GTM #219 - Rivals for Catan
Tips for the Rivals Theme Games Pt. 1
by Catan Studios

Tips for the Rivals Theme Games – Part I

In Rivals for Catan™ you and your opponent strive to create the best principality. In previous GTM articles we discussed the basic strategies for learning to play. Now we turn to the deeper modules included in Rivals for Catan and it’s expansions, Age of Darkness and Age of Enlightenment—each comes with three theme sets. In this article you’ll find tried and true strategy tips for confronting these sets'   new options and challenges.

The Era of Gold

The Era of Gold emphasizes cards that target your opponent’s resources. So, getting and holding the trade advantage is particularly important. To this end, try to find commerce points early. These early commerce points are especially important since you need at least three commerce points to use a Merchant card to take resources from your opponent.

The Merchant Guild is required for a number of key cards, so try to build it early. It is also important to produce and use gold—gold can be protected in your Gold Caches and a Mint can turn a gold into any resource you want. Gold gives you more advantages and improves your trading options. Remember that each Pirate Ship not only sinks a trade ship, but also provides you with an additional gold when the Plentiful Harvest event is rolled.

The Era of Turmoil

It is recommended to get and keep the strength advantage—as a number of strategies depend on it. By building a hero card as soon as possible, you can give yourself an edge in this battle.

Be the first to build the Hedge Tavern. It lets you be particularly ruthless when using action cards keyed to this building.

Irmgard, Lookout Tower, and Heinrich the Sentinel can provide defense against the Hedge Tavern. You do not need a city to build these cards. With these three cards, you can, with a little bit of luck, prevail even without Hedge Tavern.

While the strength advantage is important, you will not want to ignore the trade advantage. Heroes and ships can’t be relied upon if your opponent is able to easily destroy them.

The Era of Progress

The Era of Progress focuses on the constructive development of both principalities. The action cards that require the University can provide an additional source of resources. However, you may only build a University if you have an Abbey or a Library in play. So, it can worthwhile to spend resources to look for and acquire an Abbey early.

Besides the University, Guido the Ambassador, and Gustav the Librarian also have two alternative requirements, only one of which must be met for you to play the card. Use Guido and Gustav to retrieve the best action cards from the discard pile. Three-Field System and Mineral Mining are particularly useful in this context, and so is the Merchant Caravan from the basic set.

When one of the three Plague event cards activates, you to lose a resource from EACH region adjacent   to a city. To minimize these loses, build your cities next to each other—a region between two cities only loses one resource to a Plague. If you obtain resources by playing action cards, store them on regions that are not adjacent to cities.

Keep in mind two last things. First, if you have built a Parish Hall, you should build your first city next to it, so that you can build the Town Hall. Second, if you are close to winning, remember that the Parliament gives you two victory points.