)

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7
Advanced Reviewer
It's All About Me
I'm a Real Person
I'm Completely Obsessed
36 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Keep those knights activated!”

Don’t forget, inactive knights aren’t worth a thing. Make sure you do whatever it takes to get a wheat early on in the game to help deflect that first barbarian invasion. If that means your first placement is in the one space that lets you build an active knight immediately, then so be it.

On the same note, after every invasion, the military all becomes inactive. Make sure you keep getting wheat or you will be the one losing cities.

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3
Amateur Reviewer
Strategist
Amateur Advisor
36 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“City Walls Protect You From The Robber Stealing”

This house rule came from a misread of the rules (as many great house rules do), but I still like playing this way.

Basically, a city wall doesn’t just increase your max hand size for when a 7 is rolled, it also prevents the robber from stealing a card from you if he lands on a hex next to that city. He can still show up and prevent a hex from producing, but you can discourage the shutdown of your most important cities by making the robbery less worth it.

If you have another settlement or city next to where the robber lands that is not protected, he can still steal a card from you. You are only protected if every city you’ve got bordering the hex where he lands has a city wall.

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9
Intermediate Reviewer
Chief Inspector
Strategist
El Dorado
36 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Protection from the Diplomat!”

Here’s a quick tip for you: As soon as you have a Knight on the table, quickly move him to the far (open) end of your Road. This will stop others from playing the Diplomat card on you, and thereby removing one of your Road pieces! Knights are for your protection in more ways than one.

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2
United Kingdom
36 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“Aim for the Aqueduct”

In my gaming group, the aqueduct is often the most sought after city improvement since it allows you to pick any resource card (not commodities) if the roll means you wouldn’t otherwise get anything. It’s the third improvement on the science (green) branch, so you’ll need six papers to activate it.

Initial placement: Try and build your first city or settlement on the best possible wood supply so that you will actually harvest paper! (If its a settlement you’ll need to upgrade first – but at least you stopped someone else going there). Bear in mind to still try and get the best possible spread of other resources in the process. If other players get there first… try another strategy 😛

Limit your numbers: If you’re doing well at collecting paper, or have already acquired the aqueduct, then consider the effect on the aqueduct when building new settlements. e.g. if you already have a 5,6,9,10 and 11 … then its preferable to build on intersections that provide the same/similar numbers – this will mean you yield more on the numbers you already have, and you still get your card of choice on the numbers you don’t. The ‘Inventor’ card is especially useful for this since you get to swap numbers around. (However, be careful not to get caught out having too many cards when a seven is rolled, since you’ll be picking up maybe 4 or more cards at a time sometimes.)

Remember the aqueduct: It can be very easy to get the aqueduct and then forget to use it… don’t do that!

Go for the metropolis: Since you’re already majoring on paper… try and get to the science metropolis before anyone else. When possible try and trade for (or steal) paper to stay ahead of the competition.

Obviously, this strategy alone won’t win you the game… you still need to remember and work on other aspects of the game… knights, other commodities, etc… but this is something I will always steer towards if possible.

Hope you found this helpful!

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2
I Own a Game!
36 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“Volcano Variation”

When our family began enthusiastically playing Settlers and Cities and Knights, we were excited to research different strategies for the game. My dad found a book on-line called “scenarios/variants box set.” The description said that it was full of variations of the game as well as strategies. To our surprise, “Die Siedler von Catan: Das Buch zum Spielen” was completely in German. My dad had a German exchange student who was living with a friend translate part of the book. One of the variations that we really enjoy playing with is with the volcano.
The volcano hex(es) replace the desert(s). A 5 or 9 token is placed on the hex. Similar to a gold, if a player is built on the volcano, the player can pick up whatever resource(s) they would like. Their is a catch! On each vertex is a number (1-6). When a 5 (or 9 depending on what token is placed on the hex) is rolled, the player built on the volcano first picks up their resource(s) of their choice. Then the player who rolled takes one die and rolls it again. If the number rolled is the number that someone is built on, that settlement burns down and is removed from the board. If it is a city it is burned down and replaced with a settlement.
This adds a nice addition to the game. Their is risk and reward for building on the volcano. One last rule is that you cannot build on the volcano with your initial pre-game placement of your settlement and city.

