Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion Strategy Board Game

Catan is a popular strategy board game that has captured the hearts of players all around the world. Its unique blend of resource management, trading, and building settlements has made it a household name in the gaming community. However, for those looking to take their Catan experience to the next level, the Cities & Knights expansion offers a whole new dimension of gameplay and strategic opportunities.

In this article, we will delve into the world of Catan: Cities & Knights expansion and explore its various aspects, from understanding the basics of gameplay to mastering advanced strategies. Whether you are new to Catan or a seasoned player looking for fresh challenges, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and tactics to enhance your gameplay.

The Cities & Knights expansion introduces a rich tapestry of new mechanics and features that add depth and complexity to the base game. From building powerful cities to utilizing knights for defense and conquering new territories, this expansion offers an exciting array of strategic choices. With the inclusion of progress cards that grant special abilities and a heightened emphasis on trading and negotiation, Catan: Cities & Knights opens up new avenues for players to showcase their skills.

Join us as we embark on a journey through Catan: Cities & Knights expansion. In the following sections, we will cover everything you need to know about playing this expansion successfully. Whether you are looking for beginner-friendly tips or advanced strategies tailored for experienced players, this guide has got you covered. So prepare your resources, sharpen your wits, and get ready to conquer Catan like never before.

Understanding the Basics

The Cities & Knights expansion is an advanced version of the popular board game, Catan. In this expansion, players take on the role of princes and knights who are tasked with defending their cities against barbarian invasions while also competing to accumulate victory points. Understanding how to play Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion is crucial for success in the game.

To begin, each player starts with a settlement and two roads on the game board, which consists of hexagonal tiles representing different resources such as grain, lumber, brick, ore, and wool. The basic rules of Catan still apply in this expansion: players take turns rolling dice to gather resources based on the numbers rolled and use these resources to build new settlements, roads, or upgrade existing settlements into cities.

However, the Cities & Knights expansion introduces several new elements that add complexity to the game. Firstly, there is now a third resource known as commodities which can be acquired by developing specific city improvements. Commodities are used not only for building certain structures but also for activating powerful special abilities.

Additionally, players must now defend their cities from barbarian attacks by investing in knights and upgrading them over time. Players earn progress cards by building improvements or upgrading knights which grant various advantages such as extra resource production or the ability to move the robber.

Lastly, victory points can be earned through various means aside from simply building settlements and cities. Players can earn points by contributing towards advancements and achievements which require accumulating specific resources or completing certain objectives.

The Importance of Strategy in Catan

Strategy plays a crucial role in the Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion. In this expansion, players are tasked with not only establishing and expanding their settlements but also defending them against barbarian attacks. To achieve success in this challenging game, having a solid and well-thought-out strategy is essential.

One important aspect of strategy in the Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion is resource management. Unlike the base game of Catan, where players primarily focus on collecting resources to build settlements and cities, this expansion introduces commodities such as paper, coin, and cloth.

These commodities can be acquired by upgrading settlements to cities or through trade. It becomes crucial for players to prioritize their resource production, ensuring they have enough resources and commodities to fulfill both their development needs and defensive requirements.

Another key component of strategy in this expansion is understanding the various aspects of progression. Progression occurs when players contribute resources to certain tracks that represent different city improvements – science, politics, and trade. Each track offers unique benefits when a player reaches certain milestones.

For example, advancing on the science track grants progress cards that provide special abilities to aid a player’s overall strategy. Understanding how to balance progress on each track and maximizing the benefits offered is vital for success in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion.

Furthermore, developing a strong defense strategy is paramount in protecting your cities from barbarian invasions. Building knights allows players to defend their cities efficiently while also giving them an opportunity to expand their territory by placing knight tokens on new hexes. Placing knights strategically near vulnerable areas or blocking opponents’ expansions adds another layer of depth to gameplay tactics.

Building your Cities

In the game of Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion, one of the key elements to success is building and maximizing your cities. Cities not only provide more victory points but also play a crucial role in generating resources and increasing production. Here are some strategies to help you effectively build and maximize your cities in this expansion.

Firstly, it’s important to choose your initial settlements wisely. Look for locations that have a good mix of resource types and are situated near ports or harbors for better trade opportunities. By selecting settlements strategically, you can ensure a steady flow of resources to help you build cities quickly.

