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Subject: "Settlers of Catan" featured in the Chicago Tribune... rss

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Nick Johnson
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The prestigious Chicago Tribune dedicated an article about the emerging "The Settlers of Catan" phenomenon in yesterday's Sunday edition. The article highlights the success of the game, which transcends cultural boundaries and speaks to people of all ages and cultures. The article identifies "The Settlers of Catan" as a game that redefines "the face of gaming". This is due to the fact that the game can be learned quickly, is highly interactive and offers "an inexpensive, social alternative top bars and clubs for young professionals, (...)" (Chicago Tribune, November 12, 2007).



-Nick
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And the article alleges that "The Settlers clientele is everyone from "moms and dads to sorority girls.""

Look out for www.boardgamesororitygirls.com!
 
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Rob
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Here's the link...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/q/chi-06111...
 
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I can't read the article. It has one of those stoopid registration things. Can somebody link past it for me please?
 
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Eugene Tackleberry
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Holmes! wrote:


How many sorority girls does it take to play a game of Settlers?

100 - 4 to play the game, and 96 to design t-shirts about the event.
 
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Adam Marostica
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Nickcatan wrote:
(Chicago Tribune, November 12, 2007)


Whoa. You have a newspaper from the future? Mind sharing some stock tips?

 
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Brad Fuller
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better 11 years to late than never
 
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Rob
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Quote:
copyright Chicago Tribune 2006
Gaming joins the party

Easy-to-learn games such as Settlers of Catan give young adults an excuse to stay in

By Joanna Topor
Special to the Tribune
Published November 12, 2006


`This is when the begging and pleading starts," said Eddy Harris, reaching for a black peon and waving it around the game board laid out between him and his friends in the yard of his Logan Square apartment. "`You can't do this to me, give me a break,'" he mimicked in a whiny voice.

The rest of the group, made up of Harris' wife and two close friends, were rolling their eyes and leaning back in their chairs, feigning disinterest, but underneath, they were sweating. The peon in Harris' hand isn't called "the robber" for nothing. It gave Harris the chance to block one of his opponents from receiving valuable cards until a seven was rolled again.

"This game is bad for couples," Margret Harris said, eyeing her husband as he made his decision. Eddy placed the robber next to one of Steve Sunner's wooden houses. Sunner, the one who introduced the group to the game, groaned. "He cheats," Eddy offered as an explanation, unaware that his move also blocked his wife.

"There's a lot of drama in our games," Ciaran Cooper, another member of the group, explained. "There's blood on this board."

The board in question belongs to the game The Settlers of Catan. Settlers is a colonizing game similar to Risk that finds players trying to one-up each other by collecting natural resource cards that they trade in for houses and towns. It's also one of the best-selling games in the country. More than 13 million copies of Settlers have been sold worldwide, setting off a craze that includes online forums and international competitions.

It's easily the best-selling game at Gamer's Paradise in Century Shopping Centre in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood. "As far as board games go, it's astronomical," said Jon Stevens, the store's manager. Successful games typically sell a half-dozen copies a month at his store; Settlers sells up to a dozen a week.

But the most intriguing part of Settlers' popularity is how it's helping redefine the face of gaming. Easy-to-learn, highly interactive games for adults with quick turn-around times offer an inexpensive, social alternative to bars and clubs for young professionals, and many are taking advantage.

According to the trend-watching NPD Group, board game sales are up 9 percent from the same time last year. Industry analyst Anita Frazier says that though families often look to board games, "the social aspect makes playing games with friends a popular leisure-time activity well into adulthood."

Stevens takes a less analytical approach. "What better way to spend an evening than to hang out with your buddies, trade some wheat and sheep, and have a few brews?" he said.

The Settlers clientele is everyone from "moms and dads to sorority girls," Stevens said. "It transcends both those people who are looking for a strategy game and those looking for a good game to have fun with."

Sunner fell into the latter group. He was looking for a cheap way to get his friends together when he came across Settlers. "About.com has this ranked as their top game of all time because the learning curve is low and there's constant involvement," Sunner boasted about his find. "Everyone loves this game."

But cheap at $38? "When we go out to a bar, and there's six or seven of us, one round will cost you 30 bucks," explained Eddy Harris.

"That is a lot of what drove us to start playing games as a large group," added Cooper, who most often hosts the group's bimonthly game night. "We made a decision: We can sit in my back yard, have a fire going and, for the price of one round, all be involved in playing a game and have enough beer for the night."

