Crystal City Catan

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Crystal City Catan
by Stephen & Jill Rogers
Colonial building in the style of The Settlers of Catan by Klaus Teuber
:Players Players: 2 - 2
:Time Length: Long?
:Complexity Complexity: Moderate to High
Trios per color: 6 (5 Rainbow plus 1 Xeno or vice versa)
Number of colors: 6
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 6
Five-color sets: 6 (5 Rainbow plus 1 Xeno or vice versa)
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
10 six-sided dice (10d6). At least one should be different from the rest.
Setup time: 3 minutes
Playing time: 60 minutes?
"minutes?" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.
- 120 minutes?
"minutes?" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.
Strategy depth: High
Random chance: Some
Game mechanics: Resource Management
Theme: Space Colonization
BGG Link:
Status: complete? (v1.0), Year released: 2987

Crystal City Catan is an Icehouse game based on the card-game version of The Settlers of Catan by Klaus Teuber. It is two-player game, wherein players compete to build up their colony to a certain level of development before their opponent does. Along the way, players must manage their resources while dealing with such calamities as marauders and epidemics.

These rules are complete as of 3:20 PM Wed June 14, 2006.


To be the first player to earn 12 Victory Points. Victory Points are earned through construction of communities and through the development of those communities.


Under development

This game is currently under development, in the Playtesting stage. Feedback is strongly encouraged! Feel free to give comments on game design or structure on the talk page.


To play Crystal City Catan, you'll need six Icehouse stashes and ten six-sided dice. At least one of the dice should be noticeably different from some way from the others, be it in size, design, color, or any other factor. This die will be used as the event die, which has quite a bearing on how the game will play out.

Each stash has a different function in the game, but there are generally two types of stashes: construction stashes and resource stashes. Construction stashes are used by the players to build their colonies. Resource stashes keep track of a single resource type, which are used to build the facilities the player needs to win. The colors of the stashes are generally irrelevant, as long as both players decide on what is what before the game begins. A good default setup using a Black Ice set is as follows: Red = Metal, Green = Food, Clear = Crystal, and Blue = Textiles, with Black and Yellow as the construction stashes.

With that in mind, setup is as follows:

  • Each player selects an entire stash for themselves. These pieces become the player's construction stash, from which they will build their cities, roads, ports and garrisons.
  • After the players have selected their construction stash, separate the remaining stashes into piles of equal color and size and place them somewhere where they can be easily reached by both players. Remove one medium and one large pyramid of each color from this common resource pool; they will not be needed during the course of the game.
  • Each player will take one small pyramid from their construction stash and one of each of the four colors of small pyramids from the resource stash. They will place their construction pyramid directly in front of them, and each resource piece diagonally adjacent to the construction piece (forming an X-shape). All of these pieces are set upright, forming the player's Capital and their initial resource storage areas.
  • Each player rolls four dice. If any dice comes up with the same result as another dice (doubles, triples, and so on), keep one dice with that number and roll the dice again. Players do this until four unique dice results come up on the dice. These set the production rolls for the player's resource pools during the game. The player will select each die and, without changing the result of the die roll, set it immediately adjacent to one of the four resource pools.
  • Each player then rolls together the two remaining dice (one remaining extra d6 which will become the production die, and the event die). Highest total may pick whether they wish to go first or second.

Crystal city setup2.jpg

Community Definitions

During the course of the game, players will be building communities using the resources they have on hand. The communities they can build are not only dependent upon the resources they can muster, but also upon what has been previously constructed. In general, there are six general types of communities that a player may build throughout the course of the game. These community types are defined based upon the population base and any development structures that have been added. The community types are as follows:

  • A Settlement is signified by a single, upright 1-point (small) piece of the player's construction stash color. There's nothing really special about settlements; players can build single-point roads and garrisons off of them, and they can be used to expand a player's resource pools. Settlements are worth one Victory Point.
  • A Village is signified by a single, upright 2-point (medium) piece of the player's construction stash color. Villages can be expanded upon with a hospital and can support one and two-point roads, one and two-point garrisons, and single-point starports. Villages are worth two Victory Points.
  • A Township is signified by an upright 1-point (small) piece stacked atop a 2-point (medium) piece of the player's construction stash color. Basically, a Township is a Village that has been expanded with a hospital, and otherwise follows all the other rules of a Village. Townships are worth three Victory Points.
  • A City is signified by a single, upright 3-point (large) piece of the player's construction stash color. Cities can be expanded upon with hospitals, armories and storehouses, and can support any size of road, garrison or port. Cities are worth three Victory Points.
  • A Fort is a City that has been improved with a hospital (a 1-point (small) piece stacked atop a 3-point (large) piece). Forts follow all the other rules of Cities. Forts are worth four Victory Points.
  • A Stronghold is a City that has been improved with an armory (a 2-point (medium) piece stacked atop a 3-point (large) piece). Strongholds follow all of the other rules of Cities. Strongholds are worth five Victory Points.
  • A Citadel, the largest type of community, is a city that has been improved with both a hospital and an armory (and is composed of a full "tree" of the player's construction pieces). Citadels follow all of the other rules of cities. Citadels are worth six Victory Points.

