The official website for
the world of CATAN

Explorers & Pirates – The New Expansion for “The Settlers of Catan” – Part 6

February 14, 2013
Klaus Teuber

Part 6: Spices for Catan

Logbook: “Once more, the Council of Catan sent us to an area with abundant fish stocks. We have to get fish again, but that's not all. Apparently, the fish are too bland for the Catanians on the home island. Why else are we also supposed to obtain spices now? Fortunately, people say that there are no pirates' lairs in this area ...”

A spice field

Spice Hex

This scenario includes the missions “Fish for Catan” and “Spices for Catan.” To acquire spices, the players must first discover hexes whose inhabitants harvest spices.

If you discover a spice hex, you receive 2 gold. In addition, you place as many spice sacks on the village of the spice hex as there are players in the game.

A ship at a spice hex with one crew

A ship at a spice hex with two crews

“Finally we have discovered an island whose inhabitants harvest spices. We hastily equip a crew , put him on the next available ship, and bring him to the spice island. Needless to say that this time, the crew isn't an intrepid warrior who puts the fear of God into the pirates. No, in this mission our crews are polite merchants who are so likeable that a smile on their lips is usually enough to win the villagers over.

Gaining the friendship of the villagers pays off. For one thing, they give us a spice sack, which we hurriedly load on our ship – for another, the villagers bestow certain advantages on us.

The inhabitants of two villages are experienced seafarers and help us to move our ships faster.

 Swift Voyage

The “Swift Voyage” advantage immediately increases the number of movement points of all your ships by 1. You thus may move your ship a distance of 5 instead of 4 sea routes. If you are friends with both villages marked with the “Swift Voyage” advantage, you even have 6 movement points per turn for each of your ships.

“The inhabitants of two villages have experience fighting the pirates and increase our chances to successfully drive away the pirate ship.

 Pirate Bonus

One village depicts the face of a die with 5 pips, the other village depicts the face of a die with 4 pips. If you are friends with one of these two villages, you drive away an opponent's pirate ship not only by rolling a “6” but also by rolling the number depicted on the village.

“The inhabitants of two villages are experienced merchants. They buy our resources and give us gold in return.

 Quick Gold

If you are friends with one of these two villages, once during the build and trade phase of your turn you may trade any 1 resource of your choice for 1 gold. If you are friends with both villages, you may trade 1 resource for 1 gold twice during your build and trade phase.

“And what do we give in return? We leave our merchant in the village, as a permanent representative. In exchange, until the end of our mission we enjoy the advantage the villagers bestowed on us. In addition, the villagers kindly allow us to build normal settlements and harbor settlements on the periphery of their territory.

Mission Bar

We deliver the spice sack that we received as a welcome gift to the Council of Catan's island stronghold.

Meanwhile, two more villages have been discovered. Great – then our next ship will set sail with 2 merchants aboard. That way, by means of one single voyage we can transport two spice sacks to the Council of Catan's island stronghold.”

Special Victory Point

A victory point scoring track also exists for “Spices for Catan.” Every time you deliver a spice sack to the Council of Catan's island stronghold, you may move your marker 1 field forward. If you occupy the most advanced position on the track, you receive the victory point card “Best Spice Merchant.”

The game ends when a player reaches 15 victory points on his turn.