Though gaming--a term once reserved for the passionate pursuit of role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons but that now extends to the activity of playing video and card games--has typically been associated with awkward, unsocial behavior and dingy basements, those gathered around the board in the Harrises' yard on a recent warm night are quick to point out that the opposite is true.

"It's more anti-social if you're sitting in a bar drinking," said Margret Harris. Stevens agreed. "You go to a bar and there's not much more to do than sit there and drink. With a game, you can still do that and add another dimension to that experience. Socially, it's automatic involvement."

Jeffrey Bellinger, the man behind Killer Bunnies, the PlayRoom card game with a cultish following, also focused on player interaction when designing his game.

"More people are staying home and playing games," Bellinger said. "Most players of Killer Bunnies are not gaming people. But this is a good party game. You can learn it in 10 minutes and people who have never played a card game will think it's just hilarious."

Another factor that Stevens credits with the popularity of both games is their replayability. "That simplicity attracts people who would not normally play strategy games," he said of Settlers, "but there are enough expansions, like Cities and Knights, that allow for more conflict for those who want a little more battle strategy."

As for Bunnies, because almost each card is unique, "you can play the game 10 times and still have it fresh and new," said Bellinger, who is working on a follow-up starring penguins.

Back at the Harrises' place, Margret had rolled a seven, giving her control of the robber. "Interesting how this goes," she said to Eddy. "Just please don't put it on the 8," pleaded Cooper, who had had trouble getting his hands on much-needed ore. "Why are you helping him?" Sunner, in the lead with the most settlements, asked as Margret considered Cooper's request. "Don't you want to win?" he taunted.

Eddy flinched as his wife dropped the robber next to one of his houses. "Are we even now?" he asked, frustrated. Margret nodded, flashing her husband a big smile. It was obvious that the truce was only temporary.

- - -

5 games for your guest list

"I can explain Settlers [of Catan] in 2 seconds," said Jon Stevens, manager of Gamer's Paradise in Chicago's Century Shopping Centre. "The faster someone can pick up a game, the better it works in a social setting."

Though Stevens said he "would be hard-pressed to find a game that's as popular as Settlers," he found five more games that are easy to learn, fun to play and can liven up the dullest of shindigs.

Apples to Apples: A 4- to 10-player, word-association card game in which players take turns judging each other's lexicon. "It ends up being really funny because jokes can easily arise out of the associations," Stevens said. And it's fast to pick up: "Just open the box, deal the cards and play," claims the game's manufacturer, Out of the Box. $29.95.

Bohnanza: This card game is all about beans: "planting, trading, giving away and growing beans," Stevens said. Each card contains a picture of beans in various poses and has to be played in the order that it's drawn. The object is to make money by planting, growing and harvesting your beans. $11.45.

Zombies!!! The objective is simple: "Either kill 25 zombies or get to the chopper," Stevens said. Along the way, cards depicting weapons can be amassed to help players on their quest. If that isn't enough to get you excited, the game also comes with 100 miniature zombies. $26.99.

Flux: The cool thing about this party game is that "you don't try to win according to the rules but rather try to change the rules to put yourself in a winning position," Stevens said. In addition to its ever-changing rules, the game gets points for speed (and average round takes about 5 minutes) and easy transportation (the deck can fit comfortably into a jacket pocket or purse). $8.

Killer Bunnies: "It's a great way to pass an evening with friends without having to worry about strategy," Stevens said. Though the winner is decided in a random fashion (whoever pulls the magic carrot card from the deck wins), offing your opponents' bunnies with nukes and lasers provides hours of hilarious entertainment. $25.


 
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Ryan McLelland
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Boy, Settlers gets grouped with Apples to Apples, Bohnanza, Zombies!!!, Flux and Killer Bunnies... Not sure if I would be so stoked about an article that compared me to gaming crap.
 
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Kevin Li
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Why does the article generically refer to the robber token as a "peon"? I thought "pawn" is the right word. Has anyone else seen "peon" used to refer to a gaming token?
 
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
Quote:
copyright Chicago Tribune 2006
Gaming joins the party

It's also one of the best-selling games in the country. More than 13 million copies of Settlers have been sold worldwide, setting off a craze that includes online forums and international competitions.


13 Million? Holy smokes! I didn't know that.

Anyway, good article. Making all the points I try to make in trying to get all the non-gamers I know to play.

I especially like this bit:
Quote:
"It's more anti-social if you're sitting in a bar drinking," said Margret Harris. Stevens agreed. "You go to a bar and there's not much more to do than sit there and drink. With a game, you can still do that and add another dimension to that experience. Socially, it's automatic involvement."

Fully agree!
 
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fullerbd wrote:
better 11 years to late than never

Why do you say "too late"? Press/Publicity doesn't have to be right after a game is release to be helpful. The game is still being published.
 
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Todd McCorkle
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Didn't the Chicago Tribune run a similar article 1-3 years ago?
 
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Paul Boos
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kusinohki wrote:
Didn't the Chicago Tribune run a similar article 1-3 years ago?


I know 3 years ago the Washington Post highlighted Settlers, Puerto Rico, and I think Carcassonne in an article title Beyond Monopoly.

Cheers!
Paul
 
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Kevin Brown
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EYE of NiGHT wrote:
I can't read the article. It has one of those stoopid registration things. Can somebody link past it for me please?


You can get an anonymous login here:

http://www.bugmenot.com/
 
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Mike K
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Very nice article, though I dunno about the comparison to Risk. SoC isn't a wargame, but one about resource-management. Definitely closer to Monopoly (like it or not).

Still, it's a 'gateway' game. I put Ticket To Ride in the same category: easy to learn, good strategy, also good for socializing.

Lemme know when Puerto Rico gets a similar article, in a publication not specifically linked to gaming.
 
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It's too bad the writer didn't have the depth to speak about where to play the game on a regular basis by mentioning the Meetup groups in Chicago or Games Plus in Mt. Prospect. There's little reason for that level of depth, but it's clear to me that even game store owners have their heads up their asses when it comes to nurturing sales by paying attention to these types of details.
 
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Coyotek4 wrote:
Very nice article, though I dunno about the comparison to Risk. SoC isn't a wargame, but one about resource-management. Definitely closer to Monopoly (like it or not).


You know that and I know that...

You can't get Risk, Monopoly, Clue, and Trivial Pursuit out of the mind of the masses. Those are archetypal games for them. 9 times out of 10 when they see any kind of a map as the board, they compare it to Risk. It's inevitable.
 
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kusinohki wrote:
Didn't the Chicago Tribune run a similar article 1-3 years ago?


You might be thinking of the article about good games to get for Christmas. It mentioned Pirate's Cove and a few others.
 
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klide wrote:
Why does the article generically refer to the robber token as a "peon"? I thought "pawn" is the right word. Has anyone else seen "peon" used to refer to a gaming token?


The English word "pawn" originates from the old French word "pion" which referred to a foot soldier or commoner (that guy on the battlefield with a pitchfork or sharpened hoe for a weapon). The Spanish word "peon" is an equivalent word for a commoner. However, I agree that the use of peon in the article is a bit jarring.
 
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Bearcat89 wrote:
klide wrote:
Why does the article generically refer to the robber token as a "peon"? I thought "pawn" is the right word. Has anyone else seen "peon" used to refer to a gaming token?


The English word "pawn" originates from the old French word "pion" which referred to a foot soldier or commoner (that guy on the battlefield with a pitchfork or sharpened hoe for a weapon). The Spanish word "peon" is an equivalent word for a commoner. However, I agree that the use of peon in the article is a bit jarring.


    . . . and apparently "robber" was too descriptive. I can't say I've ever heard it referred to as anything other than the robber, and would have guessed "robber piece" for someone not in the zone.

    Still, anything that talks up the game is good publicity. Doesn't really matter how you stumble onto it, as long as you do.

             Sag.


 
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I can't believe he compared Settlers to Risk. They are so not even comparable. Let's see, they use six sided dice and that is as far as the comparison can even go.
 
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Jormi_Boced wrote:
I can't believe he compared Settlers to Risk. They are so not even comparable. Let's see, they use six sided dice and that is as far as the comparison can even go.

Players are competing against each other to win. Players may hold cards in their hands for several turns. They have little pieces on the board. Areas of the board will have different values to the different players, yet the players still compete for space(s) on the board.

To the muggle, Risk and Settlers are somewhat comparable. To gamers, we see more of the details and note their differences.
 
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Ok, so they share the same things that every board game shares. They use pieces and they are played on a board. Settlers is also a lot like Monopoly and Scrabble.
 
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Sagrilarus wrote:

    . . . and apparently "robber" was too descriptive. I can't say I've ever heard it referred to as anything other than the robber, and would have guessed "robber piece" for someone not in the zone.

             Sag.


Funny about that --- we play SoC almost every week. Maybe once a month, we play Around the World in 80 Days, which also uses a black "pawn" marker for the Detective. Only problem is, we constantly slip and call the Detective "the Robber."
 
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