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Subject: I've been searching for the perfect game, and I think Catan may just be it rss

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Scohr Dark
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I know it gets a lot of hate here but I've had some of the most fun ever playing this game.

Since getting into the hobby, I've found so many games lacking in certain respects. I'll play it and think, "if only the game just had more player interaction", "if only it had more tension", "if only it wasn't a point salad". Catan, the original game I used to play so many years ago before really getting into the hobby, really satsifies so many of my itches.

The ability to trade an just the right amount of "take that" with the robber, makes the game very interactive and leads to a lot of great negotiating and player interaction. So many board games feel like such solo affairs. I want games that will be good ice breakers, bridge the gap amongst strangers so that we can become more comfortable and friendly with each other. And I want a game that I feel like I'm actulaly playing with other people, not against a board (otherwise I'd just play a video game or do a puzzle). I love a game that makes you talk to each other but still has euro strategy.

It has a good amount of chance. I never understand why people hate chance in a board game. I play board games for a feeling of fun. Having some chance, some of that gambling aspect really adds to the unpredictable fun. I used to play chess competitively, and was very involved with Go as a child. So many board games with zero chance give me the same feeling as playing Go or Chess. They're relatively abstract, require a lot of practice, deep thought, and analysis, and are not fun when there is an experience imbalance. I love Chess and Go, but when I'm playing really thinky Euros with no chance, I just wonder why I'm not playing Go instead. With Go or Chess I can also practice, get good and enter tournaments and become the next Bobby Fisher(fantasy at this point in my life but still you get my point). Nobody knows who the best keyflower player in the world is.

The amount of chance evens the playing field for newbies, so it can be a fun game no matter who you're playing with.

Furthermore, Catan still has a decent amount of that euro strategy feel. Sure some may seem the strategy is too limited, but I think it's just enough. Coupled with the mix of luck, it allows one to play the game and over again without getting bored.

There's a specific end game winning condition. Thus there's considerable tension as you get to the end of the game, constantly measuring how many settlements you have compared to your opponents. I love that feeling of tension at the very end, where you're SO CLOSE to winning, and then the incredible exuberance when you place your final settlement and win, or soul crushing defeat when you're one point away and your friend flips over that last knight and beats you. I've found point salad end games anti-climatic. There is no way to assess how well you're playing compared to your opponents until the end, so there just isn't much tension. Then you count you're points and it's just this *shrug* "oh well i lost" vibe.


Finally it lets you build things, and you're all building on the same board! My favorite aspects of euros are the ability to build houses cities etc. That's what I like about Agricola and Antiquity. Being able to see your settlements grow on the game board and having the feeling that you're all building on the same map is awesome. Building on separate player sheets has this oddly dissociative feeling, like you're each playing in a completely separate universe from your opponent.

So in conclusion, despite owning over 20 other games, catan may be the game I was searching for all along.




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Matt Brown
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Whatever works for you.
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Alison Mandible
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It took me about two years to appreciate any modern game other than the one that got me into gaming (Dominion). Everything else felt-- well, it's like you describe about Catan; each way another game might be different from Dominion was, on reflection, just a thing that made me like Dominion more than whatever new game I was playing. It was starting to get confusing why people played so many other games, when the ONE thing all other games had in common was that they were NOT Dominion.

I'm glad I found my way into other games, and am now thrilled by multiple genres. But I still love Dominion and expect to continue for a long time.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Scohr wrote:
Since getting into the hobby, I've found so many games lacking in certain respects. I'll play it and think, "if only the game just had more player interaction", "if only it had more tension", "if only it wasn't a point salad".
After playing Catan I'll think "if only that had been fun."
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Chris Stanton
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After playing Catan, I generally think "If only 6 & 8 had been rolled more than once during the game, that might have been playable"
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Stephen Cooper
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I played Catan once, it didn't like me.
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M. Royal
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We own many games, but still have Catan and all it's expansions. Catan gets played every 6 months or so and is enjoyed just as much as any game we own.
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Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
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Catan is one of the few games that made me feel like BGG lied to me and betrayed me. I've since learned to be more selective and to learn how to read through players comments more.

I don't think it is a horrible game, just not for me. Along with Monopoly, Sorry!, Clue and other mass market type games, I'd rather pass than play. I say this though, having played Catan numerous times already as with the other mass market games. No more for me at this point.
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Steve O'Grady
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I won’t rain on someone else’s parade. That being said, I once felt this way too. But then I discovered the rest of the hobby. Catan still has a place in my play rotation depending on which friends are visiting. But it no longer is in my top 10, (or even my top 25j.
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Dan T
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Lots of unnecessary dumping in this thread.

Congrats on finding the game that hits your personal sweet spot!
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Benjamine Allen
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Catan will always have a special place in my heart and lots of good memories. It has enough chance and take that so I don’t feel like it is a solo game. I think some people don’t like it because it can be a very mean game.
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Derry Salewski
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pvt1863 wrote:
Lots of unnecessary dumping in this thread.

Congrats on finding the game that hits your personal sweet spot!


The first words out of the OP were dumping.

Catan's fine.
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Pokey 64
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There's nothing wrong with Catan.

I Like it so much I have two copies. Catan and Star Trek: Catan
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Andreu P.
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I used to play Catan with my friends from time to time years ago, and I remember having fun with it. In that sense, I still respect it as an entry level game that, as you said, gives all players a reasonable chance of winning regardless of their experience and promotes social interaction. That said, nowadays, after less than a year into "serious gaming", I just can't stand it. I was somewhat forced to play it a couple of months ago and I guess I was internally begging for it to end after the first five minutes. Now I would describe it as "if only skill had any impact on who wins in this game".

