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Before you read this articleyou will need to know the following terms and definitions: 

Game(-s): Noun. Singular or Plural. A standalone version of Settlers of Catan, which can be played right out of the box without making additional purchases. There is only one standalone (base) game of Catan.
Expansion(-s): Noun. Singular or Plural.  An Catan game that cannot be played by itself. It must be used in conjunction with a standalone (base) game. The 5 & 6-player expansions are a good example of this.
Scenario(-s): Noun. Singular or Plural. A small set of playing pieces and instructions that can be added to normal Catan gameplay. It cannot be played by itself--it must be used in conjunction with a standalone (base) game. The "Oil Springs" scenario is a good example of this.
Variant(-s): Noun. Singular or Plural. A set of instructions for using the pieces from a Catan game or expansion in a new way. Most variants are fan-generated and require printing and cutting out new pieces.


Before the First Barbarian Invasion

  • The game begins without any villains on the game board. In game terms, a “villain” is a thief or other negative game mechanic, such as the robber, the pirate, the donkey cart, the storm, or any type of barbarian. These villains are placed aside, off the board.
  • Until the first Barbarian Invasion, no players are allowed to play any progress cards (like the Bishop) or use any Knight actions during their turn.
  • Until the first Barbarian Invasion (see Barbarian Invasion above), a number of things occur when a “seven” is rolled, in the following order:
    1. No players harvest anything. No one is eligible to receive 1 Favor Token.
    2. Each player counts his resource/commodity cards (not progress cards, oil tokens, or development cards). Any player with more than 7 cards (i.e., 8 or more) must choose and discard half of them.  Return discards to the supply stacks.  If you hold an odd number of cards, round down (e.g., if you have 9 cards, you discard 4).  Players who have built Walls or have special powers may be protected to a certain extent from this loss.  Unprotected players (those without a sufficient number of castle walls or special powers to protect their card totals) must discard half of their resource and commodity cards (rounding down) if they have more than seven.  They decide for themselves which half they wish to discard.
    3. Because no “robbing” villains have been moved, the current player may not “steal” a resource or commodity card from another player.
    4. The current player may move 1 Donkey Cart and 1 Blockade Runner from beside the board or on the board and place them according to the rules in Thieves and Villains below.

Example: Alex resolves a Production Number of “7.”  He has only 6 cards in his personal supply.  Larry has 8 cards, and Will has 11.  Larry must discard 4 cards, and Will must discard 5 (rounding down).

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