The Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan


In this direct adaptation of the board game, your objective is be the first player to earn ten victory points by building a primitive civilization through resource harvesting. You achieve this with settlements, cities and the strategic use of game cards.


Reviwer:  Emily B.

Catan is a building game with the unique quality of also being a board game.  You begin the game with a blank board made of hexagons that display resources.  These are wheat, stone, sheep, wood and brick.  Each space contains a number between one and twelve, and they are dispersed randomly across the board.  Sixes and eights are never next to each other though because they are two of the most common numbers to roll with two dice.  Each player puts down two settlements and two roads before the game begins.  As you roll the dice, you collect one of each resource (wheat, stone, sheep, wood or brick) that a settlement touches.  You use these resources to build roads, more settlements, purchase action cards or upgrade your settlements into cities.  Collectively, this is how you earn victory points which if you earn enough win you the game.

It sounds pretty easy except that you have two to three other players vying for the same spaces on the map and also trying to gain victory points.  There are action cards that may be played to thwart your opponents plans, and if used wisely, can cause great turmoil and permanent enemies.  I guess that’s why it’s sometimes good to play these types of games with complete strangers.  If that wasn’t enough, though, you also have a robber in the game represented by a little black pawn that enables other players to steal your resources.  How often does he appear, you ask?  Only when you roll a seven, the most common number to roll with two dice.  You want more torment, you say?  If you have over seven cards when the robber is rolled, you must discard half of them.  Considering it takes five cards (three stone and two wheat) to build a city, it can really bring your world domination plans to a grinding halt.

This game, as you may have surmised, can become very frustrating.  It can be especially difficult when you’re playing unfamiliar opponents.  If you love competition, however, and need a break from the common casual game memes, Settlers of Catan should be on your short list.  

Although easy for any player to get started, Catan is sophisticated enough to also appeal to serious gamers.  The game is so well-conceived and the building aspect so incredibly addictive, that I will gladly suffer the invariable competitive slights, to play again.  My guess is you will too.


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Game Developer: Klaus Teuber
Game Publisher: Mayfair Games

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