Well they finally came up with a great Idea for the game Settlers of Catan! they have created an outer frame to go around the hexes to hold them in place. Unfortunately, I discovered this when I received a copy of Seafarers of Catan (Now Catan: Seafarers) and the 5-6 player expansion for Christmas.
So now I was hoping that there would be a way to purchace just those outer edges for the basic game (a sort of upgrade for my 3rd edition). I checked Mayfair’s sight but had no luck in finding replacement parts for the game.
If I recall correctly, the original Kosmos version of Cities and Knights (Stadt & Ritter) came with a frame that works with the basic game (Just have to replace half of the barbarian tile with a spare water hex.) Kosmos’s Seafarers came with a rectangular frame for Seafarers too.
What I’m getting at is that this may not be a new innovation at all. Have you had Mayfair Seafarers before? It’s possible that it’s always come with a frame. I’m not sure. Are you sure the 4th edition base game comes with one or do you just need to get Cities and Knights, just like the Kosmos version?
(And if you like Setters and Seafarers, you should get C&K anyway, IMHO. It’s great!)
Be warned, if I recall, the non-seafarers frame only works for the 3-4 player size map. I don’t think they had a frame for the 5-6 player size island. Frankly, we’ve never had much of a problem with tiles shifting for non-seafarers scenarios. We usually only use the frame when playing seafarers.
In any case, you may get a more definitive answer here:
(search for the game name, then scroll down to the forum section on the game page)
I’m pretty sure the 5-6 C+K expansion comes with frame extensions that make the frame big enough for 5-6 player regular settlers.
Just out of curiosity… what purpose does the frame serve? I’ve played countless games of Settlers (and Knights and Cities, etc.) without ever using it. Let your map roam free across the table!
More often than not, our games are accompanied by alcohol consumption and I am quite clumsy after a few drinks, often pushing my pieces down so they inadvertently wedge the hexes apart. Luckily, I only played about one game without the cities and knights expansion, which has the frame. (The 5-6 player C&K expansion also includes pieces to expand the frame.)