Player Feedback

Were You the Champion of the Environment, an Oil Baron, an Environmental Refugee? Let us know below.

The engineers of Catan are curious to know about your experiences discovering oil on Catan. Did your island sink? Did the Catanians find some way to balance growth with ecological constraints?  Let us know below!

  40 Responses to “Player Feedback”

  1. First, thank you for this exciting new scenario. I hope this is a sign of things to come! The link provided is my blog post and picture of our first run-through this scenario for consideration to send us the cardboard cutout version of Oil Springs. It was clear early on that guys were eager to spend the oil with little thought to the impact they would have on the game. An interesting real world parallel!

    I’d also like to ask if we can get rules for combining Oil Springs with Cities & Knights. Thank you!

    • Hi Ben–thanks for your note. Looks like it was a fun game! The scenario wasn’t designed to integrate with Cities & Knights but if you try it let us know how it goes!

    • I just combined CK and oil, and it worked well. I’ll write the rules we played with and see what you think. Open to new ideas!

      • Thanks Sam–feel free to post here and send to catanoilsprings [at] This was meant as a stand-alone variant but Seafarers and Fishermen seems to integrate well. Ill be curious to see how you integrated Cities and Knights with Oil Springs. We haven’t had a chance to add variants yet but hopefully one day!

        • We combined Oil with Fisherman, but the rule we squabbled over was whether (2) Fish would send the Robber back off the board to a Neutral position as opposed to the desert, since the desert is now a resource producing tile. We argued longer about this than the game took. Thoughts?

          • Yes, my thought is that it’d send it off the board. Just as you said the desert in all other scenarios is a hex that hurts no one (since it doesn’t produce). Putting the robber on an oil hex is very different! If you combine again, I’d just suggest placing the robber off the board (which is where it starts) until it is called into play again. Thanks for your question!

  2. This scenario looks like fun. I can’t wait to try it with my gaming buddies. I’m curious which city was used to make the “metropolis” map.

    • Hi Isaiah, I thought I had responded to this but it seems it never got posted. The art for the metropolis comes from the artist Jared Blando, and adapted by Mayfair Games to make it fit the style of The Settlers of Catan. Though several from Mayfair noted that it kind of reminds them of Prague! You can learn more about Blando’s art at: Thanks for your question!

  3. I noticed their was no comments about how it would work with seafarers expansion. My thoughts on it is that each island has it’s own to be destroyed number, changing on the size (5 tiles=something, 8 tiles=something bigger). Also, another idea about what oil could do (an expansion on the destroyed tile idea), is that one tile near the ocean could be turned into ocean after some determined time, and one or a few more after that before total island destruction. Another idea is that maybe, if your settlement or city is about to be destroyed, you can pay one rock and one oil to build temporary walls (only that turn) to protect it. So you save your city but further push up the oil used. Another is that if there is only one land tile connecting two large land masses, that could be one of the ones to go when a land gets flooded and turned into an ocean tile. Also, maybe ships can also be affected by tidal waves. You would roll a die and a 4-6 would destroy your boat, while a 1-3 will let it live. This is done for each boat, or, if you want, you can roll it once for multiple boats, if you’re feeling lucky. This would also add an element to the longest road, seeing how ocean routes could seriously endanger you. Also, maybe as an idea for coast rigs (BP), there could be one ocean tile that develops oil, and every 2 boats you have surrounding it would be like one settlement for when picking up oil.

    I hope you use my ideas, and if so, please mention my name. I think these are worthy of consideration.

    • Thanks Rob. Over time, we may produce some educational experiments that incorporate some twists on the rules or variations in starting maps to help draw out different issues covered by this scenario (climate change, resource curse, etc.). If so we’ll post additional rule suggestions here.

      • The Off Shore Oil Rig idea is interesting. If ocean tiles are used to somehow produce oil, then you could incorporate a small chance of rig failure if you dont spend resources to upkeep or maybe just random dice roll every time theres a “7″. If the rig fails, oil could leak out tile by tile until it is contained by rings of ships. If the island cant come together to contain oil spills, eventually it will spread to all ocean tiles, destroying fish, coastal settlements, harbor cities etc. Even other oil rigs could be effected. Roads as pipelines?