Development Structures

Developing structures is the key to winning the game. Without certain structures, the player is susceptible to severe damage by random results of the event die. There are seven types of developments a player may make to their communities: housing (which increases the population base), roads, starports, garrisons, hospitals, armories, and storehouses.

  • A Road is used to increase the size of the player's colony. A player may build up to two roads going out horizontally in either direction from their Capital. Roads increase a player's commerce rating and are required to build Suburbs. A road cannot be larger than the Capital's population base. Roads cost one Metal and one Crystal in order to build. They can be upgraded in size with additional expenditures of Metal and Crystal.
  • A Starport is used to increase a player's commerce rating and reduce the cost of exchanging resources for other resources. A player may build one starport coming in horizontally towards their Capital or a Suburb. A Starport must be at least one size smaller than the community it is pointing at. A one-point Starport costs one Crystal and one Textile in order to build, and a two-point Starport costs two Crystals and two Textiles in order to build. Once built, a port cannot be upgraded.
  • A Garrison is used to help protect a player's resource stashes from losses due to mauraders and also as a potential way to siphon off resources from the player's opponent. A player may build up to two garrisons going out vertically in either direction from their Capital; Garrisons cannot be built off of Suburbs. If a marauder attack is rolled, the player may ignore as many resources in the adjacent resource pools as there are pips on the Garrison piece (a 2-point pyramid will "guard" two resources in both resource pools.) Garrisons cannot be larger than the Capital's population base. Garrisons cost one Textile and one Food in order to build. They can be upgraded in size with additional expenditures of Food and Textiles.
  • A Hospital is an expensive, yet powerful development used to protect a community from the effects of an epidemic. A player may build a hospital as a development for either a Village or a City, transforming the Village into a Township or the City into a Fort. Because they count towards a player's Victory Point total and because they are such a powerful addition, hospitals cost three Metal and three Food in order to build. Once built, there is only one circumstance under which the hospital might be removed.
  • An Armory is a development that has a package of effects. A player may build an Armory as a development for either a City or a Fort, transforming the City into a Stronghold or the Fort into a Citadel. Armories have two major effects. First, if used at the capital, they protect the garrisons from being reduced by the Champion. Second, their presence anywhere on the board acts as a type of "universal" garrison, protecting a total of two resources anywhere on the board (note that they can be used by your opponent as well!). Because they count towards a player's Victory Point total, Armories cost two Metal and two Food in order to build. A player can lose an Armory if they have a Stronghold and they get hit with the plague.
  • A Storehouse gives a player access to extra resources. A player may build a Storehouse as a development for a City, Stronghold or Citadel (but not for a Fort). When a Storehouse is built, the player selects a resource type, selects a small pyramid of that type, and stacks it on top of the city they wish to build it in. A Storehouse gives the player access to one extra resource of the type indicated, even if their storage pools for that resource are currently depleted. A player may not select a resource type for their Storehouse if that resource has already been selected for use in another Storehouse anywhere else on the board. Storehouses do not count towards the player's Victory Point total. Storehouses cost one Metal and one Food to build. A player can lose their Storehouse if their City or Stronghold is hit with the plague.
  • Housing increases a community's population base (and is also used to initally create Suburbs). A player may build a Settlement (signified by a 1-point upright piece), Village (2-pointer) or City (3-pointer) during the course of their turn. In order to build a Suburb, a player must have available space, signified by a proper-sized Road from the Capital. A player cannot build a Suburb that is larger than the road connecting it to the player's Capital. Settlements cost one of each resource type to build, Villages cost two, and Cities cost three. A Settlement can be upgraded to a Village for one of each resource, or to a City for two, and a Village can be upgraded to a City for one of each resource type. Settlements, Villages and Cities add to the player's Victory Point total. Villages and Cities can be reduced in size by the plague, but Settlements are immune. The addition of a new Suburb gives a player access to additional resource pools. When built, a player takes two small pyramids of the type opposite what's already adjacent to the Suburb, a places them next to the Suburb following the "X" pattern lying on their side (new pools begin empty).

Crystal city 3.jpg

Game Play

Once setup is complete, the game may begin. Players take turns, beginning with whichever player is selected to go first, until one of them reaches 12 Victory Points.