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8
I play purple
Football Fan
Movie Lover
36 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“First barbarian attack auto-fails, award Defender of Catan VP”

Similar to the popular Catan house rule of going the first 1 or 2 rounds where 7’s get rerolled, this one gives players a bit more time to get 4+ knights activated. There’s nothing quite as devastating in this game as losing your only city before your 3rd turn. In order to not encourage too much city-building during this early “safe” time, we award a Defender of Catan victory point to the player with the most active knight defense (1 or more strength) when the barbarians attack even if the island would not have normally won.

We’ve found this rule helps keep the game more consistently fun and competitive by removing a major negative game experience – the player with the early city loss has never won the game and rarely enjoys the remaining 90+ minutes. Especially true for 5+ players.

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10
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
30 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“When Other Players Expect You to Protect Them, Consider Not Doing So”

In some games of Cities & Knights, one or two players will build up larger armies of knights to protect the realm, while the other players put their resources elsewhere. This can work well for the player(s) with knights as they have less competition for the Defender bonus VP.

After a couple barbarian attacks are successfully defended, some players will stop worrying about knights at all, letting the larger armies spend resources to defend them. This makes some sense, after all, if they aren’t built up enough to get the bonus VP, and there is no danger of being hurt by the barbarians, why worry about it?

This is where a knight player can consider not offering free defense for their opponents.

When the barbarians are close to shore and there are enough knights active, check whether it would benefit you more to deactivate a knight, dropping below the required defense value.

As an example, consider a 4-player game, about halfway through. Two players have multiple knights (some upgraded) out on the board. There are 8 cities, with two players combining for 9 points from knights (5 from one, and you giving 4). The other two players have no active knights. If the barbarians attack, you get nothing, your opponent gets 1 VP, and the other two go on as before.

This is where you can make the opponents pay for neglecting knights. If you’re not going to win the bonus VP, consider deactivating a knight. If this causes the barbarians to win, you deny a VP for the leader, and could cause two opponents to have their cities pillaged, strengthening your relative position. Leading with a monopoly pulling wheat out of opponents’ hands to keep them from activating knights (in case the barbarians don’t get rolled for a while) makes this even stronger.

This is a specific example, but I normally see at least one instance per game where a player could choose to deactivate a knight and benefit from doing so. During the game, keep an eye out for such a situation and exploit it. Plus, in future games, it’ll teach your opponents to pay more attention to barbarian attacks (and generally make for a memorable tale!)

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1
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Slight Limitation to the Aqueduct”

If the rolls are there, paper is a clear favourite for most players. The green cards are just superior to the other decks (especially cards like Crane, Medicine and Architect). Forest hexes are more abundant than mountain hexes, and the pasture hexes are quickly surrounded for the precious precious sheep production. The actual ability from Aqueduct is also quite devastating, and it works in many different ways. You can buckle down and really develop yourself on a coast without suffering too much for it, or you can suffer that bandit on your five because you will still draw a card for it. Due to these major advantages, the house rule that my group developed is a limitation to the power of the Aqueduct. If the ability is used, one may only draw a resource with the corresponding number. In other terms, if the threes are on ore and brick, you can only draw an ore or a brick, not one of the other three resources. It is not a major change, but it is an attempt to bring the power of the mighty Aqueduct to closer ground with the other two city improvement tech trees.

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9
Intermediate Reviewer
Chief Inspector
Strategist
El Dorado
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“House Rule: 'Village Wall'”

You may now purchase a Village Wall for the cost of 2 Lumber.

Place one of your City Wall pieces underneath one of your Settlements.

A Village Wall acts in the same way as a City Wall in that it allows a player to increase his hand of Resource/Commodity cards by +2 whenever a 7 is rolled on the production dice.

The Village Wall is automatically destroyed as soon as the Settlement in question is upgraded into a City.

