I enjoy the Settlers of Catan games, but prefer a game where you get to discover things as you go. I came up with a version of Settlers where you can explore as you go. Fortunately or unfortunately this involves a lot more luck than the original game.
This version of the game requires nothing more than the original basic Settlers of Catan game. However, the setup and play are slightly different.
The game is also more a game of luck than strategy. You mostly cannot build toward a good area on the island, because most of the island is blank. You have to count on your luck to get the type of resource tile that you need and the number tokens that will give it to you reasonably frequently.
This game can be good for two players. If three or more players are involved, there may be a certain amount of competition for road rights-of-way.
If there are more than three players involved, you may want to place terrain hexes along two coasts initially, for a total of ten (10) hexes.
Place the basic frame of the island out empty.
Place the terrain hexes and harbor tokens off to one side face down so that no one knows which is which.
Select one edge of the island to place your initial tiles.
Roll 2d6 to see who goes first. Highest roller goes first. Play proceeds to the left after this.
The person who rolled highest picks one terrain hex at random and places it to the left corner of the side chosen to start. If he chooses the desert terrain hex he puts it back face down with the others and scrambles them.
He then rolls 2d6 and places the number token of the same number on the terrain hex. If there are no longer any number tokens of that number he rolls again until he gets one that is available.
The next player does the same, proceeding through steps 5 and 6. This continues until two rows of (7) terrain hexes have been placed and numbered.
Once seven terrain hexes have been placed, the next player gets to choose where to place his settlement and road. His settlement must be placed on the coast and the road must connect to it.
If a player places a settlement by a harbour, he gets to pick the harbour token for that location randomly.
If the player’s settlement is adjacent to or his road connects to an intersection where there is no terrain hex, then he gets to place a new hex and number as in steps 5 and 6 above. If he should choose the desert hex, however, it gets placed at that location along with the robber.
Only one settlement and road is placed initially by each player.
Play proceeds normally as the game rules demand. However, if a player builds a road to connect with an intersection where a terrain hex is missing, he gets to place the hex and number as above.
Once the desert is placed, the robber comes into play. Until then, a roll of seven (7) just means that no resources are given out.
The beginning of this game is rather slow. Each settlement is adjacent to only two terrain hexes or fewer. The players are basically rolling for resources until such time as they accumulate enough to do some building.