Settlers of Catan is a modern classic with an elegant ruleset which begs to be adapted to genres other than “settling a fictitious island.” Though some have tried to modify and rethink the game in the past, Deep Space Settlers by Fuzzywobble and Amy Wang is particularly well crafted and comes with modifications which perfectly fit with the idea of colonizing the stars.
The game is a custom redesign of the Catan: Seafarers expansion, which means there’s a discovery element where tiles are revealed during gameplay. In this case, it’s all about space exploration. The hexes, bound by grippy edge pieces, are smaller than normal, allowing for expanded game setups on normal-sized tables. The acrylic circles denoting planetary resources are eye catching on the black spaces. The creators kept the normal island resources for simplicity, but add the word “space” to each: “space wheat,” “space sheep,” and the like. The robber is a metallic dome which covers both the resource and the number.
Numerous visual adjustments to the game were added as well, from large blocks denoting Longest Road and Largest Army achievements, to beautiful tokens reminding you what everything costs to build. Just look what they did with the cities. You’re no longer upgrading and replacing a town with a city; you’re building a city as a spire on your existing town.
As for rules, this deep space mod is designed to remove a few pesky problem areas while increasing competitive and tactical placement of space lanes. Tiles that activate on 2 and 12 are thrown out; you just get to pick a resource when those numbers come up. Roads can’t be built on the edges of the board in this mod, drastically altering the strategy of putting down structures. There’s a rule for getting rid of the robber by sacrificing your entire pile of resources if you’ve got 3 or more and the game also plays without the sea expansion’s pirate ship, for simplicity sake.
Overall, these rules play to the strengths of the exploration-focused seafaring version of the game, making it less likely for a single player to totally dominate or flop. Combined with the elegant and thoughtful styling of the pieces and board, this redesign is a marvel to behold.
What new game genres does this inspire you to delve into? Let us know what modifications you’ve made to your game set and house rules in the comments.
Image Credits: Fuzzywabble and Amy Wang