Mayfair Games, $42.00, Board Game
Expand your Catan games from the simple mechanics of the core game with the five new scenarios in the Traders and Barbarians expansion. Each scenario provided in Traders and Barbarians is based upon a new game mechanic, ranging from fishing, building along and bridging rivers, and dealing with nomadic caravans to fighting off a barbarian invasion and rebuilding the island in the aftermath. The rules and scenarios become progressively more complex; adding the rules on top of one another makes for a chaotic but deep gameplay experience. Also included is a method to replace dice-rolling with card-drawing – the 36 Catan event cards correspond to the probabilities of rolling two dice, include a red-die reference for combining the mechanic with Cities and Knights (in which the number on the red die alone is important), and has a number of special events, ranging from Earthquakes and Epidemics to Calm Seas and Good Neighbors.
Basically, Traders and Barbarians is a toolkit of new stuff with which to expand your Catan experience. It is a bit overwhelming to simply leap in with all the new mechanics at once; the scenarios are deliberately structured to lead you in, and the inclusion of the new mechanics are of course optional, and fully compatible with other expansions of Catan, especially with many aspects of Cities and Knights.
Reviewed by James Rasmussen