Kelv's Random Collection

A random collection of my contributions to the world.

Diary: An Update on the Scenario Guide

Posted by kelvSYC on 5-28-2017

I’ve started on rebuilding a new version of the Catan Scenario Guide, once again.  I’d like to say “for real this time”, but this new version of the Scenario Guide is taking its time, partly because it will be completely rewritten from scratch.

Part of this is entirely practical: it has been years, and the last public version (Revision 13) was before Explorers & Pirates was released, and the last private version was before the current 5th edition was released, so there’s a lot of stuff that is going to be rewritten and reorganized either way.  There is also the rebranding and adding the chapter introductions that need to be done, but some of the most important changes are in fact to complete some of the things I had been working on for Revision 14.  (Yes, I had a partial changelog.)

Revision 14 would have been a considerable graphical overhaul of the Guide, to be introduced over time.  This was necessary for the following reasons:

  • It was hard to label edges, especially in the promotional scenarios where I had to determine hex by hex which edges were part of the board and which were not.
  • I had, up until that point, wanted to expand the first few chapters to include information on how the board game frame changed over time.  The hexes that you find in the finished Guide is the actual size that I was working with in my line drawing program, which made drawing frame pieces incredibly difficult.  In the upcoming version, I’ve actually created all of the graphics in a new, larger size, and shrunk them down to fit the printed page.
  • I wanted to redo the harbor graphics so that they matched the Seafarers “harbor keys” from the 3rd edition, rather than the “geometry block” motif that was taken from a fan’s homemade set posted on BoardGameGeek.

Unfortunately, because I made the decision to completely rewrite the Guide from scratch, it will be a while before it’s ready for release.  (I’m not intentionally delaying the Guide so that it will be released after the Seafarers 20th anniversary scenario, honest!)  This is compounded by the fact that my word processor died without a backup, meaning that I had to rewrite the entire Guide from scratch several times already.

But here is what I can tell you about the new version of the Guide, as I am outlining this:

  • Of course, I’ll try to keep up to date with everything officially released, but that’s a very hard ask since I’ll have to acquire some of the materials personally.  Some are easy to do that since you can buy them on Catan Shop, others not so much.
  • There will be a new section dedicated to Cities & Knights.
  • I’ve spun off the Catan Geographies promotional scenarios and the Catan Scenarios line to their own sections.
  • I’ve reorganized some scenarios that were particularly hard to categorize.  For example, “Greater Catan” was originally in the Seafarers section, then moved to SD&E, and now, I’m moving it back to Seafarers.  (If SD&E gets an English release, I’ll move it back, of course…)
  • For the most part, the scenario rewrites are primarily so that equipment dedicated to a particular scenario will be introduced in its own section in the Guide, as opposed to all at once near the beginning.  For example, the Council of Catan hex will only be introduced in the Explorers & Pirates section.  Some things will still need to be introduced more broadly to avoid repetition – for example, crews will be part of the Explorers & Pirates preamble since multiple scenarios make use of them.
  • All of the graphics will be redrawn.  The same colors will be reused for the most part, but there will be plenty of changes.  For example, number tokens will reflect the English language version of using a single consistent size of numbers with dots below them.  Land hexes will have a yellow border to differentiate them from edges where no roads can be built (for example, the mouth of the river pieces in “The Rivers”).

It is my hope that the rules are a bit more clear with less use of inline graphics, which hopefully gets us a Guide that is not significantly longer than Revision 13.  At this time, I’m still thinking of what to do for a Live version at the moment; for now, the Live version project will be on hold in order to try and finish the PDF version in a timely manner.

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