Spotlight on Games > Translations
English Translation
Fri Aug 31 13:14:51 PDT 2001
Die Große Mauer
["The Great Wall" from Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien II.
Translation by Rick Heli. Editorial additions in square brackets.]

The History:

During its long existence the Chinese Empire was a worthy target of steppe peoples. To protect its northern border over the course of the centuries the Chinese built a great wall. However this tremendous bulwark could not always keep out the raids of the the sons of the steppe, thirsty-for-riches.

Short Overview

In this scenario the players take the roles of Chinese princes. Each player is responsible for a section of the Great Wall. He must always make sure his section is high enough to prevent being overrun by the steppe riders. If he is unable to do this, he will earn a negative victory point. At the same time of course he must work to colonize his areas in order to obtain the resources necessary to build the wall and expand his influence.

Playing Material

For this scenario you need from the basic game: Also needed from this set:

Preparation of the Game:

The game board shows the northern part of ancient China and the approximate course of the "Great Wall" built for the protection from the steppe peoples of the north.
For 6 players, use the entire board. For 4 players, fold under the left third of the game.

[The illustration in the second column of the first page fits here. Translations of the white boxes from top to bottom are
Home area of the steppe riders
Assembly hex
Attack Number
Attack Hex
Wall section build site
Border fortress build site]

Shown above is the reduced game map for 4 players and the special areas are indicated.

Founding Phase:

Next each player founds as a border fort a settlement on one of the 4 (respectively 6, with 6 players) build sites marked on the board (temple figure in a dark or light blue circle). The player rolling highest places first. When all of the border forts are placed, each player founds 2 more settlements according to the usual basic game Founding Phase rules. The player who placed the last border fort last begins. At the end of the Founding Phase each player will have 3 settlements on the board and thus begin with 3 VP.
Note: Border settlements are allowed to be upgraded to border cities.

Course of the Game

In this scenario, the rules from the basic game apply. With 6 players, the rules from the 5-6 Player Expansion apply as well. Additional or exceptional rules are explained below.

  1. Raw Material Phase:
  2. The player whose turn it is rolls the dice. Before each player takes his earned raw materials as usual, an existing steppe rider must be moved. (See the section - the Migration of the steppe riders)
    There is no Robber in this scenario. If a "7" is rolled, the player whose turn it is may move the Pirate. (See the section - Rolling a "7")

  3. Trade and Build Phase:
  4. A player may, on his turn as usual, build settlements, roads and cities. Building of settlements or cities triggers the Migration of the Steppe Riders. Additionally a player can also expand his wall section.

    1. Expanding a Wall Section
    2. Each player expands the wall section neighboring his border fort. At the beginning of the game each player's wall section on the board is a simple wall with no watch tower (level 0).
      In the course of the game, a player can expand his wall up to level 5 (5 watch towers).
      Expansion requirements:
      • Each expansion costs the raw materials listed on the back.
      • Expansion of the wall must be in order. It is also not permitted to, after building level 1, immediately build level 3.
      • If done in the proper order, multiple sections may be expanded in one turn.
      • If a player builds a wall section, he places it on top of the already existing sections.

      [See first illustration on page 2, first column.]
      Example: The red player builds a third level wall section. He pays an ore, wood, clay and grain, flips the section over and places it on the already placed second section.

    3. Migration of the Steppe Riders
    4. In the course of the game, the steppe riders migrate from their homeland (cloth bag) to an Assembly hex (with a Roman numeral) and from there to an adjacent Attack hex directly on the Great Wall.

      Step 1: From Homeland to Assembly Hex
      As soon as a player founds a settlement or improves a settlement to a city, he takes a steppe rider from the cloth bag. He checks the Roman numeral on back side of the chip and places it in the Assembly hex with the same Roman numeral. The chip remains here until a later player rolls one of the two attack numbers (in the two blue circles).

      Step 2: From Assembly Hex to Attack Hex
      If a player rolls the Attack number (the number in the blue circle) and there is a steppe rider in the designated Assembly hex, the steppe rider moves to the Attack hex below (following the arrow on the Attack number). A steppe rider must always be moved before the players take their Raw Material cards.

      [See first illustration on page 2, center column.]
      Example: On his turn a player rolls an "8". He moves a steppe rider corresponding to the Attack number to the Attack hex on the right. If he had rolled a "9", the steppe rider would have had to move to the Attack hex on the left. Only then do the players take Raw Material cards.
      Important: At most 5 steppe riders may exist on an Attack hex. Should the number of an Attack hex be rolled on which 5 steppe riders have already collected, no steppe rider is moved.

Breaking Through the Wall

As soon as an Attack hex has collected more steppe riders than the number of watch towers on the bordering wall watch tower, the wall is overcome by the steppe riders. The results are:
  1. The steppe riders on the Attack hex penetrate the wall. They are placed in the next hex behind the wall in the attack direction. The attack direction agrees with the arrow on the underside of the wall.
  2. If more than 1 steppe rider penetrates the wall, each is distributed in the following hexes in the attack direction. At most one steppe rider occupies a hex.
  3. Hexes occupied by steppe riders no longer produce Raw Materials.
  4. The penetrated wall section is reduced by one level. (Naturally level "0" remains as is.)
  5. The player with the neighboring border fort is responsible for the breakthrough and receives a penalty chip.

[See bottom illustration on page 2, center column.]
1) Red's wall section has 2 watch towers (Level 2). After the steppe rider has been moved from an Assembly hex to the adjacent Attack hex, there is one more steppe rider on the hex than the watch tower can hold. The wall is penetrated.

