The cards are colorful depictions of beans in various descriptive poses, and the object is to make coins by planting fields (sets) of these beans and then harvesting them. To help players match their cards up, the game features extensive trading and deal making. One of the most unique features of the game is that you cannot rearrange your hand, as you need to play the cards in the order that you draw them.
In Catan (formerly The Settlers of Catan), players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. On each turn dice are rolled to determine what resources the island produces. Players collect these resources (cards)—wood, grain, brick, sheep, or stone—to build up their civilizations to get to 10 victory points and win the game.
Players take on the role of newcomers to Catan and learn how the adventurous life in the first settlement played itself out. They explore, using a new movement mechanic, for the raw materials they need to build the settlement. Along the way, they discover useful natural products – but also encounter wild animals and are confronted with adventurous situations. Those who survive these encounters obtain the raw materials they sought as well as experience points that improve the abilities of the player’s character. Over time, then, the player becomes stronger, smarter or more charismatic and is better and better suited for the dangers of the wild.
In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria…one room at a time. You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he’s commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims. Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he’s building while also selling his services to other players.
Ladies is a three- to five-player game that includes female versions of the beans used in Bohnanza. You get more money if a field is harvested with a lady bean as the top card. You get no money if a field is harvested with a baby bean on top. There are some new rules about reordering beans on the fields. Gangsters is a one- or two-player game where you must pay off the Bean Mafia. Each turn, the Bean Mafia will take beans from your fields if yours match what they are growing. They will also take matching cards when drawn. This game also includes a few new beans with irregular beanometers.
Traders & Barbarians is distributed as the third major expansion for The Settlers of Catan, although it is actually a compilation of small expansions and variants. (It is independent of the Seafarers and Cities & Knights expansions, but can be combined with them.)