How to Play – Game of Thrones: Catan
What happens when you mix a wildly successful board game and a wildly successful television show? Usually, the results of mixing two great things together are not always good, but in this situation, the result is magnificent! But you might be wondering how to play this version of Catan, and how different it is than the original? Well we have all the details on Game of Throne: Catan – Brotherhood of the Watch, so read on!
This review copy of Game of Thrones: Catan was given to us by Asmodee. This article assumes as basic knowledge of the Settlers of Catan board game.
Outside of extra miniatures, hero cards, and a different board layout, Game of Thrones: Catan plays very similar to the original. You are still building settlements and cities, building roads to connect them, and obtaining resources by have your cities/settlements on a variety of numbers, and having those resources get rolled.
But Game of Thrones: Catan adds a number of other elements that make the experience superior to the original, and we will break down all these differences below! Let’s dive in!
A Different Board Layout
Because Game of Thrones: Catan focuses on an extra random element that changes the game – Wildlings beyond the wall – the board is set up differently to accommodate that change. The base game of Settlers of Catan has the board setup in a circular pattern, with the best numbers – 6 and 8 – being spread out evenly around the board. This is done to give players more of an equal chance at obtaining the most probable numbers.
In Game of Thrones Catan, the most probable numbers are reserved for those who want to have the biggest risk in the game. The board is broken into two segments: the area North of the wall where the Wildlings live and plan to descend on Westeros, and the area South of the wall where the common folk live, namely you and those playing with you.
We will talk about the Wildlings in a second, but note that they will move towards the wall as you play, and can breach the wall and enter Westeros. For that reason, the spaces just South of the wall are the most valuable spaces, but also the ones that will get overtaken first should part of the wall fall!
The Wall and the Wildlings, Plus Building Guards (New Type of Construction)
A big part of Game of Thrones, at least for the first half of the show, was the growing threat of the Wildlings North of the wall. And Game of Thrones: Catan is built on this premise. There are two parts to this aspect of the game: the wall, and the Wildlings.
Each player will have a section of wall they are required to defend, and while players are competing with each other, they have a shared responsibility to protect the wall. Like other building options, players can get guards up on the wall to protect their portion, and these guards not only protect the wall, but can earn you victory points towards the 10 you need to win, depending on how many guards are on the wall.
It’s important to maintain that presence on the wall, because if the Wildlings below the wall ever outnumber the guards on it, there will be a rush on the wall, and a potential breach of the wall and invasion of the south.
Wildlings begin the game in the Frostfang, waiting to begin their invasion of Westeros. Whenever players build settlements or cities, more Wildlings begin to move towards the wall, using dice to decide where, when, and who.
As people build, Wildlings begin to fill the camps around the wall, and based on the dice roll, they will begin moving down the various paths towards the wall. There are three types of Wildlings, and they all act differently when they arrive at the wall.
- Climbers – when arriving at the wall, Climbers will instantly jump the wall and occupy the first available hex. This is not considered a wall breach.
- Giants – when arriving at the wall, Giants will use their brute strength to attack the wall. If there is a guard on the ‘1’ spot, remove the guard and place him back in the players supply; then remove the giant and place him back in the Frostfang. If there are other guards on thew all, move them down one number, filling in the gap created by the removed guard. If there are no guards, the Giant breaches the wall.
- Regular Wildling – when arriving at the wall, Regular Wildlings will stay in the clearing and not advance until there are more Wildlings than guards on the wall. Once they outnumber the guards, they breach the wall.
When a breach occurs, remove the guard from the ‘1’ slot and place it back in the players supply. Then, all the Wildlings that can breach the wall will move over the wall and occupy spaces, depending on the number of Wildlings. Then the breach marker is moved; three breaches, and the game comes to an abrupt end, with the winner earning a ‘lesser victory.’
The final main difference between the Game of Thrones: Catan version and the base game is the inclusion of Hero Cards. Hero Cards can be used twice by each player, and then must be returned to the deck. Each player begins the game with a Hero Card.
Hero Cards can provide players with an advantage within the game, such as giving resources if a players number isn’t rolled, etc. When returning a Hero Card to the deck, players can choose another card, and begin to use it on their next turn.
Other than these different changes, this is still very much a Catan experience, but an experience we prefer over the original. We will have a full review soon, so stay tuned to GamesReviews.com!