Hardcore Catan Variant Rules and Scenario (v1.1)
Catan is a great game. It combines strategy, diplomacy and forethought into a fun game anyone can play. However, it’s not challenging. As much fun as I have playing Catan (and I do), I would never call it a difficult game. Any frustration comes from other players doing what they can to mess you up. That’s all well and good, but I love a good challenge. That’s why I went out of my way to work on these new rules and variants for what I’m calling Hardcore Catan. It’s a couple of variant rules and a scenario that makes Catan a lot harder.
Keep in mind these variants, rules and scenarios are supposed to be difficult. They are only recommended for people looking for an added challenge.
These rules are mostly singular. Players can choose to add one or more of these variant rules to make their game of Catan a bit harder. Some of them require certain expansions, as noted. Many of the rules also require gold. Gold comes with the Traders and Barbarians expansion. However, anything can be used to symbolize how much gold a player has; Buttons, coins, etc. Rules for gold usage can be found in the Traders and Barbarians rulebook: http://www.catan.com/en/download/?TaB_Rules_051908.pdf
When players roll to see who goes first, the player who goes first marks the New Year. The start of that players turn marks a new year. If playing with Catan Event Cards from the Traders and Barbarians expansion, when the New Year card is drawn, the player who draws it now starts the new year from now on. Some of the Hardcore Catan rules rely on the new year.
As a nomadic tribe finally coming to a rest, players start with only 1 settlement, 1 road and 1 gold. However, in addition to drawing initial resources from the starting settlement, players may also take one additional resource of their choice.
Whenever a player rolls doubles for production, they roll again until they roll a result of anything but a 7. Whatever number is rolled all chits of that number are flipped face down. Those hexes no longer produce resources. Once doubles are rolled again, the famine moves elsewhere. The facedown chits are turned face up and the player rolls again to determine which chits are turned face down. Additionally, if playing with Fishermen of Catan, all players randomly discard half of their fish tokens (rounded up) due to their fish rotting.
The robber isn’t preventing hexes from generating resources. He’s stealing them. When he does, he can now also snag a little something else. Whenever the robber prevents any player from drawing resources, that player also must lose 1 gold. The amount of gold lost is not related to the number of resources not drawn. The player will only ever have to play 1 gold when the robber prevents him from drawing resources. If the player can not pay 1 gold, he must discard a resource of his choice.
Prison Break (Requires Mega Catan; Chasing Away and Arresting Barbarians)
If playing with Mega Catan rules, when a Mighty Knight arrests a barbarian, that barbarian is placed off the board, in a separate location. Each time the dice are rolled for production, if the number rolled is less than or equal to the number of arrested barbarians, the barbarians prison break and escape throughout Catan. Starting with the player whose turn it is, players each place one of the prison breaked barbarians around the board, wherever they’d like. No resources are stolen during this barbarians placement.
Barbarian Advance (Requires Cities and Knights)
Whenever the Black Ship is rolled together with a “7”, the ship moves two spaces, instead of one on the Barbarian tile. If the barbarian ship needs to only move 1 space to attach Catan, but moves two during a single roll, the ship is still placed in the starting space after the attack is resolved.
Baggage Train Damage (Requires Traders and Barbarians)
If a Baggage train fails to drive off a barbarian, place a Catan chit (Damage token) on the topmost Baggage Train card for that Baggage Train. A player may spend the amount of resources that was required to upgrade the Baggage Train to its current level to remove a Damage token. If a Baggage Train ever has 2 Damage tokens, remove both tokens and the Baggage Train is downgraded to the next lowest level and it loses any commodity token it was carrying. After a failed battle, the Baggage Train must move past the barbarians as normal by spending extra MP or go around.
If a level 1 Baggage Train ever receives 2 Damage tokens, it is destroyed and removed from the board. The player may rebuild a new Baggage Train for 1 Lumber, 1 Wool and 1 Ore. A newly built Baggage Train may be placed at any city the player controls. Only if the player controls no cities, then it may be place at a settlement instead.
