Best Catan Expansions

Top 14 Best Catan Expansions Reviews of 2020

If you have already played Catan a zillion times, now is a good time to move on to the next level and choose from the various expansions available.

These offer new dimensions like new land types, more characters, and different structures to keep you wearing your thinking hat throughout the game.

Building establishments is the name of this game and there are many ways to do that.

Catan and its expansions allow you to spend quality time with your friends and family and bond over special moments.

It challenges you to face and figure a way out from tough situations.

Choosing Catan expansions depends on the level of complexity you want plus other factors. Based on user reviews, we have put together the best Catan expansions for you.

To know the details of these expansions and which ones would be suitable for you, read on and discover endless adventures!

What Is Catan Game?

The Catan game originated in Germany in 1995. It’s a board game that requires multiple players and was designed by Klaus Teuber. This game uses strategy as the key tool.

Catan refers to an island and the players represent settlers. The hexes are hexagonal tiles that depict different types of land like roads, cities, habitats, etc.

The point is to get and exchange resources among the players to build establishments. The position of these hexes is fixed.

To begin the game, the players roll two dice. When the number matches the one on the hexes closest to the settlement, the player receives a resource card.

The resource cards represent the resources needed to build colonies. However, the desert is considered an unproductive resource and yields no card.

With the increase of these settlements, the players gain points. Once a player achieves ten points, that player is declared the winner.

Best Catan Expansions Reviews 2020

1. Catan Trade Build Settle

If unpredictability is what you yearn for, then let this game fulfill your wish! Each game will be filled with different situations and challenges.

Teach kids 10 years or older what it means to trade resources widely, build settlements, and have an adventure of a lifetime.

The land of Catan is rich with pastures, harbors, mountains, forests, and deserts. With some luck, careful thinking, and wise trading, you can get valuable resources.

Use them to build cities. However, beware of the robber who’s on the lookout to steal what you have gained!

To get good harvests from resources, you must think about what each will yield.

While mountains yield ore, you get grain from fields, lumber from forests, wool from pastures, and brick from hills.

This game teaches how to build roads and settlements step by step and turn them into cities. As your establishment increases, so do your points.

The winner is the player who gets 10 victory points first. Suitable for 3 to 4 players, you will need about an hour to complete this game.

Highlighted Features:

  • Each game is different from another.
  • Features the rich lands and resources of Catan.
  • Suitable for children 10 years and above.
  • It takes an hour to complete the game.
  • It requires strategic thinking and careful resource trading.

2. Catan Junior Review

If your younger children feel left out of family games, you can now include them in this junior version of Catan.

Suitable for ages 5+, introduce your younger kids early on into the world of ghosts, robbers, pirates, and adventures that Catan and its expansions offer.

For 2 to 4 players, this version of the classic game takes roughly 30 minutes to complete. It features the Spooky Island complete with a Ghost Captain.

The players need to befriend Coco the Parrot for useful tips. The resources can be used to get help from Coco, build ships and hideouts.

However, the Ghost Captain will always rise against you so think carefully. But you will get more points as you build more hideouts.

The game ends with the player who can gain control over all the seven pirate hideouts.

The game takes place around a group of islands and each yields a different resource like molasses, wood, goats, etc.

You can also get gold as a resource. But it’s important to be friends with Coco as that will get you the maximum advantage.

Highlighted Features:

  • Suitable for players aged 5+.
  • Features islands, Ghost Captain, Coco the Parrot.
  • Accommodates 2 to 4 players.
  • Rough duration of 30 minutes.
  • A great way to introduce juniors into the classic game.

3. Catan Expansion Cities And Knights

In real life, you may or may not own a colony, but in the world of Catan, you have the chance to live your dream!

With a scope of spending approximately 90 minutes of pure strategy and mental vigor, indulge in this game of building settlements with your family.

This expansion has space for 3 to 4 players. But you need the base game of Catan to play this expansion.

It’s compatible with other expansions as well as the 4th edition of Catan. This one adds another level to the base game as it contains more depth and complex situations.

The three metropolises of Catan are more worthy than cities. But these are threatened by the wild barbarians.

Therefore, these need to be defended. To do so, each player must contribute well.

As the players trade coin, cloth, or paper among themselves, they contribute to the city improvements. 

The game is suitable for ages over 12 years. It includes a rulebook, 36 commodity cards, 54 progress cards, 4 flip-charts to track development, 6 victory point cards, and other elements.

Highlighted Features:

  • Suitable for ages 12 years and above.
  • Accommodates 3 to 4 players.
  • Three metropolises added for depth.
  • Not a complete game and needs the base game.
  • Approximately 90 minutes to complete the game.

