The best way to truly see how great a game really is, is by trying to recreate it. There can’t be many gamers who have not seen or tried The Settlers of Catan (1995) by Klaus Teuber, loved by millions across the world. Although seasoned gamers might see it as a simple family game, there is a beauty to the simplicity and how the elements fit together to create the experience that has brought it’s success.

The Sutlers of Kansas is our humble attempt at recreating the feeling of Catan, and also provides an opportunity to show off the clever way you can turn the square tiles of the Green Box into a hexagonal grid.

Quoting Wikipedia: A sutler is a civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp, or in quarters. Sutlers sold wares from the back of a wagon or a temporary tent, traveling with an army or to remote military outposts.

So in this game you are trying to procure resources and materials that you can sell to the army (during the American Civil War), in order to generate a profit that you can use to expand your operation.

Components uses:

All 36 tiles

All 54 cards

All 20 cubes pr player

Setup:

sutlers_1
Setup ready for 4-player game.

Sort the tiles into two identical groups, each containing 3 of each symbol. Shuffle one group and turn them face up to build the central fields of the board. The other group is kept face down to build the hills surrounding the board. Build the board as shown in the picture, or come up with your own design. Take care to orient each tile the same way, so that the dark border triangles are at the top and bottom of the tile, thus forming dark diamond shapes at every intersection between three different tiles.

Shuffle the cards and place them face down. Draw the top 8 cards and place them face up.

Give each player their 20 cubes.

Now each player can select two starting locations, in the same manner as in Catan: The first player places one cube, then the others continue clockwise. The last player places two, and the others their second counterclockwise back to the first player. The cubes are each to be place in the center of an unoccupied field tile (face up with symbol).

Play:

During your turn you may perform two different actions.

1: Procure goods:

From the 8 face up cards on the table you can take one single type of goods. The maximum number of cards you can take is determined by the number of cubes you have built on the board on the tiles with the corresponding symbols. Both cubes in the center (known as Houses) and on the border of the tile (known as Roads) count. So if you have no cubes on any tile of the particular type of goods you want, then you can not take it, and if you have for instance one House and two Roads on a given symbol you can take a maximum of 3 cards with that symbol. Roads bordering on two (or three) tiles with the same symbols are counted twice (or thrice).

After you have taken the cards you want, if there are less than four cards face up, you draw new cards from the deck to replenish the available goods up to a total of 8 cards.

2: Building:

In order to build, you must calculate the value the goods you have procured. Each card is worth 1, but the value increases by 1 for each additional card in a set of different goods. So if you have 3 cards with different goods, they are worth 1+2+3=6. 5 different goods are worth 1+2+3+4+5=15. Three cards of the same type is worth only 1+1+1=3. Take the sets/cards you wish to spend to build, and place them in the discard pile. Then place your new buildings/cubes on the board.

A House is a cube placed in the center of a tile, and a Road is placed on an intersection between three tiles. All cubes you place must be adjacent/connected to another of your cubes already on the board.

The cost of building is: Road – 5; House in the fields – 5; House in the hills – 10.

You do not receive change, when you for instance spend a set of three goods worth 6 to build a road.

Free action: Trade!

At any point during your turn, you can offer to trade your goods with any of the other players. There are no rules governing this trade, other than that all players must be honest in regards to which goods/cards they are giving away.

sutlers_4
Game in progress. It’s Yellow player’s turn, and she can take either the two arrow cards, the two water cards or the single wheel card. It’s probably a good idea to get one of the pairs, and for either one she can suggest a trade with the red player. If successful, Yellow will have 4 different symbols, worth 10, allowing her to build two new roads.

Winner:

Buildings on the board are worth victory points: Road – 1vp; House in the fields – 2vp; House in the hills: 5vp.

The game ends as soon as one player has accumulated 25 vp, and this player is the winner of the game.

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