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9
Intermediate Reviewer
Chief Inspector
Strategist
El Dorado
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“House Rule: 'Conflagration'”

This is a House Rule which allows players to perform a two turn move whereby they use their Knights to attack and take control of enemy Settlements.

Only Strong or Mighty Knights may perform a Conflagration attack; Basic Knights may not, although they may aid in the defence of a Settlement under attack. This rule affects ONLY Settlements; Cities may NOT be attacked.

In order to be able to attempt this move, you must have one or two of your Roads connecting to an enemy Settlement. Then either your Strong or Mighty Knight may be eligible to perform a Conflagration. However, they must first be within ‘attack range’ which is one space away from the target Settlement. (This is always possible due to the ‘two space rule’ which is standard in all Catan board games.)

So, supposing you have an enemy Settlement connected to one (or two) of your Roads, and you have an ACTIVE Strong or Mighty Knight(s) within one Road space away from the Settlement (attack range), you may now perform this attack – but only if your Knights are ACTIVE.

This is how it works: After having stated your intention to perform Conflagration, you move one of your active Knights along your Road to the enemy Settlement (you can NEVER move your Knight along an enemy Road). Even if you have two Knights attacking the Settlement (from different Roads), only ONE of them may actually move there in order to conquer it. Place your Knight underneath the target Settlement and de-activate him. You can do no more this turn, except of course to re-activate your Knight.

This Settlement no longer collects Resources for the original owner and is considered to be in a state of chaos. Your Knight underneath the Settlement may still be displaced by an enemy Knight as usual, using the normal rules.

On your next turn, you may then complete the Conflagration by removing both your Knight AND the enemy Settlement, and replacing them with a Settlement of your own – but again, your Knight would have to have been activated first. The Settlement is now considered to be yours and you may collect Resources from it as normal.

Knights may also participate in the defence of a Settlement under Conflagration attack, but only if those Knights are currently activated and if they are within ‘defence range’ (one space away, same as attack range). Basic Knights may take part in the defence. The attacking Knight(s) win if their combined strength is greater than that of the defending Knight(s). The defending Knight(s) win if their combined strength is equal to or greater than that of the attackers – in this case the Conflagration does not take place.

Example 1: An enemy Settlement is connected to ONE of your Roads and you have an active Strong Knight within attack range (one space away from the Settlement). However, the enemy player has TWO Basic Knights within defence range, both active also. Therefore your Knight has a strength of 2 and the two Basic Knights also have a combined strength of 2. Therefore, the Conflagration would not take place – it is a stand-off.

Example 2: An enemy Settlement is connected to TWO of your Roads and you have TWO active Strong Knights within attack range. The enemy player has ONE active Mighty Knight within defence range. This time, however, the Conflagration would place as the defending Knight has a strength of 3 whilst your two Strong Knights have a combined strength of 4.

Most players will be busy using their Knights to aid in the defence of Catan; however, this rule adds a little more spice to an already heated game. Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed it.

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7
Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
36 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“Get an early soldier”

The first barbarians will arrive fast, and everybody starts unprepared. So as soon as you can, build a soldier and activate it. If possible prevent other players from building and/or activating their soldiers. If you manage to lose as a group against the barbarians, your opponents will start the game very crippled, losing their cities. Such a fall is very difficult to recover from.

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7
Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
36 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“The first barbarian arrival doesn't count”

If you are feeling too rushed early in the game trying to build up soldiers, consider the variant where the first time the barbarians, arrive, they don’t. Thereafter, every time they arrive, they arrive as normally. This gives players a little more time and more breathing room to get their soldiers up and activated.

*I feel stupid cause I posted this on the wrong version of settlers and can’t delete it now >.<*

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3
Amateur Reviewer
Strategist
Amateur Advisor
36 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“Replace the Intrigue Card with a more Intriguing mechanic”

The card “Intrigue” in the blue deck of Progress cards is nearly worthless. Its only helpful IF you needed to move an opponent’s knight and that knight happens be standing on an intersection connected to one of your roads. Very specific and in my experience, not very helpful.

