Katimavik Bay Canal Strategy Guide

Foreword

The guide assumes you know the basic rules and strategy for Cities and Knights. As with all strategy guides, the aim is to provide a few hints and tips but you will need to adjust your strategy according to the opposition, the dice and the progress cards.

What is Different?

The main difference with The Great Canal is that you cannot earn resources from wheat hexes until the Canal has been irrigated. You also gain additional points for irrigating the canal.

The Canal

Two knights which are both active on a single resource hex will dig that section of the canal. Canal points are earned by the knights owners - if both knights are yours you will receive two points and if you share the knights with an opponent you receive one point each. The canal is dug and the grain fields irrigated once all but one canal hexes have been dug.

IF you are not trying to protect the canal in order to reap the gold fields (see below) then you want to try to gain as many of the canal points as possible. So get yourself in position to build lots of roads around the canal. Decide which knights to activate at any time based on what your opponents are doing and whether you want to activate the canal or protect it from activation.

Getting Wheat

The key for the early stage of Canal (and especially placement) is to work out how to get a steady supply of wheat. Initially the key will be to feed your first knight in order to protect your city, but you will also need a regular supply of wheat both to protect your city but also to expand with additional cities and settlements and to activate knights in order to gain canal points. You should consider the following options for wheat supply:

  • Placement: The normal rules on placement apply, therefore if you place your third and final settlement on wheat you will receive a wheat on placement. The benefit of this is that it will take enormous pressure off in terms of activating your first knight, but the disadvantage is that you will not receive further resources from that hex until the canal is complete. There is one further advantage however - and that is that you will also be able to collect wheat if you receive an irrigation card. If you do settle on wheat and you see somebody sitting with unused green progress cards, the chances are they would be a good target for a spy, even if they are not sitting in the lead.
  • 3-1 Ports: Probably the most conventional means of gaining wheat is to place on a 3-1 port. This tends to be the favoured option, particularly as one settlement or city must be placed on the coast with a ship. The advantage is that you will be able to trade 3 resources of your choice for wheat at any time, but the disadvantage is that it could be difficult to collect sufficient resources for the trade without losing out to brigands. If this is the route you choose, then you should try to make sure you have at least one resource with strong numbers so that you will get a steady enough supply to trade.
  • Aquaduct: The aquaduct is clearly the most reliable way to obtain a regular supply of wheat so most players will target good wood numbers with their first city. If you are placing early (and hence are likely to have less chance for a decent city) you should still try to place on the strongest wood numbers to prevent your opponents getting a quick aquaduct. If you take a 3-1 port, once you have your first knight use the 3-1 to get as much paper as you can as quickly as you can in order to get to the aquaduct.
  • Gold Mines: By moving a knight onto the gold mines you can collect a resource of your choice each time that number is rolled. The knight does not have to be active to collect but it doesn't count for knight points, even if active. Since the gold mines are always on 6 and 8 there is clear benefit to this option but the disadvantage is that, in order to take advantage of this you will need to build a ship route to the mine and build, feed and move the knight, probably whilst maintaining a second knight on the island to protect your city. Also bear in mind that the gold mines dry up once the wheat is irrigated, so if you are going to go for gold you have to do it early. This is probably a more advantageous strategy in 3-player than 4-player, where the canal is likely to be built a lot faster. It is probably also quite risky if you are not playing cardstack! If you do have a knight on gold, then it is to your advantage to try to block other players from completing the canal in order to reap your advantage.
  • 2-1 Ports: As with the gold mines, you only need a knight on the 2-1 ports (which are always on the islands with the gold mines) in order to benefit from the 2-1 trading capacity. The difference is that you can continue to benefit from these ports after the canal has been dug. A frequent strategy is to get a knight onto the gold mine and then move it to one of the ports once the wheat has been irrigated.

Other Things to Think About

Whilst the aquaduct is key for getting wheat, don't overlook the importance of cloth and coins. Trade cards can be hugely beneficial for a number of reasons. The merchant can make it easier to trade for wheat whilst a resource monopoly can get you the resources you need for 3-1 trades early in the game and can also capture wheat as players start to collect wheat from aquaducts and gold mines. And of course the trade master, harbour and trade monopoly can give you a huge boost towards a quick aquaduct. Remember also that trade cards become much more valuable in a 4-player game.

As for coins, if you are going to try to obtain canal points and also require less wheat to activate more knights to protect your city, then you will need at some stage to be able to promote to mighty knights. With a lot of congestion of roads and knights as people try to manouevre into position to build the canal, cards such as diplomat and intrigue which are probably the least used in most CK games take on a lot more importance in canal.

And remember that, whilst the early emphasis will be on getting enough wheat to activate your knights and save your city, and then on activating knights for canal points, the usual applies in terms of knights points when the barbs strike, longest road, additional settlements and cities and of course the metros. So whilst progress can be very slow in the early stages, you still need to think about how you are going to expand as the game goes on.

GOOD LUCK!

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