Once you have established your settlements, focus on upgrading them into cities as soon as possible. Cities generate double the resources compared to settlements, which can significantly boost your economy. Prioritize upgrading settlements that are adjacent to resource-producing hexes, as this will increase the chances of receiving those specific resources during gameplay.

Another strategy for maximizing resources and production is by taking advantage of development cards. The “Year of Plenty” card allows you to select two resource cards from the supply, which can be especially useful when you’re short on certain resources needed for city upgrades. The “Monopoly” card allows you to collect all resource cards of a specific type from other players, giving you an instant boost in production capabilities.

Trading with other players is also a vital aspect of building your cities and maximizing resources. Use trading as a tool to acquire the necessary resources for city upgrades or to diversify your resource portfolio. Negotiation skills play a crucial role here, so make sure to establish good relationships with other players and find win-win situations that benefit everyone involved.

By focusing on building your cities efficiently, utilizing development cards effectively, and making strategic trades with other players, you can successfully maximize your resources and production in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion. Remember that adaptability is key in this expansion, as maintaining flexibility in your strategy will allow you to adjust to changing circumstances and secure victory.

The Power of the Knights

In Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion, the knights play a crucial role in both defending your cities from barbarian attacks and expanding your territory. The development of your knight force is essential for maintaining control over valuable resources, securing victory points, and protecting yourself from the ever-present threat of the barbarians.

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To begin, it is important to understand that there are three levels of knights: basic knights, strong knights, and mighty knights. As you progress through the game, you have the opportunity to upgrade your knights by investing in resources and development cards. Upgraded knights have higher strength levels and offer more protection against barbarian attacks.

Defending your cities becomes especially important when playing with the Cities & Knights Expansion because each time a city is attacked by barbarians, it loses one of its commodity production slots. This can severely disrupt your resource generation and hinder further expansion. By strategically placing strong and mighty knights near vulnerable cities, you can improve your chances of successfully repelling barbarian invasions.

Expanding territory involves strategically placing settlements on favorable locations on the board as well as building roads to connect them. The presence of active knights along these roads and settlement areas ensures a higher level of protection as they act as deterrents for potential invasion by other players or barbarians. A well-placed knight network can also deny other players access to important resources or cut off their trade routes.

In addition to defense and expansion, utilizing special abilities provided by activated knights can greatly enhance your overall strategy. For example, activated knights can enable you to steal resources from opponents during robber placements or even block their resource production entirely with knight actions such as “Plunder.” These abilities not only provide immediate benefits but also create opportunities for negotiation and diplomacy with other players.

It is worth noting that while having a strong force of upgraded knights is advantageous, proper resource management plays a significant role in their sustained activation. Players must balance their investment in both knights and resource production to ensure a steady flow of resources for expansion while maintaining a robust defense.

Knight Level Strength Benefits
Basic Knight 1 No special abilities
Strong Knight 2 Provides better protection against barbarian attacks. Can steal resources during robber placements.
Mighty Knight 3 Highest level of protection against barbarian attacks. Can block opponent’s resource production entirely with the “Plunder” action.

Utilizing the Progress Cards

In Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion, progress cards play a pivotal role in enhancing your strategy and giving you an edge over your opponents. These special abilities can greatly impact the game, allowing you to gain advantages in various areas such as resource production, development, and defense. In this section, we will explore how to effectively utilize progress cards to maximize your chances of success.

Understanding the Different Types of Progress Cards

Before diving into specific strategies, it is important to familiarize yourself with the different types of progress cards available in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion. There are five main categories of progress cards: knight cards, progress development cards, commodity cards, defender of Catan cards, and trade advantage cards. Each type offers unique benefits that can be leveraged strategically.

Optimizing Resource Production with Commodity Cards

Commodity cards are a valuable asset in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion as they allow players to increase their resource production by activating specific actions. Utilizing these cards strategically can help you generate additional resources for building structures or trading purposes. One effective strategy involves combining multiple commodity cards that grant resource benefits into one turn for maximum output.

Enhancing Defense with Knight Cards

Knight cards serve as both defensive and offensive tools and are crucial for protecting your cities against barbarian attacks. It is important to strategically position your knights on the board to defend vulnerable settlements or cities from potential invasions. Additionally, accumulating more activated knights will reward you with special abilities like rolling two dice instead of one during battles or reducing the strength of invading barbarians.