In my group, we have thrown this card out entirely. Actually, we’ve written over the card effect and given it a more useful purpose. It is still called Intrigue but it’s new effect is to move the Barbarian’s forward or backwards 1 space on the track. This can stall the barbarian attack a bit to help you activate your knights or rush them forward to ensure you get Defender of Catan before someone else builds up their army.

We have found this mechanic far more fun and useful. Throw out or replace the Intrigue card. You’ll be happy to never draw it again.

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9
Intermediate Reviewer
Chief Inspector
Strategist
El Dorado
36 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“House Rule: 'Castle'”

You can now buy a Castle for the cost of 2 Ore, 2 Lumber & 2 Clay.

You need to have a combined strength of 4 Knights already in play (active or inactive) in order to be eligible to build a Castle. You also need to have 2 City Wall pieces available to use (i.e. not already in play).

Pay the cost to the bank and place the Castle at one of your Road intersections (use 2 of your City Wall pieces and place them one on top of the other). Castles must obey the 2-space rule.

Due to the limited number of City Wall pieces, each player may only build 1 Castle. Castles may not be moved once built; however, they may be demolished at any time during the owning player’s turn (simply remove the two City Walls from play) and then rebuilt elsewhere if desired.

A Castle has many benefits:

It is worth 3 Victory Points.

It contributes 1 permanent defence point when determining the strength of your active Knights against Barbarian attack.

It allows you to hold +2 Resource/Commodity cards when a 7 is rolled (just like a City Wall).

And it also protects your hand of Resource/Commodity cards by 1 Card whenever another player would normally take a card from you, i.e. if the Robber is placed on one of the hexes upon which your Castle sits, you would not have to surrender a card to that player. The same goes for if you ever have to surrender cards to another player for any reason (the Wedding card, the Bishop, Resource Monopoly etc). However, this ability does not protect your hand whenever you would have to discard half to the bank when a 7 was rolled.

Your Knights may also move to/be placed on your Castle (just put your Knight piece on top of the two City Wall pieces). A Knight that is on your Castle cannot be displaced by an enemy Knight, and is not affected by the ‘Deserter’ Progress Card.

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6
Strategist
Amateur Advisor
Tinkerer
36 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“Your first settlement comes with a knight”

While I personally prefer the pressure of having to get a knight into play before the first barbarians arrive, it can be especially off-putting to people new to Cities and Knights who don’t know how to make that a priority. Cities and Knights is a much longer game than the expansion-less Catan and it can be super discouraging to start the game having lost your city.

Solution: everybody starts with an inactive knight next to their first settlement.

In my opinion, this makes it too easy to ward off the barbarians in the beginning, but it does speed up the game as you can focus resources on expansion and there’s a greater chance of a tie for Defender (e.g. multiple players getting progress cards).

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6
Strategist
Amateur Advisor
Tinkerer
36 of 41 gamers found this helpful
“Win the commodity race: use ports!”

If you can’t get a strong city placement on a commodity to be a viable contender, or even if you can but you need an additional edge, use ports to get those valuable commodities!

A lot of people forget that you can trade four resources for a commodity by default and a three-port can give you even greater flexibility, but, far more powerful than that: if you have a city on brick and a brick port (or wheat with a wheat port), that’s an instant commodity of your choosing any time that tile is rolled!

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
50 of 58 gamers found this helpful
“Putting Your Plan on Paper”

For an average balanced strategy, the Aqueduct helps in many different ways, evening out a slightly disadvantaged position or creating moments when the Robber can actually be helpful. Applying the Aqueduct to an imbalanced strategy, however, unleashes it’s ultimate power. It turns any missed roll into an equivalent Gold Field and eliminates any chance of not getting any resources while others do. The following plan will create this exact situation.

During initial placement, be on the lookout for an opportunity that will give you early Paper production. This could include an immediate position to gain the commodity from the very beginning or something you can build into relatively soon. If you feel confident that this is possible, you can steer your entire strategy towards abusing the already powerful Aqueduct. Counterintuitively, develop the rest of your settlements in locations where you will NOT receive anything for many numbers rolled. This works best when implemented before the first turn is even taken. As soon as you obtain your Aqueduct you should be on a very solid path to victory.

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