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      Catan - Collector's Edition - Ancient Egypt™

The sun of Catan rises over the hot desert sands of Ancient Egypt. Klaus Teuber has re-worked his masterpiece The Settlers of Catan™ for this unique collector's edition. Settle along the banks of the Nile during the time of the Pharaohs. With the help of your oxcart, you build small villages and great temples styled after some of the most interesting buildings of Egyptian antiquity. 

Beware of the robber! His chariot can interrupt production at your cattle pastures, papyrus groves and quarries.

After you master the Base Game, you can try these interesting variants & scenarios:

Help from the Gods: Adds 10 god cards whose powers add a variety of options for dynamic gameplay.

The Great Pyramid allows you to build papyrus boats across the Nile and compete for the pharaoh's blessing and the vizier's favor by building blocks onto the great pyramid.

Components

So the Settlers of Catan have moved onwards to the hot sandy lands of ancient Egypt and the fertile Nile Delta. The resources have altered to the effect that there are no longer Sheep, Wood or Wheat cards, these being replaced by Cattle, Grain and Papyrus and the terrain is now Alluvial (Bricks), Pasture (Cattle), Groves (Papyrus), Fields (Grain) and Quarry (Stone), plus the Black Dobber (robber) is replaced by the Grey Chariot Rider. You no longer build roads, instead you organise ox-carts and the Temples are now different buildings (4 types in total) being the Temple of Edfu, Abu Simbel, the Djoser Pyramid and of course the Sphinx. With all of these new pieces  etc the game remains the same ... if you want it to.

Of course MAYFAIR GAMES are way above simply changing the names of the components and repackaging the same game as we have been playing for so many years. The basic Catan game rules are here so that if this is your very first Settlers of Catan game you can play the original game and then advance to the new Egyptian variables. There are two additional ways to enhance your enjoyment of Catan with this Egyptian edition.

One of these is the use of the "god cards". If you have already played the Star Trek version of Catan then you will have a working knowledge of the way the god cards work, if not then let me enlighten you. Each god card has an advantageous effect, it also has a Blue side and a Green side (marked as A and B). When the play begins each player has a god card face up, A side showing, in front of them. When the player uses their god card they activate its effect and then they have another choice to make. They can discard the card and take another from those on display - obviously you cannot take back the card you have just played - or they can flip the card over to its B side which means on another turn they can activate the card again, though this time they have no additional choice and have to discard the god card and replace it. Just like the character cards in the Star Trek edition the god cards make the game a whole lot different and often help with the fristration caused by the "robber". I still hate the robber or its equivalent in any version or edition of Settlers of Catan; it's just too damn annoying.

The other advancement is the building of the Great Pyramid. Players have a dozen player ID coloured square tiles plus there are sand (gold) coloured (one side - numbered on the other side) neutral tiles. When a player rolls a "7" they take one of the neutral tiles (which are shuffled and kept face down on the table) and turn it over. The number on the back of the tile is the number of resource cards the players are allowed to hold without having to discard half of them. However if the player has the "Vizier's Favour" card (a special one-only card that you get when you build a Pyramid block) then they can have 9 resource cards in hand with no penalty, though holding over 9 resource cards will result in the 50% drop counting.

Each Player is given a Pharoah's Blessing/Curse card at the start of the game. This card begins with the Curse (-1) side face up and is only turned over to the Blessing side (+1) when a player has more of their own colour Pyramid tiles on the Great Pyramid than any other player. The +1 on this card counts as a Victory Point towards the 11 points required to win.

The board is made up of separate tiles that can be placed randomly or as per the set up shown in the rules booklet. It is always best to play your first game using the prescribed set up because it has been designed to be the fairest and most balanced and also because it features the Nile Delta at the top of the board with the Nile winding its way down to the bottom edge. To build across the Nile you need to place Papyrus Boats which are made of Papyrus and pulled by Cattle (Bullocks I hear you say). By placing a papyrus Boat you can continue expanding your settlements and Ox-Cart tracks as you would normally in Settlers of Catan.

Settlers of Catan Ancient Egypt is a fine addition to the Settlers range of games and the Almanac that comes with it is of interest to both players and minor historians. My personal Catan favourite is still the Star Trek version, though I have to admit that the "Special" editions of Catan such as Ancient Egypt, America and Europe do regularly continue to breathe effective life into what could otherwise be thought of as a system that has been around, it seems, forever.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015