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Rivals for Catan» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Does Rivals scratch the same itch as Settler's, but for two? rss

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Caleb Ludrick
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I'm assuming that most people interested in Rivals for Catan are wondering if it scratches the same itch as Settler's of Catan, but for two players. After several playthroughs with my wife, who is a big Settler's fan, I'll review the game from this perspective.

Ultimately, it will come down to what you enjoy about Catan. In my opinion, the biggest strength of Catan is the trading element. It creates great player interaction as you try to convince your brother Reggie that he should really give you his 10 bricks for your 1 sheep, or what have you. You bargain and bluff and convince everyone that your quest for island domination really is in their favor! Rivals doesn't have this. There's no trading, you harvest and spend your own resources individually.

Another reason I enjoy Catan is the strategic angle. Trying to figure out statistically what the best spot is on the island to put your next hut, statistically based on the dice rolls or so you can get a port. Again, in Rivals you place your houses individually, regardless of what the other player does. They're essentially on their own little island across the table from you.

And this is Rival's biggest downfall. The player interaction is largely lost as most of the actions you do don't really have much to do with your opponent, and it feels a lot more luck based than Settler's does.

So, to answer the question from the title, the answer is no, unfortunately. Rivals is more focused on trying to build an efficient engine out of the cities and heroes you can build, and hoping you can get to 12 points faster than your wife does (or husband (or brother (or acquaintance))). This doesn't make it a bad game, rather I quite enjoy it. Just not as much as Settlers, and for different reasons.

So to sum up, if you enjoy Settler's because of:
1. Trading sheep
2. Player Interaction
3. Vying for land
4. Statistics
5. Wooden houses

then you won't enjoy Rivals. However, if you enjoy Settler's of Catan because of:
1. Harvesting sheep
2. Rolling dice
3. Feeling like a European Farmer

Then you might like Rivals. Additionally, if you are looking for a medieval engine building game for 2 that takes around 45-60 minutes, you also might like Rivals for Catan.



Hope this helps.
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Steve Kennedy

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Hmm, I certainly can see your points. My wife enjoys this a lot and I think it is due to the "general" look and play of the game without it really being Settlers per se. She'd rather play that as well, but it pales with two, even with the Catan: Traders & Barbarians adjustments. In that respect, it sits in that parallel playing field with Candamir: The First Settlers and Elasund: The First City; "Catan-like", but also minus the trading interaction pieces.

I think the interaction in Rivals though comes as you add in the packs requiring you to play off, or overcome, the other player's advantage as they unfold.

That said, your points here are all very valid and worth considering for those who pick it up expecting it to be Settlers with cards--consider themselves warned/
 
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Scott Schelter
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stev4uth wrote:
I think the interaction in Rivals though comes as you add in the packs requiring you to play off, or overcome, the other player's advantage as they unfold.
I enjoy Rivals a lot. Most of my games have been against the AI in the iPhone app. The initial set ups in the beginner game really did feel like two player solitaire, or one vs AI solitaire in my case. I stuck through it though since I'd purchased the app and it was a good time filler in some places. It got more strategic as you added the cards from the other "ages", and felt like I was playing against an opponent as we looked for cards in the same decks to set up our engines and play off or overcome what the opponent did. I really think this would shine against a capable human opponent Nd can't wait til I find someone in my gaming circle interested in investing a bit of learning into this game.
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John Burt
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That's funny: we bought Rivals precisely because it is like Settlers but without the mechanics we hate about that game: trading and take-that interaction with the robber. Having said that, the game does allow for quite a bit of conflict interaction depending on which expansions you choose to play (though still no trading). In that way, Rivals is really nice because it accommodates players with different styles.

My biggest complaint about Rivals is that it's just a little too fiddly and long for the pleasure it brings. These days if we want to build a farm/city/civilization, we'll play San Juan, Agricola, Roll for the Galaxy, etc.
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Michael
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Despite the name "Catan" in both games, I feel that they are just completely different games and therefore can't really be compared. So going into Rivals thinking it's Catan for two would be very disappointing for someone.

Rivals is one of my favorite light and portable games, and I wish it got more credit.

One of the problems I see is that one does not really get to fully appreciate the game until they have played it a handful or more times outside of the "intro" game. The intro game is incredibly dry, but once you start playing with the different eras, it starts to open up. The more familiar both players are with the card pools, the more strategic options and counterplay become apparent, along with more fun. After the familiarity grows, you can also start to play the Duel of the Princes variant and mix and match the 3 eras with the different expansions for different experiences. The care that was put into the game grew more and more apparent to me the more I played it.

My first play and I was ready to trade it... but now I own both expansions and it has a spot on my shelf.
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Kathleen Nugent
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milthurs wrote:
Despite the name "Catan" in both games, I feel that they are just completely different games and therefore can't really be compared. So going into Rivals thinking it's Catan for two would be very disappointing for someone.

Rivals is one of my favorite light and portable games, and I wish it got more credit.
My feelings completely. I've played Settlers of Catan once or maybe twice. I disliked it and didn't want to play it again.

I love Catan Card Game, Rivals predecessor, and have played it 100 times, I would guess. I've played Rivals a few times - all ways: base, one expansion at a time, all expansions together. I think it's great.
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Caleb Ludrick
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milthurs wrote:
Going into Rivals thinking it's Catan for two would be very disappointing for someone.
I agree, I enjoy Rivals quite a bit, but for very different reasons than I enjoy Settler's. I was hoping to convey that it's still a solid game, but if you are looking for this to take the place of a game of Settler's you could play with two, you'll be disappointed. Which I feel is very likely. We received the game as a gift, because my brother-in-law figured "Well they enjoy Catan but now they're married and probably need a game for two, so this should be good." Even though a connection shouldn't really exist between the two gameplay wise, it still does because they're the same family of games.
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