Klaus Teuber

Related Games


Are the backs of the special hexes blue, so that you can't tell them apart from sea spaces when they are face down next to other hexes? this is preferable as we can make our own exploration scenarios that way.
Once again, congratulations for keeping inventing games which enable people to be together and have fun between friends and families and without seeing the time passing by. All of you "society games creators" are benefactors in this world driven by high technlogy and where the mainstream games are only virtual and create even more physical distance between people. Keep doing like this, I wish you all the best for the future, Charles
I am so looking forward to this expansion! It will really spice up my game night.
Can you carry mix and match merchants and spice crates when carrying on the ship. For instance, once one spice hex is uncovered I would want to go back and get 2 merchants leave one on the spice hex, get a spice crate. In the course of that another spice hex may have been uncovered. This way I could quickly sail to the newly exposed hex. Also, couldn't I just set sail with 2 merchants while exploring in the first place and immediately drop a merchant on spice hex when it is discovered?
Gero Zahn
@Simeon Yes, that is possible. The ship has two slots, that could carry one spice pouch and one crew (formerly known as “unit”). You won't be able to ship fish and spices at the same time, as the fish will require all room on the ship.
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Jacob: All hexes for the undiscovered islands have either an orange sun or a green moon on its back. That is necessary to avoid that the special type of hexes for this expansion can be distinguished.
@Reiner. Thanks for the prompt answer. Shouldn't I be able to tell the hexes apart by looking at what's on the front of them? If the sea hex has a ring of fishes and a dice on it, then it's for the deep-sea fishing scenario, whereas if it has native village on it then it is for the spice scenario. I'm not convinced on the value of marking the backs of the tiles when it should be apparent from the front which hex is used in which scenario. The advantage in keeping the backs in parallel to the existing backs is for exploration scenarios. Take a scenario like the Fog Islands - a popular sceanrio mainly due to the exploration element. Let's say you wanted to replace the sea hexes in that scenario with deep sea fish hexes and litter the initial islands with the fish vertices from Traders and Barbarians, so that you can include the Fish from Traders and Barabrians. By far the most elegant solution would be to have the backs of the hexes match. We can work around. Drawing the hexes from a sealed bag is one option. Another might be a dice roll whenever a sea hex is drawn. If it matches an unused deep sea fish hex, replace the sea hex with the appropriate sea hex. If you roll a number that's already gone... well there's an imporant environmental message about over-fishing the oceans!
Interesting that the English spice hex is different to the German one (when others such as Pirate Fortress looked the same). Will the English hexes each be unique? One of the things I love about the English version is that no two land hexes are the same.
How many player can play this expansion? Could I play this with my 5-6 player version with my Cities and Knight Expansion?? Would I have to purchase a Pirate and Explorer 5-6 extension?
Gero Zahn
@Andrew Yes, the Mayfair hex tiles will be unique. @Brandon This expansion is meant for 3-4 players, to be played with a 3-4 player base game. In the beginning, we didn't intend to create a 5-6 player extension, but this is currently being investigated. – We have already published recommendations how to combine Explores & Pirate with Cities & Knights on our German website, this document will be made available in English probably next week. If a E&P 5-6 player extension is published (which is still in discussion, but not yet finalized), then you should be able to combine E&P 5/6 with C&K 5/6 as well.
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Jacob: The different backs (orange sun or a green moon) shall enable the players to quickly sort the tiles into the approbriate bags. Most players will mainly play only these new scenarios which offers a lot of fun and excitement. Combining these new scenarios with other scenarios or variants is the second step and should not be done before playing these new scenarios several times.
From reading the instructions, I have a couple of questions about spices. 1) Is each player only allowed to leave 1 crew member on each village, and therefore only ever allowed to take the 1 spice from each village? 2) Also curious if I can just send a crew member there without taking a spice? Strategically I might just want the benefit of the village, then to hurry my ship to steal a fish haul nearby from an opponent instead of taking the spice from the village... It is very tempting to make multiple trips to the same village in order to get all the spices there, but I am just not sure if we are allowed to take more than one per village.
Dr. Reiner Düren
@MBB: You may take only one spice sack from each spice island and when you send a crew there, you have to take a spice sack. But you can drop the spice sack over bord (return to the supply) to have space for a fish haul.
Can a ship discover multiple hexes at a time? For instance, if the ship is facing the corners of two hexes? So far this game is incredible, and I am only through Land, Ho! Great work!
