Errata: Why the Hate on Seafarers?
I’ve mentioned before that Settlers of Catan was my gateway game. My group played it every week for months and years. I have no idea how many times I’ve played it, since that was long before I started logging games and keeping track (Yes I keep track. For no particular reason. It just satisfies my geeky need to catalog and organize.). This week’s question asks about expanding it.
A BGG Discussion asked, “Why is Cities and Knights generally liked, but the same people do not like Seafarers?”
I saw a thread over at BGG about Settlers of Catan and its expansions. Although the thread meandered a little bit, as threads are wont to do, one user asked the above. Not directly, I’m definitely paraphrasing, but that was the gist of his question. I answered there but wanted to answer here as well because it gives me a chance to opine on the game I’ve played most.
I just don’t find that Seafarers adds to the game meaningfully. Cities and Knights has all kinds of new objectives, resources, barbarians, and management. It changes the game in a meaningful way and, in fact, makes it a completely different animal.
By contrast, Seafarers just makes the board bigger without really changing the strategy at all. The game is longer and more unwieldy without a payoff in fun.
Plus, I find that seafarers tends to discourage trade: the best aspect of Settlers. Getting to another island first gets you an extra point. Therefore, the resources needed for building ships are highly valuable and rarely traded until all the firsts have been claimed. So you better hope your wool numbers get rolled more than other people’s wool numbers, which ramps up the dice luck factor: the least fun part of settlers.
Got questions about strategy, specific games, or the hobby in general? Post them in the comments here, email me at geekinsight at gfbrobot dot com, or send them to @GeekInsight on Twitter and check back next week for answers!