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If I purchase the Settlers of Catan 5-6 Expansion, is there a playable version of the game for only 4 people?

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    It's not clear what you are asking... if you want to play with 4 people, you just wouldn't be using any of the things that came with the 5-6 player expansion. Are you aware that the expansion is no good on it's own; you still need the main set as well? – GendoIkari Mar 23 '15 at 16:30
  • Wait, So let me get this straight. I would have to purchase Settlers of Catan first. Then, if I want to add extra players, i can purchase the expansion pack settlers of Catan. So similarly, it applies for Seafarers, Cities & Knight and etc.? – user12196 Mar 24 '15 at 5:45
  • Although it's not part of your question: I would warn against getting the 5-6 player expansion. It makes it a very different game experience, and in my opinion breaks things. It also means you'll be buying twice as much if you want the other expansions. Catan is a great game for 4, but I wouldn't play it with any other number. – xorsyst Mar 24 '15 at 9:12
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    Although it's not part of your question, I would warn against @xorsyst's warning. The 5-6 player expansion certainly changes some aspects of the game, but in my opinion it doesn't break anything. If you find yourself with more than 4 people that want to play Catan together, I find excluding those extra people a bigger issue than anyone's perceived gameplay differences. – freekvd Mar 24 '15 at 11:07
  • I tried to make the question clearer by asking if the 5-6 player version was "playable" for four people. – Tom Au Mar 26 '15 at 23:25
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Yes. You can always just use the base game and leave out the pieces from the 5-6 player expansion.

Note that the 5-6 player expansion is just that: an expansion. It requires the original game in order to play it.

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The 5-6 player expansion adds new hexes, ports, number chits and development cards to allow your board to fit 5 or 6 players. While you could play 3 or 4 players on the 5-6 player board, it would not be the same experience, you will find every one is too spread out and most players can expand unopposed.

Keeping the additional pieces mixed in with your base set may throw off the balance of the game. So it's recommended to remove them when playing a 3 or 4 player game. I don't remember the exact mix, but I believe the expansion adds the following

  • 2 hexes of each basic type (forest/plains/mountains/fields/hills)
  • 1 desert hex
  • 1 sheep port
  • 1 3:1 port
  • 6 soldier cards
  • 1 year of plenty card
  • 1 monopoly card
  • 1 road building card
  • number chits
  • 5 extra resources of each type.

The extra resources rarely becomes an issue in smaller games. It's probably safe to leave them in, and there's no harm and using one of the expansion sets of player pieces in place of one of the basic ones. But the rest of the items can definitely throw off the balance of the game.

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