Gaining an Advantage with Development Cards

Development cards offer a wide range of powerful abilities that can give you a significant advantage over your opponents. These include actions such as building roads or settlements for free, removing opponent’s structures, stealing resources, and even acquiring victory points. It is essential to carefully choose when to play these cards to maximize their impact and surprise your opponents with unexpected moves.

By strategically utilizing progress cards in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion, you can enhance your overall gameplay experience and increase your chances of success. Remember that the key to effective card usage lies in thoughtful timing and considering the current state of the game.

Experiment with different strategies and adapt them according to the unique circumstances you encounter throughout each game. With practice, you will master the art of utilizing progress cards to their fullest potential and elevate your strategy to new heights.

Trading and Negotiating

Understanding the Importance

In Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion, the art of trading and negotiating is crucial for success. The game revolves around resource management, and being able to negotiate trades with other players can greatly influence your ability to gather necessary resources. By mastering the art of diplomacy, you can not only acquire the resources you need but also manipulate the game board to your advantage.

The Basics of Trading

Trading in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion follows a similar mechanic as the base game of Catan. You can offer trades to other players in order to obtain specific resources that you need, while giving them something they desire in return.

One effective strategy is to propose trades that are mutually beneficial, ensuring that both parties gain something from the transaction. However, it’s important to remember that each player has their own goals and objectives, so be prepared for negotiations and compromises.

Additionally, it’s crucial to consider each player’s current situation when proposing trades. If a player is low on a particular resource or needs a certain development card, offering them what they lack may entice them to accept your trade. Observing the state of the game board and understanding which resources are in high demand can also help you strategically negotiate deals.

The Power of Negotiating

Diplomacy plays a significant role in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion by enabling players to negotiate deals beyond simple resource swaps. It opens up opportunities for alliances, collaborations, and even coercion tactics. For instance, forming alliances with other players against a common opponent can provide protection against potential attacks or disruptions.

Negotiating can also involve making promises or offering future benefits as part of your deal. Promise to help defend another player’s cities or assist with their production by sharing resources if they agree to trade with you now. However, beware of making larger commitments than you are willing or able to fulfill, as broken promises can damage your reputation and future negotiation possibilities.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

In the Catan: Cities & Knights expansion, there are several common mistakes that players often make. By avoiding these pitfalls and implementing effective strategies, you can greatly increase your chances of success in the game.

One common mistake is neglecting to prioritize development cards. Development cards provide valuable special abilities that can give you an edge over your opponents. These cards can be used to gain resources, block opponents’ moves, or even steal resources from other players. It is important to allocate resources towards acquiring development cards throughout the game and use them strategically to maximize their impact.

Another mistake that beginners often make is disregarding the importance of upgrading settlements to cities. Cities not only provide more victory points, but they also significantly boost resource production. Upgrading settlements to cities should be a priority as it allows you to generate more resources, which ultimately gives you more options and flexibility during gameplay.

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Additionally, failing to diversify your resource production can hinder your progress in the game. It is crucial to have a balanced production of different types of resources. Relying too heavily on only one or two types of resources can leave you vulnerable if those resources become scarce or blocked by other players.

On the other hand, it is equally important to pay attention to what resources are scarce amongst your opponents. This knowledge allows you to strategically monopolize certain resources through trading and negotiation, giving you an advantage in securing victory points.

Common Mistakes Strategies for Success
Neglecting development cards Prioritize acquiring and using development cards strategically.
Disregarding upgrading settlements Upgrade settlements to cities for more victory points and increased resource production.
Failing to diversify resource production Strive for a balanced production of different resources to ensure flexibility and resilience.
Not considering opponents’ scarce resources Identify scarce resources among opponents and monopolize them through trading and negotiation.

By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing effective strategies, you can improve your gameplay in the Catan: Cities & Knights expansion. Remember that the key to success lies in careful planning, adaptability, and staying one step ahead of your opponents.

