How To Setup Settlers Of Catan Seafarers

How to set up Settlers Of Catan: Seafarers differs according to the chosen scenario. The rules contain nine different scenarios as well as recommendations for the order in which to play them.

Begin by assembling the frame for the correct map for the number of players, then add the resources hexes, number tokens and harbours according to the scenario instructions, and finally add any chits or extra elements as instructed.

Catan Seafarers

How Do I Set Up Catan Seafarers

Catan Seafarers is set up in a similar manner to the original base game.

Usually all the pieces from base Catan will be used as well as some taken from the Seafarers box.

However, some of the components from the original Catan box will not be needed, such as the harbours.

The original harbours are replaced by the new ones from the Seafarers box.

The first thing that needs to be set up in Seafarers is the frame for the board, which consists of the six frame pieces from the original box and some from the expansion.

The frame pieces from the original box need to be turned over so that the sides without harbours are uppermost.

The extra frame pieces which will be needed from the Seafarers box will depend on whether the game is being set up for three or four players.

A game of Seafarers for four players will require a larger board and will therefore use more of the frame pieces.

Scenarios such as The Forgotten Tribe, Cloth For Catan, The Pirate Islands, The Wonders Of Catan and New World have a single map size, no matter how many players are in the game.

The rules booklet has diagrams for all of these maps and should be followed to ensure that the frame is built correctly.

After the frame has been built the resource and sea hexes need to be placed, as well as the number tokens and the harbour, and any additional items as specified by the scenario outline.

Catan Seafarers Board Setup

The board setup in Seafarers depends upon the scenario being played.

Each scenario in the rules booklet has a list of the components required to set it up, and many of the scenarios have two lists, one for a three player setup and one for a four player setup.

Many of the component lists also highlight some of the requirements in red, and these are explained at the bottom of the list.

Usually the components listed in red are used for small or foreign islands, but they can also represent the difference between the requirements for different player counts.

It is important to follow these lists carefully so that the scenarios do not become unbalanced.

Once the required components have been gathered together the resource hexes should be placed within the frame.

It is usually easiest to place each type of resource hex in turn, rather than put the map together hex by hex, and adding the sea hexes first is recommended.

The resource hexes should be placed exactly as shown in the setup diagrams in the rules booklet.

After the resource hexes are in place the number tokens should be added to the board.

The number tokens should be distributed exactly as shown on the diagram.

One the resource hexes and number tokens are in place the harbours should be added to the map.

The harbours should always be added in specific places, and the setup diagram will show which harbours go where, but there are some scenarios and maps which ask for those places to be filled by harbours drawn at random.

As with the resource hexes and numbers, it is important to follow the instructions carefully for adding the harbours to the map.

This video by Boardgamerz 101 gives an example of how to set up the board for the Heading For New Shores scenario.

YouTube video

Catan Seafarers Layouts

The layouts in Seafarers depend on the chosen scenario and also the number of players involved in the game.

  • Heading For New Shores has one main island and three smaller islands, and players begin on the large island.
  • The Four Islands has four small islands, and players may begin wherever they like.
  • The Fog Island has two islands at either end of the map and a strip of empty space in the middle where tiles are revealed when they are explored.
  • Through The Desert has one very large island with a strip of desert, beyond which lies a gold field. There are also three smaller islands to the south of the map, one of which also contains gold.
  • The Forgotten Tribe places its main island in the middle of the board, and six small islands are laid out around it. The smaller islands do not produce resources but reward players with gifts from the Tribe instead.
  • The Forgotten Tribe return in Cloth For Catan. Two islands are laid out on either side of the map and the Tribe live on the four single-hex islands in the centre.
  • The Pirate Islands has its large island in the East, while the small islands in the West belong to the pirates, who also patrol the seas in the middle of the map. You can watch the Games Made Easy video about this exciting scenario here.
  • The Wonders Of Catan has a large, irregular central island with two smaller islands in the corners of the map.
  • New World is simply an empty frame which is filled at random with the various map components.

Catan Seafarers DIY

The New World scenario has two different options as far as play is concerned.

While the recommended set up is for randomly distributed hexes, number tokens and harbours, there is also the option to use the frame to create home-grown scenarios.

Home-grown scenarios can either follow the rules as set out in the Seafarers booklet or set them aside at will.

The best site for DIY Catan and Seafarers maps was, and although the site has closed the archive of maps is available on their Facebook page.

Catan Seafarers DIY

Catan Seafarers New World Set Up

The New World is the ninth scenario in Seafarers, and offers an opportunity for players either to create their own specific map or to leave things to chance.

The frame is set up as for a four-player game, creating a large play area, but the resource hexes specified in the outline are shuffled together to form a large stack.

The resource hexes are then from the stack and placed randomly in the frame.

After all the resource hexes have been placed in the frame the number tokens which have been specified in the scenario outline are shuffled together and placed at random on each of the land hexes.

If two red number tokens (‘6’s and ‘8’s) happen to be placed adjacent to each other during setup the newly placed token is removed and placed with a random black token.

If the last placement means that two red number tokens are next to each other then the final token must be swapped with a black one from elsewhere on the board, and all players must agree about which token makes the swap.

The harbour tokens are then shuffled and players take turns to draw a token and place it on an edge between the sea and the land or between the land and a frame piece.

Initial settlements may be placed on any of the islands on the map, and can both be on the same island or on two different ones.

The robber and the pirate begin the scenario at the side of the map and only enter the board when they are first moved.

Once these instructions have been followed the New World scenario is ready for play.

About the author

James Declan discovered board gaming via a one hour sesh trying to escape Forbidden Island with his daughter and has never looked back.