Top 13 Best Catan Expansions Reviews: 2020 [UPDATED]
Catan is an iconic board game that has been on the shelves of board game stores for decades. It is still regarded as one of the greatest board games to this day.
Several board games came and vanished due to the lack of popularity, but Catan continues to win the hearts of millions of board game fanatics worldwide. Ever wondered why?
Catan is an incredible game that allows you to establish colonies and build an empire. The game requires a combination of skill, luck, and strategy to win.
It is one of those games which doesn't get boring after a while.
Why should it?
The game has multiple expansions that keep you going for hours!
The expansions that this game has to offer is truly mind-blowing. If you are a fan of the base game, then you will love the expansions. If you are looking for the best Catan expansion, you came to the right place.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the finest expansions that you definitely have to check out!
What is a Catan Game?
Catan is a board game that was designed by a German designer named Klaus Teuber. It was first published in Germany in the year 1995. Ever since then, the game has had multiple revisions throughout the years, but the concept remains the same.
The game has multiple expansion packs. The expansions add a new theme, variation, and depth to the game. However, they requires the base Catan game to be played.
The aim of the game is pretty straightforward. It is played between 3 to 6 players. Each players will be trying to build flourishing settlements on the resourceful island of Catan.
The challenging part of Catan is not the luck involved with rolling the dice. Players need strategically trade resources with others and build their empire.
By building roads and settlements, players earn victory points. The player with the most victory point at the end wins the game!
Our Top 13 Best Catan Expansion In 2020
1. The Settlers of Catan
If you love board games, then you are going to love Settlers of Catan. It is a beginner-friendly game that is well received for its unique gameplay. Whether you are a seasoned gamer or just starting to get familiar with it, you will have a blast!
The objective of the game is pretty straight forward. You have to create settlements, roads, and cities on the island called Catan which is a series of hexagons. It is a family game that does not contain any violence. A game typically takes around 90 minutes to play.
In the Settlers of Catan, strategy is key. You have to manage your resources wisely. You will find yourself interacting with other players, as well as negotiating and trading resources.
It doesn't have a steep learning curve. In fact, Settlers of Catan can be looked as a perfect stepping stone to other complex board games. The game is suitable for players aged 12 and above and can be played between three and four people. This makes it perfect during family gatherings or camping.
Players begin their turn by rolling two dice that are colored differently. Settlers of Catan is a delicate mix between luck and skills. To win the game, you need to earn victory points.
To earn victory points, players need to expand their settlements which is possible by the development cards that you need to buy. You win the game by earning 10 victory points. The longer the roads you make; the most cities you build in your settlement wins you the game.
The settlers of Catan expansion reviews will tell you how popular and well-received this game is! It is an amazing game that keeps even the most experienced players on the edge of their seats.
2. Catan Civilization-Building Board Game
Step into the magical island of Catan, where you use resources to build structures and overthrow your opponent and claim victory!
Suitable for ages 10 and up, Catan is a board game where the objective is to score victory points. This is done through the construction of settlements, cities, roads, and development cards. In order to build those structures, you first need to gather resources.
The resources in the game are lumber, brick, ore, grain, and wool. The structures you acquire are places on a board made up of hexagonal tiles. The tiles have numbers to them.
In Catan, there are multiple ways to arrange the tiles. Since all tiles can be arranged randomly, each tile may have a different number ranging from 2-12 which are the numbers you can roll on the dice. This means that every game you play will be different depending on the tile placement.
The numbers on the hexagonal tiles serve an important purpose. If there is a settlement or a city places on the edge of the hex tile, you get the resources of that hex's type when the number is rolled. This way, every player collects their resources.
Catan is purely based on luck and strategy. You have to be smart when trading your resources with other players to get the resources that you don't have. There are also development cards that allow you to steal a random resource card from your opponent or block their increasing resource collection.
The main aim of the game gain victory points. If you are the first player to achieve 10 victory points, you win the game. Catan is easy to learn and takes around 60 minutes to play.
3. Catan Extension - 5-6 Players
Catan extension is an add-on for the base game. With this extension, you get to play with additional players, place new hex tiles, cards, and wooden pieces.
In the base game, the maximum number of players that can play the game was 4. The extension allows for 2 extra players, which means 6 people can enjoy the game together!
The product simply an add-on and doesn’t come with the base game. You must have the base Catan game in order to use this product.
It comes with more of each component and a new feature. The Catan extension has two new sets of wooden pieces colored green and brown.
