Game Review: The Settlers of Catan

Catan has rapidly become a top-rated game and has received multiple accolades; some have even called it the new Monopoly. Among them is a gaming industry equivalent of the Academy Award. Settlers of Catan have been manufactured in more than thirty different languages due to the game’s widespread popularity.

However, the makers of The Settlers of Catan chose to rebrand the game 20 years after it first hit shelves. Since 2015, all new versions have been offered under the abbreviated name Catan. The popular game can be seen in all its glory in its new portrait-oriented enclosure. To provide a unified aesthetic, a single artist was responsible for creating all the visual elements, including the covers, cards, and tiles.

Overview of the Gameplay of Catan

Three of four players may complete the game of Catan in 90 minutes or less. Additional players or the use of an expansion pack can both lengthen the game’s playing duration. This innovative game encourages teamwork, which serves to maintain healthy competitiveness.

Since a single roll can provide resources for numerous players, the success of one player in this game will ultimately help the other players. Building a monopoly on just one thing is doomed to failure. To move around the island, you’ll need various supplies. You can stay competitive with some strategy and ingenuity, and most deals are win-win.

The players, or “settlers,” in the game Catan will occupy a fictional island, where they will conduct commerce, construct communities, create roads, and eventually develop cities. Players will then race to obtain ten victory points, and the first to achieve them will win.

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The Board of Catan

Nineteen hexagonal tiles, or “terrain Hexes,” are shuffled and placed at the beginning of the game to represent the island. The hexagonal tiles represent five different types of materials: brick, wool, ore, grain, and timber.

The hexagonal tiles on the board have random numbers between two and twelve printed on them. Except for the barren desert, where players can create settlements by using resources, the resources of each terrain type are represented by resource cards.

Rolling the Dice

Each player will roll two dice to establish which resource-bearing terrain tile to explore. A player will gain one card of the matching resource if his settlement is next to the hexagonal tile with the number just rolled. Two cards of the matching resource will be dealt out if the location is a city. The more resources the player has, the more settlements they can establish or upgrade to cities.

The Robber of Catan

A robber is also introduced at the beginning of the game and may be seen roving the board to various hex locations. The terrain’s ability to generate resources is temporarily halted while the robber is on the hexagonal terrain. In addition, if a player rolls a 7, the thief advances to the adjacent hex terrain and steals a resource card from an opponent. In addition, if a seven is rolled, anyone that has more than seven resource cards must return some of them.

Acquiring Points to Win

The game is won when the player, who has access to many resources, successfully constructs a civilization and achieves a score of 10 victory points. Developing a population center, building a major route, amassing a sizeable army, and winning battles are good ways to rack up points. Collecting a set of certain development cards that earn victory points will also help you gain points. Each settlement a player controls is worth one point, and each city is worth two. When one person reaches 10 points, that player announces their score and is declared the winner.

Common Strategies Used in the Game

You may gain an advantage and ultimately win the game by employing any one of a variety of different strategies. The bare bones of any successful approach will involve establishing a new settlement close to a source of the most often rolled resources. Other methods include:

  • Aiming for many brick and wood hexes early on will set you up to construct roads and settlements.
  • Start monopolizing ports. You can trade for everything you need if you establish a port and at least two cities on distinct hexes with the same resource.
  • Play the robber and knight cards against the winning player. Robbery is a great way to slow down your enemies and give yourself a boost in power.
  • Quickly establish cities and settlements. Being well-stocked makes engaging in commerce and construction simpler and will help you win the game.

Expansion Versions of the Game

The original Catan game was designed for three to four players. However, due to a 1996 expansion, the maximum number of players has been raised to six. Teuber, the game’s inventor, began releasing add-ons for the original game with the addition of the 5-6 player extension. Seafarers of Catan is the first expansion for the game. It originally came out in 1997 under the name Catan but was rebranded as Catan: Seafarers in 1999. The game has ships that allow players to travel between sea hexes and scenarios in which they go to and explore several islands.

Catan’s second major expansion, Cities & Knights, hit shelves in 1998. The game was renamed Catan: Cities and Knights after its initial release. The game’s premise is based on using Knights to protect the city of Catan against marauding hordes of savages. Three consumable goods can be made in addition to the primary materials. Three examples are paper, money, and fabric. Cities may also be upgraded, which has positive effects on players. Catan: Cities and Knights, like the main game, has a 5-6 player expansion.

Catan: Traders & Barbarians, the game’s third major expansion, came out in 2008. A two-player edition is included in the collection, with the Traders & Barbarians team working together to solve a series of minor situations. Mayfair Games also released the game itself, along with all of its various expansions.

Catan: Explorers & Pirates was published in 2013 as the fourth major expansion. The Catan line was renamed for its 20th anniversary two years after the fourth major expansion. Settlers of Catan was condensed and simplified into just Catan.

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The Popularity of the Game

One of the first German-style board games to become widely popular outside Europe was The Settlers of Catan. As of 2015, it had sold over 22 million copies in 30 languages worldwide. Despite the game’s high level of strategy, it is easy to learn the gameplay of Catan.

Catan’s extraordinary ability to appeal to seasoned players and beginners is one of the reasons it has received so many accolades and become popular. The game’s meteoric rise in popularity has translated into a surge of interest in the tournament itself. With the game’s rising profile, more and more competitors are signing up to compete in the Settlers of Catan US Championship qualifiers.

Catan is a fun and enjoyable board game. Victory requires a mix of both ability and luck. Playing this game provides a healthy dose of rivalry while also opening players up to new perspectives. You’ll need to deal and negotiate to win, and the game’s setup leads you through a fascinating creative transition. Players are forced to get inventive and work together when the stakes are high in a trade.