River Crossings (Requires Traders & Barbarians and Rivers)
When a Baggage Train crosses an unbridged river, they are given three options to cross it. Either by taking a ferry, costing 1 MP and 2 gold; by crossing carefully, costing 3 MP; or by fording the river, taking 1 MP. If the baggage train is fording the river, that player rolls a die and must roll equal to or less than the current level of their baggage train to cross safely. For example, an un-upgraded Baggage Train must roll a 1 and a fully upgraded Baggage Train must roll a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. Failure to cross safely means the Baggage Train did not make it across the river. The Baggage Train drops the commodity token is was carrying. If playing with Baggage Train Damage rule, the Baggage Train also takes a damage token. In either case, the Baggage Train may be placed in either side of the river after failing to cross.
If two or more players ever are tied for Longest Road, Harbormaster or Largest Army, no player holds the card. The card is placed off the board and no player receives victory points from it until another player has more than any other player in roads, harbors or knight cards. If another then ties that player in roads, harbors or knight cards, the victory point card is immediately placed off to the side again.
Vicious Barbarians (Requires Cities and Knights)
Determining Barbarian Strength
Cities still count as 1 point of Strength for the barbarians, however, settlements count as 0.5 a point for the barbarians. Round up when determining Barbarian Strength.
Determining Catan’s Strength
A player with only settlements or metropolises still counts his active knights for determining Catan’s strength. Each city wall grant 0.5 Strength points for Catan. Round down when determining Catan’s Strength.
If Catan Loses…
Every player downgrades a city to a settlement. If a player only has metropolises, one of his metropolis is downgraded to a city. He chooses one of his metropolis, removes the golden gates and loses the metropolis token. If a player has no cities or metropolises, they lose a settlement. If that settlement was the homeport of a open shipping route, all those ships are destroyed. Any road segments that are left attached to no settlements or cities are also destroyed. If a knight is ever left without roads or ships on either side, that knight is removed (unless playing with Wandering Knights rule of Mega Catan). If a player’s last settlement is destroyed, that player is defeated and no longer plays for the remainder of the game
Rebuilding a Metropolis
Any player may rebuild a lost metropolis by building the 4th or 5th city improvement in that category, as normal. If every player already has built the 5th level in that category, the first player to spend 5 of the related commodity gains the metropolis of that category. It can not be stolen by other players, however, if the barbarians destroy the metropolis, it leaves it open for another player to claim by spending 5 commodities.
Pair of Boots (Requires Fisherman of Catan)
The Old Boot token requires the player who has it to have 2 more victory points to win, rather than just 1 more.
Overfishing (Requires Fisherman of Catan)
When players spend Fish tokens, the tokens are placed to the side of the board into the Spent pile. At the beginning of each new year, 1 fish token per 2 players (round down), chosen at random, is placed from the Spent pile into the Discard pile. Once the Draw pile of fish is empty, players take what is in the Discard and use those tokens to make a new Draw pile. Do not mix in those from the Spent pile. If there are a limited number of fish tokens to draw when several players would need to do so, the players draw the amount they need each in turn. If there are no fish tokens to draw, no players get to draw.
At the end of each new year (see New Year above), each player must spend 1 gold or 1 resource. For each new year where he does not or can not, he places a Catan Chit (Maintenance token) next to one of his cities, settlements or metropolises. At any point when a player could build, they may spend 2 gold or 1 resource to remove a Maintenance token. Once a location has 2 Maintenance tokens, it is falling apart and production comes to a halt. Turn the piece onto its side. The piece no longer produces any resources and does not count for any Victory Points. A player may get the fallen location running again by spending 6 gold or 3 resources to the bank. This removes 1 Maintenance token from that location, turns it right side up again and allows it to gain resources.
If a player ever has no gold coins at all, he takes a further -1 VP, in addition to the Poorest Settler token. Penalizing players with 0 gold by a total of 3 VP. Players may never have less than 0 VP.
