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Explorers & Pirates – The New Expansion for “The Settlers of Catan” – Part 4

January 31, 2013
Klaus Teuber

Part 4: Pirate Lairs

Logbook: The Council of Catan sent our ships to an unexplored area where, as rumor had it, countries with rich gold deposits existed. Our mission was to find those gold deposits and secure them for Catan.

First, our mission led us to a large, uninhabited island. There was no gold far and wide, but the fertile island was very appropriate for establishing our initial outpost. After we had found a suitable place for a harbor and built an outpost there, we hoisted anchor and sailed further east.

After a couple of days, a shoreline emerged where a small river flowed into the sea. We followed the river and soon found the coveted metal auspiciously gleaming in the riverbed. Full of excitement, we prepared to build a settlement at the river mouth. We barely had rammed the first posts for our houses into the loamy ground, when we heard a loud rumble, and moments after a cannonball hit right in front of our ship anchored on the riverside.

 Pirate Lairs

Then our scout came running and informed us about a well-fortified pirate lair controlling the river - and thus, the gold it contained - at a strategically favorable location. As peaceful settlers, we were no match for the pirates bristling with weapons, so we quickly loaded our possessions on the ship and hoisted anchor. We consoled ourselves with the hope that we would discover other islands containing gold deposits.

And that's what we did. However, all the other gold fields we discovered were also controlled by pirate lairs. It almost seemed to us as if someone was playing games with us, games that were anything but funny. Since our mission was to secure the gold fields, and the hostile pirate lairs stood between us and the precious metal, there was only one solution: the pirate lairs had to disappear.

In the game, if you discover a gold field (A), you take a Pirate Lair token (B) and place it on the gold field (C). The back of each Pirate Lair token depicts a number.

 Pirate Lairs – The Gold Field

 Pirate Lairs – The Crew

To capture the pirate lairs, the players build crews. Each crew costs 1 ore and 1 wool. After you have built a crew, you place it in the basin of a harbor settlement or in a ship adjacent to a harbor settlement. The cargo bay of a ship can accommodate up to 2 crews.

When your ship - which may carry 1 or 2 crews - reaches a gold field with a pirate lair, you may place your crew(s) on the pirate lair.

As soon as one or more players have placed a total of 3 crews on the pirate lair, it is captured. Now the booty is divided: each player who participated in the capture receives 2 gold.

 Pirate Lairs – The Mission

In addition, the mission progress is recorded on the victory point scoring track named “Pirate Lairs”: each player who participated in the capture may move his marker forward 1 field on this track. If you are elected “hero” in a dice duel (sum of number rolled and number of crews placed), you may move your marker forward yet another field – in return, however, one of your crews dies a hero's death.

 Pirate Lairs – Greatest Pirate Scourge

The number of victory points you receive for your mission progress is depicted to the right of your marker. The player whose marker occupies the most advanced position, or in case of a tie, the player whose marker is at the bottom of the stack receives the special victory point card “Greatest Pirate Scourge.” The first player to reach 12 victory points on his turn is the winner of this scenario.

After capture, the Pirate Lair token is turned so that its number side faces up. Only now the players may build settlements at the corners of the liberated gold field. If the number of the gold field is rolled, the owner of an adjacent settlement or harbor settlement receives 2 gold.

Klaus Teuber

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In illustration A, is the black arrow pointing to the pirate tokens that lay outside the visible game area? What happens to the units left on the pirates' lair? And if they are left on the island, what is the special process involved for moving them or turning them into settlements? Aside from the one extra victory point “Greatest Pirate Scourge”, is there any difference between 6th and 7th place on the “The Pirates' Lairs”, mission score tract?
Gero Zahn
@Pirateer (1) No - the arrow points towards the two gold that the player receives. (2) The leftover crews (formerly named “units”) can be transported with ships to other pirate lairs. (3) While they are standing there waiting for their ships, they're on vacation, enjoying the sun. :) (4) Well - if someone reaches the 7th place first, no other player can get the “Greatest Scorge” VP from him – as the next player's marker would be placed on top of his, and thus never getting the VP.
When will the E&P expansion be available in the English version?
Under what circumstances would someone be elected “hero” in a dice duel and Why?
Gero Zahn
@Jace Christensen The currently scheduled release date is 2013-04-18.
Gero Zahn
@Sci-fi It's all described in the game manual – here on the blog, we just introduce the general game mechanics, not the delicate details. Please be patient until we supply the manual as a free PDF download.
What happend to the PDF that was promised?
Gero Zahn
@Sci-fi It's still being worked on, we don't have a final edition yet that we could offer for download. Sorry for the long wait.
Gero Zahn
@Sci-Fi Here it is:
If there are no pirate lairs left to conquer, and there is still a crew on a boat, do we have to drop that crew off at a harbour, or can we drop him off on a different hex, as long as we don't use him to move over land?
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Lindria: You can drop the crew over board but no drop them on different hexes, except a spice hex where you not have placed a crew before.
In the 5 to 6 player version it is possible to have a pirate lair in the middle of 6 other lands. how then do you get crew to the lair if there is no way to get a ship to that tile.
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Joshua: When you use the set up in the rules ( ) every undiscovered hex has at least one seaside.
Will please clarify how victory points are scored on the mission tracks? For example, if I am on the first field of the track and move up to the next field. Do I get another victory point? In other words, if I make it to the end of the victory point track for the pirate lairs, does that mean I would have earned 14 points? Thanks for your help.
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Katie: No, you have the highest number of points which are shown beside the marker. The first two steps give you one victory point, the third, fourth, and fifth step give you the next victory point and the sixth and seventh step the last victory point. 3 victory points is the maximum in each contest. In addition, you can get one victory point if you are the fastest conquerer of pirat lairs. The same is valid for fish and spice, although for spices there is one step less.
Capturing a pirate lair: my sister and I were working on conquering a pirate lair. She put two crew on, but the were 1 crew on 1 of her ship each. And I put 1 crew on it by 1 ship. I won the capture by rolling higher. But the rule stands someone loses a crew. Which one loses a crew? And then: that leaves one ship that possible? And or how would we deal with that?
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Crystal: Crews on ships don't fight against pirates. Only crews on the pirate lair take part in the battle against the pirates. Regardless of this, it doesn't matter if there are crews or settlers on a ship, or the ship is empty, there are imaginary sailors on the ship who sail the ship.
Can crew be picked up from an unconquered pirate lair (i.e. there are only one or two crew members on that hex) and moved back onto a boat?
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Layla: Yes, everything which isn't forbidden by the rules may be done.