4. Catan Expansion Seafarers

A perfect way to spend an hour or so with your kids before sending them off to bed!

This expansion features bold and adventurous seafarers who are undaunted by the huge expanse of waters nobody has explored before.

It gives you the chance to explore unknown marine territories and acquire new lands. Take advantage of the opportunity to create new lanes in the sea and build on.

Remember to trade resources after some deep thought!

One of the best Settlers of Catan expansion packs, you can have 3 to 4 players spend some good time together.

Besides forging your way into new sea territories, there are even gold fields that are super valuable land types.

You need the base game of Catan to play this expansion as it’s not a stand-alone game.

It’s also compatible with Catan 4th edition and other expansions. The game is suitable for players age 10 years and above.

It includes sea hexes, harbor token, pirate ship, wooden ships, number tokens, a rulebook, and other elements that add more intrigue and depth to the game.

Highlighted Features:

  • Suitable for players 10 years and older.
  • Not a stand-alone game, hence needs the base game.
  • 3 to 4 players can play.
  • The approximate game duration is one hour.
  • Features seafarers and new marine territories.

5. Catan Explorers and Pirates Expansion 5th Edition

If you’re in the mood to take on some swashbuckling pirates, then here’s your chance!

This Catan expansion pack lets you explore new islands and indulge your adventurous side in three new missions and five new scenarios that feature pirates.

With new cultures, you have moretrading options. Plus, there are more islands in this expansion.

That adds another interesting dimension to the game. With port settlements as the new feature, you won’t get bored with just the land establishments.

You have the chance to get gold resources if you don’t get any in the production roll. Store your gold resources well as they help you escape from pirates and also for trading.

Suitable for ages 12 and above, you can have a game with 2 to 4 players. Spend an intriguing and adventurous 90 to 120 minutes game duration.

New elements like harbor settlements, fish, pirates, fish shoal hexes, gold fields, and more, you will enjoy every moment with this game.

Hope you have the base game of Catan to play this expansion. It’s also compatible with other expansions.

Highlighted Features:

  • Suitable for players 12 years and above.
  • For 2 to 4 players.
  • Compatible with 4th edition Catan and other expansions.
  • Features pirates and new islands.
  • The game duration is between 90 and 120 minutes.

6. Catan Traders and Barbarians Expansion

When it’s time to up the challenge, get this Catan expansion pack!

It offers you plenty of cognitive and strategic moments. Five new scenarios take the game to the next level.

Fit for 2 to 4 players aged 10 years and above, you won’t even know when a full hour gets over!

This expansion is enriched with different characters in the form of nomads, knights, barbarians, and fishermen. Trade resources after some serious thinking!

In a battle of knights against barbarians, experience the most exciting moments with your family.

Restore the glory of the castle by trading resources with other players! Relive the adventures of nomads looking for grain and wool!

With the redesigned and updated version, you will want to fish in the shoals and the blue waters of the great lake.

There’s nothing like a board game like Catan that can bond you with your kids and helpthem develop strategic thinking.

You need the base game though to play this expansion. It’s also compatible with Catan’s 4th edition and other expansions.

Highlighted Features:

  • Suitable for anyone aged 10 years and older.
  • It features various characters to bring depth.
  • Five new situations that challenge your thinking ability.
  • Gameplay duration of one hour.
  • It requires the base game and is compatible with other expansions.

7. Catan: Seafarers Expansion 4th Edition

The 4th edition of the Seafarers expansion of Catan will quench your thirst to discover new and expansive water bodies.

Catan has unexplored and uncharted water bodies and terrain. Help the settlers move into and develop these new lands.

You can do so by building ships and conquering the waters. Only those who dare can make sea lanes to connect one island to another.

You need plenty of strategic thinking skills to trade resources with the other players. Keep your fingers crossed so that the dice you roll will be lucky for you to get valuable resources.

With clever dealing of cards, you can acquire more resources to build more settlements that will ultimately make you the winner of this game.

To broaden your empire you will need timber, ore, grains, brick, and wool.

This isn’t a stand-alone game and needs the base game. Also compatible with other expansions, its new tiles and packaging make it an improved version.

If you have played the original Seafarers version well enough, it’s time to get this newer edition as it adds more depth and challenges.

Highlighted Features:

  • 4th edition of Seafarers expansion.
  • It needs the base game to be played.
  • It’s compatible with other expansions.
  • New and improved tiles and packaging.
  • New challenges and elements add complexity.

8. Star Trek Catan Expansion

Start Trek fans need not feel left behind by the Catan franchise games as this expansion is dedicated to them!