Now, concerning this:

Quote:
I never understand why people hate chance in a board game. I play board games for a feeling of fun. [...] I love Chess and Go, but when I'm playing really thinky Euros with no chance, I just wonder why I'm not playing Go instead.


I respect that different people have different feelings about whatever they find fun or not, but in my case, as a former chess player, I can share my two cents. In a few words, I find highly luck-driven games frustrating when other players become noticeably favored and completely unsatisfying when it's me who wins just because I was lucky. Either way I can't say that I enjoyed the experience, because instead of sharing an interesting challenge facing other people and the game itself I just spend some time waiting for chance to decide what happens. It's kind of "being played" instead of playing. I think that these are very common feelings among most BGG users and specially euro/abstract gamers, so that's why games like Catan receive quite some "hate".

Moving on to your second statement, I enjoy playing different thinky games because every one of them requires thinking and planning in a different way to "solve the problem", so I'm always facing different challenges. As you, I don't really care about who's the best Keyflower player; I just care about finding an interesting game, sharing it with some friends and see who performs best this time around.

Anyway, it's great that you enjoy Catan or any other game. Games are for having fun, so if that's the one that makes you happy then it served its purpose
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Russell McKinney
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I don't dislike Catan, and with the right people it can be a lot of fun, but I do think you need to expand yourself a bit more. I know 20 games sounds like a lot, but as this website should show you, there are literally thousands of other games to choose from, so chances are you just haven't found another game to knock Catan off its pedestal.

That being said, everyone's going to have a favorite game. It's a personal preference, and whether or not everyone else likes it doesn't really matter, as long as you enjoy it. My favorite game of all time is Railroad Tycoon, but a lot of people despise train games, and that's okay! It's not for them to enjoy, it's for me.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Scohr wrote:
It has a good amount of chance. I never understand why people hate chance in a board game. I play board games for a feeling of fun.

Chance, or the lack of it, has nothing to do with 'having fun'. It's just a tool in the designer's toolbox, nothing more.

Quote:
I love that feeling of tension at the very end, where you're SO CLOSE to winning, and then the incredible exuberance when you place your final settlement and win, or soul crushing defeat when you're one point away and your friend flips over that last knight and beats you. I've found point salad end games anti-climatic. There is no way to assess how well you're playing compared to your opponents until the end, so there just isn't much tension. Then you count you're points and it's just this *shrug* "oh well i lost" vibe.

This makes no sense. You cannot know in Catan either whether you will win or not; just as you claim is the case with 'point salad games' (which not every game is, by the way). So how come you experience tension with Catan, but not with the point salads?
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chinagirl geek
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Scohr wrote:


The amount of chance evens the playing field for newbies



This is my problem with Catan, not a plus point, but I can understand why some people would see it your way.
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Jonathan Challis
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OP has a pretty good list of why I don't like it (to put it mildly). All things I look to avoid. Horses for courses...
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Bill Cook
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Nice post explaining why you like Catan. It might not be my all time favorite, but it's certainly a favorite, especially with the Seafarers expansion.

I'm always baffled by the hate for Catan on BGG. It's the most successful "modern board game"... it can't possibly suck as much as some feel. I understand not liking it, but the hate seems disproportionate.

Then again, I still like Monopoly so what do I know.
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Jimmy Smith
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While I don't play Catan anymore unless someone specifically asks for it, we played the crap out of it during our college years. I still have many fond memories from playing it. Not a horrible game by any means as long as you approach it with the proper expectations. I even recommend it to people new to the hobby who are looking to start a small collection. Personally, I've had my fill of it at this point, but it was well worth it.

Also, you should always play with Cities&Knights after learning the base game.
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Catan does rock.
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Gregg Saruwatari
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I wonder why whenever I see a thread extolling the virtues of Catan I look to see what other games they like like and they have no games listed or rated on their profile. Must be coincidence.
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Kelly Bass
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I rate Catan a 10.
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Oh you seekers of the new who run terrified from history into the clutches of an eternal life where no electric shaver can be built to last.
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cymric wrote:

Quote:
I love that feeling of tension at the very end, where you're SO CLOSE to winning, and then the incredible exuberance when you place your final settlement and win, or soul crushing defeat when you're one point away and your friend flips over that last knight and beats you. I've found point salad end games anti-climatic. There is no way to assess how well you're playing compared to your opponents until the end, so there just isn't much tension. Then you count you're points and it's just this *shrug* "oh well i lost" vibe.

This makes no sense. You cannot know in Catan either whether you will win or not; just as you claim is the case with 'point salad games' (which not every game is, by the way). So how come you experience tension with Catan, but not with the point salads?


No, I think he's right on the money, and it makes perfect sense. Settler's open scoring entangles player actions during the play, deepening the play. Games with a dozen scoring mechanisms, particularly ones that hide your score (and hence your position) segregate player actions and often player focus. Play becomes about you, because that's the only place you have agency and understanding of state.

Credit where credit is due -- Settlers of Catan is the flag-bearer for good German design, the epitome of it as well. I appreciate that it's not everyone's favorite, but you have to admire how unified the design is, and how much it tells a story with so little overhead.

S.
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Per Glöde
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Wrong, Wrong forum. Why is a Catan review general gaming?
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