        Im not sure how the oil might “spread”, I am working on a spreading “Sandstorm” mechanic for desert/mars themed Catan but I need to test it more. The idea is that once a tile becomes a storm (or oil in the sea) you roll each turn to see if it spreads to the next hex tile or not, possibly enveloping the whole board but also just as likely to teeter out. For desert games, sea tiles become sand and sandstorms only envelop sand hexes, similarly oil spills would only spread on sea hexes/coasts.

        Trading too much oil would still cause violent weather changes, damaging or destroying exposed oil rigs. Small storms that dont destroy anything could still effect the spread of unconfined oil. The person who does the most environmental “cleanup” gets the Enviro VP Card.

        A scenario like this could help us think about some of the issues w/ off shore production, the challenges faced and the repercussions of such a tempting resource.

        • You could also adopt Explorers rules and load tanker ships with oil, which have to sail back to your Harbor(s) before you actually obtain the oil. Obviously, they may get damaged in transit..

  4. I just received this Scenario and played it 4 times this weekend. At first we questioned how well it might play but once we began playing we were quickly trying out several options and their impacts. Once we got used to it we found that it really is a great scenario. The first game we played with just SoC. The next two we added Die Helfer von Catan (The Helpers of Catan) cards and really had a blast. The fourth game we also added in The Harbormaster card. I quickly found myself blocked in with few options to build out. My new strategy, sequester oil to gain as many victory points as possible. I tried to sequester an oil each turn and was able to on most of them since I had 2 settlements on oil. Four points by sequestering, 3 by getting the Harbormaster, Two settlements and two cities gave me the additional six I needed to win. My last move was to upgrade to a city on a Harbor which gave me the 2 point Harbormaster card an an additional point for the city. We all found it a fun way to add variability and new strategies.

    A couple of questions though, When playing Oil Springs and The Helpers of Catan cards, can the robber really be moved back to the desert with the Rauberbraut (Robber Bride) card? I would expect so but would not be able to score a resource off someone with a settlement or city there. Or, is the desert not considered a desert but just an oil field which also could make sense? Hmm, any “Official” ruling here? Also, when playing Marianne, can the player take an oil resource? Any help with this is much appreciated. Thanks for such a great scenario.

    • Glad you enjoyed the scenario!
      With the Robber Bride card, when the card says ‘return robber to desert,’ it means place it back to its starting place where it hurts no one. In Catan: Oil Springs, the robber starts off board since the desert is in use, so simply place the robber on a sea hex (where it hurts no one) until next time a 7 is rolled or a soldier is used.
      I’d also say that any time resources are mentioned in cards, these cards can be used to obtain oil, so you could force a trade for oil with the Master Merchant if opponents have oil, or take 1 oil with Marianne if you collect no resource on a roll, and so on (assuming of course there is still oil in the bank). I imagine this will add a good amount of oil into the game so it should be a challenging, high energy game. If becomes too volatile, you can always not allow these cards (Master Merchant, Marianne, Siegfried, and Hildegard) to be used to collect oil but collect only the standard resources.
      Thanks for your note!

  5. Thank for this Scenario. That give long live for Catan.

    I am Catan spanish fan and I translate free this Scenario.

    Spanis transltation:

  6. Can one trade 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 for oil with the bank?

    • Thanks for the question. You cannot use ports for oil. That would make the ports just too powerful. For example using a sheep port to trade 2 sheep for 1 oil means you could change 2 sheep into two other resources you don’t have (by converting oil).

      Hope you’re enjoying the scenario,


  7. I had fun with oil springs at first, but it can totally ruin you’re game if you get unlucky during the disaster phases (like when I had to get rid of my 6,8, and 5) and it seems kind of unbalanced that nothing really happens when an oil number is rolled during the disaster except for a minor stock of oil is removed. We play that half of the oil is removed and it seemed to work well.