There are several phases to a player's turn:

  • Roll the dice for production/events
  • Resolve events
  • Resolve production
  • Build or trade resources (optional)


There are six possible events that may happen on a turn, depending upon the outcome of the event die roll:

  1. Epidemic. An epidemic strikes, devastating any sizeable population that doesn't have access to a hospital. Both players must examine their colonies. If a player has a community in their colonies that is anything other than a Settlement and does not have a hospital, the population base of that community is reduced in size by one level. Any pieces that require the community to be a certain size that no longer fulfill that requirement are completely removed (if this happens to your Capital, you can lose your Suburbs entirely, so be careful how you build!) If there are no smaller pyramids available, the communiy is spared the effects of the epidemic (call it last-ditch medical relief, free clinics, or whatever).
  2. Wager. There is a wager between the garrison commanders of the two players. Each player must total up the number of "pips" in their garrisons (a small garrison is worth one, medium two and large three). Whoever has the larger garrison wins the wager, and may claim one resource of their choice from their opponent. In the event of a tie, neither player wins the wager.
  3. Quarterly Gains. Resource production this year is higher than expected. Both players may gain one resource of their choice.
  4. Traders. Trading with outside communities flourishes, but the colony that has more commercial capcity sees greater results. Each player must count up the number of pips in their ports and roads. Whoever has the higher amount gains one resource of their choice.
  5. Champion. An outlying minor colony sends a champion to challenge members of your garrison to single combat. Unless you have built an Armory in your Capital, you automatically lose one “pip� from your garrisons, or more if the next smallest garrison size is unavailable (it is conceivable to lose an entire garrison this way if you're not careful!!)
  6. Marauder Attack. Marauders attempt to steal resources from your colonies. Both players count up the total pips of resources they have, subtracting out the amounts protected by Garrisons and Armories. If a player has seven or more total adjusted resources, the marauders will succeed in stealing half (rounding up) of their total resources available. The player may select the resources lost to the attack.


At the same time the event dice is rolled, the production dice may be rolled. After the turn's event is resolved, both players may look at their resource pools and see if they have a resource whose production dice matches the result of the production roll. If so, they gain one of that particular resource. If a player has two resources that match that die roll, they may gather one of each of those resources. A player may not have more than three of a given resource in a resource pool at any time during the game; if a player has three resources in a pool and that pool would produce, that production is squandered. Trade out the pyramid in the resource pool to reflect the number of resources in the pool (a small for one, medium for two, and large for three). To signify an empty resource pool, tip a small pyramid over.


If the same number is rolled on both the event and production dice, the player that rolled the dice may generate two of any resource indicated by the dice roll. Their opponent still only produces one resource if applicable.


After events and production are resolved, the player has the option of building additional structures and/or trading resources. Both may be done freely within this part of a player's turn; a player could trade some resources, build, trade more resources, build again, and so on until they no longer wish to trade or build, at which point they hand off the event and production dice to their opponent to signal the end of their turn.

Building is relatively simple. The player simply expends the amount and type of resources necessary to build the structure, keeping within the restriction rules for each structure type. They then take a piece of the appropriate size from their construction stash and place it wherever it needs to go, removing any pieces previously played if necessary. A player must have the right size pyramid in their construction stash in order to build the desired structure.

Players may trade with a merchant, provided they have enough resources to do so. Merchant trading is not exactly a fair deal, but can be useful in certain situations. To trade with a merchant, the player expends any three resources in exchange for one resource of the desired type. The three resources expended do not have to be the same type. If a player has a Starport, they may expend a number of resources of the types adjacent to the port instead. For a one-point Starport, two resources can be spent. For a two-point Starport, only one resource need be spent (in other words, the player is allowed to make a straight-up trade from one resource to another). Keep in mind, only the types of resources covered by the Starport are eligible for deduction; if a player has to use another resource type, it costs the full three resources, even if some of those resources are adjacent to the Starport.

A player may, if they're willing, exchange resources with their opponent. Terms of these trades can be worked out between the two players. Neither player has to trade if they don't want to, but there are occasions where this may be a useful thing to do.

Designer's Notes

This game is still in an early stage of development (despite its length). Ultimately, I'd like to add a story and couple of pictures to clarify the rules; these are still under construction.

While developing this game, I had an idea for another game similar to this. I'm tentatively calling it Crystal City, and I intend to make it more challenging by reducing the stashes to four, and getting rid of the dice. This idea hasn't fully congealed yet and so it may or may not make it as an Icehouse game.

I've considered doing this game with'd make all the equipment pyramids. Might be worth playtesting.

My biggest problem right now is play-testing. I have no opponents to try out Icehouse games with, so I'd greatly appreciate any input y'all can offer. Please discuss the game! In particular, let me know where I can try to offer clarifications to the rules.