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Subject: Fickle Findings on the Idyllic Island of CATAN rss

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Kevin Anthony-Duricko
United States
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"The Game Is the Greatest Escape"
Me with my daughter!
These sheep-skin boots are made for settling, and that's just what they'll do. Provided you don't stymy my production with the robber, that is.


The Settlers of Catan, or just Catan, is a rather happy-go-lucky board game of settling and trading. Grab three friends, two settlements, two roads and CLAIM YOUR HEXES. That's how the game starts, with each hex producing wood, sheepies, wheat, brick or ore. Each hex is also adorned with a number from 2-12 (except 7, more on that in a moment). Roll the two dice, and the resultant number produces the corresponding resource. Resources are thus gathered and traded between players, with further roads, settlements, cities and development cards being purchased with them. Settlements and cities are worth victory points and are also used to conquer hexes to earn more resources. Roads are used to connect these structures. Development Cards bequeath various bonuses to the player who possesses them, such as victory points, knights and free roads. The first player to reach the victory point limit wins the game. Simples!
There's also a robber that's activated on a roll of 7. He gets placed on a chosen hex and blocks resource production for players with settlements or cities there. He's a pain in the tush. Thankfully, there are knights and sevens that can chase him away.


Now that mechanics have been summarized, I can get down to what I myself think of Catan. Truth be told, I rather love it. Look, compared to other more elaborate games, I know it's nothing spectacular. The strategy doesn't go too deep and luck plays a bit too much of a "ROLL" (LOL!) for comfort. Also, the game really only comes into its own when you have 4 players at the table. Anything more or less than that and things just don't quite click. But at the end of the day, Catan also shines bright for this simplicity. It's often been cited as being a seminal gateway game. This is true. The elegance of its mechanics make it a perfect experience for players who aren't quite on the hobby level yet but even for us hardcore crowd its got an uncomplicated charm to it that takes a long time to wear off. It's also got some functional but striking artwork.


In summary, Catan is good for what it is. Great, even. It's a worthy purchase, especially as an introductory game. Thanks for reading!

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