Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Settlers of Catan [Board Game Review]


Picture courtesy user pigeoncamera on BGG
In a continuing effort to draw you, the reader, away from Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, and the other "usual suspects" of games, I now present to you the game that has done that very thing for many people around the world - The Settlers of Catan. This game was released in 1995 in Germany but became immensely popular around the world. It was the first "Euro" game that I played. Since then, well, as Ginny can attest to, I have assembled a nice collection of games. But I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to tell you why this game is one you should consider purchasing.

The Settlers of Catan is a game for 3 or 4 players in which you gather resources and build settlements, roads, and cities in an effort to be the dominant force on the island of Catan. Playing time should run no more than 90 minutes. As with my look at
Ticket to Ride, I won't bore you with the complete rules description but instead will focus on the overview and why this game is one you should look at.

Picture of resources courtesy user pigeoncamera on BGG

There are three steps to your turn: 1) Roll the dice and pass out resources corresponding to the hex of the number rolled; 2) Trade - or at least offer to trade - resources with another player or players; and 3) If possible and if you want, build an improvement by paying the cost for it (i.e. one road requires one wood and one brick resource). Then it is the next player's turn. This continues until one player reached 10 victory points. You'll want to refer to the rules for more details on the scoring system and other ways to achieve 10 victory points. There are also special conditions when a "7" is rolled, but again, for the purpose of this review, those details have been omitted.

My Thoughts:

So what do I think of Settlers of Catan? I enjoy it. It's a game that does not require much brain-burning and can be enjoyed by people of all "levels" of board gaming. The one caveat that I have, as do others, is that the method of acquiring resources revolves around rolling dice, and if the dice are unkind, you could theoretically receive no resources for several rolls. You can mitigate this if you build your settlements across several numbers, but be aware that the luck of the dice can play a big part in the game. For some people, this makes the game not enjoyable and even unplayable (these are people who are die-hard strategy game players). This is not the case for me. I know going in that the dice play a role (pun 100% intended) in determining resources, and I am ok with that. It adds to the elements of where to place your settlements and trading resources with the other players. I have the game rated as a 7 out of 10. If you're looking to draw a few more players deeper into the world of strategy board games, The Settlers of Catan is an excellent choice. (It is available at Target and other stores.)

-D

1 comment:

Meyser said...

We just started with the Settlers too! But after the first game, we all agreed buying some extras would make the game much more interesting, so that's on our wishlist!
If you enjoy the Settlers, you might quite like Carcassonne too. It also has a variety of extra options you can buy to complete the game, but even the basic one is already a lot of fun. (and no dice involved, so maybe a little more strategy and dependance on what other players do is required...)