[See top illustration on page 2, right column.]
2) Seppe riders have been placed on each of the 3 successive hexes behind the wall in the attack direction. These hexes do not produce Raw Materials as long as the steppe rider chips remain. In addition the red player receives a penalty chip and reduces his level 2 wall section. It comes down to level 1. At first there is no acute danger. Certainly the wall can suffer a repeat breakthrough if Red does not upgrade his wall and 2 steppe riders are moved onto the Attack hex.

Repeat Breakthrough

If a wall is broken through again, the hexes behind the wall contain steppe rider chips from a previous breakthrough. In this case, the following is observed:
  1. First of all gaps (can exist due to the entry of knights) are closed.
  2. Then all of the still free hexes with production numbers are each occupied with a steppe rider to the lower coast.
  3. Should all hexes in the attack direction be already occupied by a steppe rider, then hexes from the top (wall) to bottom are double occupied with steppe riders.

[See top illustration on page 3, left column.] Special Case: For geographical reasons the steppe riders make a small detour when the easternmost wall section is penetrated. The first steppe rider is placed on the "6" forest hex. The next crosses the sea hex along the arrow (ships are not needed) and then are placed in the next hexes in the direction of the arrow.

A Level 5 Wall Is Secure!

Since there can never be more than 5 steppe riders in an attack hex, a wall section having 5 levels can never be broken through.

Rolling a "7"

With the exception of the robber, the basic game rules apply. Instead of the robber, the pirate is moved to the sea hex of choice. As long as the pirate occupies a hex with a port, the trade function of the port is de-activated.
When the Pirate is moved, a card may be taken from the face down hand of the player of choice.


When a Knight is played, 2 of the 3 following actions can be chosen:
  1. He may move a steppe rider chip from an Assembly hex to the Assembly hex of choice.
  2. He may pursue a steppe rider chip out of a hex [entered from a breakthrough] (the steppe rider is returned to the cloth bag).
  3. He may move the pirate to another sea hex and draw one card from the player of his choice.
It is also allowed to perform actions 1 or 2 twice after one another; thus, for example to move 2 steppe riders between Assembly hexes.


The rules for the "Längste Handelsstraße" are the same as in the basic game. The "Größte Rittermacht" is slightly altered. The special victory point card "Größte Rittermacht" is worth only 1 victory point.

Game End

The game ends when either

China and the Great Wall

The Chinese Wall is one of the fascinating constructions in human history. However, there is actually no single Great Wall. In the course of 2700 years various Chinese dynasties and prices have built wall sections. When today we speak of the Great Wall, we mean the wall of the Ming Dynasty, whose erection began in the 14th century and would be expanded into the 17th century.

The first wall existed around the 6th century before Christ. It was a time of warring states. Numerous principalities fought with one another at that time. China was fully-divided. It was however also the time of the zenith of China's greatest philosophical culture. Half a millennium before the birth of Christ Kung-fu-tse, who confirmed his teachings, today called "Confucianism", on the belief in human will to morality and humanity; in the same century taught also Lao-tse and founded Taoism. Unfortunately this refined culture did not for the most part cut it with the steppe peoples in northern China.

Again and again they broke in to the Middle Kingdom and profited from the disputes of the principalities, which could be only be persuaded to expend effort for the common defense, if it helped to put a stop to the sons of the steppe penetrating out of the North

In the second century before Christ then the border state strictly-organized by Cheng became gradually accepted as the "Chin" by the Chinese states warring for power. Under Cheng the more than 5000 m. long Great Wall, which however had existed mostly as a wall of tamped earth, was built for the first time. Already the construction of this first wall must have been an act of strength. From the at that time estimated 20 million people in China, 500,000 were workers involved with the construction of the bulwark.
And yet, the steppe peoples, who now spread fear and horror as Huns, succeeded in 166 BC in breaking through the Great Wall with 14,000 horsemen. The Han Dynastie, up until this time quite weak, gave up concessions. A couple of decades later however the Han Dynasty went on the offensive. Their nobles arranged the improvement and strengthening of the Great Wall, with great armies penetrated the seat of the Hun leader and achieved a great victory over the steppe people.

From now on the Huns wandered westward which had consequences a couple centuries later for the fall of the Roman Empire. That also the greatest wall cannot be not strong enough, if in the country discord and unrestrained egoism simultaneously prevail, was experienced again by the Middle Kingdom in its economical and cultural bloom of the 13th century. The Mongols under Genghis Khan and later his nephew Kublai Khan suddenly broke in into a northern Chin state weakened by internal unrest and soon completely took over rule of all China.

The danger of full destruction of the Chinese culture threatened, and it was to be owed only to the gradual risings of the people flickering at all corners and ends of China that the Mongols in the 14th century finally withdrew again into their domestic deserts and steppes.

After the last Mongolian emperor had left Peking, the empire was newly organized. The rulers of the Ming dynasty saw as the main task the safety of the empire from the attacks of the Mongolians and the raids of Japanese pirates. From thenceforward China closed itself to the outside. The great Chinese Wall was built up to a length of 2,450 km and grew to the 17th century to more than 6,000 km. Never again would the Mongolians succeed in taking the country with a stretch of the hand as it were. [A few notes on the history: The predecessor to the Qin wall was not one continuous wall of lesser height, but a number of walls built by different principalities which were only connected together during the Qin. Also, since over and over again the conquerors of China were absorbed and Sinicized, it's hard to see how the culture of China was ever threatened. Read more at the Silk Road website about Wu-Ti, the Han Dynasty "Martial Emperor" and the Xiong Nu.] -->

Copyright 2003 Richard M. Heli