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Rob Bradley
United States
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The Settles of Catan

The Settlers of Catan is an engaging board game of trade, luck and strategy.

The contents:
The game comes with a bunch of hexagonal board pieces which allow for a random board set-up. This random set-up makes every game different and creates endless game play options and variety. The small wood playing pieces represent roads, settlements and cities. They are adequate, nothing special. It would have been nice if the roads fit better with the settlements and cities. The cards are nice and durable and of adequate size.

The concept:
The game is based on 3-4 "princes" vying for control of the island of Catan. The object of the game is to be the first to reach ten victory points. These are achieved by buying and placing roads, settlements and cities. Development cards can also be purchased, those have special abilities some of which give victory points. Players must buy these items using a variety of resources. These resources are represented by the pictures on the hexagons. They are: Wood, Wool, Bricks, Wheat, and Ore. These resources are collected when you roll dice. The die roll corresponds with numbers on the board. The board section with the number that has been rolled produce resources. If you have a settlement adjacent to a hexagon that produces a resource, you get a resource card of the appropriate type or two resource cards if you have a city.

The game play:
After the random set-up, players take turns each laying one settlement and one road next to the settlement. The second settlement is placed in reverse order so the last person lays their second settlement first. Then play proceeds with the first player rolling dice. The die roll produces resources for every player adjacent to a resource producing hex. Then the player may build or buy settlement cards and trade freely with his opponents. Trading can also be down without other players by giving up four of any one resource for any one resource. The players can improve trading with the board by having a settlement or city on a harbor. Each harbor allows the player to trade 2:1 for the resource pictured or 3:1 if it a generic harbor.

The Conclusion:
The variable set-up and trading really make this game elegant. It provides unlimited game play potential and a multitude of strategic options. There is a definite advantage to those who are trade savvy. I am addicted. I can see why there is such a following for this game. The only thing I'm disappointed about is the fact I didn't buy this game years ago. 9/10

-Rob Bradley

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