Go boldly into outer space where undiscovered resources abound in the yet-to-be-explored planets.

To take hold of these resources, build starbases and use your starships to build a network so you can go far and deep into space.

Suitable for 3-4 players with 75-90 minutes duration.

Be friendly with the Federation neighbors with whom you will want to trade resources. Beware of your opponents who may come too close and occupy your part of space.

The new support cards of this Catan expansion feature our favorite characters from Star Trek. Wear the avatar of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock as you take on your foes to become the hero of The Final Frontier.

The planet sector hexes, 28 outposts, 95 resource cards, 60 starships, 1 Klingon battle cruiser, development cards, support cards, six-sided star dice, and more game elements make it the best Catan expansion.

The finest board game and space exploration franchises have come together to create this phenomenon.

Highlighted Features:

  • Star Trek battlecruiser, starships, and characters.
  • Appropriate for 3 to 4 players.
  • Approximate duration of 75 to 90 minutes.
  • Novel resource cards, dice, and other elements.
  • Combines the finest of Star Trek and Catan.

9. A Game of Thrones Catan

Immerse in the world of Game of Thrones as you ward off Wildlings, fight to defend Westeros, and emerge to become the New Commander!

Prove that you are the natural leader and can take command of The Brothers of The Night’s Watch.

Play your cards well to show how you build the infrastructure south of the Wall.

This game of thrones Catan expansion tests your ability to face challenges. Not only do you have to defend your brothers but you also have to fight the enemies and come out on top.

You will comfortably spend 60 to 90 minutes in this engrossing game. It requires 3 to 4 players aged 14 years and above.

The players must increase their establishments to get more points. They also have to keep a balance on their resources and defend against Wildlings.

The roll of three dice at the same time will indicate the resources to be harvested and if any Wildling will make an advance.

It’s a great way to develop your strategic thinking capabilities as you need to carefully assess the situation and develop solutions.

Highlighted Features:

  • Game of Thrones featured.
  • Suitable for people aged 14+ years.
  • Rough duration of 60 to 90 minutes.
  • More strategic thinking needed.
  • Greater and more complex challenges.

10. Rivals for Catan Expansion

Not in the mood for a full-fledged board game but could do with a card game version of Catan? We have you covered.

A game for 2 players, this is a revised edition of the original Catan card game. It’s packed with replay value so that you get addicted to this game.

There are two factions in charge of building settlements in Catan. Each player is heading one faction.

It’s fun to make your principality by using your mix of undercards carefully.

With some luck of the dice and the clever card play, you can get hold of valuable resources to venture into the new land and make settlements there.

To develop your settlements, trade resources with a sly hand, use gold, and other combinations.

Get into the politics of the land by hiring defenders and heroes to protect your domain. You aim to become the Prince of Catan.

The package includes rules, card index, 180 cards, commerce token, knight token, production die, and event die.

Highlighted Features:

  • Card game version of Catan card game with updates.
  • Only 2 players can play at a time.
  • Features unexplored lands, settlements, knights, and Prince of Catan.
  • High replayability value.
  • The package includes 180 cards and other game elements.

11. Catan Histories Settlers of America

Turn back the time and feast your eyes on the wide and empty lands of the Wild West waiting to be populated!

Build rail networks and trains as you try to establish and connect new cities.

With the great migration from the east to the west of the USA, it’s time to provide essential goods to the new settlers. Trade resources with other players to make your fortune.

This Catan expansion pack takes you to the time when the West was virgin land. It’s a lesson in history and strategy by itself.

With 48 cities, 120 railway lines, 8 wagons, 8 engines for the trains, 40 gold coins, 40 good cubes, an outlaw figure, this will surely be a concrete two hours on the board!

The expansion also includes a rulebook, dice, number tokens, a map board, development cards and charts, and 95 resource cards.

No wonder it’s a stand-alone game and can be played without the base game of Catan. It is appropriate for a group of 3 to 4 players and is quite comprehensive in its structure.

For those who want to have the challenge of thinking up new strategies, this is the right game.

Highlighted Features:

  • Suitable for 3 to 4 players.
  • Takes about 2 hours to complete the game.
  • It does not need the base game to play this.
  • Features open lands in the Wild West.
  • It provides more strategic thinking challenges.

12. Catan Scenario: Helpers of Catan

When you get the chance to get help and some insights from influential Catan characters, why not make the most of it!

Even if you have been intimidated by computer opponents like Jean, Sean, and Marianne, now is the time to get help from them.

This new expansion is a small-scale one where the said characters support and succor you. Pair it with the base game to move to a new level of excitement and strategy.