Dr. Reiner Düren
@David: No, the movement of a ships stops at the moment when it points to the corner of an undiscovered hex and that can only be one.
If you discover with one boat does that end your turn, or can you take the remaining boats you have and discover one hex per boat per turn??
Dr. Reiner Düren
A discovery affects only the ship which has discovered something. All other ships are not affected and can be moved.
How can you win without getting both mission cards?
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Jenni: The game offers different ways to win, but not all ways are the best. Finding the best way ist part of the challenge.
Sound like a good game
Can I play with this expansion, and traders and barbarians if i have the base game with wooden figures? I saw that the version of my game is not compatible with these expansions. Can you please explain what are the problems with this? Thank you!
Dr. Reiner Düren
You can find the rules for the combination here:
Dear dr. Reiner: It sometimes happens in Explorers and Pirates that tiles become unreachable, or seemingly unreachable. For instance, a sun/moon tile turns out to be a fish or pirate-nest tile, when surrounded by other land tiles only, so how can boats get there to bring units? Comparable problem when combining Pirates and Explorers with Seafarers. We like to make small starting islands with totally random tiles to explore (mix of sea, ore, gold, spices, pirates, desert, everything) - what do we do when a pirate, fish or spice is turned over (discovered) which is totally surrounded by land? How can we bring the spices to Council of Catan, how can we get units there to kill the pirates? Also when combining scenarios, the Council of Catan has this frame of its own which limits us a lot in the way we set up the board. How to overcome this and still play with spices or fish? Finally, when combining with Seafarers and Cities and Knights, what would you suggest? Allow 2 gold to be traded for a commodity, or not? Advantages of YES: diversifies a pirate-nest tile from a regular gold tile, gives players greater encouragement to go kill pirates. Advantages of NO: greater usefulness of cities and trading with other players. Many thanks!!
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Heerser: When you use the setup recommended for the Explorer & Pirates scenarios, it cannot happen that a spice island or pirate lair is totally surrounded by land. When you play your own scenarios you have to place the undiscovered hexes in such a way that each undiscovered hex has at least one sea has at its sides. The rules for combining E&P with City & Knights can be found here:
What can you tell us about, "Catan - Collector's Edition - Ancient Egypt"?
Hello! We are wondering if we are allowed to access the two islands (with the green & orange peices) via the water on the frame of the game or if we absolutely need to get theie by the water in the middle? If we can do so by the frame, can we also place pirate boats on the frame water?
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Jajatacos: Yes and no. You may move your ships along the hexes at the frame, but you are not allowed to place pirate ships on the frame and on hexes at the starting island.
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Sci Fi: Just look here:
Hi! I have a question regarding the rule on the exploration and pirate. The 4 movement points.. Is every turn? Or one move point in every turn? Sorry Im confused about this. Can you explain the movement phase further? Thanks!
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Pat: Each of your ships has 4 movement points at the end of each of your turns.
Hello, Can you place a crew member on a conquered pirate lair? Say I pass with a crew member in my ship near a pirate lair that is already conquered, and I want to go and collect a fish. Can I leave the crew member to wait on the pirate hex? A situation of a crew member standing on a conquered pirate hex can occur by itself...
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Dennis: No, you cannot place new crew members on already conquered pirate lairs. But you can drop the crew member into an imaginary life boat which brings him back to your supply.
With the fish haul scenario, I have noticed that there are only 6 fish and 7 spots available on the mission board! And to get the three victory points you then would need to get all 6 hauls to the council by yourself! Why is this, or am I playing it wrong? If player 1 get's a haul unloaded, he moves the marker up one. If player 2 get's a haul unloaded they place their marker on top of player 1's correct?
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Joe: When fish is delivered to the Council, the fish goes back to the supply and can be rolled in again. The "General Rules for Missions" can be found on page 8 of the rule book. These are valid for all missions.
Can you build a settlement and then upgrade it to a harbor settlement in one turn?
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Cora: Yes and no: When you build the settlement in your building phase by using resources, you can immediately upgrade it to a harbor settlement. When you have built it in your movement phase with the aid of a settler ship, you cannot immediately upgrade this settlement to a harbor settlement.
Is there a limit to how much gold (2) you trade in for a resource (1) in one turn?
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Max: You may only trade 4 gold for 2 resources in one turn.