Advanced Strategies for Experienced Players

For experienced players looking to take their game to the next level, there are several advanced strategies that can add depth and complexity to their game plan in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion. These strategies require a deep understanding of the game mechanics and a keen sense of timing and decision-making. Here are some advanced strategies to consider:

  1. Focus on Development Cards: In addition to the Progress Cards outlined in section 6, development cards can be a powerful tool in your arsenal. These cards can provide various advantages, such as extra resources, victory points, or even the ability to steal resources from other players. By strategically investing in development cards, you can gain an edge over your opponents and increase your chances of victory.
  2. Prioritize City Upgrades: Building cities not only increases your resource production, but it also grants you additional benefits such as being able to upgrade knights or activate special abilities on the city improvements board. As an experienced player, consider prioritizing city upgrades over settlements to maximize your efficiency and gain more control over the game board.
  3. Dominate the Barbarians: The barbarian attacks play a crucial role in Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion, as they can disrupt resource production for all players. To gain an advantage, focus on building up a strong army of activated knights that can fend off the barbarians effectively.
    Keep track of the progress tracker and anticipate when the next attack will come. By being well-prepared and having a strong defense network, you will be able to protect your cities while others struggle with productivity setbacks.
  4. Strategic Road Building: In Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion, roads are not just means of transportation but also play a vital role in controlling territories and expanding your influence. Consider strategic road building by connecting key locations on the map that allow for efficient resource gathering or block opponents from expanding their settlements.
  5. Adaptability is Key: As with any strategy game, adaptability is crucial. Experienced players should constantly assess the state of the game board and adjust their strategy accordingly. Keep an eye on what your opponents are doing and look for opportunities to disrupt their plans or take advantage of changing circumstances.

By incorporating these advanced strategies into your game plan, you can add depth and complexity to your Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion gameplay. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time to master these strategies. With patience and experience, you will become a formidable player in this exciting expansion of Catan.


In conclusion, the Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion offers players a deeper and more strategic experience of the classic game. With its emphasis on resource management, defensive play, and strategic decision-making, this expansion adds a new layer of complexity that will challenge even the most experienced players.

One of the key takeaways from this expansion is the importance of proper city building. Maximizing resources and production is crucial for success in Catan: Cities & Knights. Players must carefully plan their settlements and cities to ensure a steady flow of resources and ultimately increase their chances of victory. Balancing between resource gathering and developing cities becomes even more critical as the game progresses.

Another important aspect of gameplay in Catan: Cities & Knights is mastering the art of diplomacy through trading and negotiating. The expansion introduces new elements such as progress cards that can be traded among players, adding an additional layer of negotiation to the game. Understanding when to strike deals or when to stand firm can greatly impact your success in this expansion.

For advanced players looking to further enhance their strategy, exploring advanced strategies is highly recommended. These strategies involve taking calculated risks, anticipating opponents’ moves, and leveraging special abilities provided by progress cards to gain an advantage. By adding depth to your game plan, you can stay one step ahead and increase your chances of emerging victorious.

Overall, Catan: Cities & Knights Expansion offers a rewarding experience for both newcomers to the world of Catan and seasoned veterans. Its enhanced strategic elements provide endless opportunities for different playstyles and approaches. Whether you prefer diplomatic negotiations or aggressive conquests, this expansion has something for everyone. So gather your friends, set up the board, and let the quest for cities and knights begin.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the easiest Catan expansion?

The easiest Catan expansion is arguably “Seafarers.” This expansion maintains the core mechanics of the base game but introduces the concept of exploring and settling on islands, adding a new layer of strategic possibilities.

The rules are straightforward, and players can gradually incorporate new elements such as ships, gold-producing islands, and scenarios with higher complexity at their own pace. Overall, “Seafarers” strikes a balance between introducing fresh gameplay while still being accessible for newer or more casual players.

What’s the best expansion for Catan?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the best expansion for Catan definitively since it ultimately depends on personal preferences and playing styles. However, one of the most highly regarded expansions is “Cities & Knights.” This expansion revamps the game with more complex rules and mechanics that deepen strategic decision-making.

It introduces concepts like city improvements, barbarian invasions, and progress cards that allow players to shape their strategies in more nuanced ways. If you enjoy a more intricate gameplay experience that adds depth to the base game without straying too far from its core mechanics, “Cities & Knights” could be considered the best expansion for you.

How to play Catan with expansion pack?

To play Catan with an expansion pack, start by familiarizing yourself thoroughly with the rules specific to that particular expansion. These rules are usually included in a separate booklet or set of cards provided with the expansion pack.

Once you are comfortable understanding these additional rules, gather your friends who know how to play Catan and get ready to embark on an enhanced gaming experience.

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