With only a hint of the expansion “Cities And Knights”, this one creates some depth without making the whole thing too complicated.

It’s good for advanced Catan players age ten years and above. Compatible with Catan Seafarers expansion as well, you will need 3 to 6 players to play this one.

As the game duration is roughly 45 to 90 minutes, it’s just enough to have an intriguing game without getting bored.

A sheet explaining the rules is included. Make the best use of the 10 dual-sided helper cards.

Highlighted Features:

  • A small expansion featuring computer opponents who turn to helpers.
  • Hones building and strategy skills without over-complicating.
  • Needs 3 to 6 players aged 10 years and above.
  • It can be teamed up with the base game and Catan Seafarers.
  • It takes 45 to 90 minutes to complete the game.

13. Catan Rise of The Incas

Take a ride through the ancient Inka civilization in Peru!

Let this expansion of Catan launch you on an exploration that’s full of historical and cultural nuances.

The game pieces have been fashioned uniquely. Lose yourself in the maze of the Peruvian jungle on the new hexes crafted especially for this expansion.

This version has the added dimensions of additional goods as resources, martial skills, and roads that are longer than other expansions.

These will certainly provide you with more diversity and entertainment.

You have to build a new tribe in this game as old tribes slowly cease to exist. But at this point, you got to be aware of other players who may add on to your old tribe.

With good timing, you can build on the declining tribes of other players and get more points.

It’s a good lesson in the importance of timing and strategy execution for anyone who is 12 years and above. With a group of 3 to 4 players, this expansion guarantees 90 minutes of great times.

A couple of new features make this expansion more exciting. Besides the new art on the board and the sculpted pieces, you will also find a new way of piece displacement.

Highlighted Features:

  • Suitable for 3 to 4 players aged 12+ years.
  • Gameplay duration of 90 minutes.
  • New additions like sculpted pieces, Inka civilization art on board, etc.
  • Key tips include careful timing and strategy execution.
  • Includes new elements like more resources, longer roads, and martial skills.

14. Catan Histories: Merchants of Europe

Medieval times in Europe offered many adventures and intrigue and to give you the taste of it, here comes this Catan expansion!

Forming a group of nations, Europe epitomized diversity. To maintain peace and harmony, you have to trade resources with the neighbors to develop settlements and build networks.

There are new rules in this new adventurous game. The game starts with each player having three trading posts.

After you roll the dice, you get to know which resources you can have. These resources include salt, ore, grains, wool, and lumber.

With these resources, you can hire merchants and establish trading posts further on in the land.

This gives you access to more resources. Establish trade routes so that you can reach the posts of your opponents and trade resources with them. The first player to deliver all the goods becomes the winner.

The game duration is approximately 2 hours. You will need a group of 3 to 4 players with their age at least 12 years old.

Highlighted Features:

  • Features Medieval Europe, merchants, and new rules.
  • Suitable for players 12 years and above.
  • The game is for 3 to 4 players with 2 hours duration.
  • The game starts with each player holding three trading posts.
  • The winner is the one who delivers all the goods.

Factors To Consider Before Buying Catan Expansion Pack

best settlers of catan expansion
source: polygon.com

Number Of Players And Age

Some expansions of Catan are meant for 3 to 4 players while others require as many as 6 players. Hence, before you invest in a Catan expansion, decide how many players you will have on the board.

Also, Catan isn’t a one size fits all entertainment. The versatility makes it even more enjoyable.

While some expansions are suitable for ages 10 and above, others are for 14 years and older.

There is also a junior version of the base game meant for kids 5 years and older. So, check the age range of the players before buying one.

Replayability

All the expansions don’t provide the same level of replayability. Some of them provide more diverse situations and it doesn’t get boring to play them over and over again.

An example is Rivals For Catan. Each game is different and that’s why the replayability value is higher.

Other expansions will not provide the same replayability as after a few times, the players will know the set strategy to be used. This is another point to consider before buying a Catan expansion.

Ease Of Learning

Those expansions that have the fewest number of new rules are easier to learn and apply in the game. And if the rules are similar to the original version, then it becomes easier for the players.

However, some expansions come with completely new rules like the Histories: Merchants of Europe expansion. Players need to play this a few times to get the hang of it.

Depending on whether you want to test out your abilities by applying new rules or you want to stick to the comfort zone where you know the rules by heart will determine which expansion to choose.

Level Of Depth

The depth of certain Catan expansions come from additional elements like armies, extra commodities, and technologies. These certainly add depth to the game and players need more critical thinking abilities.

An example of such an expansion is Cities and Knights. If you get bored easily and are always looking for new challenges, then invest in an expansion that will keep you intrigued for long.