It features new resources and development cards which adds depth to the game. The extension also comes with new hex tiles and ports.
The product comes with new number markers for the new hex tiles. It increase the size of the map. This is done to accommodate the extra players and at the same time prevent any cluttering.
The extension comes with a new feature known as the special building phase. When every player completes their turns, they get an opportunity to build. The building phase doesn’t require trading cards, only building.
The game time is increased due to the additional players. Overall the extension is a nice addition to the base game.
4. Catan Junior Settlers Of Catan Game
Catan Junior is the perfect gift for your little ones!
Catan Junior is similar to the original board game with streamlined rules. The settlement, cities, and roads are replaced by plate lairs and pirate ships respectively.
The players in the game take the role of swashbuckling pirates.
In Catan junior, the hexagonal tiles represent various islands. The aim of the game is pretty straightforward. Each player will start with two lairs and a ship.
Players will only be able to place their ships next to lairs and vice versa. The first player to build seven lairs wins the game.
The game is designed to be child-friendly. Some of the tasks of the original game such as trading cards with other players is made easier for children.
At the end of the board lies a marketplace where the players can purchase resources. Resources can also be traded with other players.
Coco cards are an important component. The cards give you free stuff and gives you an opportunity to move the Ghost pirate captain.
Coco cards are very important late in the game as it allows you to build one lair on the Spooky Islam. This gets you closer to winning the game.
The thief or robber in the base game is the ghost pirate captain in Catan Junior. Players rolling a 6 on the dice can move the ghost pirate captain to a hex tile.
Just like the thief or the robber, the ghost pirate captain stops any production from the hex until removed.
Catan Junior can be played by 2 to 4 players. They are perfect for kids aged 6 and up, as they are very interactive and offers tons of fun!
5. Catan Expansion – Seafarers
Seafarers is an expansion of the Settlers of Catan board game. This game allows you to sail to your beloved islands of Catan.
The expansion is all about sailing your boats to explore the islands. It comes with sea and island hex tiles. The map itself is quite large and has to be reached using boats.
The game can be played by 3-4 people, and each game takes around 60 minutes to complete.
Similar to the base game where you have to build roads using resources, seafarers use boats instead. They require two resources which are Wood and sheep. To build the longest road, the boats have to be placed on water tiles.
The expansion allows you to place 30 additional hexagonal tiles to the base game. Of the 30 tiles, 19 of them are water hex tiles, 2 are desert tiles, and the remaining are resourceful Catan lands and gold tiles.
Unlike the original board game where tiles are placed randomly, Seafarers makes use of scenarios. You have to set up the tiles based on that scenario.
They add variations to the game which means that depending on the scenario, every game will be different.
In Seafarers, the pirate ship is a game-changing element. The pirate does two things. Players cannot build ships on the hex the pirate is on, and whoever moved the pirate ship can steal a random card from one of their opponents with a ship adjacent.
There is no doubt that Seafarers is one of the best catan expansions for the game. The ultimate objective of the game is to score the most victory points. The first player to do so wins the game.
6. Catan Expansion - Cities & Knights
Protect the land of Catan from invading barbarians in the Cities & Knights expansion!
The two major elements of this expansion are building knights that defend the land. The other aspect is building cities that benefit the players.
Cities & knights take the base Catan game to the next level. It adds a considerable amount of complexity.
Apart from building cities, players need to collect three essential commodities. They are cloth, coins, and paper. Players get these commodities by building cities of specific terrain tiles which are mountains, forests, and pastures.
Unlike the base game where players get two resources, in Cities & Knights then get one of each resource and commodity. The commodities are used by players to upgrade their cities.
By upgrading their cities, players earn development cards. These cards come with huge benefits. By using them you can tax other players, earn more resources, and build roads for free.
The core objective of the knights is to defend the Catan. The barbarians will attack the cities throughout the game. When the players roll the resource production die, the event die is also rolled. Each game is about 90 minutes and can be played by 3-4 players.
The aim of the game is to have the most knights defending the cities. If there are more barbarians than knights, the player will lose a city.
If the player has more knights that the total number of cities, the barbarians are defeated and is declared the winner.
7. Star Trek Catan Board Game
If you are a big fan of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock's adventures, then you will love the Star Trek-themed Catan. It also features the fan-favorite characters from Star Trek!
The rules in Star Trek Catan hasn't deviated from the original game by much. Apart from the theme, the addition of support cards and other components, the basic aspect of the game remains the same as the original.
There are 3 core aspects of the game. You have to collect resources, trade them, and use those resources to build starships, outposts, starbases, and development cards.
Star Trek is Catan can be played by 3-4 players. The games usually take anywhere between 75-90 minutes to complete.
The game is pretty straightforward. You start by placing two outposts on the edges of the planets. Every planet has a number. When a number is rolled, you will gain resources from that planet.
If you roll a "7", you can move the Klingon to a planet. The Klingon helps you steal a random resource from one of the players along with an adjacent outpost or a starbase.
One of the biggest changes in Star Trek Catan compared to the original game is the addition of support cards. These cards grant you a special advantage.
They can be used to steal a resource from the top player, force a trade deal, and move the Klingon.
Outposts, starbases, and development cards give you victory points. You can also earn them from building the largest star fleet and the longest trade route. The first player to reach 10 victory points wins the game.
8. Catan Extension: Seafarers 5-6 Playe
If you love the Catan Seafarers expansion, then the Seafarers extension is for you. The extension supports up to 6 players.
The product is an add-on and doesn’t come bundled with the base game. To use this extension, you need the base Catan game, Catan 5-6 player extension pack, and the Seafarers expansion.
The extension comes with additional components to support extra players. In the box, you will find 30 neatly made wooden ships, 2 Gold tiles, 7 Sea hex tiles, a desert tile, 2 harbor tokens, 2 frame pieces, 9 new scenarios, 35 Catan Chits, and a rulebook.
The base Catan board game is landlocked. Building ships is an important part of the add-on. Seafarer’s expansion adds sea hexes to the game, which allows for ships to set sail to various islands.
If there are ships, there will be pirates. Pirates are similar to robbers in a way. The pirates can be placed on a specific sea hex and steal a resource from any player that ships the pirate's borders. Unlike the robber, however, placing the pirate won't stop the production of resources.
The extensions come with 9 new scenarios. Each scenario allows you to place the hex tiles differently. This means that every game you play will be different. This adds variation to the game, which increases its replayability value.
The games usually take around 90 minutes to complete. If the Seafarers expansion is your favorite, you can easily accommodate extra players without ruining the ease of play with this 5-6 player extension.
9. Catan Extension: Cities & Knights 5-6 Player
This product is an extension of the widely acclaimed Catan Cities and Knights expansion. The extension allows you to play with two extra players. Be the one to defend cities against the raging barbarians!
This is a standalone product that doesn't come with the base game. To play Cities and Knights with up to 6 players, you need the base Catan game, the Catan 5-6 player extension add-on, and the cities and knights expansion.
The extension comes with additional components to support the additional players. It contains 19 new commodity cards, 3 extra victory point cards, 12 well-made wooden knights, 6 additional city walls, and 2 development flipcharts.
Cities & Knights crank up the complexity of the base Catan game. Instead of the development cards found in the base game, Cities and Knights makes use of progress cards.
Progress cards come in three types. They are trade, science, and politics. The cards add complexity to the game. These cards can benefit you in multiple ways.
You will be able to take a random card from a player or require fewer resources when upgrading a settlement.
Knights play an important role in the game. They come in three different types, basic, strong, and mighty. The knights can be upgraded by using resources.
If your knight is stronger than your opponent’s, you can displace them. They can also be used to repel robbers.
The player with the highest number of knights earns 1 victory point. The first player to reach 13 victory points wins the game. As the playing time is about 90 minutes, you are guaranteed to have a blast!
10. Mayfair Games Catan 5th Edition with 5-6 Player Extension Game
The base Catan board game along with the 5-6 player extension is all that you can ask for. If you are a board game enthusiast or someone new to Catan, this should definitely be in your wish list!
Catan is an incredibly exciting board game. The game requires a combination of luck and skill to win. The game is based on three aspects. Gather resources, trade them, build and upgrade roads and settlements.
It is a competitive board game where players go against each other and build roads, cities, and settlements. Settlements have to constantly upgraded by using resources.
This allows you to earn victory points. The first player to reach 10 victory points, wins the game.
The hexagonal shape of the tiles allows you to set them up differently. Every time you set up the board will be different from the last, adding a bit of variation to the game.
Catan requires you to interact and trade with other players. If you don't have a specific resource you can just trade it with someone else.
It is one of the major focuses of the game. Catan also requires some skills, and like all other dice board games, you need some luck as well.
The extension comes with additional tiles and other components that expand the map. It also increases the length of the game considerably. Both the base game and the extension is fun to play. It is the ideal dice board game to play with your friends.
11. Catan Extension: Explorers & Pirates 5-6 Player
The Explorers & Pirates was an amazing expansion that had an incredible concept and unique gameplay elements. This extension allows you to support two additional players.
This is an add-on for the Explorers & Pirates expansion so it doesn’t contain the base game. In order to use this add-on, you will need the base Catan game, Catan 5 to 6 player extension, and the Explorers & Pirates expansion.
Explorers & Pirates brings sea to the base game which is landlocked. The expansion comes with 5 unique scenarios. Each of the scenarios is an extended version of the former scenario with one extra task that the players have to complete. The scenarios add variation to the game and increase the replay value.
Players need to build ships, harbor settlements, crew, and settlers using the resources they gather throughout the game. The more port settlements you make, the more victory points you earn.
Explorers & Pirates slightly deviate from the rules. In the expansion, there are no development cards. If a player rolls the dice and gets no resources, then they will get gold instead.
Gold is an important item as it can be exchanged at the bank for resources. Unlike the base game, trading and building are interchangeable.
The extension adds additional components to support the two extra players. It also comes with hex tiles that increase the size of the map.
Furthermore, the two extra players also increases the game time. Depending on the scenario, each game will take around 90-180 minutes to complete.
The game is very easy to play. Even though the extension adds depth and complexity, new players will get used to the rules within no time!
12. Catan Extension: Traders & Barbarians 5-6 Player
Traders & Barbarians expansion is one of the top add-ons for the base game. This product is an extension of Traders & Barbarians that allows you to play the game with 2 additional players.
As this is a standalone product, it doesn't come with the base game. To play this, you will need the base Catan game, Catan 5-6 player extension, and the Traders & Barbarians expansion.
As the name suggests, the theme of the game revolves around traders and barbarians. The expansion has some minor rule alterations. However, the core aspects remain mostly the same as the base Catan game. It has four core changes.
The robber or thief we saw from other expansion is much more ‘friendly’ in this expansion. The robber cannot freely move to any hex, where the adjacent player has only 2 victory points.
The other alteration is Catan Event cards. These cards are the replacement for the dice. The cards significantly decrease randomness and reward effective strategies.
The Other variant is the Harbour Master Card. The variant rewards players who build settlements or cities of the edges of the coast. Gaining 3 harbor points rewards the player a Harbour Master Card, which earns them two victory points.
The game has 5 new engaging scenarios that bring variation to the game. They are the fisherman of Catan, the rivers of Catan, Caravans, Barbarian Attack, and traders & barbarians. All these different scenarios will keep you engaged for hours.
Traders & Barbarians adds a great level of depth and complexity to the game. The games usually last about 90 minutes. The new variants and the scenarios will elevate your Catan experience.
13. CATAN Histories: Merchants of Europ
Set in medieval Europe, you take the role of a powerful merchant. Your aim is to deliver 8 to 10 commodity tokens.
Like all other expansions, Merchants of Europe requires resources. With resources, players can upgrade settlements, and build new empires. Resources are produced by Hexes.
If in case you don't get any resources, gold will be awarded instead. Gold can be used to purchase other resources, or for using trade routes.
Merchants are an important component of the game. They need to be recruited and sent to cities to establish multiple trading posts. This is important as the more trading post you place, the more commodities will be at your hand. They can then be sold for profit.
To make sure the commodities you have arrived safely to their destination, caravans need to be equipped and trade routes must be opened.
The first player to deliver all their commodities to other cities wins the game. The winner is entitled as ' the merchant prince'.
The other important element is the caravans. You have to move your commodities by making routes using caravans. You can also pay your opponent a certain amount of gold to use their trade routes.
The medieval-themed game is the best Catan expansion for families and buddies, and it supports up to 4 players. Each game takes about 90 minutes to complete.
Although there is a slight alteration in rules and a bit difficult complexity-wise, it is still easy to learn and play.
Catan Expansion Game Pack Buying Guide For Beginners
Type Of Expansion:
The base Catan game has multiple expansions. They are add-ons that can be used with the Catan game. Each of them differs from one another.
For instance, Merchants of Europe have a medieval European setting. In Cities & Knights, you defend your cities from barbarians, the star trek expansion consists of popular Star Trek characters that aid you in your journey, the list goes on.
Expansions add depth and variety to the base game. However, the setting and the storyline may not appeal to everyone. Get the expansion which interests you.
If you wish to play the game with 6 players, an extension kit is important. Extension kits consist of additional components that increase the size of the map to accommodate 6 players. The extension kit is necessary as the base game and its expansions usually support 3-4 players.
There is a chance that the expansion you want doesn't support an extension. If you wish to play with 6 players, buy the Catan variant that supports extensions.
Catan is a family-friendly game. The lack of violence makes Catan suitable for kids and adults. Some of the expansions are suitable for ages 7 and above, whereas others are suited for children aged 13 and up.
However, some expansions are complex. The concept and playstyle of some expansion may be difficult to grasp for the young generation. If you are looking for an expansion, pick the one that has an easy concept and straightforward gameplay.
Expansion kits are not the only thing that brings variation to the board game. The best Catan expansion games come with unique scenarios. Every scenario lets you place your hex tiles differently. This means that every game you play will be different in some way.
Variation also increases the replay-ability factor and prevents the game from going stale. If you are looking for a Catan expansion that you can play repeatedly, pick the one that has multiple scenarios.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is The Difference Between Expansions And Extensions?
Expansions and extensions are both add-ons for the base game 'Catan'. The widely available expansions are Seafarers, Cities and Knights, Traders & Barbarians, and Pirates & Explorers. They add variety to the game in terms of the setting, slight rule alterations, concept, and storyline.
Since the expansion can be played by four players, the sole purpose of extensions are to support 2 more players. Extensions make it possible to play the game with up to 6 players.
Keep in mind that you cannot use the extension directly with the base Catan game. You first need to have the expansion and then use its compatible extension.
2. How Many Players Can Play The Game?
The base Catan expansion can be played by 3 to 4 players. The game cannot be played as a single-player as it would negate the reason to have a thief or robber. This is because one of their main objectives is to steal cards from opponents. Likewise, the rules of the game are not suitable for two players.
By using an extension add-on, the game can be played by up to 6 players. Extensions increase the size of the map, which makes it possible for the game to be played by 6 players.
3. What Is A Scenario In Catan?
Some Catan expansions come with multiple scenarios. Scenarios are unique ways in which the hex tiles are laid out. They also alter the rules by changing the core aspects of the game. Scenarios add variation to the game, which increases the replay-ability value. Also, the unique scenarios mean that every game will be different.
4. How Are The Quality Of The Components?
The quality of the game slightly varies between the versions. Overall the quality is excellent across all the versions. The cardboard is thick and feels well made. The cards are lightweight has a shine from the gloss. The other components are also very well-made.
As for the graphics, they are visually appealing. Colors look vibrant and texts are legible. The artwork on the cards is also very attractive.
5. Catan vs Settlers Of Catan: Which One Best?
Over the years, Catan has gone through several iterations. The German game was first branded in the US as ‘The Settlers of Catan’. The game had a total of four versions. After the fourth version, there was a global rebranding of the game where the name was simply shortened to ‘Catan’.
The fifth edition called Catan has some minor alterations from The Settlers of Catan. Catan is a major improvement in terms of graphics and overall appearance. The other major changes are seen in the components.
Build Quality- Catan's build quality is consistent throughout. The Settlers of Catan box had a landscape design. The design of the new box is portrait, which allows you to keep it vertically inside the shelf. The hexagonal tiles also feel heavier and well-manufactured.
Cosmetic Changes- You will instantly notice the major cosmetic change in Catan if it were placed beside settlers. The artwork in the game has been completely redesigned. This includes the hex tiles, cards, and cover art. Other components such as the dice and wood components remain the same as settlers.
Components- The components that got upgraded were the rulebook and the border pieces. Clarifications were made to the rulebook, which makes understanding the game easier. Also, some of the scenarios are reworked to make the game engaging and encourage competitiveness.
One of the issues with the different editions is that the components of other expansions don't match well. To avoid this, make sure you get the same version of the expansion as the base game.
6. Are There Variations In The Gameplay?
Yes there is. If the expansion contains multiple scenarios, then each game will be different from the other. For example, you may lay the hex tiles differently depending on the scenario. In some scenarios you may also have to complete special tasks.
The variations does not deviate you from the main objectives of the game that is earning victory points.
Catan addicts are now becoming a common sight. The game is slowly taking over legendary board games like monopoly, and there is a good reason for that.
The game is incredibly exciting to play, it is scalable, packed with interesting features, and every expansion has an interesting concept.
It time-sucking diversion that is being played by thousands of people worldwide. The expansions that this game offers adds variation and more reasons to play.
In this article, we have picked the best Catan expansions for you to enjoy. You are now ready to dominate the islands of Catan!