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Catan Card Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session Report rss

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I went into the card game version of Settlers of Catan unsure of what to expect, but tried to seperate it from my previous experience with the much acclaimed "board game" version. As it turns out, this was the correct view to take. For all the endless comparisons between the board and card version and the endless, subjective arguments as to which is better, I'm thoroughly convinced that it's a pointless road to go down. The card game, while similar to the board game, is an entirely different animal. The tactics and strategy are different and the entire flow is changed. DO NOT think of the card game as a compact, cheaper version of the original. Think of it as another settling/trading game in same vein by the same author. In that mindset, I think most people can appreciate the brilliance and clever elegance in this game; one of the absolute highest on the ladder of self-contained card games. If it has any flaws, it's that it takes a bit too long to complete, so modifying the Victory Points-to-win number is recommended (definitely 8 points for beginner/basic games). As to the arguments that any one strategy ALWAYS comes out on top, I just don't get it. The first time I played this, my opponent actually got one of the supposedly unbeatable conditions, but he didn't win. As near as I can figure, there are multiple ways a player can take on Catan CG, and strategies will definitely vary. There's many ways to try and be victorious, and I'v ebeen in situations where the opponent SEEMS to have the upperhand (as well as both the supposedly "overpowered" windmill and knight icons) and ends up overspending resources or overestimating his power. So, maybe I just don't obsess over stratagies as much as some, but I don't see the supposedly "broken" rules so many people talk about. Again, I think this is because their victorious ideas for the board game don't work well there, gets trashed. They're not the same.
If the CG has any solid flaws (beyond what people personally see), I would say it's the amount of table space it takes up. Now, I understand why it takes up so much, and I think the design is clever, but it is a problem at times. Another complaint I've heard is how you have to keep track of too much and you're expected to scorekeep in your head too much. This actually really blows me away as I can't see ANY gamer with any general experience with all types games not being able to keep up with this card game. I mean, the cards track your resources, the Victory Point Icons are pretty obvious (just count them up at the end of your turn) as are the Commerce POints. I mean, if someone can't keep track of this game, I can't see them playing virtually any of the major card games of the last 5-10 years. (not to mention the fan-made scoresheets could potentially help). In my humble opinion, this is one of THE finest $20 card games ever made, and well worth the purchase, especially if the $40-50 for the board-game makes you uncomfortable. I have to play the expansion decks, but am looking forward to.
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