No Maritime Trade
Unless players control a harbor, they may not trade with the bank. Essentially, there is no longer the 4:1 trade available to the players.
No VP Cards
If a player ever draws a Victory Point card, from the Progress or Development cards, they immediately discard that card and draw again. The Merchant still functions to allow improved trading, but does not count for a Victory Point.
Atlanticatan (Hardcore Scenario)
The island of Atlanticatan is doomed, although the settlers may fully realize it yet. Their island is doomed to sink beneath the waves.
Each player begins with 2 settlements and a road attached to each.
The outermost hexes of Atlanticatan are a dangerous place to live. Any settlement or city on the coast are worth an extra Victory Point while they still stand. Only settlements on the original coastline are worth extra Victory Points. If a hex sinks and a settlement that wasn’t on the coast, becomes a coastal settlement, it does not gain an extra Victory Point.
Each time a new year passes (See New Year above), make note of how many years have past in total. Once 10 years have past (add more years for an easier game, or less for a harder game), a catastrophic event occurs and the isle of Atlanticatan begins sinking.
Atlanticatan Begins to Sink
At the end of every new year after the 10th (starting on the 11st), roll both die. Starting from the production chit “A“ (or the earliest alphabetically if “A” has sunk), count around in a clockwise direction around the circumference of the island, only counting the outermost coastal hexes, skipping hexes that have already sunk. Whatever hex is chosen has sunk into the ocean. Flip the hex over to the water side and remove the production chit. That hex no longer produces recourses. Only when all of the outer coastal hexes have sunk does the next inner ring have any potential to sink.
Sunken Settlements and Harbors
If any settlements or cities are ever completely surrounded by water hexes, they are removed from play. Players receive no Victory Points for sunken settlements or cities. If a hex with a harbor sinks, that harbor is lost and the player may no longer trade through it.
Delaying the Inevitable
At the start of each new year after Atlanticatan begins to sink, if every player discards two resources, no hex sinks this year. This represents the settlers working together to do whatever they can to keep their island afloat.
The Robber Sinks
If the Robber is standing on a tile that sinks, place him off the board. Once another “7” is rolled, he is placed back on the board as normal.
Atlanticatan With Other Scenarios
||Many scenarios have special hexes or board layouts that are critical for their scenario. It is not recommended that these scenarios be mixed with Atlanticatan, although you are welcome to try.
If playing with basic Seafarers rules and multiple islands are available, each island sinks separately. At the start of each year, randomly determine which island will sink this year. Then proceed as normal for sinking.
If a settlement or city that was a homeport for a open shipping route sinks, that shipping route is destroyed and all ships are return to the player. If the shipping route was closed, it becomes open again, as it no longer has a port at both ends.
Fishermen of Catan
If playing with Fishermen of Catan, when a fishing tile is no longer adjacent to any land hexes, move the fishing tile inward to land. Of the two land tiles the fishing hex was adjacent to, randomly determine which of those two sunken land hexes the fishing tile moves into.
A Player Sinks
If a hex sinks and any player no longer has any settlements or cities (or metropolis), he has lost the game and no longer takes turns or collects resources. Any roads he has left on the board remain where they are.
Once a player has reached 12 Victory Points on his turn, he has discovered a means of stopping the island from sinking and becomes the Savior of Atlanticatan and wins the game.
If Atlanticatan completely sinks, the players have all lost the game. Perhaps in many years people will tell stories of the Lost Civilization of Atlanticatan.
– Expanded the Fording the River rule into River Crossing, allowing several new options to the player
– Clarified that the baggage train was meant to drop its commodity token when failing to ford the river, regardless of using the baggage train battle rule
– Fixed some formatting
– Fixed balance issues on Upkeep rule
– Clarified the Merchant in No VP Cards rule
– Clarified Impoverished Settler rule
– Clarified Barbarian Advance rule
– Renamed Baggage Train Battle with Baggage Train Damage
– Balanced and clarified Overfishing rule
– Several clarifications and balance issues fixed to Atlanticatan Scenario