Katimavik Bay Rivals Strategy Guide


This guide assumes that you know the basic rules of the games and are looking for tips on how to play better.

There is more than one winning strategy with these games. We've compiled here the suggestions from a number of players. Nearly all of these tips have exceptions, sometimes many of them. You have to use your judgment on when to apply them.


There are three themed variations of the rivals game: Progress, Gold, and Turmoil. These three themes roughly represent the basic themes of the Cities and Knights progress cards. Progress (green cards) mainly contain cards aimed to speed up your building progress such as mineral mine (mining) and three-fields (irrigation); Gold (yellow cards) mainly contain cards aimed at obtaining trade advantage such as merchant and trade master; Turmoil (purple cards) mostly contain cards aimed at destroying your opponent such as archer, arsonist, traitor (spy). The Duel version combines elements of all three.

While many of the tips are common to all games, but we will focus first on Gold since it is the first tournament game.


This is roughly an outline of the sections below

  1. What you need to know
  2. General Strategies
  3. Starting phase
    1. Selecting your starting 3 cards
  4. Development phase
  5. Closing phase

What you need to know

If you're in a hurry and just want to get a few quick tips check out the Top 10 Tips to see what different players Top 10 tips are. I encourage all the strong players to add their top 10 to the page.

Read the instructions

Learn what each card does in the reference manual (could someone put correct link in)

Read Vixter's excellent tutorial on events, She stopped writing it when I told her I thought we should focus on strategies not already documented, but if you find it very useful and would like to see more, tell her, if enough of you do maybe she'll write more. It's a lot of work and only worth it if the demand is there.
Some ultra brief tutorials on:

Get to know the key cards (also known as centre cards) and what resources it takes to build them. Ensure you have a full understanding of prerequisites (for example, you cannot build an abbey without a university, a town hall without a parish hall). The best way to improve your understanding of the cards is to play as often as possible. Invest in paying to select cards early in the game to ensure that you obtain whatever prerequisites you need to build your centre card. More details on the key centre cards is contained within the specific theme sections.

General strategies


  • The object of the Gold game is to get to 12 points before your opponent. This is perhaps obvious but it implies that there is a race for victory points so you need to find the most efficient way of securing those points. Point generation depends on a combination of producing the right resources at the right time and efficiently converting these resources into points.
  • You should have a clear idea of where you are going to get those points from.
  • Every card slot (2 for settlements, 4 for cities) is valuable, in general the less card slots use the faster you will get to 12 points. Every slot you have to place a card costs resources. The more slots you take to win usually the longer it will take.

Here is one example

Item VP wood brick sheep wheat ore gold
2 settlements 2
road/settlement 1 2 3 1 1
3 cities 3 6 9
Strength: candomir 1 2 1 1
Trade: MP + 2 TB 1 2 2 1 1
Merchant guild 1 2 2 1
2 X Staple house 2 4 2 4
Mint 1 2 1 1
Total 12 6 12 8 10 15

From this table it would seem that if we have a scout we should chose ore and brick and that a foundry would probably be useful


  1. You will win if you stay a step ahead of your opponent by taking better advantage of events, playing more action cards and particularly more attack cards. If done properly your opponent will become very frustrated because he never gets a change to start because you are often taking cards from him.
  2. You should be continually playing as many action cards as you can. Every card you benefit from, your opponent doesn't. If you are in a mode where you are not playing cards because you are waiting for a certain roll, you are falling behind.

Settlements & expansion strategy

  • Settlements are one of the least efficient way of getting a VP because a settlement requires a road (2 brick and 1 wood), so 7 resources in all. Ideally you should not need more than 4 settlements, you can win with 3 . The only advantage of getting more is to deny your opponent the opportunity to expand and hence limit his/her building space. You also get extra resources from the new regions and more card slots, but playing marketplace makes up for much of this. WE will focus on 3 settlement strategies here, but if your rolls dictate that you should create a fourth settlement, go ahead.
  • There are no points for longest road. Only build roads if you can put a settlement at the end of it and are confident of building that settlement before the stock of 9 settlements is exhausted.
  • a traditional expansions strategy of getting 4 identical pairs of regions with production multipliers will fail against the satrtegies proposed here if well executed.

Strength and trade points

  • The strength and trade points are key because they each represent potentially 2 point swings, if you have one of them, your opponent doesn't.

Gold strategy

The don't call it the era of gold for nothing. With 2 toll bridges and 2 pirate ships you can generate 6 gold each plentiful harvest and have a gold cache to store it in. Mint , goldsmith and gold fleet allow you to convert gold to other resources, You can then also take full advantage of the 3 traveling merchant event cards.