    It was pretty interesting combining it with the Fishermen of Catan variant, since settling on the coast has a greater risk and reward trade off. I did have a question about using the fish, though. Can you use 3 fish to steal someone’s oil and 4 fish for an oil from the supply? It seems like using 3 fish is just as powerful as 4 fish if you can.

    • Yes, it does have an unbalancing effect–which is intentional, trying to replicate the unbalancing effect of having access to oil, and the realities that it isn’t necessarily the users of oil that’ll bear the brunt of the environmental damage (in fact, with those additional resources, they are best positioned to mitigate that damage, ironically). By not removing oil springs, it inflates the value of those hexes (and competition for them), which was why we did it. Oil has become the dominant resource today, which we wanted this scenario to reflect.

      I haven’t personally tried to combine the Fishermen of Catan, but it does sound like it adds a nice set of tradeoffs. As for using 3 fish instead of 4 fish, yes, you certainly could steal oil instead of getting an oil from the bank, but that assumes someone has an oil in his/her hand. I imagine the use of 3 fish is almost superior to 4 fish in the original game as well, as you get a resource and block an opponent’s production (even if it’s random). And using 4 fish in Catan: Oil Springs to get one oil might almost be as strong as 5 fish to get a road (and if you already have 2 wood or 2 brick, that gives you 2 roads with one less fish). Anyway, it does change the dynamic of the fish slightly, but equitably to all players and not to an extent where it disrupts play it seems. Plus, considering you have to be on the coast to get fish, I imagine using 3 fish to block oil is the best choice most of the time anyway as your survival depends on not being flooded, so keeping the robber on oil springs would be very beneficial!

      Thanks for the comment and question,


  8. I played this yesterday, and there are a couple of rules we weren’t sure about.

    1. Can you be completely eliminated from the game when flooding happens? If all of your settlements are eliminated from the game because of flooding, but you have enough resources to build a new one you allowed to?

    2. Exactly which settlements/cities are affected during flooding? Is it only the ones that are actually touching the water? The rules reference sea hexes, is that just the frame?



    • Hi Matthew–thanks for your question.
      Answering the second question first : only settlements and cities directly touching the water are affected–so yes, just those settlements/cities on the frame (or edge) of the island. If you tried this with seafarers, any settlements/cities directly on the coasts would be affected.

      As for the first question, hopefully in future games players won’t start both of their settlements on the coast as that’s a very risky strategy when coastal flooding is in the mix!! If one has the resources to rebuild, it would be hard to be completely eliminated as you’re still able to build off of the roads near your destroyed settlements (roads are never destroyed by coastal flooding). So the only way you could be completely eliminated was if another player could reach the spot you originally built (or one length away) and built there before you could rebuild, thus removing your accessible build spots. I’ve never seen that happen though! Good luck!


  9. Hi,
    I’m setting up to play with my children and we are unable to understand the harbor pictures for the layout. It appears that we can use harbors for trading like in the basic game, and it is alluded to, but the picture shows a version of harbors that we do not recognize. As a result, we cannot figure out where to place the harbors appropriately.

    I’m wondering if the interlocking water is a newer design of a more recent release of Settlers, I’ve owned my copy for at least 7 years, if not several more than that and we have hexes for the water.

    thank you!

    • Hi Alicia,

      Yes, you’re right–the newer version of Settlers has a new interlocking frame that keeps the ports constant. With an older set, just set up the ports in the normal way–randomly. This won’t change the first board all that much (although if you want to copy the order listed in the rules, start with a 3-1 port at the number token with the “A” on it and follow clockwise like this: wheat, ore, 3-1, sheep, 3-1, 3-1, brick, wood).



  10. Hi-
    With the sheep/oil square, do you get sheep and oil when that number is rolled or is it just oil now? Thanks!

