[idea development] Workers of Catan

edited November 2011 in Story Games
Hey gang,

Buddy of mine and I started joking around about capitalism during a game of Settlers tonight, and after the game we hashed out some ideas about how to play as the humble peasants of Catan instead of their lords and masters.

- Each player keeps track of two hands of cards: their own and their king's hand. A player can only use resources from their own hand, not from their king's hand. The game itself plays the role of the kings.
- Each turn, each city OR settlement in your color produces one resource-unit from each adjacent hex.
- Next, roll the dice, as usual. Whatever number is rolled, hexes that would normally produce will instead "eat" one resource of the appropriate type from your hand - this resource goes into your king's hand. Call this "tithing". Cities, though, eat two resources of each type from your hand.
- If you roll a 7, you can place the Robber on any hex you like; any player with a city or settlement bordering that hex takes one random resource from their king's hand and puts it in your hand.
- Each turn, check your king's hand to see if it can afford to buy any development cards. Buy all the development cards you can afford (using the king's hand only!) and play them as soon as possible (your next turn, I think). Lumber and bricks just sit in the king's hand (you must trade them with the bank or any available harbors, in order to collect as much wool, ore, and grain as possible - for development cards!)
- Development cards that award resources are instead tithed by that player to his or her king's hand. Those that award victory points work normally.
- When Knight cards are played, they are placed under the Robber's new location; this hex now produces nothing, but demands tithes when its number is rolled, and upon Robber-placement, a random resource is taken from an adjacent player's own hand and put into your king's hand. When the Robber changes locations again, such Knight cards return to the corresponding King's hand.

Not sure how victory points factor in or how I'd want them to be different. What I'm going for is some kind of end-goal of turning a city into a "free republic" a la the Italian Renaissance.
Help me develop this :)


  • I really like the premise of this, Zac!

    The relationship between king and farmer reads like fun; something that will inspire players, and make them invest in the game. Depending, of course, on the rhythm and flow of gameplay.

    Having the kings focus solely on developments seems like a good way to go, if that means the farmers will be builders of roads and settlements (you don't say so, but I reckon that's part of it).

    I'm not sure how you will develop the relationship between king and farmer towards a revolution (or evolution of more civilized regimes). It's an interesting challenge, in such an abstract game. If the game is properly balanced, it may be that a farmer could reach some kind of key point, in resources, depending on the developments made by his/her king, letting him/her take over government of the land. That may be a way to win the game ...

    Good luck with the game!
  • edited November 2011

    [edit: Thanks! Haha, I had just woken up, and sleepily forgot to signal my appreciation of your enthusiasm ^___^]

    A revolution, or at least some kind of transformation of the "way of doing business", is definitely an end goal I have in mind.
    I'll think on this.

    This was also an attempt to guarantee that something happen every turn - in a 2-player Settlers game especially, it's fairly common to have lots of useless dice rolls. Changing it up so that useless dice rolls are a good thing instead (though equally common) seemed like a good move.
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