Strategy SUmmary


  • Find and play key starting cards first (see below). You want to chose cards that allow you to benefit from event rolls and prevent your opponent from doing so.
  • Build city and settlement
  • get and play attack cards before your opponent
  • Build Merchant guildhall


  • Build market place when your opponent expands
  • Build key expansions to enable use of expansion action cards
  • Seek Trade Advantage for extra point


  • Build lowest cost city expansions you can

*defend, steal or concede strength and trade points

Selecting your opponent

You may want to check the Rival elo list and avoid top 20 even top 50 players. The will typically make your life miserable.


THE opening goes from the first dice roll to the building of the merchant guild hall


Ideal starting position

The following 4 cards constitute the ideal start:

  1. Parish Hall: to find the other cards you need cheaply
  2. Candamir: strength advantage:l worth 1 VP and allows you to attack your opponent with feud and fraternal feud events.
  3. Toll Bridge: get 2 gold for Plentiful harvest
  4. Abbey: Allows you to have 4 cards in your hand. Receive 2 resources for adjacent regions when year of plenty or invention rolls… or perhaps second toll bridge.

staring region locations

The resource analysis above indicates that ore and brick are the most needed. I would suggest something like:

gold wood brick

sheep wheat ore

Starting 3 cards

Pick up 3 cards in the following priority order:


Having the most skill/celebration points gets you an extra resource every time celebration is rolled. Having the most strength points (over 3), lets you beat your opponent in feud and play expansion action cards (like Brigands from the Gold deck). Candamir gives you both of these in the absence of another character, and strength advantage against any single other starting character. So Candamir is very valuable if you have him in your initial draw. As a single card, who draws him can impact the rest of the game, particularly if Feud rolls often by chance. Take Siglind if you can't get Cadamir.

Since there are at least 2 of all other cards Candamir/Siglind are very valuable.

Parish hall

Key to reducing cost of finding other critical cards. Usually the first thing I play if i can. It may save a few resourcse by


very useful to get resources you need to build. Itry to use immediately but will save if there is nothing to build

Toll Bridge

Next is the Toll Bridge. It provides an extra two gold every Plentiful Harvest. IT is a key component of the gold strategy outlined above. This gold can be traded in for other resources, used for certain buildings, or used to pay to search through decks for specific cards after your discard. There is a second toll bridge in the expansion stacks that might be worth getting immediately.


Gives you 1 extra card in your hand, generates resources for adjacent regions for certain events. With the abbey and parish, its worth confirming before play with your opponent if you will be playing by gentlemen's rules. That is, whether one player can hoard both abbey or both parish. If you both agree not to hoard the abbey, you can hold off drawing this initially, particularly if you know what deck its in to search for later. The larger hand helps but it isn't a necessary starting card for the first few rounds.

Other useful cards at start


Brigita and the Caravan are similarly useful. Brigita allows you to choose the die roll, so you get exactly the resource you want. It is more useful later when you have multiple regions with the same number. Ccaravan allows you to trade 2 resource for whatever you want amd is more usful when you want to build something at the beginning,
Both of these can give you an early jump, and also having been played clear your hand quickly to draw new cards.


If you plan to expand to three settlements early, perhaps placing one production multiplier (stone mine, lumber mill, etc), then the Scout is a useful card to have. It allows you to ensure you get the new resource tiles to compliment your production strategy.

Cards not worth keeping at start

  1. Store house: protects against brigand and generates revenue but no trade or VP points
  2. Trade ships: Not enough production to justify, too early to go for trade advantage
  3. Marketplace: Only valuable when opponent starts expanding settlements
  4. Relocation: You can relocate at the start. Don't need this card unless you expand without Scout. May be more usefult to relocate buildings.
  5. most production x2 cards: they take up a valuable slot and generally cost you either trade or strength advantage.
  6. Goldsmith: You won't have three gold for a bit, so it just takes up space in hand

It is more important to get the right resource than more resources

Playing your cards

If you can play all 3 cards and try to find the others.

TAKE THE TIME TO WRITE DOWN THE CARDS IF YOU SEARCH A DECK and keep track of what your opponent takes,

Another approach is to make or buy color coded cards and place them in rows to represent the stacks.
Lets say the parish is the third card in your draw deck. However, you see a toll bridge and two action cards. You can leave the parish, play an action card, play the toll bridge, draw two new cards, discard one and you still get your parish. If a card you want early is at the top of your starting deck, you can turn that starting deck into an extension of your hand by knowing what you're going to play and then draw. Similarly if searching later, you see two cards you want from a deck, keep track of how many cards deep the one you don't pick is. If you watch where your opponent picks from and where you pick from, you might be able to time drawing the second card without paying to search by knowing its at or near the top.)

