I made these new characters/game mechanics as ‘house rules’ for Catan that I’d like to introduce to the world. These characters are meant to be used for the original Catan and the 5/6 player extension (I suppose they could probably also be used for Seafarers). They were inspired and developed using two ideas:
1. It seemed that it was difficult to stop somebody who was in the lead from winning at a certain point. These characters (especially the Tax Collector) helps to keep the game more even, at least to some extent.
2. The rules were based on the introduction of the Pirate in the Seafarers expansion; simply that these characters can be moved in lieu of the Robber if a 7 is rolled or if a Soldier Card is played. These characters all begin in the desert, like the Robber.
I didn’t research online at all, so I don’t know if there are any other people or groups who thought of these kind of ideas and are using them already. I have never played Cities and Knights, so I suppose that expansion might also have these elements…I don’t know.
And I know I just said it above, but to clarify:
-These characters are moved like the Robber and Pirate. This means that either rolling a 7 or playing a Knight card will allow a player to move these characters. And like the rules for the Robber and Pirate, you must move one of these characters when you roll a 7. You cannot choose to keep all of the characters in the same spot.
Here are the new characters. Any ideas for changes of names or back-stories for these ‘characters’ are welcome:
The Construction Union Strike (Union)
Back-story: Being a bit anachronistic never hurts. These workers are on strike and refuse to build anything else for anyone in the area they are in. They have influenced all workers who reside in that area.
Mechanic: You can use a dime or some other token to represent this character (or entity). Whatever hex they are in prevents any act of building on anything in that hex. No player can build a road or a settlement that touches the hex. Cities may also not be built. Existing roads and buildings are not affected. Unlike the Robber, the token does not stop resource production.
The Tax Collector (Taxman)
Back-story: You all owe some taxes and your buildings are worth nothing while the tax collector is around.
Mechanic: You can use a penny or some token to represent this character. He doesn’t prevent resource production or construction of anything. However, whatever hex he is on nullifies the victory point value of every building on that hex. So let’s say Player 1 has a city and a settlement on a mountain hex (ore). While the Tax Collector is present, the 3 points that Player 1 would normally have equals 0 points. This character isn’t terribly useful until closer to the end of the game when a player may be close to winning the game. The Taxman does not affect the Longest Road feature of the game.
-Note: You might be wondering what happens if somebody moves the Taxman when it is their turn and by moving the Taxman another player would have 10 victory points. Per the rulebook, that player cannot claim victory until it has become their turn. Say Player D is the player in question who is about to win because Player A moved the Taxman somewhere else. It’s very possible that Player B or Player C will move the Taxman back to where it prevents that player from winning. But the moment that a player has 10 victory points and its their turn, they have won the game (if you’re playing the original Catan game without expansions, of course).
The way I see it, all three of the characters (Robber, Union, Taxman) could potentially be on the same hex at the same time, since their influences on the game don’t contradict each other. Of course, since a Knight card can be used to move either the Robber or the Pirate in the Seafarers expansion, it can be used in lieu of rolling a 7.
If you ended up using these characters in a game of Catan, let me know how you think that the game went.