World of Catan Wiki

Greetings all! Explorers and Pirates is by far my favorite way to play Catan but in my opinion, the pirate is of little to no consequence so after giving some though and discussion with friends, I’ve devised a retooled role for the pirate as well as a new character. My parameters were simple. It couldn’t bog the game down and the pirate role needed to be high risk, high reward and I think both of those have been met. Also unlike the original rules, this variation makes it possible to have a pirate free game after the initial pirate is rolled into the game. The few times we’ve played it have been a blast and I hope you will find that it adds a new dimension and a lot of fun to the EAP expansion. In keeping with the spirit of the game, I’ve included a short back story. I hope you enjoy Pirates and The Salty Winch!

Pirates love the sea! They also love to pillage and plunder. They are a far greater threat to passers by than a mere toll collector. True pirates take what they can and give nothing back! So accordingly, the pirate now presents the threat of sinking your ships, attacking your harbors, and plundering your cargo! They can also move from hex to hex to chase down their victims. But they need to exercise great caution as merchant vessels run heavily armed. Piracy itself is a high stakes game and for every attack, intrepid pirates run the risk of being permanently sunk, unable to return to the game! Not the brightest bunch, pirates rarely exhibit mercy or self control which makes them as much of a danger to themselves as they are to others. After all, his is a high risk, high reward lifestyle. But what pirate is satisfied with mere pillage and plunder? They can’t resist the call to head ashore from time to time to seek the pleasure of accompaniment. Because if there’s one thing a pirate loves more than booty, it’s BOOTY! Introducing... the Salty Winch! When in play, no pirate can ignore her siren’s call and they will pay out the nose to see her! And she is certainly a winch worth her salt! Having slaked their lust, the now fully satisfied pirates then sail on to bluer seas. But mark my words, they shall return and ye best be ready when they do!


  • Pirate moves after build phase 
  • Gold tribute rule still applies
  • 7 rolls a pirate
  • Alt 7 replaces pirate
  • Pirates play on hexes, not shipping lanes
  • Pirates move one hex per turn (2nd w sheep)
  • Pirate must move to attack position 
  • Pirate may attack ships or harbors
  • Pirate may only attack one victim at a time
  • Pirate rolls 6 to attack (4&5 w spices) + 1 ore
  • Before attack, defender has a single opportunity to permanently dispatch the attacking pirate from the game by rolling a 2 with both dice
  • Defender must roll 6 to defeat pirate (4&5 w spice)
  • Tie goes to defense?
  • If Pirate wins, he captures all cargo
  • Captured settlers/crew are returned to inventory of that colors player
  • Pirates may carry up to two fish or four spices on their deck
  • Pirates with a full deck may not attack 
  • Pirates ally ships must come collect booty
  • To transship booty from pirate to ship, council dock rule and transshipment rule applies
  • Harbor defense is the same as ships
  • Harbor defeat does not effect the harbor itself, only the cargo stored there
  • Pirate may not deliver cargo to the counsel
  • If a 7 removes a booty laden pirate from the board, the booty drifts at sea in that hex until the nearest ship can haul it in
  • Pirates cannot haul in drifting booty
  • Losing ship/pirate is returned to inventory of that colors player
  • Battle ready ship rule no longer applies
  • The salty winch (robber piece) comes into play when a 2 or 12 is rolled whether or not a pirate is in play
  • Like the robber, the salty winch does not belong to any one player but is an element of the game itself
  • Production of the 2 or 12 is carried out as usual
  • The pirate immediately answers the call of the salty winch by way of payment to the rolling player and is removed from the board
  • Payment consists of one wood and one gold or three gold if pirate has no wood or up to any three resources if pirate can’t pay three gold
  • If pirate has less than three resources all are made in payment and payment is insufficient allowing the Salty Winch to remain in play
  • Trading gold for wood does not count towards pirate players per-turn gold exchange limit
  • Winch is also removed once sufficient payment is made
  • If payment remains insufficient she remains on the board until the emergence of a wealthy enough pirate, in which case, payment is made to the salty winch immediately upon the roll of a 7 and no pirate enters the game
  • Any insufficient payments incurred as the result of a 7 are paid immediately to the salty winch who remains in play and no pirate enters the game
  • Pirate is removed regardless of his ability to make full payment
  • Booty possessed by a pirate who is removed by the salty winch is adrift at sea
  • All other rules concerning the roll of a 7 still apply

Catan Explores and Pirates Fan Rules: Pirates and The Salty Winch