  11. Hi there,

    My family has a dispute. We keep track of wins and losses on a tally sheet. When the whole island is destroyed, we have been saying it counts as a loss for those who do not have the champion of the environment token. The person who has that token we say gets neither a win nor loss since it says a Pyrrhic Victory is barely better than losing and they are considered to move to another island with a fresh start. However, that person automatically wins the die roll on the next game. Is this a good way to count it or should they get either a half win or win on the score sheet?

    • Thanks for the question Kyle. I would agree that this is not a victory even for the Champion of the Environment (how can it be with the island of Catan under water!?). So if keeping tally I would suggest not giving the loss to the Champion but giving the loss to everyone else, and not counting it as a victory for the Champion either–exactly as you’re doing. And good that the Champion gets to choose first on the next game! That definitely follows the sentiment in the rules. Enjoy the scenario!

      And by the way: just how many times has your family sunk Catan? =)

      • Many times, since we play it 5 to 15 times a week. We play a 5 to 6 player expansion variant with seafarers, cities and knights, oil, and fish.

        Other questions, if you do not mind:

        1. Can you use an aqueduct to get either oil or fish?
        2. Can you use the 4 fish trade to get either a commodity or oil?
        3. Can you maritime trade for fish?

        • and

          4. If you put the pirate on a hex with fish, should it stop fish production?

        • Hi Kyle,

          Quick responses to your 4 questions:
          As oil is very powerful, in the scenario you can’t trade for it except with other players. When integrating other scenarios you’ll have to try different ways and see if doing it one way unbalances the game too much. For example 4 fish for an oil would be nearly equivalent of getting 2 resources for an oil–double the power. But then again, this may offer a way for the player with lots of fish but less access to oil to stay in the game. Generally though, I’m guessing trading for oil is going to make oil too strong, as would taking a free oil every time you don’t produce. So, I’d try it both ways, but I’m guessing getting extra oil for cheap will make for an unbalanced game. (And regarding your 4th question: I’m afraid I don’t know the answer but I found this link: and don’t see any mention of the pirate stopping fish production, so I’m guessing it doesn’t. But I have to admit, I only wrote the Oil Springs scenario so am certainly not the final source for Catan questions.

          Happy playing!


  12. The tokens pages in the printable version should have a better color scheme or add a limit around some tokens; in the oil tokens per example it is a bit difficult to determine when where one token ends and other begins after printing it.

    Anyone have any tips about combining this scenario with seafarers’s scenarios? Since some scenarios don’t have deserts or you simply can’t build on the desert (cloth for catan).

    • Thanks Ricardo. I hope they print well enough to cut out–I hadn’t heard of this difficulty before. As for your question, players have certainly added oil springs to seafarers. You’d just need to substitute out a hex for oil–if not the desert then one of the forest or pasture oil hexes. Feel free to experiment!


  13. hallo beste catanners,
    wie kan er voor zorgen, dat er ook een nederlandse vertaling komt van oil springs.
    alvast hartelijk bedankt,
    mvgr Will

  14. Hi there, I was studying the rules for Oil Springs and one thing bugs me. You get 7 victory point tokens with this expansion but rules never mention what are they used for. Couldn’t find an explanation anywhere on the web. Since players need 12 VP for victory and there are only 7 of those tokens in the expansion (none are distributed with SOC) what exactly do we use them for?

    • One of these victory point tokens are given out each time a player sequesters 3 oils. In theory if all 21 oil (in a 6 player game) are sequestered you’d need all 7, but I’ve never seen that actually happen.

  15. Hey,

    I have two questions regarding sequestered oil:
    1. Can another player steal a sequestered oil from you via the robber or monopoly card?
    2. Does sequestered oil count as one of the cards in your hand when counting how many cards are in your hand when a 7 is rolled and the robber comes? The rules state that oil does count as one of the cards in your hand when a 7 is rolled, though it is not clear if this also includes sequestered oil.

    - Jack S.

    • No, a player can’t steal a sequestered oil. And sequestered oil tokens do not count toward hand size.

      Oil, once sequestered, is permanently out of the game. (You cannot unsequester oil.) They’re essentially like used knight cards.

      Have fun!

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