First Expansion

Build a city if you can before a settlement to take advantage of expansion action cards. You want to have the opportunity to build the merchant guild early if possible. If rolls dictate the settlement comes first so be it

if you have a scout you probably want to expand with an ore and brick. Pick numbers to get an ore wood or ore brick paiir.match which will make it easier to get some city expansions


City expansions

Build a number of city expansions \. make sure you alwayss have a couple in your ahnd

Expansion wood brick sheep wheat ore Comment
Merchant Guild 2 2 1 key center expansion
Staple House 2 1 2 get 2 resources: net cost 3
Mint 2 1 2 great for gold strategy
Money lender 2 1 2 Good with trade advantage
Trading base 1 2 2 increases trade points



Gold has some significant differences from the other themes, and impacts the base game. Gold emphasizes trade. Its 'master' card is the Merchant Guild which gives +2 commerce points. There are pirates who will kill off enemy trade ships. Traveling merchants that allow you to grab opponent resources. Unlike the other two themes, the CoW version of the Era of Gold has no knights or items with strength points. Ironically, this means that the knights from the basic deck, particularly Candamir are even more important. Candamir in particular essentially guarantees a player will be able to keep strength advantage or even strength by using up two slots for knights. (Candamir + one of the two strength knights). In the official game Feuds should more common in Era of Gold. Its unclear if they've coded it that way in CoW.

Important Early Cards in Gold:

  1. 2nd Toll Bridge: Didn't get a Toll Bridge off the draw, you get a second chance in Gold. Be careful you don't want your opponent getting two of them in play. Remember, trade is important in Gold, and the Toll Bridge both gives two gold for every Plentiful Harvest, but also a commerce point that can't be knocked off by a Pirate Ship.
  2. Gold Cache: How would you like a free gold storehouse. And I mean completely free. It doesn't take up a normal settlement/city slot. It doesn't cost resources to build. However, it gives you additional gold storage and protection from Brigands. A fantastic card. Only one in the deck though. Grab it and play it before your opponent does.
  3. 2 Merchants: Merchants are an important card to get, if for no other reason than you don't want them played on you. They depend on you having a city. That leads feeds to a goal of getting to a city quickly in Gold rather than settlement. Cities allow the play of both the merchant guild and the merchants. The merchants allow you to take two resources from an opponent, and give him one. Look to take resources that are useful for getting you to a city, or to a merchant guild. You'll have to give one back. Give them one they don't look to need. Buy low, sell high.
  4. Brigands: This one is conditional. Did you get Candamir? If so, be happy and evil. Wait till your opponent has almost gotten to a city for example and grab all his stone. This card requires a strength advantage, but you know what they say, if you've got it, use it.
  5. Reiner: Not really as useful as the others, but if you have skill advantage, essentially gets you two free resources compared to your opponent buy guaranteeing a Celebration with a + 1 bonus

Useful Mid and Late game cards

  1. Merchant Guild: Hard to say if this is early or mid. Its a 'as soon as you can get it out' sort of thing.
  2. Trade Master: Be the first to get to Merchant Guild and snap these up. Sure the basic Merchant card is nice, but now you can get two resources and not give anything back.
  3. Mint: Gold flows pretty active in this game, particularly if you have the Gold Cache to sit on it. The mint gives you a 1 for 1 transfer each turn. This can be significant, doubly so if you got both Toll Bridges.
  4. Trading Base: You want the trade advantage, this is worth 1 commerce point itself, and up to 3 if you have both a Marketplace and Harbor.
  5. Staple House: I like the Staple House for one reason. It can give you a two point turn which is great for steamrolling an opponent. Play the Staple House, and you draw two more resources, which potentially can help you get a second building out in a single turn. Even if not, two resources of your choice give this an effective cost of only 3 resources for a victory point.

Play Tips

Gold is about fishing. If you didn't get the Parish in your first draw you're already a step behind. While Candamir is likely the single most valuable starting card due to his uniqueness and lack of counters in the Gold expansion, you don't need to play him. First play if you can will always be Parish. If you didn't get the Parish the first turn you're in a painful predicament. You need to spend two precious starting resources to search for it in the other two decks. Why? Because you want to get it and grab the gold cache, the toll bridge and the two merchant cards from the Gold Expansion before your opponent. Remember the Gold cache is a free card, the merchants are the main attack cards (though you need a city to play them), and the toll bridge has additional value in a trade focused game due to both is gold production and trade point.

Work to get a city as soon as possible, don't push to a third settlement until you have a merchant guild in play. The city lets you play merchant cards. These hinder your opponent spreading out your lead. The merchant guild gives you access to the trade master. This hinders your foe even further. If concerned, you can build a marketplace which helps you with any production deficit if your opponent does make a third settlement, plus gives you an additional commerce point (2 when you build a Trading Base).

While you want the trade advantage, don't work on trade ships to get it. Trade ships are just a temptation for your foe to play pirate ships. (Which isn't terrible as they cost him a slot and are pretty low return.) Still, the odds are you'll get it knocked off which means resources spent for little return. If you need to play one to break your opponent's trade advantage, go for it, but focus on spending your resources where they'll do the most good.

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