Gameplay Duration

With those expansions that have additional elements to create depth, it takes more time to complete one game.

A case in point is Cities and Knights. With the extra rules, the turn of each player gets longer. Hence, it might get a bit boring.

Therefore, before you buy the best Catan expansion game, consider the time you want to spend on it and the type of players you would be playing with.

Structure

The structure varies from one expansion of Catan to another. In some like the Seafarers expansion, there are a few structured setups instead of shuffling the hexes.

Same goes for Traders and Barbarians expansion. It is more structured in that you can bring variations with the given five scenarios.

So, there are less random situations and you learn to play the full expansion by building upon each scenario. So, yet another factor to consider before buying an expansion.

Catan Expansion vs Extension

The base game of Catan and its expansions have the option for four players only. An extension refers to the number of players that can be added to enable up to 6 players to play the base and the expansion games.

The extension contains extra tiles and two additional pieces of different colors.

On the other hand, there have been four expansions to the base game. This means that new elements were added to each expansion to make the game more dynamic and interesting.

For example, an additional building step was added as well as pirates and advanced cities.

However, the expansions cannot be played as stand-alone games. You need the base game to play the expansions.

Catan vs Settlers Of Catan

The game was previously known as the Settlers Of Catan. It has since been rebranded and is referred to as Catan only.

Although the rules of the game have remained the same, there have been several changes in the look of Catan.

The artwork used on the boxcover, tiles, and the resource cards has all been redesigned in Catan.

To make the box more compact and easy to display on retail shelves, the orientation has been changed from landscape to portrait.

The rulebook also features redesigned and new graphics. However, Catan still retains the same dice, wooden pieces, and hex material.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why Do I Need The Base Game To Play The Expansions?

Answer: The base game is needed to play some of the expansions because the latter is a build-up of the former and you get more complexity with the expansions.

Therefore, you need to know the basic structure and rules of the base game to play the expansions.

2. How Do Catan Expansions Benefit Me?

Answer: There are several benefits of playing Catan expansions. Once you have mastered the base game, the expansions give you more avenues to explore and have more adventures.

These hone your cognitive and strategic thinking as some expansions have new rules.

The expansions add more depth to the base game and playing these will also improve your memory.

These are a great way to spend quality time with kids and adults. Families can bond over a game of Catan.

3. Can You Combine Expansions And Play Them Together?

Answer: Yes, there are certain expansions that you can combine and play together. For example, you can team up Seafarers and Cities and Knights with the base game. But there are extra rules to follow if you combine these.

4. What’s The Best Expansion Combination For 3 to 4 Players?

Answer: For a game with 3 to 4 players, the best combinations of Catan expansions include Catan base game and Seafarers, Catan base game with Cities and Knights, Catan base game and Traders and Barbarians, and Catan base game with Explorers and Pirates.

5. How Do You Play Catan With 5 To 6 Players?

Answer: Playing Catan with 5 to 6 players becomes a bit complicated. You will need the base game along with the expansion and the extensions of the expansions. It gets quite expensive also.

However, you can combine the base game with its extension; base game, its extension, Seafarers and its extension; base game plus extension, Cities and Knights, and its extension; Catan and its extension, Traders and Barbarians, and its extension; base game and its extension along with Explorers and Pirates plus its extension.

6. Which Catan Expansion Should I Buy First?

Answer: The first Catan expansion you should go for is Seafarers. That’s because it has the least number of new rules and follows the base game pattern.

Therefore, you can ease into the expansion without getting lost. It’s easier to learn and has lots of replayability value. Hence, it’s the best expansion for Catan.

7. Which Catan Expansion Is The Least Like The Base Game?

Answer: Probably Explorers and Pirates make the most changes from the base game of Catan.

There are new mechanics in this expansion that revolve around exploring. With five scenarios, you need to build on each one to move on to the next.

You can gradually figure out the best strategy to use as you move from one scenario to another.

8. Do Victory Points Change In Catan Expansions?

Answer: Yes, victory points increase in some Catan expansions. The base game has a victory point of ten. In the expansions, you need to score 13 or more to be the winner.

Final Words

Catan is an educational and entertaining board game that can bring the whole family on the same table. Besides, young adults and teens can also spend a good time playing the game expansions.

You have now a thorough knowledge about the Catan expansions and the type of players these are suitable for. Choosing the best Catan expansions boils down your personal preference.

The level of complexity and challenges is something you ought to decide to pick the right one.

No matter the level of difficulty or game duration, it’s always good to bond with friends and family over a game of Catan expansions.

Related Buyer’s Guide:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *