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Subject: JohnnyR's Take on: The Settlers of Catan rss

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John Reynolds
United States
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One night, whilst sitting around with my family, we decided to play a game. That game turned out to be: The Settlers of Catan. (pause for effect)

Typically when I get a new game, I go through the following process:

1. Puncture the shrink wrap, careful not to scratch the box.
2. Open the box slowly, put the top aside.
3. Look through all the components.
4. Thumb through the manual
5. Put everything back on the box.
6. Stash it with the rest of the games
7. Go do something else for 2-3 hours
8. Come back, repeat steps 2-4.
9. Read the manual and set up the game
10. Play a trial game by myself, for about 10 minutes.
11. Put everything back on the box
12. Stash it with the rest of the games

So, in this sense, Settlers was no different. I already had a good grasp of the basic rules, and felt I was ready to introduce it to my family.

After setting everything up, I explained the rules. A few I had to repeat, but soon enough we were rolling the dice.

After a few plays, someone rolls a 7.

“Uh-oh!” I smile, and look at my parents across the table. They look back at me with blank stares.
“I don’t see a seven on here…does that mean we all get to pick a resource from the pile?”
My father says, reaching out for a brick card.
I slap his hand away and glare. (True story, minus the slap)
“You most certainly do not.” I said, a bit confused, as I thought I had explained the robber in pretty good detail.
“Ok, does anyone have more then seven cards in their hand?”
Both my mother and father count their cards. They both have eight each.
“Ok, you have to discard half of them.”

Now, at this point, if you were say...a domestic animal, or even a small rodent of some sort, you probably would have been very frightened. The noise level sky-rocketed, sending my cat screaming out of the room. Needless to say, there was some moaning, some groaning, and a general consensus that the rule was horrible, and should be protested until death and/or the game ends. (Reminds me of the Geeklist: “You didn’t tell me that rule-Rules you most certainly told them”)

So, I roll my eyes, and decide that for one time only, we will forgo that rule

A few plays later, my father goes to put a settlement down.
I point to the spot he has placed his wooden house, and shake my head. “
“What..I can’t go there?”
This is the fifth time I’ve had to reiterate the distance rule, and I’m getting a bit short fused.
For the love of god, remember the distance rule!
He scratches his head, and moves the settlement to another spot.
I stop the game, walk over to the phone, and dial the police. I very calmly tell them there is about to be some screaming at my address, and that it is nothing to worry about.

So, the game went on like this, with me having to re-explain every rule possible, until finally the night was put out of it’s misery, when I placed a city, and claimed a bittersweet victory.

So now for my actual review. What did I think of the game?

Well, despite having to play with the equivalent of two untrained howler monkeys, I have to say it was pretty darn fun. The game went fairly quickly, even with me having to reiterate all the rules. The game board stayed together nicely, (We played on a glass coffee table) and I can imagine that it would be a fairly relaxing experience in a normal game, where the players actually know the rules.
I was surprised at how much interaction there was between the players, as trading was common in our game. I think Settlers has a nice balance of luck and strategy, the strategy coming from how to place your settlements and roads, so that you don’t inadvertently paint yourself into a corner. Now, after a few more plays, I would assume that luck would become a bit more prominent, once a player has some basic placement strategies memorized, but I really doubt this will detract from the main appeal of the game.

So, does Settlers deserve its high rank here on the Geek? I think so, and I also think you should give it a shot.

Reynolds Wraps: 4.25 out of 5

+ A blast to play, includes trading, I’m a sucker for modular boards.

> The wooden bits are a bit bland, but do their job just fine.

-Wish I could afford the special edition, but I can’t.

Bottom Line: This game went over great with my family, and friends. I heartily recommend this title to anyone who plays board games. Try it out, and let me know what you think!

And that’s my take on: Settlers of Catan.

Thanks for reading!

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Tommy Theys
United States
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Well, despite having to play with the equivalent of two untrained howler monkeys, I have to say it was pretty darn fun.
Thanks for the laugh!
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